I've been so consumed lately with focusing on how much of an asshole one of the Presidential candidates is that I've almost forgotten about that other raging asshole, Kelly Dodd. I suppose I'll worry tomorrow about my newest affliction – Asshole ADD – but tonight, I'm just going to appreciate that the closest I'll ever get to this awful human specimen is through my television screen. The other Real Housewives are not so fortunate. They're contractually bound; they must interact with the seething monster in the terrible clothing until someone finally slays the beast.
Where last we left off before the Olympics conquered Bravo, Kelly sneered that she'd never be friends with Shannon because Shannon is "ugly" and then invited Shannon to lunch to apologize for being such a dick. That apology did not go so well since Shannon insisted she did not, in fact, throw a party with the express purpose of setting up a woman she barely knows. Luckily, Kelly can drink away her pain in one of the twenty-three bars that line every nook and cranny of the lovely home she lives in with a man she hates.
The carnage continues tonight because the general rule is that it takes a full seven years for any Housewives conflict to really get resolved. That said, some lunatic in power made Kelly a Real Housewife, so the others are obliged to hang out with her. Tamra starts it off. She takes one for the team and invites Kelly over to help her plan a last-sushi-and-booze hurrah for Meghan before she’s inseminated with the demon’s sperm. It’s a nice opportunity for Kelly to show off one of her many talents: making fun of Asian accents! Excellent vetting job, Bravo. While she’s there, Kelly makes sure to tell Tamra that Shannon is not her type of girl – which means Shannon should immediately go outside and take a victory lap. Kelly’s still trying to spin the story of the party to how she sees it, a viewpoint she came to while intoxicated nearly beyond comprehension. Yes, Shannon’s friend was unbelievably rude to have announced in front of Kelly’s husband that the last time she saw her, Kelly was with another man. That’s a bitch move, clear and simple. But my assumption is that woman saw cameras and thought it was her chance to snag a Swarovski orange in some upcoming season by saying something incendiary. Even Kelly has no idea why Shannon would have gone out of her way to set her up, but she refuses to believe it did not happen. To make her feel better, Tamra tells Kelly there are rumors that she sucks dick to pay bills. We all need a friend like Tamra, don’t we? I’m gonna ask Santa Claus to bring me a Tamra come December! And if I’m a very good girl this year, maybe my Tamra will also quote scripture round the clock!
In Vicki’s brown paradise, she sits down for lunch with her daughter. Briana is worried about the money it’s costing to renovate her new home. Vicki, meanwhile, is worried about whether or not she should buy a boat. (Somewhere under the sea, the fish are currently strategizing to stop such a horrible woman from invading their peaceful ecosystem. I’m pretty sure I learned in Biology class in 10th grade that fish hate any form of the Whoo Hoo.) Anyway, Vicki’s ex snagged the last boat in the divorce and now she needs a new boat and a new husband because being alone with herself is the most miserable form of torture imaginable. I’d add something about how she mentioned her empty love tank, but I’m concerned about my health so I refuse to really go into it.
Back at Tamra’s house, there’s invitation anxiety because Tamra – for no good reason at all – wants Vicki to attend the party in Meghan’s honor. Since Meghan hates Vicki’s fucking guts, she’d rather the woman not attend. Honestly, I cannot for the life of me figure out why Tamra is still so attached to Vicki. Their bond icks me out something fierce. In any case, Meghan’s not backing down; that liar cannot come to her party and finally Tamra agrees to uninvite her, but not before she tells us that Meghan’s new nickname is “Satan.” I’m sure Jesus approves, Tamra, so no worries.
In more normal news, Heather is about to be on the show The Doctors. One of the reasons I really like Heather is because she actually comes out and acknowledges that she has an enormous support system around her, one supported by her enormous fortune. Sure, her comment on the merits of vaginal steaming almost soured me on her, but there are bigger assholes to fry on this show.
