Thank god! The "first ladies of Bravo" have returned, and what a world it is they've returned to. Gone are the spend spend spend days of last season, replaced by a world where they are all within inches of losing their homes and paper currency has been replaced by a barter system of leather cuffs and tequila in fancy bottles. Today's recap will be a two-parter covering episodes 1 and 2. Sorry for the delay, I had to wait for the radioactive hell-dust to settle.
Episode One: In which one lady tells another to shut the fuck up.
We start with Vicki going on a skydiving trip with her kids, complaining all the way about how she doesn't want to do this, and how she just wants to go home and work. Isn't it funny how Vicki says the word "work" when other people would say "sleep" or "relax?" It's like her brain is programmed to replace a normal word indicating pleasure with something indicating business. "Don really worked the business out of me last night! I executive vice presidented three times!" To me it comes off as a desperate attempt to convince everyone how much of a businesswoman she is. Hellza annoying.
Anyway, Vicki jumps out of an aeroplane, releasing high pitched pig squeals all the way. Unfortunately, she survives, and when she hits the ground she complains that she was so scared she couldn't even get her signiature "woohoo" right. I pictured Bravo making her do it over and over again so they could get the right woohoo. Oh man, that would have been great.
After that, we move on to check in with Jeana as she warms her hands over a hobo trashcan fire in the middle of her granite and marble kitchen. You see, these recessionary times have been very hard on Ms. Keough, and she says her income is down by 2/3 since she made her living off the now-non-existant OC luxury home market. She interviews that things have gotten so bad she may have to sell her dream house. Sad.
While Jeana warms up a can of pork'n'beans over a burning pile of her old Playboy spreads, Tamra is busy having an obnoxious red carpet/Oscar-themed end-of-stupid-kid-play party at her house for her daughter. The little future horribles sashay up the carpet while Tamra and her OC gay interview them about what they're wearing, which I begrudgingly found to be cute. Simon gets irrationally irate at Tamra after he hears her gay say the word "teabag" because he says it's vulgar. Teabagging should be acted out in the dark while your wife is sedated and tied up, not said aloud in the broad daylight!
Seriously though, this guy is a total douche. And am I the only one who thinks theres something a little Patrick Batemany about him? Like, I could totally picture him one day choking Tamra and hacking her up with an axe or something. Total creeper.
Anyway, the two fight, and it becomes painfully clear that their marriage is crumbling around them.
After Simon finishes beating Tamra with his belt, we pop over to check in on Gretchen. Not much of note happens here, except we're officially told she's dating depressing man-child Slade (even though that's been old news for a while). Their relationship would be cuter if I didn't know that Slade owed $80,000 in child support to his ex-wife to care for his terminally ill son. Kind of a downer.
Speaking of terminally ill, Gretchen also hilariously mentions that her fondest memory of Jeff was that time when he bought her that motorcycle. Which, by the way, he wasn't present for. So basically, her best memory of Jeff was that time where he had a really expensive gift sent to her.
On to Lynne, who is meeting with a dubious "sales rep" to help get her "line" of cuffs into fancy stores. She says that she's been busy busy with her line of leather goods, and she already has them in several stores, like Fred Siegal, assumingly referring to that one cuff that the store patronizingly allowed her to sell there when the ladies visited last season. Lynne says she's so busy that she's "turning into Vicki," a comment that I'm sure made Vicki turn red and start shooting steam out her ears.
Speaking of our pig-faced friend, we head back to her place where she helps hubby Don clean the patio while wearing what appears to be an Ed Hardy tube dress. Their relationship seems to be on the mend after she brutally evicerated him on camera last season. Apparently she vowed never to hurt him again, and says he is once again filling her love tank (read: vagina).
After she finishes hosing down her love tank on the patio, Vicki heads off to have lunch with Tamra where the two proceed to be total see you next tuesdays and talk all kinds of mad ish about Gretchen. Tamra mentions some lascivious pictures of Tamra in bed with a corded vibrator (paging Alex McCord), which Vicki reacts to in disgust. Regardless, the two of them seem kind of obsessed with her. Maybe they wish they were free enough to embrace Gretchen's be-corded Don Juan on camera too. Totes jealous.
After a boring scene of Lynne and Tamra working out, we go back to Gretchen's, where she addresses what she calls her "Britney Spears shave her head moment." You see, she was so distraught after Jeff's death that she went nuts and got drunk and took a bunch of inappropriate pictures in compromising situations. She says that she was in a bad place, and that she still misses Jeff all the time, showing us her kind of creepy shrine she's created with a bunch of pictures of Jeff and his urn. Apparently she sits in front of it every day to center herself, making it seem like she's created some sort of Jeff-worshipping cult. She says she thanks Jeff every day for bringing Slade into her life. Weird weird weird.
Anyway, next it's time for the ladies to all convene and take a looksie at Lynne's cuff and bikini lines at the St. Regis hotel. They all arrive and make really awkward and tense small talk as they check out the hideous accessories. Things come to a head at dinner, when Gretchen and Tamra hash out the she-said-she-said drama from last season. Jeana tries to calm them down but fails, and starts stress eating instead. Honestly, I don't really remember what was said back and forth, but I find it really annoying when Tamra gets all pearl clutchy and tries to act like she's all classy. Classy ladies don't have bowling ball-sized breasts and sun-damaged cleavage. Just sayin'. Anyway, they yell back and forth until Gretchen literally tells Tamra to shut the fuck up.
