I helped somebody move this weekend, someone I care for almost desperately. And I watched as one lifetime was carted out of one doorway and loaded into a truck only to unceremoniously be dumped across an unknown threshold. Yes, there is a feeling of rebirth one can have as a brand new home is put together, but the past is always there. It appears suddenly in the glassware you used to drink from in the old house, the framed print you can’t quite find the ideal place for on a freshly painted wall so for now it’s been shoved deep inside a closet and the corner of the frame scrapes your shin every single time you lean in to pull out an item of clothing. With all of those upcoming tomorrows there comes a loss of yesterdays, and so I did the only thing I suppose I was able to do in the situation, which was try to nod as convincingly as I could as often as possible as a nonverbal method of indicating that this change of scenery will eventually be nothing but a positive thing. Part of me even believes that, but the other parts of me know the sadness that brought this change to come to pass -- the desperation of all those nights spent awake and afraid, the memories of the times that were real and were true -- are now forever tinted sepia because they’re all in the past.
But still I can make a case for why the future looks promising. Still I can hope to convince a person I love that the unknown is not always going to feel frightening. Still I can reinforce that change can often be exciting and I can also caution not to look too far ahead because, for now, even next week will appear hazy. And after all of those optimistic affirmations have finally left me speechless, I can again nod slowly because I know that, in this exact moment, absolutely nothing feels safe or justified. Right now, as boxes cover the floor and the memories of former rooms that were once filled with life seem so very far away, all I can do is recognize that today change will not be seen as an opportunity. For today – and for several consecutive tomorrows, too – it will be hard for those who feel displaced to find their footing and to ask them to pretend otherwise would just be cruel.
Since staying fully in the moment left me wishing I could unzip my own skin and shimmy to safety, I allowed myself a few minutes of silly tangential thoughts as I placed someone else’s hangers in a brand new closet, lining them up perfectly as though it might matter in even the short-term of it all. And as I tried to organize clothing by color and by season, I allowed my mind to drift to a certain Orange County Housewife who maybe hasn't yet packed up her entire world and lugged it to an unfamiliar setting like this person so dear to me did, but even though the packing in her case would probably take a whole lot more time (there have to be inherent difficulties that come in when one must box up a bazillion bottles of tequila) I couldn’t help but realize that – devastating or not – Kelly Dodd needs to move away from the house she resides in with her domineering husband and the ceaseless resentment that is so evident we can all smell it through the television screen whenever either one of them appears in close-up.
None of the empathy I have for this woman, however, can discount the negative feelings her presence has already caused me to internalize. Kelly's behavior during her inaugural season has been nothing short of deranged. From her frequent bouts of verbal dysentery to her inane decision to anoint Vicki Gunvalson as her Life Coach, Kelly Dodd has presented herself to viewers as a certified mess and not one cell in my body is capable of understanding how someone in this kind of perpetual state of emotional doom thought it would be wise to toss on a mic and allow cameras to record her bipolar-like existence. I think her choice to become a Housewife while her life is in turmoil is a terrible one that could very well come back to haunt her during those inevitable custody hearings, but the almost frenetic dislike I feel for her doesn't discount that I hope she gets out of her marriage soon. What's left of her scattered sanity depends on it.
And now that all of her costars and every person who tunes into Bravo knows for a fact that Kelly is married to a monster -- and is rather laboratory-creaturelike herself -- it's time to dive into this week's episode that I can only imagine will be fuzzy filler until we get to the blood-curdling moment teased to us in the trailer for the season that shows Tamra screaming into Vicki's mouth that she should go fuck herself before she begins hyperventilating because she knows Jesus would be so disappointed in her for saying the "F" word.
