Let us ponder for a moment, shall we, some of the monumental and soul-crushing events that have already taken place during THE ANNUAL REAL HOUSEWIVES VACATION TO AN UNKNOWN LAND BECAUSE WATCHING THESE WOMEN FIGHT ON THEIR HOME TURF HAS BECOME TEDIOUS:
1. Stranded on a boat in Amsterdam, Lisa Rinna actually formed and then said the words, "You're a winner, Kim Richards!" because she was painfully aware that Kim Richards hated her enough to set her on fire and then snort her ashes to make all the evidence go away.
2. While surrounded by water and therefore rendered weaponless (besides the knives that live in Bethenny's mouth), the New York crew bore witness to Kelly Bensimon gnawing the heads off gummy bears, not figuring out how to open a door, and eventually losing her entire fucking mind in a stunning bipolar episode that she decided to then call "a breakthrough."
3. Reclining in a hot tub in Colorado with Kyle and her own scarily-jutting clavicle, Taylor alluded to the physical abuse within her marriage. Then she crawled into a suitcase right before she almost committed murder because her mascara was missing.
4. Though she tried with all her might to make it nice, not a bit of Dorinda's formidable hostess prowess could stop Bethenny from explaining to Luann all of the many reasons why she's a giant whore in a kitchen somewhere in the Berkshires.
5. At some winery where he hid in the vines so the call from his probable mistress could be more private, Joe Giudice forgot to take off his mic but remembered to call his wife "a cunt." I know, but at least he didn't grab her by the pussy.
Anyhoo, even with all of these terrifying precedents lining their collective histories like spikes made out of night terrors, our OC ladies are still thrilled to climb aboard a giant flying tube together where there will be nothing but booze and barely-contained resentments to pass the time. They're off to Ireland under the flimsy pretense that Meghan is researching her family lineage and nothing would make such a profound journey more comforting than traveling with a bunch of women who fight every twelve minutes like someone set a fucking egg timer. You'd have to lobotomize me (twice) to ever get me on a plane with Vicki Gunvalson while there's still the remnants of a hickey near her tit, but that's just Reason #357 of why I should never be hired for this franchise. The Housewives who are currently under contract to Andy Cohen – that evil genius – are far less discriminating about who they spend their time with because they just like to be wherever the cameras are.
Tonight begins with one of those ubiquitous packing montages, which means we get to watch Heather pack fantastically expensive clothing alongside a well-paid assistant while Tamra wears yet another ridiculous trucker hat as she shoves her own sweaters in a bag. Kelly’s getting advice about what she should bring with her from her husband and they’re getting along for once, probably because the sight of her packing her bags thrills them both. At some point during her own packing process, Meghan stops to accept a call from her husband. Yes, Jimmy actually calls his wife and then he even tells her she looks pretty! Seems he too enjoys his spouse the most when she’s headed far away from wherever he happens to be.
Kelly in particular is so excited about this Ireland trip since it’s coming at a time when she desperately needs to be at least one continent away from her husband and his evident disgust for her. She cannot wait to “let off some steam” and “party,” and if you’re not terrified by those proclamations, dear viewer, you have not been paying a whole lot of attention this season. Still, before she leaves home, she makes sure to tell her husband that his predilection for getting hammered is humiliating for both of them and he needs to better control his drinking so as not to embarrass her because shrieking that her new friend is “a dumb fuck” over a table at a sushi restaurant is one thing, but stumbling around a Newport Beach party thrown by the Dubrows is quite another.
Meanwhile, Vicki is packing with the help of her daughter and it seems the guy who left a big purple mark next to her nipple has also left his shoes at the foot of Vicki’s bed. That’s right: Vicki is getting laid by a cop named Steve and such knowledge officially ruins sex for me so I shall spend the rest of today searching for a brand new hymen on Amazon.com because if revirginization is the way for me to be the least Vicki-like as is humanly possible, I will buy two of those suckers today – and they will be here in less than 48 hours because I am a Prime customer.
