Full disclosure: I hate recapping Reunion episodes of The Real Housewives of Fucking Wherever. Since that horrible day when some malevolent entity who works in the Programming department at Bravo decided there should be three Reunion installments, the entire process has become borderline interminable. Besides, we know going in that the only thing that will transpire over three long hours of television will be three more long hours of the same exact misery that’s gone down all season long – and there still won’t be a proper resolution to any of it.
As far as I’m concerned, there are only a couple of things this Reunion needs to cover in depth. I could give a shit about seeing a segment about Heather moving from one ginormous house into an even more ginormous house and I also have zero interest in watching Meghan profess to the masses that her husband doesn’t hate her or the fetus growing inside of her. And while I am amenable to a few onscreen moments of Tamra explaining exactly how she got herself that ass (I ate a lot of Halloween candy this year; I might need to listen to a woman tout the joys of consuming only massive amounts of protein and splurging every now and then on an unbuttered sweet potato), I don’t need a lot of other areas to be revisited. In my opinion, only three things really need to be discussed by these enemies as they recline on tufted sofas with their iPhones shoved underneath a pillow just in case they have to whip it out real quick to ruin another woman’s life:
1. Kelly’s terrifying psychological condition – the one that forces her to spew profanity and secrets whenever she feels provoked – needs to be debated and then diagnosed. That said, I have no patience for any of her excuses or her rationalizations and I will not be able to drum up even a tiny bit of empathy when she stabs herself hard in the thigh to make her eyes water in an effort to get the rest of the women to feel badly and back off.
2. I hate that this needs to be something that gets discussed, but the allegations that David was physically abusive to Shannon are out there now and I’m hoping they can be proven false during the course of the next three overlong episodes.
3. I think we should finally be given a clear answer as to what species Vicki Gunvalson belongs to. While I realize “unclassified genetic nightmare” should suffice, I’d prefer to see some actual charts and figures that prove she’s human because I’m just not sure anymore. Part of it is that I’m quite certain I’ve never hated someone on television more than I hate Vicki. There’s her ridiculous lack of self-awareness, the one that’s preposterously coupled with an apparent devoutness to Christianity even as she drinks herself senseless, announces there’s a hickey covering her left tit, and sticks up for conmen who allege they have cancer so they can get sympathy and she can get herself a casserole. Ranking Vicki as the very worst person on television isn’t easy, though. It would mean that I have decided that she and her smelly bullshit are even more horrifying than that sick creature Kim Richards or New Jersey’s favorite table-flipping felon. It would mean ranking Vicki on The Worst People Ever list higher up than Brandi Glanville or Ramona Singer before Ramona got divorced and apparently discovered the joys of Xanax. Still, I’m willing to shift that list around and anoint her the fucking queen because Vicki is just that awful and I would be thrilled to watch her legitimately get crucified for all her terribleness. On the plus side, she’ll finally know what it’s really like to be nailed to a cross after years of delightfully pantomiming the action for almost no sane reason whatsoever.
Other than those discussion topics, there’s not a whole lot to sift through here. Yes, Shannon moving houses in about an hour without the help of movers was nutty and that dune buggy accident looked scary, but they are all fine and can anyone actually say with a straight face anymore that Meghan and Shannon should have dropped everything and raced off to a desert hospital to comfort a woman we now know is made up entirely of desperation, some vodka backwash, and pure evil? Speaking of that evil, Vicki is dolled up for the night in a black one-shouldered dress that matches the color of her soul. While I do not enjoy giving her any kind of compliment, I will say that I appreciate that her heaving cleavage has been shrouded for the evening. Perhaps she’s trying to hide another hickey. Shannon is wearing a white sleeveless shift that makes her look pretty but somewhat plain. Heather is rocking a lot of jewelry and a bright pink dress that shows off her impressively cut arms. I’m betting she can do way more pull-ups than I can, though I have improved and now I can do a whole one and a half before bursting into tears. Tamra is in some red dress the color of plasma. I have never quite been able to explain some of the body parts these women reveal with some of their cutouts, but I can safely say I’ve never seen a neckline more confusing in my life. (I’d maybe say more and maybe even make fun of it a little bit, but the lady can definitely kick my ass and I’m already afraid of human beings who don’t have belly buttons.) Meghan is wearing braids and a choker and an off-the-shoulder pinkish dress that looks like the sort of thing you’d wear as a bridesmaid if the bride decided she hated you after discovering you once banged the groom – but boy does Meghan’s hair look shiny! And then there’s Kelly and she is wearing a dress as blue as her husband’s balls. This little number has slits and cutouts anywhere they don’t make a bit of sense and the only thing that made me smile about this garment is how similar it looks to a straightjacket because at least we’re halfway there.
In order to accurately describe the carnage and the eventual hiding of bodies, I figured I’d divide this recap up into rounds and then declare a winner for each installment. Round one is upon us, people! Strap in your cleavage since Vogue says it’s out anyway, don't even think about Mrs. Roper, and prepare to nod convincingly when Kelly announces how blissfully in love she and Michael are now! Here goes…
ROUND ONE: ANDY COHEN VS. MY GAG REFLEX
I have no comprehension as to why Andy’s individual greeting to each Housewife turns my stomach to the degree that it does. Maybe it’s because you just know he deep down hates a few of them. Perhaps I’m picking up a smidgen of guilt in his gaze because a tiny bit of him feels badly for allowing these women to so disgrace themselves. In any case, this portion of the Reunion makes me wish I could use Lemon Pledge as deodorant, rub my skin with bleach, gargle with a bit of Windex, and then – just to be safe – shimmy off my skin and then wash it in the delicate cycle so maybe I can one day feel clean again.
