Read more of our Real Housewives of Orange County coverage HERE.
This past year has seen Bravo scale back on its most highly anticipated staple, the Real Housewives reunion. For a while now, the average reunion has been a three-course meal of shade, tears, and receipts. And ever since that Real Housewives of Atlanta bombshell that had Kandi Burruss screeching “THE LIES! THE LIES! THE LIES!,” sufficiently dramatic Housewives seasons have extended to four.
Thankfully, some producer or network executive recently decided that audiences really don’t need to reflect on already-stale storylines for an entire month (and that at least one hour can usually be left on the cutting room floor!). Thus, the latest RHOA reunion was a two-parter, as is the upcoming Real Housewives of New York reunion (which I kind of object to). The Real Housewives of Orange County reunion, which kicked off tonight, is also a two-night event. And based on this mostly laid-back and weirdly polite assembly—aside from Gina screaming “MY CHILDREN!” at the top of her lungs—I understand why.
Given that the entire cast, including Taylor at the eleventh hour, did the most this season, I would assume that everyone is a bit burned out. We don’t even open with Andy visiting the women in their trailers to ask if they’re ready to call out their castmates. (You’d think these ladies were the cast of Summer House!) If that doesn’t tell you how much effort has been put into this reunion, Andy reveals their brand-new, presumably cost-efficient set, which is just a giant panoramic screen displaying the beach. (It actually looks really nice.)
So we begin by litigating Ryan’s “accidental” dick pic and whether he and Jenn were on a break when he was sexting another woman for the 500th time. I—and I’m guessing everyone else watching—truly have no interest in the specifics of either scandal at this point. If Ryan being called a whore by every man, woman, and child in Orange County isn’t enough to make Jenn run for the hills, I doubt she’ll be convinced to dump his ass at a reunion, where she’s come equipped with a number of alibis.
While I do think Jenn is being foolish, I wanted to stand up and cheer as she rightfully called out Tamra for bringing her on the show just to humiliate her. Tamra denies that she didn’t convince her to come on the show, and that it was Emily and Gina. (If this is true, this is odd because both of them acted like they had never met this woman before!) Anyway, all Tamra can say is that she didn’t know Ryan was a dirtbag until before they started filming (sure) and that she despises cheaters.
Jenn tells Tamra that she’s also a cheater because she started dating Eddie while she was still married to Simon. (To be fair, they were allegedly separated.) Tamra responds that she’s been married for 15 years, which doesn’t really put that accusation to bed. Regardless, I’m tired of having to care about this! We’re also just ignoring the very real possibility that Jenn may be okay with Ryan doing whatever he wants on this side and is feigning disappointment in front of the women because this is Orange County and monogamy (theoretically) rules!
But moving on, Taylor has a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance to discuss her tiff with Heather over her fake movie in Oklahoma. Apparently, Heather texted Taylor “where is Oklahoma?” when she offered her a role, which Heather blames on her lack of geographical knowledge. I don’t really buy this because Heather prides herself on being intelligent. However, if she were to have one educational blindspot, it would be on-brand for her not to be aware of any other place outside of California and New York. Anyhow, Heather gives another one of her corporate-sounding apologies before Taylor and her giant bang are eventually shooed off.
Then we move on to Gina, who’s a ball of emotions and a waterfall of eyeliner every time she opens her mouth. When Andy gets on the topic of her divorce from Matt, she continues to downplay his abuse and credits all her trauma to his affair. However, the more she talks about how much the incident doesn’t affect her, the more it sounds like it really does. I would assume that between infidelity and being physically attacked, the former is easier to focus on. I also just believe she doesn’t want to keep rehashing the incident publicly while they’re co-parenting.
Still, it’s uncomfortable hearing her repeat on national TV that it was an “isolated” assault and she knows that Matt “isn’t that person” when that’s the exact logic victims use to return to their abusive partners. Again, I’m not criticizing her because these are typical behaviors of a woman in her situation. However, I would rather watch this conservation with a therapist or literally anyone but Andy!
So we move on to something a bit more fun… Child Protective Services! I hate Shannon for giving me a reason to side with Gina in an argument. But she really screwed up with the comment she made about CPS almost taking Gina’s children after her DUI. Instead of taking a note from Heather’s book and giving an emotionless but adequate apology, she claims she already apologized after Jenn snitched on her—which isn’t true. She literally denied she ever said it before having a panic attack.
This is when Gina starts screaming, “My children! MY CHILDREN!” at the top of her lungs. At this point, I’m used to Gina’s eyes bulging out of her head, but the Black Swan eye makeup she’s wearing—plus whatever injection has pulled her eyebrows to her hairline—makes her look even goofier. But it added some much-needed kookiness to this oddly serious (by RHOC standards) conference. I also laughed when Gina said Shannon created “clickbait” with her accusation that her kids are going to have to see one day, as if journalists were reporting on this comment like Trump’s indictments.
If the reunion was filmed a couple of weeks later, this is obviously where Gina would throw Shannon’s DUI back in her face. Instead, Bravo inserts an intertitle with information for anyone struggling with alcohol.
Next week, it seems like we’ll be getting into everyone’s made-up issues with Heather. And I’m already annoyed watching Emily resurrect Snuffleupagus-gate in a preview. The best we can hope for is for Vicki to pop up from behind a couch like Ghostface and make us laugh with more of her happy-ending stories. Right now, it doesn’t seem like she’ll be showing up, but you can never count out Vicki when it comes to getting her screen time.