Real Housewives of Orange County
Reunion– Part 3 of 3 by Stars99
Note: After watching this episode, I was compelled to take a hazmat shower to scrub away all the odiferous crap that was flung during this show. Somehow, this episode sparked and pushed so many emotional buttons in me that it was difficult to even focus on how to best present the important elements of the show. It was a cringeworthy display of dysfunction and appalling behavior that had me longing for last year’s reunion when the worst thing that Briana had ever done was to side with Tamra regarding Brooks and against her Mother on national TV. And then, this morning I find out that the “tape” that you will all hear about later in this recap has been released to the public. Disgusted…. I’m so danged disgusted I can’t even see straight. Are you ready? I’m not… but I’ll do my best…I apologize in advance if I got something wrong… I was unable to watch this more than a couple of times so I may have missed something here or there…
This Reunion installment inoffensively started with Andy being surprised that Heather sold her house. Heather explained that someone basically drove by their house, made a couple calls, and gave them “an offer they couldn’t refuse.” Now don’t you fret and don’t you frown cuz they’re building a brand new bigger house that will have plenty of room for Collette, the youngest member of the Dubrow household. In a previous episode it was stated their current house had enough bedrooms but that the family’s bedrooms weren’t all on the same floor.
We then get to talk about the roller coaster of Terry and Heather’s relationship and how their marital issues played out throughout the season. Heather said that, “It’s not easy and it’s not very comfortable.” She wanted the show to capture them as they naturally are – a couple who have been together for 16 years. She didn’t want the show to depict them “running through a field of daisies and picking fruit out of a tree.” The onion ring subject was brought up and Heather was asked why she just didn’t give the guy onion rings at a party in which he was probably footing the bill. Her Royal Heatherness quickly reminded the world that it was Her Royal Heatherness’ party and not her court jester of a husband’s party. As she looked down her nose at the rest of humanity, deigning to even respond to a question implying she mishandled something, Her Royal Heatherness, who was not amused, told us that we could look at the situation in two different ways. 1) Let him eat onion rings (or cake, or brioche); or 2) Remind the court jester of the harsh demands that weigh so heavily on Her Royal Heatherness’ delicate shoulders and had she served those onion rings they would have been the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Oh, come the heck on… Let’s be honest… Just who would be shopping for and cooking the onion rings? Certainly not Her Royal Heatherness, but a highly paid chef, who evidently has bigger things than onion rings to fry.
OoooOOOo Heather is looking rather fried herself right about now as Andy reads another onion question, “You emasculate your man so much that he can’t even have onion rings at a party he paid for… Why are you so hard on a man that gives you so much?” Heather defensively says they have a good partnership and that SHE bought the lot on which they built their house and that just because she’s not bringing in a paycheck at the moment – She’s working in the home and that work is very valuable. Heather is providing him with a very fabulous life, too, dagnabit! Lolol…
Andy turns to Alexis and they talk about how this season Alexis’ life was painted with a brush that highlighted its perfectness. Alexis explains that over the last four seasons that there were plenty of great and wonderful times when she and Jim laughed and had fun together but that those scenes were sliced, diced and discarded on the editor’s floor. Alexis insists that Jim is very quirky and does funny things all the time.” In a TMI moment, Alexis tells us that Jim tells her to, “Catch my Good and Plenty” – and while she didn’t delve into the exact context in which it was said, I suddenly feel compelled to frantically look around for some bleach. Good and Plenty candy… I’m sure he was talking about candy… I’m sure he was, I’m sure he was… Dang it, I now have that jingle in my mind, “Charlie says, ‘Love my Good & Plenty!’… Charlie says, ‘Really rings my bell!’… Charlie says, ‘Love my Good & Plenty… Don’t know any other candy that I love so well!’” Tamra, who just can’t keep her inner mean girl bridled for longer than a minute, responds to Andy’s question asking about her perspective on how Jim and Alexis were depicted this year – And Tamra says that she felt that it was staged. I’m kind of laughing at this point because how dare Alexis want to be depicted in the best light possible? The nerve… the unmitigated gall, even! Lolol…
