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Real Housewives

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 3 - Whine Country

Glenn Rowley


If the premiere was the catch-up and last week was the RHOC warm-up, it feels like we're finally getting to the start of Season 10 this week. After two weeks of the women living their separate lives and dancing around each other at Vicki's fiesta, it's time to get into the swing of things. And what a great way to do that by sending the ladies to Napa Valley! But first, we start things off with Heather, Tamra and Meghan out to dinner in Orange County. Heather wisely points out that it's important to celebrate the special moments in life, so she's bringing all the 'Wives (minus Vicki, who's out of town for the "Oscars of the insurance industry") to Napa for the launch 0f her new sparkling wine, Collette. It's a good time for Meghan to get away, since she and Jimmy just sold their house. Wait. I'm confused. Didn't they just finish moving back into their house? Are the Edmonds going to spend the season trying to see how many homes they can reside in over the course of filming? As Meghan puts it, she's already #OverIt. (I really like Meghan so far, but I hope she doesn't make these hashtags a regular thing in her interviews. It's the second time she's done it and I, too, am already #OverIt.) Tamra claims she was shocked at how nice and sweet Lizzie was at Vicki's party last week, to which Heather rightly counters that Lizzie IS nice and sweet. With the mystery of Lizzie's temperament settled, a bigger question from the fiesta remains: was Shannon being standoffish?


As the conversation turns to Shannon, Meghan points out that, while she may be new to the group, she's already had a couple of different run-ins with the OC's favorite holistic housewife. The first was while she did shots with Vicki and Shannon's husband David at the Dubrows' hoedown last year, which caused a moment of tension between the Beadors. (Little did we know at the time that David was smack in the middle of having an affair.) The second incident turns out to be what will certainly go down as THE phone call of the season. Apparently, prior to Vicki's party, Meghan had called Shannon to get some advice on a charity event the new Housewife is throwing. It's the first social event Meghan has thrown in Orange County and, since Shannon threw a fundraiser for the same charity last year, the new Mrs. Jimmy Edmonds called to ask for some advice about event details. When the flashback of the call played, Shannon was noticeably short on the phone and was confused as to who Meghan was and why exactly she was calling. Once they hung up, Jimmy pointed out that Meghan had accidentally referred to herself by her maiden name King, not Edmonds, which perhaps prompted Shannon's confusion. Meghan claims in her confessional that she didn't bring up the mix-up with Shannon at last week's party because she didn't feel it was appropriate to do so in Vicki's home, where she was meeting all these people for the first time. However, now she wants to bring up the "pink elephant in the room." (Is that a reference to Dumbo?) As Tamra puts it, good luck Meghan.

Meanwhile, Vicki is packing for her insurance awards trip to Florida with Shannon keeping her company. Vicki's taking over the man's world in which she works, and has been named in the top five percent of producers in the insurance and financial services industry. Like she says, who doesn't love awards and being acknowledged for your hard work? I love that even after a decade on reality TV, Vicki has kept her original career a priority, being the boss and taking names the insurance way. Woo-hoo! The upcoming Napa trip gets brought up, since Shannon is bummed Vicki's not coming. She says she's going to wine country with her "good friends Heather Dubrow and Tamra Judge" and passive-aggression is palpable as it drips from her lips. Shannon may be willing to go on this trip with a fake smile on her face since she's forgiven her frenemies for last year's drama, but she certainly hasn't forgotten it. Obviously not the best attitude to start the trip with, if you ask me.


Heather's chartered a private jet to fly the girls to Napa, while their significant others have to rough it on the California freeways. Sorry boys. Mystery friend Katie Hamilton makes another appearance, and I'm so happy to see Lizzie with her carry-on in hand. (Fair warning: I will not get over Lizzie's demotion to Friend of the Housewives for the remainder of the season.) Once the ladies have boarded the plane, Heather plays flight attendant while Meghan passes out the painted wine glasses she made as personalized gifts for the trip. During the flight, Tamra starts talking about religion with Katie, who brought up her church at Vicki's party. Apparently Tamra's started going to church, though she's keeping that information close to the vest. And while people (including viewers) may try to say that she's only going l because she's done so many bad things and wants to look good, last season's mean girl says she's been saved and "if you don't like it, you can suck it!" Definitely sounds like she's found Jesus.

