For those of you too caught up with watching the recent scuffle between lunatics who want to continue to allow people on a No-Fly list to purchase automatic weapons and decent people who desire some change and chose to squat on the House floor until a vote could transpire or the chaos rumbling through the financial cosmos because of the Brexit vote, I am very sorry to tell you that you missed some other essential news this week.  Yes, it was reported just the other day that Vicki Gunvalson – a woman who makes me want to secede from the human race in general – claims to have lost over twenty pounds!  And how did she manage to shed one of those thighs?  Well, she used a wise diet that included gnawing on grapefruit and lettuce for breakfast (because who doesn’t crave lettuce at dawn?) before skipping lunch entirely and then tearing into an ounce of chicken when it grew dark outside.  In other words, Vicki used a diet plan called “Starvation” to achieve her goals and though I’m repulsed that she put such information out into a world where impressionable people might decide to follow in her bullshit footsteps, I’m even more upset that her dramatic weight loss did not result in her vocal cords depleting to just a hanging thread of nothingness.

Turns out that Vicki can still speak because the world is just not fair.  It also turns out that we start this week’s episode still on that boat where Heather would like to know why Vicki didn’t call everybody immediately after the Brooks-faking-cancer-and-doctoring-medical-records debacle to say, “Holy shit, you were all right! I was dating a lying sack of total horseshit who was so repulsive that he lied about having cancer.”   I feel the need here to say that, whatever Vicki’s response to Heather's question, that answer matters far less than the fact that she waited until the motherfucking cameras were following her again before she even attempted to craft an apology to any of these people and that kind of scheduling tactic makes me scoff at any of her impassioned pleas for forgiveness.  By the way, in this context, “scoff” means flinging something at a wall and wishing the wall was Vicki’s face.

Vicki continues to claim that she cannot defend Brooks’ actions and that she was in no way involved in his lies and she wants to know why everyone was so concerned about his health in the first place.  Is this perhaps a rhetorical question – because I have a few responses to such utter nonsense:  Because you spoke about his illness and vulnerability every fucking second.  Because you agreed to make it a plotline on the show.  Because you employed it as a manipulation tactic to get people who have been repeatedly grossed out by the asshole to finally be nice to him.  I have a few more responses – most of them laden down with hellish amounts of profanity – but let’s allow Heather to answer the question, which she does thusly:  “Because we all knew it was a fucking lie.”  Hail Heather.  Now toss that blonde lunatic off the boat and then give the captain of the ship a gigantic tip for thrusting his foot all the way down on the gas so you can leave Vicki behind in the water where she can wait to be resurrected by a God she likes to impersonate on a Bravo reality show.

Unfortunately for most of us, Heather is a far kinder soul than I am so she does not fling the idiot overboard.  Instead, she tries to reason with a liar by saying, “I don’t care what Brooks did.  I only care about your involvement in it.”  “He obviously lied to me,” claims Vicki, who was so horrified at being lied to that she crawled down a murky street in the dead of night in an attempt to get her liar back into her brown house forever.  Meanwhile, there is another camera crew at the table inside the boat and Jeana and her long hair and her odd Cheshire-style grin wants the rest of them to know that Vicki is very upset that nobody wants to talk to her after she said terrible things about them all on television last year.  “You know, love is blind,” Jeana explains – and listen, the woman who looks like the cat from Alice in Wonderland has a point.  We’ve all made shitty decisions when it’s come to something we believed was love – hell, I wrote a fucking book about it – but one thing I never did was blame the entire world for my blindness in the way Vicki continues to do.

Tamra, much to my great surprise here, does not go running from the table to console Vicki, though I’m certain that moment is only a commercial break or three away.  Back on the port side, Heather soothingly tells Vicki that she cares about Vicki’s kids and wants the best for her, but that she needs to have conversations with all of the women and let the results of those conversations fall where they may.  A perfect hostess until the fucking end, Heather gives Vicki a hug, says she’s glad Vicki came, and then tells us that it seems Vicki just wants to sweep the past under the rug like nothing ever happened.  That rug is getting kind of bumpy since already shoved underneath the thing is one of Lynn Curtain’s old bangles, one of Lynn’s porn star daughters, a heap of Gretchen’s faux-leather purses, and Slade Smiley, who – much like herpes – never fully goes away. 

In the limo on the way home, Vicki breathes heavily and sobs that Heather wants to keep questioning her about Brooks.  Does Vicki not remember – even though you know she watches the old episodes of this show on a loop and uses the ones with Brooks as cheap masturbation material – that she admitted to saying that she lied and claimed that Heather’s husband gave Brooks emergency medical aid all because Vicki decided that she wanted some compassion?  Bitch, please.  “I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” cries Vicki, a woman we should all know did not renew her reality television contract at gunpoint.  She knew full well that she would have to continue to discuss last year’s mess of epic proportions – a mess that even a hospital got involved in after her loser of an ex doctored letters and invoices from them.  What I’m saying here is that there actually is a way to avoid talking about the man and the scam you were intimately involved in and that solution is to fight your revoltingly massive levels of vanity and not put on a microphone or sashay before the camera, you fucking moron. 