Now that The Real Housewives of Orange County has apparently turned into Goop 2.0 with it’s talk of steaming one’s nether regions, it’s time to continue that theme and send Meghan off to a holistic master to help her with her bloating and fatigue. Wearing braids that make her look all of twelve, Meghan might not understand anything this doctor is saying, but she does want to feel better and, since her husband is of no source of support, she’ll explore alternative methods. Shannon and Tamra show up next and Meghan takes the opportunity once again to tell Tamra that she does not want to be in the same room as Vicki. Then she says that Vicki is invited to the party and I’d love to explain what’s going on here, but not a bit of it makes any sense so I’m just going to save my energy for recapping the moment when Kelly shrieks across the table that Tamra is a dumb fuck.
Before we move on, I’d just like to nominate Shannon as Rational Housewife of the Century for refusing to turn the other cheek and pretending what Vicki did last season was anything other than unconscionable. She’s right. Vicki is a rage-filled liar who will spin tales for both imaginary casseroles and for conmen and Shannon’s quiet fury makes total sense in the way the mild reconciliations taking place between Vicki and the other women do not. By the way, this Rational Housewife title comes with a glittering tiara and a brand new set of friends. Perhaps Shannon should call those people immediately.
And now it’s time to head over to Kelly’s house so Vicki can take the elevator to the bar on the fourth floor. She’s all too briefly locked inside that elevator, but she breaks free and opens a bottle of wine with some hideous golden wine opener that even Gianni Versace would have deemed too gaudy. While she’s there, Kelly explains that Shannon’s friend called her a prostitute and that’s nothing but fucking bullshit and she might call a lawyer and sue the lady for defamation of character! Oh, Kelly. Threatening a lawsuit so early into your Housewives tenure? Lightweight. Upon receiving the text with that legal threat, Shannon calls Tamra. Tamra admits she’s the one who gave Kelly that information and Shannon calls her out on playing both sides of the fence, a Tamra specialty. (That, after all, is why she’s such a perfect Real Housewife. It’s also why she’s such an asshole.) Shannon hangs up pissed to all hell and Tamra announces that she just doesn’t have a personal problem with Kelly. Sit tight, sweetheart. You will.
Back in the home of the woman who doesn’t suck dick to pay her water bill, Kelly has prepared salmon and asparagus for the guest no one else wants to invite over. Vicki – thrilled to have an audience besides her daughter – lets Kelly know that she will never be in a room with David Beador again because he was so aggressive with her at the party. “I’m not going to let him hurt me,” says the liar, “but words hurt.” (Words like, “He needed an IV in the dead of night because of his rabid cancer,” however, must not hurt.) Now listen, Kelly would like to be supportive of Vicki right now, but she just cannot stop herself from returning to the way stories of her dick-sucking could impact her daughter. Think she gave it a moment’s thought as to how being shown fall-down drunk and screaming “Cunt!” on this show will also impact the kid?
The night of the big sushi party is up next and I think it’s lovely that the women will have an opportunity to tear one another limb from limb without wearing shoes, as is the custom. I honestly can’t believe there are actually place cards on that table for Kelly and Vicki, but there they are. Meghan is instantly uncomfortable in Vicki’s presence, but Vicki has come prepared with a gift so Meghan can’t tell her to go fuck herself over edamame. Into the festivities come Heather and Shannon. Heather, that sweet lady, is hoping for a nice relaxing night, a thought that is preposterous in this context. They sit down, food is served, drinks are guzzled, and the anger continues to bubble and brew. Not even the origami swans Tamra and Kelly made for the table will be able to contain the fury that’s about to explode. It all starts when Meghan asks Kelly how her lunch with Shannon went and that very question unlocks Kelly’s wrath. “Her friends are disgusting,” seethes Kelly. “I don’t have friends like that.” She says all of this loudly enough for everyone else to hear before following it up with the news that she went to Catholic high school and she’s been a multimillionaire for years and years and years. Listening to her spout her accolades, Meghan starts to get nervous. She’s realizing Kelly is drunkety drunk drunk and she’s making no sense and there are way too many chopsticks on that table that could be turned into some form of a pointy weapon. But Kelly’s not done! She was set up! “Can you imagine if you’re a mother and you’ve worked hard your whole life and some girls call you a prostitute?” Kelly wonders aloud while staring straight at Shannon – and then the shit really goes down.