Andy announces, “Latin heat turned into cold feet” because we’re now talking about Tamra and Eddie’s long 8 month engagement with no wedding date in sight. Actually, I’m guessing they were negotiating when the best time for filming would be because of the spin off and all… but we’re all supposed to believe it’s because Eddie got cold feet. Or perhaps it’s because they launched a new business… Or… Or… Or… They play back the episode where Tamra bursts out, “Tamra and Eddie are finally ready!” Awww… that’s so cute… See how it rhymes and everything? Gag… Tamra says that it feels good being married. Well, Tamra, in actuality, you’ve only not been married for like a nanosecond. A viewer asks if Eddie still rides his bike more than he rides Tamra. Tamra says that he’s not riding the bike as much because they they’ve opened the business. Wait, did she really answer the question? I think not – but I really, really do NOT want to know. Tamra immediately took Eddie’s last name of “Judge” probably because it’s one of those quirky names that serves not only as a last name but also as a clue into her character. Her name used to mean that she was just full of “Blarney”… err… “Barney.” She faked out Andy about Simon Barney (her ex-husband) attending her wedding… She even had some of the women who were actually at the event convinced of it for a moment… But no, she and Simon only communicate via text. They haven’t actually talked, “In years.” Sept. 2nd…is the premiere of “Tamra’s OC Wedding”… Ugh and we get treated to a “Preview.” This preview is exactly how much time most of us will be watching of this fiasco, no? Everyone agrees that the “Third time is the charm” when it comes to Tamra’s marriages. O joy, O rapture.
Okay, ya’ll may want to buckle up because Briana joins us and takes a seat not next to her Mother – but on the other couch. Rut roh… That’s so not a good sign. She talks about motherhood and that Troy is 9 months old and is eating normal food. Vicki is asked, “What’s the best part of being a Grandma?” Vicki responds, “Waking him up and rocking him at 1:00 AM.” Wait… Did she just say she physically wakes him up just to rock him? Who does that? Perhaps I’m off my rocker but that just seemed odd to me… I get if you’ve been away on a trip that you would want to do that… but according to Vicki it’s most nights? Wow… Briana is asked if there is anything that her Mom says or does that surprises her anymore – and there isn’t. We find out that Ryan has been deployed and is due back in October. Everyone just wants him to come home safely. He’s doing really well. They don’t know how long he will be home for – it could be for 1 month… 1 year or 5 years – they just don’t know. He will retire from the Marines in 9 years. Vicki says he might start selling insurance with her after he retires. He was looking into getting licensed when he was last at home. Andy teases that maybe Lauri will also be hired. Vicki makes it perfectly clear that Lauri will never be back at Coto Insurance…again… And if that wasn’t clear enough, Vicki adds, “Let’s just say this… “Lauri’s earning her pay on her back.” Oh snap! Yeah, Vicki is just a tad bit bitter… For good reason… But it’s still funny.
Andy changes the subject to talk about Vicki’s Winter Wonderland Party which is the last time the viewers have seen Ryan. Briana is asked, “Why do you think he reacted the way he did to Lydia’s fairy dust spewing Mom?” Under her breath, Briana mutters, “Ahhh… it was terrible.” And then… THEN the excuses come spilling out… Briana explains that for her whole life – and you can ask any of her friends – that her Mom is crazy about everything. Ryan lived under Vicki’s roof for 2 months and he thought he had to protect Vicki’s home. She tells us that he was just following Vicki’s lead. Lydia chimes in that she completely understands that Briana took take her husband’s side on the night of the party – and that of course she would and Lydia would have done the same thing. However, after watching the footage, Lydia wanted to know… and then she was interrupted by Briana who snottily said, “What I am going to say is that he was defending my Mother’s home…. And this is going to make me cry, but I’m not going to sit around and talk about my husband right now when he’s in Afghanistan… Not going to happen. I’m sorry for how it all turned out but at the end of the day, he was really stressed. He was about to deploy, he was defending my Mom’s home…and that’s where it’s all coming from. He’s not a bad person… He didn’t mean to make it that big of a deal but he felt disrespected.” And Briana slams the door closed on the subject.
