This Ireland trip is a fucking disaster.
I didn’t write last week for a few reasons. Mostly because I was spiritually and emotionally preparing to see Beyoncé (ALL HAIL), but also because last week’s episode was an easy one to phone in. You could skip it and pick up right where you left off, having missed no crucial “plot” details. The main points of interest were meeting Vicki’s new man and the Tori Spelling Psychic Source commercial that aired about halfway through. Oh, and Kelly’s husband got super drunk and embarrassed her in front of all the people who hate her, aka her closest friends.
Now that you’re up to speed, let’s all fill up on the hearty meat and potatoes dinner that was this week’s episode, because it’s going to take some time to digest. The ladies have arrived in Ireland, and it seems like an awkward place for a Housewives trip until you realize that Meghan is pregnant and feeling very connected to her ancestry and her heritage and all the stuff she wants to pass on to her daughter and blah blah blah. And anyway, why not Ireland? These women have insulted cultures around the world. Why leave out the Emerald Isle?
The trip starts off great. Everyone’s getting along. Vicki find that her new man (I think his name is Steve?) sent flowers to the hotel along with a note that says “I love you,” Shannon dons a very festive green sequin top, and Tamra puts that Little Miss Ma’am Orange County trophy on the line and drinks, even though her spiritual advisor/trainer said doing so could cost her the pageant. Great, wonderful. Let’s commence with our first cultural immersion activity: a pub crawl.
I realize that it goes without saying that these women can fucking drink. But even the Irish bartender was taken aback by the amount of liquor consumed by this glossy, spit-shined group of American grandmas. He’s shoveling round after round across the bar, sweating, dodging Vicki’s grabbing hands and violent shrieks about whether he’s ever seen a leprechaun. He tries desperately to quench their insatiable thirst, but it’s never enough—each shot only seems to make them grow stronger, like it’s their lifeblood. The more he pours, the more dangerous it gets.
Yes, “dangerous” is the right word any time Kelly Dodd is in attendance. This woman is an escalation artist. She was clearly born with it, able to effortlessly turn even the most mundane banter into a full on Pay-Per-View cage match. Which, of course, is exactly what happens when the ladies tell her for the fifth time to stop doing that fucking ridiculous “Oh no, is that a stain on your shirt?” joke where you bop the person on the nose after they look down.
I get it. Everyone’s drunk and repeating themselves and forgetting conversations from two beers ago. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. But Kelly, your jokes are really bad and really tired and it’s kind of crazy that they even have to ask you more than once, because that’s like something people do to babies and JESUS CHRIST KELLY CAN YOU SERIOUSLY STOP DOING THAT?
Of course, Kelly gets upset that her friends don’t like her hilarious joke. She tells Heather that usually Jewish people are funny and sarcastic and able to laugh at themselves and others. When Heather (correctly) points out that this is a racist thing to say, Kelly says that that’s impossible because she is Mexican. Then she says she’s sorry that everyone is “so sensitive,” which further proof of her powers of provocation. For some reason she yells to Tamra, who is on her way to the bathroom, to “keep walking.” It’s a comment that anybody but Tamra would ignore, but she is who she is and so she turns and confronts Kelly’s fighting words and eventually ends up telling everyone that Kelly had her real estate agent look up the financials on Heather and Terry’s new house. Tamra says that Kelly told her the Dubrows couldn’t pay up on their lot and had to get a loan. This isn’t exactly accurate—we see in the flashbacks that what Kelly said was, “My friend did the loan on their lot,” but it’s still meant as an insult because getting a loan in Orange County—even for a $9 million lot—is basically like going on food stamps.
So everyone’s pissed. Tamra and Kelly both insist the other is lying. Heather’s been racially profiled. They decide to leave the bar and head to Bergdorf’s. Or O’Bergdorf’s, or some Irish equivalent of a high-end department store. On the way, Kelly says to Shannon, “She’s a liar. No wonder her daughter speak to her.”
Unfortunately, O’Bergdorf’s does not allow cameras. If it did we might have been able to see the finishing touches of Kelly’s symphony of mayhem, but instead we are left with only sound bytes—Tamra asks Shannon what Kelly said, Shannon tells her, then Tamra freaks out and pushes Kelly, and the whole thing ends with Shannon cradling a hyperventilating Tamra in the back of a Mercedes utility van.
The whole thing is messier than baked beans for breakfast.
Now, these women, across casts and seasons and spin-offs, have fought for all kinds of reasons. Few are legitimate. But Kelly’s words to Tamra might be the most justified cause for violence in Bravo history.
If you read these regularly it should come as no surprise, but Tamra has never been a Panty Lines VIP. She’s not my least favorite Housewife, but I rarely find myself up to bat for her. Especially these days—with all the Jesus and the fitness, more often than not I am scrolling Instagram during her segments, double-tapping memes and pictures of baby animals. But what Kelly said was disgusting, and Tamra was well within her rights to punch her the fuck out. The fact that she only gave her a push is a testament to the born-again Tamra we sort of know and sort of love.
How could one mother could say that to another? Clearly Kelly understands how painful it would be to not see or speak to your child—that’s the whole reason she didn’t divorce Michael, because he threatened sole custody. I hope you’ll pardon the melodrama, because I’m serious when I ask: what kind of evil lives inside this woman? If she goes so low so easily, what else is she capable of?
Shannon, angel that she is, holds Tamra in her arms and reminds her of her own words after the sushi night from hell: clearly Kelly is a very damaged person who must have suffered very deeply in her past. It’s possible that she has gone through unspeakable pain. Why else would she be so quick to drag people into the depths of their despair? She needs company down there, in the firey pits of hell.
What’s crazy is that I haven’t even gotten to the day’s real tragedy: Heather Dubrow was asked to leave a store. Because of Kelly’s words, a hourly wage-earning peasant dared to knock on the stall of her bathroom door and tell her she needs to leave the premises. Wow. I never thought anything could put Tamra’s pain into perspective, but when you think about how Heather must have felt walking toward that exit—I can’t even finish the sentence. I don’t even want to imagine.
Where is the silver lining in these thick Irish clouds? Will Kelly realize that words mean things, and that speaking the wrong ones can hurt people? Will Meghan find her ancestors? Will Vicki fuck some Irish dude? It’s hard to know where to go from here, except to the next bar.