“Are you gonna start yelling at me again?” asks Shannon with both annoyance and resignation in her voice. “Shut the fuck up,” Kelly responds. “You’re a freaking cunt, that’s what you are.” Yes, my friends, a college-educated mother who has been a multimillionaire for years and years and years just called another woman a cunt in a restaurant while cameras were pointed at her face. There’s a moment of silence before Meghan steps in. “Kelly, you’re my friend and you just called my other friend a cunt!” she yells. And it’s nice that Meghan’s trying to contain this bombastic idiot, but there’s too much alcohol running through her bloodstream and she’s just so fucking tired from earning all those millions so Kelly will not be quieted. “If you’re gonna talk shit you have to take shit,” Tamra tries to reason with the lunatic in the red dress. “What do you care if it’s lies? Does it impact your life if it’s lies?” “Yes, you dumb fuck!” Kelly bellows back. “I don’t want my daughter to hear that!” (Listen: I know it’s not worth it to reiterate this since everyone reading this recap is smarter than this moron, but I’m just going to say one more time that Kelly’s continuously drunk and rage-filled behavior should be more than enough to drive her kid straight into therapy clear until she’s forty.) Of course, Kelly’s still not done, but Heather is. She refuses to sit there and be exposed to such vile behavior and she gets up and raises her voice for the first time on this show in forever. “This is low-base bullshit!” she shouts while pointing her finger. “This behavior is not acceptable! Leave!” (By the way, Heather still manages to look classy as hell even while she’s screaming. I say this seriously: when I grow up, I want to be Heather Dubrow.)
This might be a good time for Kelly to leave a room where she’s just insulted everyone besides Vicki, Tamra’s daughter-in-law, and the waitress, but she’s not going anywhere. Who does Heather think she is? She will call them all cunts until the booze runs dry! She learned to hold her ground in Catholic School and Millionaire College! With Kelly refusing to vacate the premises, Heather leaves and Tamra and Sarah follow. Outside, Heather explains that she is a woman with four children and a husband and she has no desire to ever see Kelly again, something she maybe ought to take up with Andy Cohen next time she appears on Watch What Happens. Then Vicki comes outside and Heather tells her that Kelly’s behavior is insane and, even though she loves Shannon, she told her that David’s behavior towards Vicki at the party was not okay. “Thank you for saying that,” Vicki demurs innocently, but Heather is on a fucking roll and she pointed her perfectly manicured finger in Vicki’s face and says, “You’ve done things, too. You need to apologize for your shit,” to which Vicki answers, “I have!” And then – and then! – Heather waves Vicki’s response away like a gnat and says, “Oh, you have not.” And that’s the moment I realized I might write in Heather’s name on my ballot for President. (I’m kidding. Vote Hillary or this country will fucking implode.)
Finally – once everyone has left the room and there’s nobody left to listen to her – Kelly tells Shannon and Tamra that she didn’t really mean to call them such bad names. Those words just came out of her mouth – her bad – and she’s gonna reach out and hug Tamra (the dumb fuck) right here and now while Shannon walks away before Kelly tries to touch her. But before they can flee for good to the safety of their own homes, Tamra informs Shannon that Kelly needs help. “You look in her eyes and you see pain,” Tamra says. “I look in her eyes and I see evil,” Shannon responds. You know what? Kelly’s actions may very well be caused by what Tamra calls “The Devil’s Work,” but it’s really not up to people who are essentially co-workers to solve this lady’s deep emotional problems.
Here’s what’s really nuts, though. Some of the women stay around and continue to chat and drink! Me? I would have built a bunker that night in my backyard with a only a melon baller to escape from the insanity, but Tamra and Vicki remain at that table and watch as Kelly impersonates Heather’s voice and mannerisms. “Do you not like Heather?” Tamra asks slowly, to which Kelly answers with a dumb face and an even stupider shrug. Meanwhile, the newest object of The Hurt One’s ridicule is sobbing on the phone to her husband because she cannot even believe she has just been exposed to such trash. My guess is that Heather was really freaked out by the bile this monster spewed, but she’s even more freaked out that they’re both signed to film a show together – and that means the nightmare’s not even close to being over.
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.