Episode Two: When in Rome, act like an asshole.
The fight was bizarrely split up into two episodes, even though the next episode just shows Tamra getting up and leaving. Bravo needs to stop trying to turn every housewife fight that happens into a two part event. Not everything is a Teresa table flip, Andy Cohen!
Anyway, the party ends anti-climactically and everyone goes home. The next day, Gretchen holds a tanning party and only invites people who are her "real friends," i.e. Lynne, her family, and a bunch of other randoms. Gretchen rehashes the fight with her mom, who comes off seeming totally reasonable and normal and not completely country bumpkinish the way a lot of the other housewives parents seem.
Lynne shows up with horrible daughter Alexa in tow, who asks if she can have a beer while Lynne does her best to act shocked, even though at home I'm sure she's like "Sure munchkin. Or, if you'd prefer I can mix you up some jungle juice instead." Gretchen interviews that she thinks Lynne should get the girls drinking under control, which is the understatement of the century.
Gretchen heads over to the tanning booth to get sprayed up, and after she finishes Lynne disrobes and gets some touch-ups on her disturbing baked chicken flesh as well. She has gretchen cover her nipples with her hands. Not joking.
Meanwhile, partners in asshole Vicki and Tamra get lunch and talk about the night before. Vicki assures Tamra she did nothing wrong, which makes me think that Tamra was blacked out when the fight happens. Tamra says that although the last few months have been rough, at least she got a best friend in Vicki out of it. Congrats?
After some small talk, Tamra drops the bomb that she and Simon will be selling their house because both of them ain't got no monayz, which is so satisfying it's ridiculous. Apparently Simon's fancy tequila business isn't going too well, and they can no longer afford the mortgage on their overpriced monstrosity of a McMansion.
On the topic of selling houses, we move on to Jeana, who is desperately trying to sell a 12 million (!) dollar house so she won't have to sell her's. Good luck with that, sister.
Back at Miss Piggy's Pork Palace, Vicki and Brianna are preparing for their upcoming trip to Italy to celebrate Brianna's graduation from nursing school. I've always marveled at how such a normal, level-headed, and nice child came from such a terrible womb like Vicki's. Joining them on their trip will be Vicki's alcoholic mother from Chicago, a fact that neither of them seem particularly thrilled about.
Over at Gretchen's, she and Slade have a garage sale in order to make ends meet. Ok, for real, this shit is getting grotesque. What's next? Selling your hair for wigs? Organ harvesting? Oh the humanity!
While Gretchen sells all her earthly posessions so that she can buy cat food to eat, Lynne and her other horrible daughter Raquel (seriously? Alexa? Raquel? It's like Lynne was reading "How to name your daughter after a haughty 80's bitch" while she was pregnant) head to the plastic surgeon's office for a consultation. Lynne would like a face and neck lift, and Raquel would like a nose job. Lynne "compliments" her daughter by saying she looks like a Playboy bunny (shudder), but says if it'll make her feel better, she's all for it. After the doctor's office, she heads off to accept her award for "Worst Mother in the History of the Universe."
We don't have to focus on Lynne's dismal child rearing skills for long though, as it's off to Italia with la famiglia Gunvalson. The women are whisked away from the airport in their "private coach" (read: family van) to their quaint Roman hotel. Vicki complains about the size of their room, and her mother says she wants to go home. What a bucket of rainbows, that broad.
After they settle in, it's time for a private tour of the city lead by a hilarious tour guide who sounds like the recording you hear when you make phone reservations at Buca di Beppo (anyone? anyone?). Vicki and Brianna seem pretty into it, but Grandma isn't having any of it.
AT THE COLOSSEUM
VICKI: I think this is amazing!
GRANDMA: Well I don't. (storms off)
AT A MONASTERY
VICKI: (peers into spyhole) How amazing!
Grandma: (peers into spyhole) Stupid. (storms off)
Seriously, love her.
The ladies end their stay in Italy with a cringeworthy dinner full of miscommunication and confusion. On the way home, Vicki lets out an eardrum-bursting "WOOHOO" and tries to get Brianna to join in, but Brianna sharply counters "I will never do that!" Brianna FTW!
Back in the OC, we're introduced to new housewife Alexis as she and her husband go on a double date Tamra and Simon. Something about this new lady gives me the heebie jeebies. Maybs it's how she and her husband were all over eachother talking about how great their relationship is. It reminded me of that SNL sketch with Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan where they play the couple that keep dry humping eachother. Anyway, they talk about how in love they are and how they're a team, making oppressed and downtrodden Tamra green with envy.
The next day, Tamra and Simon meet with a realtor to discuss selling their house, which they apparently bought at the height of the market, so are selling it at a huge loss. Tamra puts on the waterworks and talks about how heartbreaking the situation, but I don't feel bad for at all because she is literally one of the worst people on the planet. Sars, Tamz.
And that's the first two eps! I don't know about you guys, but doesn't this season seem a little...joyless? Like, all the other housewives had recession problems too, but they weren't THIS bad. The whole thing seems a little perverse. Doesn't mean I won't watch though.