Did anyone else expect some sort of an apology – I mean, I thought it was an absolute no brainer… We have the audio of how the situation actually unfolded and I totally thought that Briana would take the opportunity to put on her big girl pants and apologize for the egregious way Lydia’s Mom was treated that night. The Marines are all about respect, honor and integrity after all, no? Right after she made her little speech about not wanting to talk about it, Briana then tells us that after the party she scrubbed mud and red wine off of the couch in question. Lydia immediately jumps on the fact that Briana first says she’s not going to talk about it – and then she says something like that. Briana tells her that they’re talking about her husband and Lydia fires back that they’re also talking about Lydia’s Mom. Briana says it was rainy that day and that Lydia’s Mom had her heels on the couch. But after Lydia again brings it to Briana’s attention that she was talking about it again Briana quickly retorted that she never actually said that it was Lydia’s Mom who got mud and wine on the couch. Briana got really ugly and clarified that she merely said, “After the party…” she had cleaned the couch. Briana snottily said, “Did I ever say your Mom in the conversation… That’s all I said, Lydia…C’mon…” Tamra aptly interjects, “But you insinuated it.” After being backed into a corner of her own creation, Briana said that she, “Didn’t mean to… and that’s my fault…that’s not what I meant.” Really, because the entire world knows EXACTLY what you mean, you spoiled entitled little brat. We find out that Briana is no longer living with Vicki. The plan all along was for Briana to live with Vicki while Ryan was deployed but that after he returns they would get their own place. She says that they just kept waiting for him to be deployed and the date kept changing and so finally Briana just moved out… and since Ryan is coming back in a couple of months this all makes just so much sense, doesn’t it? And the actual reasons for Briana’s premature moving out are thoroughly swept under the rug.
Andy tells Vicki that since Ryan and Briana have moved out of the house, it must have cleared the way for Vicki to continue to see Brooks. Vicki says that it really hasn’t and that they have a very yoyo type of relationship. Everyone laughs and makes fun of the relationship. Vicki doesn’t know what her future holds with Brooks – but they have agreed to openly date other people. Briana is told by a viewer that she’s too hard on her Mom when she did not allow Brooks in Vicki’s home. Briana said that isn’t the truth – that Brooks is just not allowed near Briana and her son. Vicki is nodding in agreement. So, I guess that means that Brooks was allowed in the home as long as Briana and her son weren’t around… which was when, exactly? Like on Tuesday afternoon for an hour when they go to a doctor’s appointment? Vicki and Briana interrupt each other and are fumbling to get their revisionist story out. It seems important to all concerned to make us believe that Briana doesn’t control if Brooks is there or not.
Briana says Brooks has done some things that are very shocking and are very disrespectful. She said he’s proven himself to be someone that Briana doesn’t trust around her family. That’s it… Vicky threatens to leave… because she doesn’t want this to be a Brooks’ bashing… Umm… too late, Vicki… I’ve already bought my “Let’s Bash Brooks” T-Shirt and I’m ready to go…. Andy wants to clarify if Brooks was disrespectful to Briana or to Vicki? Briana says, “To me, my husband, and my Mother.” Andy asks Vicki, “How does it feel to hear your daughter say this man whom you love is disrespectful to you? As if it would explain things and because three wrongs evidently make a right, Vicki says that both of her previous husbands (Donn and Mike) were also both disrespectful to her. Briana wants to know why she continues in the relationship and while Vicki is trying to explain herself, Briana smugly chirps, “Break the pattern.” Right about now, I’d like to wipe that crazily haughty look off of Briana’s face because we recently heard Briana’s husband exhibit 50 Shades of Disrespect towards Lydia’s Mom. But we’re not allowed to talk about it. Then, Ryan lied his dupa off about it to Vicki. I’ll let you decide which is the pot… and which is the kettle.
