If Vicki Gunvalson is still your favorite housewife, please remove me from your friend list.
I love to revisit old seasons of Housewives. No matter what kind of mood I’m in, I always feel better after I fire up the classics and spend a little time with the ghosts of Housewives past.
There have been so many moments worth reliving. The table flip. Chateau Shereé. Scary Island. These are iconic Housewives moments. They are the reasons why we watch.
Most recently, I’ve been rewatching Orange County seasons 6 and 7. Lynne and Jeana have come and gone, leaving Alexis, Gretchen, and Heather in their wake. The housing bubble has burst, and although the economy is starting to repair itself, Slade still can’t seem to find a job. Tamra and Gretchen have gone from sworn enemies to best friends. Brooks has arrived in Orange County.
The season 7 finale goes like this: After 12 years of marriage and four kids, Heather decides to officially take Terry’s last name. Naturally, she throws a lavish party to mark the occasion, complete with an equally lavish cake. It’s a very swanky affair, but Alexis brings an uninvited guest (an underrated extra named Sarah) who gets visibly drunk and takes a bite out of the cake’s edible bow. Heather is disgusted by this peasantry, and she confronts Sarah in the kitchen, eventually asking her to leave.
The boiling point is when Brooks accuses Tamra of giving Vicki the evil eye. Tamra denies it, but Vicki and Brooks storm out of the party anyway (Vicki draped in a “mink coat” that Brooks bought) and the night ends with the two ladies vowing to never be friends again.
How did we get here? How did things go so wrong? I will admit that this recap is late because I was legitimately disturbed by this episode. It still doesn’t sit right with me. Because I want—no, need—to talk about why, I’ll deliver the rundown very quickly.
We’re still in Ireland, in the van on the way to the airport. Everyone is mad at Kelly. Who even knows why anymore. Heather is calling her trash. Tamra and Shannon are expressing a similar sentiment. Meghan is looking quietly out the window, wondering if all this screeching might be damaging the child growing inside of her. Vicki is quiet, trying so very hard to stay neutral.
Eventually it all comes to a head. Kelly is upset that Vicki isn’t standing up for her, and so she stands up, turns around in her seat, and says, “Shannon, Vicki told me that your husband beats you, and Tamra, Vicki told me that your husband cheats on you with men.” (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much.)
What happens after that, I can’t be sure. I watched it twice, but the only thing I could make out was Vicki’s slow metamorphosis into Satan: here are the cloven hooves, the pitchfork, the small nubby horns sprouting up from in between tracks of polyester hair.
Was Kelly set up? Probably. The women seemed to have some sort of plan for her destruction, as evidenced by Shannon force-feeding her tequila at dinner, and by the ladies sending her antagonizing texts afterward and then sending Heather to film it. I’m sure they probably wanted to capture another Kelly meltdown on camera. As if one wasn’t due to occur naturally. I’ve known Kelly for one season, but I already know that if you just give it time, she will bury herself eventually. There’s no need to make her tequila a double.
Should Kelly have kept her mouth shut on that van ride? Absolutely. (Hell, she should have kept her mouth shut for most of the season.) She was so close to freedom. She could have put on her headphones (what kind of music does Kelly Dodd listen to?) and tuned the ladies out until she got back to what really matters:
her great house her family. But Kelly Dodd does not sit quietly. Kelly Dodd is toxic.
But, as we come to find out, she is not as toxic as Vicki Gunvalson. Here is a woman who will spill her friends’ closest secrets to anyone who shows her even the smallest sliver of attention. You’ll remember that when this season started Vicki had only Kelly. She was on the outs with everyone else (for helping a con man lie about having cancer), and although on the surface she was eager for everyone’s forgiveness, we now know exactly what was going on behind the scenes: she was feeding her new friend the juiciest secrets she knew, sharing the darkest moments of her friends’ lives with anyone who would be nice to her in return.
It upsets me that she would betray another woman’s confidence so easily. I am not referring to Tamra’s confidence so much as Shannon’s—it seems to me that when it comes to Eddie Vicki is repeating rumors instead of speaking about firsthand knowledge, and that is gross but it does not make my stomach turn. What makes my stomach turn is thinking about what kind of person would casually share someone’s secrets of abuse.
I don’t know if David hit Shannon. I don’t know if Eddie is gay. What I do know is that repeating either of these things to anyone—let alone a human snake like Kelly Dodd—is grounds for immediate dismissal from my life.
It makes me sad to see women intentionally hurting each other like this. I realize that these women intentionally hurt each other all the time, but there is a difference between eating the bow off someone’s cake and telling your new drinking buddy that someone’s husband beats them.
Of course, Vicki has a different script. She tells Brianna what a great time they all ad, glossing over the darkest moments by saying that things between her and the other ladies got “a little weird at the end.” Brianna, shining light that she is, doesn’t buy it and basically wonders how badly her mom fucked up this time. (I have a feeling when Brianna watches this episode she’s gonna be pissed.)
We’ve always known what Vicki is about, really. This is a woman who chose a grifting con man over her children, a woman who has always put her own personal happiness above everyone else in her life. Now we know just how far she’s willing to go. It makes me sick.
I can’t respect her anymore. I never could, really, but the ugliness I saw in her this week cannot be ignored. I am Shannon, walking away forever.
I guess we have to talk about Tamra’s pageant, because that happened. Under the watchful, judging eyes of Mia, her spiritual pimp (God, I hate Mia), Tamra spray tanned her skin until it was as dark as Vicki’s soul, taped a few swatches of sparkling cloth over her ass and tits, hoisted a surfboard above her head, and trotted around that convention center stage so well that she was eventually crowned L’il Miss Hot MeeMaw or whatever the fuck this thing was called. Congratulations, Tamra. You have a hot body. Now get yourself some sense and cut Vicki the human tumor out of it.