I must say this: if any viewer is now waffling on any past animosity held against Vicki because he or she has been impacted by the way she dabs at her eyes in every single scene or was perhaps magically hypnotized by her hideous shirts with the cutouts near the shoulders, I feel so sorry for you that I am prepared to start a Go Fund Me page to help your wounded psyche.  With the money raised, a strong person will arrive on your doorstep and slap the shit out of you when you open that door so balance can once again be restored to your brain by knocking some fucking sense back into it.  Please, everyone, contribute generously.  We have to look out for one another here.

The next day, we are back in the new girl’s house.  Kelly is wearing curlers in her hair and applying antiseptic to her kid’s scraped knees while comforting her sweetly by chanting the words, “Suck it up,” to the youngster.  Kelly loves being a mom!  It’s so awesome to have something just like herself in this world and I guess that means that Kelly too swigs cough medicine directly from the bottle.  The kid feels icky – or is pretending to feel icky – and I guess the bow shoved on the top of her head didn’t help her achieve a miraculous recovery.  The adults in the room all proceed to fight over whether or not this child should go to school and finally Kelly is the one to make the choice:  that kid and that bow are going to learn something in an academic environment today, fake fever or not.  Now listen, I’m sure this scene is meant to set up the dynamic between Kelly and her husband and who in that house gets to make the decisions, but at this point I could care less about Kelly.  I also don’t really care if her kid goes to school or who in the house wears the rhinestone badge that says CEO and the only thing I know so far is that Kelly met Vicki and she liked her so this new chick is already teetering on the edge of total ambivalence in my head.

At their temporary manor, Heather and Terri are getting ready to head to Turks and Caicos for some quality family time.  I realize that I should probably comment on how very cute it is the way the entire family cheers when one of the kids arrives home and announces that she auditioned and got into the talent show at school – it is pretty cute – but all I can focus on is the absolutely perfect light that drenches the Dubrow household.  It’s like they are living in a fucking Kardashian filter and I've decided I want to be deliriously wealthy, if only so I can stop wearing Smashbox BB Cream every single day.  Tamra calls Heather just then (Heather answers on speakerphone because doing so is in all of their contracts) to find out what happened last night with Vicki and she shares that she just doesn’t know what to do about the woman.  We all know Tamra’s gonna cave in her battle with Vicki and that it’ll undoubtedly happen the second the two of them get sloppy drunk and they will embrace messily on top of a bar and Vicki will call Tamra “my sister” and then kiss her cheeks and her ass and she will leave a film of spittle behind that smells like cheap tequila and Brooks’ scrotum.  Therefore, it’s a bit hard for me to invest in what this show wants us to read as a mystery of will-Tamra-or-won’t-Tamra-forgive-Vicki?  But fine…let’s pretend for kicks that the conclusion to this crisis is still up in the air, okay? Heather then asks Tamra what she thought about Kelly and Tamra explains that Kelly all but shoved her nipple into Tamra’s mouth in the first few seconds of meeting her.  When a woman who threw herself a dildo party whilst engaged in a custody war that seemed to be at least somewhat caused by a child maintaining that her mother’s sexual frankness on television had caused her gross levels of humiliation is horrified by the sexual boldness of another, you know that nipple must’ve been really fucking close to Tamra’s mouth.

Let’s forget nipples for a second, though, because we really need to discuss the ridiculous split-screen interludes that have taken over this show in what I’m praying is one editor’s homage to the opening credits of Dynasty.  I’m also praying this little stylistic exercise is one that’s fleeting because the only thing more terrifying than seeing Tamra’s son Ryan is seeing Ryan on three screens at the same time while he walks into the front door of his mother’s house and sweetly inquires, “What are you cooking?  It smells likes farts.”  Ryan and his Manson-after-the-murders beard arrive at Tamra’s with a bike for his daughter (peddle fast, kid!) and news that he will get to see her later.  Apparently, shit has gone down between Ryan and Sarah, even after we all pretended to believe that their love story formed over Instagram would be a forever kind of love.  As for Tamra, she would like Ryan and Sarah to stop fighting and stop calling the police on one another and she would really like to find a way to fix everything going wrong in her midst, even though she has to know deep down that she has absolutely no control over a single bit of it.

But now let’s get back to nipples!  Someone who probably hasn’t had too many nipples all that close to his mouth these days is David.  The two-year mark of him almost destroying his family with his adultery has come and gone and now he and Shannon are committed to being happy with one another, even though each and every televised interaction between the two of them might as well as be illustrated with an emoji of gritted teeth.  I can’t help but root for Shannon, a woman so adorably kooky and wise when she’s not acting batshit crazy, but I also wonder if maybe this is a couple who might do better without cameras capturing their every sigh and desperate glance for the symbolic exits in their midst.  In any case, they settle down for dinner and order copious amounts of vodka and limes and smile at one another gamely before launching into a romantic discussion about enemas.  It comes out then that it’s Valentine’s Day and David gives his wife some sort of humungous necklace made of shells and rocks and if this piece of jewelry is not a sure sign that he hates the fucking woman, I don’t know what is.  As for Shannon, all she wants – besides a different necklace – is to one day stand in one corner of her massive house and scream, “I’m so glad David had his affair because we are so much happier now!”  That day has yet to arrive and I’m not sure that any of us should hope too hard for that it ever will because I’m pretty certain it will indicate that the Armageddon has arrived along with it.  In far more joyful news, Shannon has decided that she wants nothing to do with Vicki because Vicki seems to have no remorse for anything that she has been involved with and Shannon is fine with “forgiving” Vicki so long as “forgiveness” doesn’t require that she ever have to speak with the fucking woman ever again – and to that I lift a bottle of vodka and eighteen uncut limes and I toast to you, Shannon Beador! 