Vicki explains that she and Brooks are taking a step back. They still talk – and they saw each other once this week. Tamra asks Vicki if she thinks Brooks has been disrespectful towards Vicki. Her Royal Heatherness asks Vicki, ‘If he’s been so disrespectful to you then why are you still around him?” Vicki tells them there have been a few instances but that it doesn’t happen every day or else she wouldn’t be around it. Briana said that it should be a onetime thing… then cut the cord. Really, Briana…. If that same standard was applied to you – You would have to leave Ryan months ago.
Vicki is asked if “it” was ever physical and Vicki says that it’s never been physical. Briana dramatically zips her lips and tosses away the key. Briana says Brooks had talked to her about his “dick size.” Vicki gets up to leave… I dunno, I’m kind of thinking that’s not such a big deal… I mean, I’m tired of hearing the RHNJ husbands talking about size and stuff on national TV. Perhaps I’m just becoming desensitized. While Vicki is standing off set… They all convince Vicki to allow Brooks to come out and defend himself. Briana thinks it shouldn’t matter to Vicki since they’ve broken up anyway. Then Briana tells Vicki, “Then sit down and stand up for yourself and say it’s wrong.”
Brooks comes onto the set and sits next to Vicki on the couch. Andy asks Brooks what his reaction is to all of this – and it’s obvious that Brooks didn’t hear anything that was going on during the taping of the Reunion. Andy explains that the crux of the matter is that Briana feels that you disrespect Vicki which is why she doesn’t want you around her family. Brooks says this is the first time he’s seen Briana since Briana’s wedding. Because Brooks is not sure of which thing Briana is talking about at the moment, he brings up an email that he sent to Vicki back in 2007 while she was still married to Donn wherein he said that he loved her. Briana interjects, “And that you wanted her to leave Donn.” Brooks said he didn’t say that in the email but Briana insists that she saw it. Brooks tries to look all remorseful and says, “For any child to see that… We crossed the line.” Briana interrupts once again to tell him that’s not the disrespectful thing in which she’s referring. Briana wants to go down the list of his sins… and she snottily snapped… “Next.” Brooks doesn’t have a prepared list, but never fear, Briana does.
She asks him what else he is sorry for. Brooks, in his Hallmark Greeting card way says, “We all have done things that we wish we could take back whether we’re drunk or not.” Briana pressed him further, “What did you tell my husband? You told my husband to start hitting me and you’re not sorry for that?” Briana says she has a recording – and that she heard Brooks’ voice tell Ryan that he should start hitting Briana to make her start, “falling in line.” Everyone jumps on him to clarify that he actually said that. Brooks said, “I was drunk and angry and I’m sorry I said that.” Whoa… Holy Crap on a Cracker, Batman!
Briana asks him if he knew that she was physically abused as a child? Briana says that she’s heard the tape over and over. She would have played for the Reunion – but it’s on Ryan’s phone in Afghanistan. If that’s true, don’t we have the technology to listen to it? (The tape has since magically popped up on the internet… Gee, I wonder who released it? Such a nice daughter, no? I sure hope they didn’t use government computers to release that tape…cuz Ryan is still deployed…) Lydia gets really upset, cries and leaves the couch. I want to leave with her. Briana said that the tape is 45 minutes long and Brooks says his words were taken out of context. Meanwhile, Vicki gets up to leave yet again. She clarifies that Brooks has never touched her. Briana tells us that Vicki won’t listen to the recording and that she leaves the room when they try to play it for her. Denial, party of one?