As for Tamra, she will not be drinking in Ireland because it’s so close to her fitness competition and she needs to keep her body in tip-top shape. She certainly realizes her “friends” are way more fun when she’s plastered, but she’s as committed to having the perfect ass as she is to having the clearest soul her psalm-reciting trainer can try to shove into her. After meeting up with the rest of the women at the airport – and after Kelly takes some Xanax – they all arrive in Ireland. Heather reads off some essential Irish vernacular they all need to spout as frequently as possible so they will sound legit and not like horrible American reality stars who refuse to go anywhere without a camera crew.
Arriving at the hotel, the ladies are greeted with drinks and Vicki is handed a bouquet of roses from Steve, who signed the card, “I love you.” Um, is this maybe the sort of matter Internal Affairs wants to perhaps investigate? After all, they clearly have an unwell man on the force at the moment and his symptoms have manifested in him falling in love with Vicki fucking Gunvalson. Seriously: somebody needs to do something drastic.
Also: Vicki is not at all surprised that Steve loves her. As she says – with a straight face – “Why wouldn’t he love me? I’m a good catch!”
Also: Vomit just came out of every orifice of my body.
And now that Kelly has mocked a hotel worker’s accent and Tamra has figured out where the gym is, the Housewives are officially settled into Ireland and this is what I’ve already learned:
1. I hate Kelly as much as I always do, even when she’s in some faraway place.
2. The sound of Vicki saying the words “whoop it up” does not sound better even when she’s halfway across the world.
3. Watching footage of some of these women down drinks is scarier foreshadowing than anything I’ve ever seen in a grisly horror film, and I’m including shit from the Torture Porn genre.
The next morning – after Kelly says the words, “Let’s make like jelly and roll” – they all meet up and head out to a pub crawl. Shannon is decked out in sparkly leprechaun green and she’s wearing a top hat and these women are not in the bar for more than seven seconds before they all start screaming in a manner that cannot possibly be good for the reputation of our great nation. At some point, Meghan takes off to go meet with her genealogist while Vicki all but shoves alcohol down Tamra’s throat. By the way, that expression – “shoves alcohol down Tamra’s throat” – is not an example of hyperbole. Vicki actually does this and Tamra actually allows her to this and this is the kind of friendship that makes me contemplate a lifetime of stoicism and fucking solitude.
Heather is already clearly terrified about being stuck with such loud drunks for the entire day, but she’s not going to end up being the problem here. No, that role will belong to Kelly. See, not only is Kelly the kind of fucking idiot who says things like, “What comes before Part B? Part A!!!” to one of the porters as the hotel, but she is also the kind of lady who will never be able to contain her booze and her rage at exactly the same time. It takes a little while to get to Kelly’s latest revolting explosion of verbal diarrhea, though. First we must watch Meghan find out she’s related to everyone on the street in this country and then we have to see footage of Vicki sidling up to some guy in a bar to slur at him that he’s really attractive. But yes, then it happens, and you can actually watch the moment Kelly’s face morphs from happy drunk to belligerent drunk. (Seriously: go back and watch the footage. It’s fucking alarming.) See, it all starts because the rest of these grown women are getting annoyed that Kelly keeps pointing to a spot on their shirts and, when they look down at what she’s pointing at, she flicks them in the nose. It’s an inane and childish action and it’s coming from someone who is already proven herself to be clinically terrifying and finally Tamra tells her to stop and that’s when Kelly’s face darkens. Her eyes hood over and her sneer gets even more pronounced and she bares her huge teeth while she gets louder and louder because God forbid this asshole doesn’t embarrass herself in whatever fucking country she’s walked her alcohol-drenched body into.
Also: according to Kelly, “People of Jewish descent are sarcastic and they’re funny and they get jokes.” Who else wants to crawl onto Kelly’s lap with me at bedtime and ask to hear more nuggets of information about my ancestors?
Also: watching Shannon cringe as Kelly keeps saying the word “they” to describe all Jewish people sends me to my happy place – which is not temple, even though it’s about to be Yom Kippur.