Tonight starts at Meghan and Jim's candle store opening. This would be the event of the year, so long as the year we're talking about is the one after a natural disaster wiped out all of civilization and only Jim and his wicks survived. As guests begin to arrive and champagne is popped to indicate that yes, this is indeed supposed to be a celebration, Jim makes sure to make a completely expected comment about the way in which his love of candles should not impact his virility. With gender roles once again rooted on secure ground, the other Housewives arrive. Shannon is exhausted from moving and Heather is thrilled to see flutes of bubbly in her midst. Vicki is also there. Yes, she made the cut and got invited to the candle store opening, and maybe it's all that confidence that comes from realizing she's no longer a complete social pariah that emboldens her to ignore Shannon. But before any impressive shade can be thrown, Meghan approaches Tamra and Vicki to show them her sonogram picture she's got on her phone. Ignoring every societal convention about when to shut one's fucking mouth, Tamra inquires as to why there's only one fetus in there instead of two, but Meghan plays the moment off well. She's been depressed that both embryos didn't make it, but the frenzy of opening the store has taken her mind off of her grief. It's a good thing she's not relying on her husband to alleviate that pain because the guy is a serious dick and makes sure to prove it during their toast by remarking that he's done all the work. The guy is the worst.
I hope you understand that when I announce that Jim is the worst you also realize that I mean he's the worst guy because nobody will ever be worse than Vicki. She wins every suckage contest hands-down because of her never-ending awfulness. Her refusal to acknowledge Shannon's hope-you're-feeling-better-after-crashing-down-some-sand-dunes-in-the-desert voicemail is no big deal as far as the magnitude of Vicki's sins are concerned, but it does illustrate just how delusional she is. Shannon -- a person Vicki begged for months to be her friend again after brazenly lying to her about cancer -- finally extended the teensiest olive branch and Vicki all but pissed on it. I'd recommend to Shannon that she just walk away from this casserole-loving lunatic once and for all, but fortunately I cannot walk through my television screen to share my thoughts and that's a very good thing because the scent of all those candles mixed with the aroma of Vicki's desperation would surely give me a fucking migraine.
Shannon, however, will not let it go. She approaches this asshole and says she's glad to hear Vicki is better and then nods as Vicki tells her their friendship is messed up. Then she refrains from cold-clocking the woman across the face as she listens to Vicki explain why she believes Shannon's husband is a piece of shit. What becomes more apparent every week and every season is that Vicki has zero ability to understand that her cumulative actions and reactions cause people to form opinions about her and she alone is the very cause of their hatred. It's scary that people like her walk amongst us. It's scarier still that people like her are permitted to do things like procreate and vote.
Since we're dealing with a demonic entity with a depleted love tank, the conversation cannot end normally. Vicki needs to announce that Shannon has told lies and Vicki knows what they are! "What lies have I told?" Shannon inquires calmly, but Vicki will wait to reveal all when she has a way bigger audience than the seven people standing around the candle store looking horrified by the brawling in their eyeline -- though that look of disgust might be because they just caught of whiff of Jimmy's favorite creation, the mango-cilantro candle. Shannon finally walks away after announcing, "I wish you well. I just don't want to be your friend," to which Vicki says, "Likewise." Then Vicki leaves the store and probably heads to a restaurant that has a wooden beam as part of its foundation just in case she wants to nail herself to it later as she reenacts the crucifixion because it's a Monday and all and she hasn't pretended to be Jesus in about a week.
The next afternoon, Vicki arrives at a store and promptly gets her shoe stuck in the floor, makes sure to announce she's wearing Prada, and then reaches out to retrieve the nipple cover that fell out of her shirt. Tamra shows up and thinks it's just hilarious that Vicki is oh so kooky and the inane friendship between these two people appears secure and will probably stay that way until Sweeps rolls around and Tamra shrieks at her to go fuck herself. (I've already set my DVR for that episode because nothing besides a commercial with a prancing Old English Sheepdog makes me happier than Vicki Gunvalson being rendered speechless. It happens far too infrequently for my liking.) Anyway, for now Tamra and Vicki love each other again and they're shopping for dresses to wear to Heather's book release and chatting about the date Vicki just went on with some police officer. If you too just thought maybe you'd accidentally ingested a small tab of mescaline because your rational mind believed there's no way any man on this or any other planet would deign to take this idiot out on a date, you're not alone. So yeah, Vicki is dating again and this one isn't claiming to have some horrible disease so maybe he's a keeper, at least until the doctors at the asylum he escaped from are able to restrain him with a tranquilizer dart and cart him back to the hospital.
Also: Vicki has a hickey on her tit.
Also: I just threw up my spleen.