Andy uses a prefabricated cutsie Bravo snippet, and says that Vicki is, “In the middle of a relationship tug of war – A battle of no winners… The love of your life vs. your family.” Briana just wants this man out of her life. Under the category of, “Things we really don’t need to know” Briana reveals that Brooks refers to himself as, “Girth Brooks.” Unfortunately, it’s pretty clear what that means and I’m just trying to block that image from my mind. Lydia comes back as they’re showing a Brooks montage. Briana keeps talking and making snide comments as his montage is showing. They show the talking head wherein Briana says that while’s she’s paying rent here and as long as my son is here, then I don’t want Brooks in this house. Ummm… earlier you said you never said that… So like, which is it? They show the scene when Vicki and Brooks are at dinner together and they’re talking about how Briana’s position about Brooks has impacted their relationship. Briana snottily says, “Oh, it’s Briana’s fault.” Briana continues her annoying rantings throughout the montage. Briana thinks she’s getting blamed because she called Brooks out on some stuff. While the montage is still playing, Vicki tells Briana she doesn’t want to play this game right now – because it’s hurting everybody. Andy asked Lydia why she had to leave – and she says that it’s because it got really intense and she’s not used to being around this…
Andy indiscriminately asks Alexis what she thinks about the situation. Alexis says she thinks Vicki needs to listen to the tape. Brooks tells us that he encouraged Vicki to listen to the tape – but he can’t make her listen to it. Brooks says that Briana and her husband have been badgering Vicki both publically and privately. Briana says that she doesn’t stand for abuse and that she just wants a good relationship for her Mom…
Tamra is asked what she thinks of the situation. Tamra says that what Briana said makes her sick to her stomach. She clues us all in that she went to lunch with Brooks and threatened him that if he did anything out of line to Vicki… like if he hurt her… touched her…stole her money, etc…. that she would hurt him. And Vicki quickly says that he hasn’t done any of that. Tamra asks Briana if there’s anything else that she needs us or Vicki to know. Tamra sees a weak, weak Vicki. Vicki has remorse of where her life is at 51. Heather says her Mom always told her not to date inappropriate people because you can fall in love with anyone. Heather tells Vicki that maybe Brooks isn’t a bad guy – but maybe not a good guy for you.
Briana wants to know how Vicki can love a guy that disrespects her daughter. Vicki says that it hurts her and that Brooks has remorse over it. Briana calls Brooks, “The only source of “ick” in my life.” Vicki cries. Briana calls Vicki her best friend but doesn’t want to stand for any of this so she has to step away and let Vicki figure it out on her own. Briana is going to go and live her own life.
Andy reminds Vicki that she is surrounded by people who love her. Gretchen hates to see her not be with the person she loves. Tamra says Briana has told her that she has seen text messages from Brooks calling Vicki, “Fat, ugly, and that nobody wants her.” Both Vicki and Brooks vehemently deny it. Briana says that Brooks manipulates Vicki. Vicki continues to say Brooks has never sent a text message like that to her. Andy asks Briana if she’s been going through her Mom’s text messages. She honestly answers, “Yes, and she goes through mine.” Vicki is not agreeing with this in the background.
Brooks said that if he was in the same situation that he would probably react similarly to how she is – but that the difference is that he would have respect for his mother. Briana says she loves her Mom and she’s been with some people that haven’t treated her right over 2 marriages… Briana wants Vicki to be with someone who is good, “One that brings us together.” Brooks tells Vicki that he has to walk away and let her do her thing… Brooks says that he loves her enough to let her go… and that she should listen to those who have known her longer… I gotta say this whole part reeked of a master manipulator anticipating what the right thing for him to do and say would be and then he choreographed his exit while planting a seed in Vicki’s mind that he only wants the best for her, blahditty, blah, blah.
In a Captain Ironic kind of way, Vicki then brings up Slade and how she and Gretchen have talked about him and how people hated him yet Gretchen and Slade were able to persevere through it all. Vicki insists the whole world doesn’t like Slade and I think she’s right. Gretchen doesn’t think it was the whole world… Briana says that Vicki can’t compare Slade and Brooks. Vicki explains she’s showing a correlation that people don’t respect Slade and people don’t respect Brooks. Heather thinks it’s different when you have children even if they’re grown – and that you have to make decisions based on your family. Gretchen tries to draw the distinction that it wasn’t her family who was disrespecting Slade. Really? Because I remember your parents being very wary of him up through the day you proposed to him. Wasn’t that your Dad who, when Slade asked for his blessing for your marriage a couple of seasons wouldn’t give it? Gretchen tries to explain that they were no more hesitant about Slade than they were of everyone else she’s dated.