So yeah, Kelly patiently takes the time to explain to Heather – who is Jewish – all the personality traits amongst her people and Heather finally breaks and tells Kelly to please stop using “they” to describe an entire religion because it sounds racist, but the woman who called other women cunts will not tolerate being called a racist! How can she possibly be a racist? She is Mexican for fuck’s sake! And why does Tamra now have animosity against her? Why does Tamra tell all of Kelly’s secrets? But see, Tamra would like Kelly to know that she does not tell all of Kelly’s secrets. For example, she explains (out loud and to everyone) that she does keep Kelly’s secrets, like the one where she had someone check into finding out how much money Heather still owed for her behemoth of a mansion. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why nobody should ever tell Tamra Judge a secret – or appear on a fucking reality show in the first place.
Kelly denies Tamra’s revelation even though there’s footage to prove Tamra’s at least slightly telling the truth, but she can’t let it go, not even when she stumbles out the door of the bar. Instead, she must continue to slur, “She’s a fucking liar” over and over while pointing clumsily at Tamra. And then she goes in for the kill because that’s what Kelly does and that’s why Kelly sucks and that’s also why Kelly might want to visit a therapist instead of a place that sells tequila one day. She cannot help herself, see, from sniping, “That’s why her daughter won’t talk to her” about Tamra and going there is the lowest blow of all the lowest blows that exist and that’s exactly why Kelly said it. Unfortunately, Kelly’s excellent plan did not involve thinking about what might happen should Tamra hear what Kelly said, and that’s exactly what happens next because Shannon makes sure to tell her. And Tamra? She fucking loses it. She goes running over to Kelly and calls her “a fucking bitch” and screams bloody murder about Kelly mentioning her daughter while Kelly blusters back, “What are you talking about?” because Kelly is a fucking wimp who can take zero accountability for her drunken or her sober actions and that’s probably why she and Vicki are such good friends.
Shannon probably shouldn’t have told Tamra about what Kelly said about her daughter, but then again that’s the kind of choice that doesn’t really matter when one is on a reality show because Tamra would’ve found out about it anyway. After fleeing to the bus, Tamra is sitting alone when Shannon comes in and she begins crying and hyperventilating because of what Kelly intimated about her as a mother. I do not like Tamra and I never really have because I find her crass and obnoxious and I was born without the gene that allows me to look at rhinestone-bedazzled clothing without growing ill, but none of that means that she deserves to have custody issues tossed in her face by a “friend” who is doing everything possible to hurt her. Shannon finally grips Tamra by the face and tells her not to give Kelly any power over her as Tamra lets out heaving and guttural sobs.
Does Kelly take responsibility for her actions? She does not. She also will not apologize to Heather for getting them booted out of a store, which is the kind of experience Heather Dubrow – who, after all, is a Jew and that must mean she likes to shop – has never experienced before because never in her life has she associated with such walking human trash.
“I’ve been attacked. I’ve been ostracized,” Kelly maintains over and over again – and I cannot imagine that anyone besides Kelly’s own mother is on Kelly’s side at this very moment, and even that is iffy. “These are the mean girls,” she continues while conveniently forgetting that she just said something awful about the custody arrangement of Tamra’s daughter. Arriving back at the hotel, she meets up with Meghan to tell her all of the many ways she’s just been tormented, though every single thing she says just makes Meghan cringe because not even telling the story herself can make Kelly sound like any less of a humongous asshole.
I’m not sure why Meghan would try to implore Kelly to then go to dinner with the rest of them, but it appears everyone is nothing but relieved that her nightmarish presence is nowhere near them for the evening. And who does Kelly call whilst drowning in her misery? She calls her husband, the guy she hates, and sobs about how the others ganged up on her. Watching anything with this sick woman is really starting to grate on my nerves. It’s not a joke anymore; this lady belongs in an asylum. She does not belong on television, and I only pray her daughter has a TV that somehow doesn’t get Bravo. As for her husband’s fine advice, he tells her she better not apologize to anyone because she has done nothing wrong and that alone probably means these two are fucking soulmates and they should stay together forever as a way to take one for civilization in general because all of humanity will be better if neither one of these pieces of shit is walking the streets.
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