In another store, Shannon is shopping for organic mattresses for her daughters. There will be no metal or toxic materials touching the epidermis of her brood, but even more concerning to her at the moment is the way Vicki's now running around and claiming Shannon's a liar. Even Kelly has jumped into the action by telling Tamra that not only does Vicki know something incriminating about Shannon and her marriage, but what she knows is bad. See, Vicki cannot stand the hypocrisy that surrounds her like a cloud of bullshit she created with her very own intestines, so if Shannon is going to say Vicki lied about Brooks having cancer, Vicki will announce to the world something completely unrelated just to torture the woman. That's her pathetic plan and she will stick to it until she dies.
Speaking of death, Kelly and Michael sit on the beach and discuss the misery that is their marriage. They both admit they've been arguing a lot lately and that they shouldn't do that in front of their daughter. I agree with them! They should not berate one another in front of their impressionable kid, but perhaps they also shouldn't be broadcasting their misery on television either, no? (Sorry. Bringing rational thoughts into this equation will just be confusing.) Anyway, Kelly wonders if their drinking might be causing them to fight more -- you don't say! -- but whatever the reason, she's got her Life Coach's horrendous advice ringing in her ears to try to make this splintered marriage work so she can fight with another human being each and every day rather than ever have to face the terror of being on her own. As far as Michael is concerned, he's willing to step up his game. He will plan date nights weekly and only tell his wife to fuck off biweekly and I'm pretty sure we're watching a moment their daughter will one day screen on a loop for her therapist.
Over at Meghan's house, she and Jim are cooking and discussing her longstanding depression. Her emotional pain has become more pronounced since she got pregnant and she's seeing a therapist to try to deal with it all. As one would expect, Jim shows absolutely no interest or concern for his wife's emotional wellbeing. Seriously. The guy doesn't even break a sweat. Still, I'd rather camp out in that kitchen where empathy goes to die than enter Vicki's house where she's filming a commercial for her "cancer charity." For the life of me, I cannot understand how any qualified businessperson would make the choice to select Vicki as the spokesmodel for anything, let alone a disease she was linked to fraudulently, but then again, I'm fucking normal.
And now it's time for my two favorite people on this show to spend the afternoon together. Heather shows up at Shannon's new home to marvel at the views and the total lack of furniture in the place. Then she asks about what went down between Shannon and Vicki at the candle party after Heather booked from the premises because the stench of the place almost killed her. Shannon explains how Vicki claimed Shannon has told bold lies, and that's when Heather reveals that Kelly recently said much the same thing. Yup, with a big disgusting smirk, Kelly poured herself a drink and assured Heather that the dirt Vicki has on Shannon is both bad and accurate and Heather -- who obviously took an ethics class while the rest of these assholes were buying cleavage-baring Lycra tops -- explains that when one is keeping a secret, one should also refrain from announcing that she knows a secret. She's reading the situation absolutely accurately. What she knows is that Vicki is making veiled threats by brandishing this secret bullshit to the masses. I'm also going to bet that Vicki has some sordid secret about Andy Cohen and half the executives at Bravo because besides blackmail, I can see no other reason why she's still on this show.
Later in the week, Heather and Terry gear up for their book release party. There's an ice sculpture with their faces carved into it and enough champagne to keep Heather sort of calm and Vicki shows up with the guy she's dating. I swear, it makes more sense that Vicki is now a cancer charity advocate than the fact that some guy is choosing to be with this woman. Surely there's some other human being with a vagina the guy could spend time with, no?
Also: Meghan tells us, "Jim Edmonds is a closet sweetheart."
Also: I don't believe her.
At some point during the evening, Shannon decides that she needs to pretend to like Vicki for a little while so everyone will stop telling her to make amends with the lady so she wades over to her and starts chatting. They manage to not call one another assholes for the evening so the entire thing is, I suppose, a success even though I'd rather pack another person's entire existence in bubble-wrap and participate in yet another move than be in the same room as Vicki and the man who left a hickey near her nipple. Still, no blood is shed at this party. Not only that! Pregnant Meghan has been researching her lineage and she's realized that her family tree leads all the way to Ireland! What does any of this have to do with the Housewives? Well, it's time to announce the never-organically-planned season trip! A group of women who have been called liars and cunts and dumb fucks are jetting off to Ireland together! I ask you, my friends: what could possibly go wrong?