RHOC: “If it’s not a cover thing, what’s in it for us?”

Well, first of all, it seems only human to acknowledge that watching real Housewives of Orange county last night, in light of the day’s tragic events in Boston, seemed even sillier than it usually does. Still, one of the great beauties of entertainment of all types, even trashy reality television, is its ability to provide a small bit of mental or emotional relief (maybe relief isn’t the word – maybe it’s more like distraction) when we need it this most. So we’ll busy ourselves with the minutiae of a bunch of crazy middle-aged women in California, just like we normally do.

I didn’t see last week’s episode because of my vacation, and I expected to be a little bit behind as a result. If I hadn’t known that I’d missed an episode, I never would have guessed. As much as Bravo tries to make these shows into solid narrative arcs, I suppose that when we’ve already seen these women fight and make up in every configuration imaginable for eight years, there aren’t that many stories still to be told. That won’t stop us from having a recap, of course.

1. Alexis and Vicky have teamed up because no one else will hang out with either of them. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, even (especially?) on reality television. It wasn’t that long ago that these two were screaming at each other on a day trip to LA, right? (That’s not a rhetorical question; I have a hard time remembering who has fought with who and under which circumstances on this show, probably because the vast majority of cast members over the years have all looked like aging fembots.)

2. I’m not sure I believe Vicky and Brooks are broken up, just like everyone else. Take, for example, this exchange about Brooks between Vicky and Alexis at lunch: Alex: “So you’re broken up, or you’re just taking it slow and slowing down a litte?” Vicky: “….yeah….” That wasn’t a yes-or-no question, Vick.

3. Heather’s husband thinks that they shouldn’t bother with magazine features unless they’re cover stores. Heather’s husband is Naomi Campbell, in case you weren’t aware. (Also, is this a new Housewives Bingo square? Didn’t Joanna get upset about the same issue in Miami?)

4. Vicky hides when she talks to Brooks and then denies it to her daughter. If ever I’ve seen a mother-daughter role reversal, it’s with Brianna and Vicky. Vicky wants to have her terrible boyfriend over to the house, Brianna doesn’t want all that conflict and negative energy around her new baby. Vicky doesn’t want Brianna and the baby to move out, though, so she locks herself in the bathroom to call him and pretends that they haven’t seen each other in six weeks. Vicky is 14 years old.

5. Lydia is our new cast member for the season. Lydia was neighbors with Alexis back before Alexis and earth Jesus had to vacate their previous home, so naturally, Heather thinks she’s going to be terrible. From her first foray into the show, though, she seemed perfectly reasonable (in Housewife terms), particularly when you consider that most new cast members go out of their ways to make fools of themselves at the beginning because they think it’ll make them memorable or earn them extra camera time. (Remember Heather’s antics in the first few episodes last season?) Anyway, Lydia and her husband run Beverly Hills lifestyle magazine, which does not want to put Heather’s house on the cover.

6. Wait, so Tamra hasn’t exactly opened her fitness studio yet. She has, however, rented an empty space. Vicky came over (she drove across the street, more specifically) to try and sell Tamra some insurance for it.

7. Are you allowed to drink while you operate a boat? Again, this is a real question. I know people are allowed to drink on a boat, but even the person steering? (Note: I know nothing about boats.)

8. “I just feel kids and boyfriends are off limits.” Vicky Gunvalson, who may or may not have come after Gretchen’s boyfriend with near-literal torches and pitchforks in the past.

9. There’s trouble in paradise for Heather and Terry. reality TV is bad for everyone’s marriage except Lisa Vanderpump’s, which is a stone-cold fact of which we should all be aware by now. Vicky and Tamra have both gotten divorced while on the OC cast, not to mention the various women from the other cities.

10. I don’t know why Housewives think it’s ok to invite enemies to each others’ parties. I know it’s probably a setup by producers, but then again, I don’t necessarily believe that Vicky is sensitive or logical enough to understand why it’s not ok to invite random people to private parties, let alone people who the party-thrower actively despises. Of course, if real Housewives is about anything, it’s about going to parties with people you hate.

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