In tonight’s “I kid you not” portion of our program, Vicki actually said to Gretchen, “People have come to accept Slade and like Slade because you’re happy.” Just who in this world has come to “like Slade?” Gretchen says, “At the end of the day no matter what anybody else says it has to be your decision based on what you feel.” Vicki assures everyone that she’s not in harm’s way. Brooks says that “we decided” the resolution was for him to, “Exit, stage right.” Brooks says he needs to leave this family and friendship because of these strong feelings. Briana insists that it’s because of what Brooks has done. Brooks says Briana had preconceived ideas before they even started – and Briana says it’s because they did some really messed up stuff. Brooks said that he’s regretful of that and then asks Briana if she hasn’t don’t anything she’s regretted. Brooks says, “Do I love her enough to let her go? Absolutely, yes, because I’m not that selfish.” Andy says, “Well, that was tough.” He thanks Brooks for coming and Brooks leaves through a cloud of martyrdom. Vicki cries and is comforted by Alexis (who was on the same couch but jumped over Tamra to sit next to Vicki), Tamra and Heather. Briana still remains on her island of a couch while Lydia goes over to the other couch to give Vicki a tissue. Vicki says she really hates her life right now but she really wants her family back…
Andy tells Gretchen they get a lot of mail about how she pronounces the word, “something.” Gretchen, who had obviously been briefed, at first correctly says the word… but then as she’s trying to remember how she used to say it (she in fact, used to say, “sunthin”) her lips revert back to the way they were and prevent her from correctly annunciating it ever again. Andy says he thinks it’s cute. Gretchen is glad Andy thinks so. Stars thinks she’s gonna barf.
Andy wraps up the show by saying that it has been an incredible feat in making it through 100 episodes. He asks each woman for her final thoughts on the season:
Lydia – “Holy cow… I feel like I’ve been punched in the head in an awesome way.” She goes on to say she would totally do this every day if she was allowed to.
Alexis – “I don’t quite feel like that… I think I feel bad for a lot of people; I think friendships have changed yet again… and it’s always interesting to see what is going to happen next year.”
Heather – “Some of my year was very difficult – and some was really fun and exciting and that’s life – that’s kind of the balance of the whole thing – I feel like I’m happy it ended well.”
Tamra – “I think overall it’s probably been my best year… I’ve learned a lot about myself… I got married… We made a new friend (pointing to Lydia who says, “Yay”)… and you know we had some bumps in the boulevard but I love everyone on the couch… and it’s been tough and it’s been hard but it’s been like the Sister Act.” Wait… does this mean they are all going to put on habits break out in a chorus of, “I will follow You?”
Gretchen – “You know, it’s so interesting. You think that’s it going to be so different than how it turns out… I was obviously very hurt by some of the friendships that I thought were very close friendships – being accused of things again…and it was tough on me and I don’t like being accused of things and I will always defend my honor and who I am and my character. I’m thrilled to death that I’m engaged to Slade and I look forward to our future.”
Vicki – “Wow… I have had a rough night… Emotionally drained… Brooks and I together obviously had good intentions for a great relationship but it looks like it’s over…. He’s definitely made mistakes… I’ve made mistakes… One thing I will say… but I’m a hopeless romantic… I know I’m a loving Mother, a loving Grandmother, I love my family more than anything, I mean obviously Briana and I have an amazingly close relationship…and I don’t ever want to see her hurt like that and she doesn’t want to see me hurt, so I know she comes from a good place… But at the end of the day, this man that left, I cared and loved a lot – and I don’t love abusers – and what I want to be taken away from this is that he never touched me… he never hurt me – I never felt scared of him and I think that was the hardest thing – that I was feeling these ladies who are my friends thought that I was in an abusive relationship which I wasn’t. I don’t know what my future holds…I’m hopeful about it – that there’s someone who will swoop me off my feet again and.. I’m going to be very cautious. That’s my truth.
Andy says, they’ll be watching. And that they’ve earned some “Champs.”
Cheers – to friendship and to another season!
It’s been fun for us all to ride this ride together… Thanks so much for taking the time to read and for providing your feedback. I’ll see you again… soon… Happy Trails!