Winner: Andy Cohen, Evil Genius
ROUND TWO: VICKI VS. EVERYONE (EXCEPT FOR KELLY BECAUSE KELLY’S AN IMBECILE WHO WAS ONCE TOLD GOING AGAINST ONE’S OWN LIFE COACH IS IN VERY BAD TASTE)
In this lovely segment, we watch Vicki as she embarks on her apology tour in an attempt to get her former friends to trust her again after everyone on the planet simultaneously stopped believing that her ex-boyfriend ever had cancer and also began to question if Vicki had been lying to them about the matter for well over a year. We see a montage of everyone pretending to forgive her – except for Shannon, who is bitch cold – and then we more on to the moment when each woman realized, Oh, right – Vicki fucking sucks as a person! Clip package over, Andy asks immediately about That-Cancer-Guy-Who-Never-Had-Cancer-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Vicki now maintains that she wished she had done some investigating while the guy was living under her roof. She doesn’t seem to believe he ever had cancer, but there was that one day in Ireland when she prayed in front of a crowd that she could just go to heaven so she could be reunited with the liar in the eternal afterlife. “Is he going to heaven?” asks Heather – and a question like that is why I sort of love her, but what comes next makes me want to fucking marry her. Apparently Heather made a joke that Vicki sent the flowers she received from her boyfriend to herself and Vicki did not find that joke hilarious in the least. In fact, she’d like to reiterate now just how very unfunny the entire comment is, to which Heather responds, “I’m Jewish. I know what’s funny,” and we cut to a shot of Kelly looking terrified.
Winner: Heather Fucking Dubrow
ROUND THREE: VICKI VS. SANITY
Before the first commercial break, Vicki has managed to announce that this entire enterprise is her show, tell Shannon that she should leave her show, and break into some song that goes a little something like this: “ding-dong-dingy-dingy-ding-dong.”
ROUND FOUR: TAMRA & JESUS VS. KELLY
This interlude is all about Tamra growing into a relatively calmer person through the help of her scripture-quoting trainer. We also get some footage of her winning the fitness competition before we move into Andy asking her about the state of her relationship with her daughter. They communicate only through intermittent text message and her son moved back in with her and no longer speaks to his father. Still, with all of this family strife, Tamra genuinely seems to have found comfort in her religion and it’s all sort of nice to see. Of course, Kelly and her lip gloss would like to announce that she doesn’t think Tamra is a good Christian at all because she’s nice one day and then mean the next and everyone should know that Kelly is never the cause of the conflicts she constantly has with other women. Frankly, I’m stunned Kelly even thinks it’s okay to go after Tamra after spouting off some shit about Tamra’s relationship with her daughter, but then again, not a whole lot of what Kelly does or says makes sense in this brain of mine – and that means I will soon throw a party for my brain. You’re all invited as long as you show up with snacks.
Winner: Tamra & Jesus – and my brain
ROUND FIVE: MEGHAN VS. REPRODUCTIVE CHALLENGES
It’s time to explore the journey Meghan went on – alone – in order to get pregnant. The in vitro process appears painful and her husband comes across as perhaps the least empathetic person in the whole wide world, but this is the choice Meghan has made and she will stand up for the guy until the day she announces her divorce. Meghan doesn’t do a whole lot for me even though I continue to applaud her Nancy Drew act last year as she worked to expose Brooks as a giant fraud, but I am happy for her that she’s pregnant and I very much hope Jimmy’s extra sperm samples are never used as a modern art project for Heather Dubrow’s next mansion.
ROUND SIX: KELLY VS. THE VOICES IN HER HEAD
As we continue to wander down psychotic memory lane with Kelly, a few things are immediately obvious. The woman has never met a terrible joke she hasn’t liked and she’s never met more than four women she has been able to like. The problem has gotta be that everyone is jealous of her, right? After all, she is a television star in a crumbling marriage who has major rage issues, terrible taste in life coaches, and an incredibly tenuous grip on whatever she believes is reality. As her clip package ends, Andy comes right out and tells her she’s one of the most polarizing Housewives ever – and this is from a group that includes a woman being sued for announcing that another Housewife’s vagina stinks. Kelly, however, thinks she came across quite fine this season. Her one regret is that she wasn’t kinder to the verbally abusive husband she outed as having a personality disorder, but as far as anything she said to any of her castmates? She stands by all of it.
Winner: All those voices…
ROUND SEVEN: MRS. ROPER VS. A TOTAL ASSHOLE:
I will absolutely concede that Shannon’s friend – who came right out and mentioned in front of Kelly’s husband that the last time she saw Kelly was when Kelly was toting around another man – was wrong to have done that and probably only did it because she saw cameras and chose to make an incendiary comment in hopes of getting on the air. (It’s not rocket science, people.) But for Kelly to decide that Shannon planned the entire thing and then to react by calling Shannon ugly and chortling that it’s no wonder David cheated on her still makes very little sense to me. I could be wrong and maybe Shannon did try to set Kelly up for reasons that make not a bit of sense, but it’s sort of impossible for me to take Kelly’s side now about anything because she’s been so unceasingly nuts all season long. She’s lost any sort of goodwill she ever could have had in my mind. Ergo, the total asshole can suck it.
Winner: Mrs. Roper
And with glares and under-the-breath mumbles that are still picked up by that magical thing called a microphone and more screams about adultery and Kelly repeating the word “Drama” like she’s officially been broken, Part One of The Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion skids to a stop. But do not despair! Next week we’ll get to watch as Shannon illustrates that she can still lactate and we’ll see Kelly inform Heather that she’s hideous because she heard that word the other day when someone screamed it at her as she walked down the beach and now she’d really like to use it in a sentence.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Also be sure to check out her website at nellkalter.com Her Twitter is @nell_kalter