Speaking of Vicki, she is excited to be removing the negativity from her life and celebrating her business acumen.  She hosts a mixer to make sure that she will continue to network and make money for long into the future and I suppose I applaud that goal, but not nearly as much as I applaud the footage of her falling directly on her ass that we get to see in a flashback during this scene. 

Over in Turks and Caicos, Terry laments that he hasn’t had a chance to be around his children lately because of the influx of work in his life and Heather wants him to make some changes because she really doesn’t want him to look up one day and realize that he’s missed his kids’ childhoods. Unfortunately, in a private interview, Terry reveals to us that he is actually having the time of his life working around the clock and the only thing he feels guilty about is that he doesn’t feel guilty about not spending more time with his children.  It’s a moment of foreshadowing that feels nothing short of icky, and I’m willing to sadly bet that the idyllic life Heather believes she has will not appear nearly so idyllic by season’s end.

And while we’re on the subject of children, Tamra explains to her husband that the money they lent Ryan for his house is money they should just understand will never be returned to them.  This is a theory that Eddie and his biceps cannot accept!  If money is lent – especially to an adult – that money should be paid back.  And not only that!  Eddie recommends (by growling at his wife) that Tamra needs to fully stay out of Ryan and Sarah’s shit and even though it’s advice delivered in a way that is creepily forceful, it’s also not the very worst advice ever given.

Probably realizing she needs to align with the one who gets the most press – positive or negative – Kelly calls Vicki and invites the pariah out to lunch.  Sure, Meghan cautioned her about getting too close to this idiot and yes, whatever Kelly says, there is not a single doubt in my mind that she watched this show for years and knows just how much Vicki sucks balls, but she still alleges that she wants to give Vicki a chance.  (If anyone cares, my ambivalence for Kelly has already crumbled and now I can’t stand the newbie and I have absolutely no apologies or fucks to give about feeling this way.)  Anyway, Vicki shows up and says this:  “I definitely have whoop it up radar and Kelly seems to be a whoop it up girl.”  My reaction to this sentence is to search my home for anything resembling rope so I can quickly fashion myself a noose because I just don’t want to live in a world anymore where “whoop it up” has become part of the vernacular.  I accepted “bootylicious” because Beyonce is a demigod.  I look the other way when my students say the word “turnt” because at least they can spell it.  But, so help me, I will use a fucking Twizzler to fashion a weapon that will allow me to avoid an existence where Vicki Gunvalson gets to be in charge of any aspect of language.  As for their actual conversation over lunch, Vicki and Kelly discover they wear the same shoe size, one of them is a Libra, and it is not God’s plan for Vicki to be with a man right now but it was God’s plan for her to aid a douchebag in claiming to the world that he was ridden with cancer.  Whoo whooo!

I hadn’t realized that we had not spent any time with Meghan so far this episode until she appeared onscreen, but here she is, fixing up her house so her kitchen can stop being a mustardy puke color.  With renovations in mind – and her dick of a husband screaming about how costly construction to the home has been – Meghan decides to invite her friends over to demolish the room and they show up because that’s where the cameras are.  Shannon arrives wearing a hardhat and raring to go and they all toast to knocking the shit out of those walls.  After they gamely hit some plaster, they sit on the couch, drink out of Solo cups, and Kelly reveals that she took Vicki to lunch the day before.  Ignoring the horrified looks she gets, Kelly plunges forward and tells the rest of the women that she thinks they were all being pretty mean to Vicki on the boat, especially Shannon, who appears to be looking around the room for the mallet she used earlier so she can knock some sense into the idiot sitting before her.  It’s a fool’s mission she’s running here and I guess that means that Kelly is pretty much a fool.

The other women try to explain all that Vicki has done in the past – like how she lied to get some compassion and a casserole – but Kelly has decided that it should be her role to protect Vicki, no matter what the others (and the Internet) have claimed.  Then she decides to make things even better by asking Tamra about her ex-husband and her estranged daughter and Tamra begins to weep.  Of course I want to concentrate here on the sadness Tamra is dealing with, but it’s sort of impossible because Kelly then reveals that she too went through a divorce with a control freak who might very well have been Hitler’s brother, a man who would rather have given his money to lawyers instead of to her and their daughter.  Yes, the guy Kelly compared to a vicious dictator who engaged in genocide is the man she is currently married to because he wouldn’t allow her to divorce him he has a diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder but, don’t worry, he’s a nice person, and now it’s pretty clear that Kelly has way more to worry about than forming an alliance with the wrong Housewife.


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 in paperback and for your Kindle.