Once they've touched down in Napa, Heather sends all the other 'Wives to the hotel via party bus while she goes to the event space for a last-minute walkthrough. Heather's very detailed in the event planning, and wants to flood the venue with bottles of Collette. As fans certainly know, Fancy Pants loves her bubbles and she's been working to produce this sparkling wine for the past couple of years with Bello Family Vineyards. She explains in her confessional that the drink isn't allowed to be called 'champagne' because it's not from the Champagne region of France, so it's officially referred to as a Methode Champenoise because of the production technique used to put the sparkle in the wine. You'll never know the things you can learn by watching Bravo.


I have to say, the shots of Napa Valley in this episode are stunningly gorgeous. After checking into the Silverado Resort - which looks a whole lot like the White House - the 'Wives are ready to party. The husbands have arrived and everyone has put on their fancy pants for Fancy Pants. Heather's ready to get the show on the road ("I don't know about you, but I hear a cork popping!"), but where are Shannon and David? If you guessed 'fighting on the back of a golf cart,' then you're correct. And also possibly psychic. Bickering over David's arrival to the resort, the couple zoom right past the waiting party of nine and take another lap. The entire argument is spliced together with difficult shots of the the golf cart's rolling wheels, since the Beadors didn't have a camera crew with them during the drive. Apparently, David had a sushi lunch complete with plenty of sake shots before heading to Napa, which Shannon is freaking out over, because it reminds of his sudden urge to drink last year (a.k.a. when he started the affair). David tries to calm his wife down, claiming he didn't do anything wrong. However, Shannon counters that she can't control her mind's negative thoughts. When they bicker, it reminds Shannon of the hurt and betrayal she felt over the affair, but this extra lap on the golf cart has now made the entire group late for Heather's event. Apologizing and blaming their tardiness on "wardrobe and lash issues", the Beadors finally make it back to the bus and away we go...En route, Shannon gifts Tamra with some of the hangover pills she brought as a type of holistic olive branch between the two.

We finally arrive at the launch party and all the ladies raise a glass and give a big cheers to Collette! When the Methode Champenoise term gets thrown around again, Tamra jokes in her interview that Heather just keeps getting fancier and fancier - can't they just call it bubbly wine? Still on her yeast-free diet, Shannon goes off in search of yeast-free alcohol. She's still sensitive from the argument with David and needs a vodka, STAT. The entire party looks incredible, including the Collette bottle-shaped cake, which is made out of styrofoam instead of, you know, actual cake. That's one way to keep the Sarah Winchesters of the world from breaking a piece off before it's served, Heather. To kick off the party, Fancy Pants gets to saber open a bottle of Collette, leaving her feeling very powerful. Check that off her bucketlist, thank you very much. Meanwhile, Tamra's busy inspecting her new boobs, which Terry - a world-renowned plastic surgeon - doesn't even notice when talking to her. Lizzie does though, and points out that Tamra must have had boob envy after last year's "Kentucky Friend Titties" comments.

Tamra then pulls Heather aside to tell her friend how proud she is of her. They both agree that it's weird not having Vicki there to celebrate, and remedy the situation by calling the OG right then and there. Somehow, Heather also brings up that she's gone a bit over budget on her new house, which Terry doesn't know yet. So, she decides that the party is a good time to break the news and hits her husband with a classic good news/bad news moment. The good news: she didn't chop her finger off with the saber when she opened the Collette bottle; the bad news: their cabinets are $130,000 over budget. What?? Are these cabinets lined with gold? Terry wanted any budgetary overages to go to the house's personal movie theater, but doesn't seem overly upset about this tiny sum of money being spent on cabinetry. Still, it's nice to know that even people as ridiculously wealthy as Terry and Heather Dubrow operate under some kind of budget. Right?


On the other side of the party, Shannon and Meghan are bonding and having fun together, which Meghan takes as a cue to bring up the hoedown situation from last year. Shannon says that the issue wasn't anything personal, simply that David was A. at a bar, B. with a female and C. didn't introduce her. The air now clear, the two decide they're good with each other. To finish up the launch party, Heather makes a thoughtful toast about her love of champs and friends, complete with funny interjections from Terry about what a terror the champs' namesake is. Later on the step-and-repeat Heather again expresses how happy she is that so many of her friends took the time out of their lives and schedules to come all the way to Napa to support her. This new sparkling wine is a perfect extension of Heather's brand, and something we haven't specifically seen in the Housewives universe yet (sorry Fabellini, Vicki's Vodka and Wines by Wives). Heather's certainly used the show as leverage to reignite her acting career - her appearances on Hot in Cleveland, Malibu Country and Hawaii Five-0 were all integrated into her storylines over the past two seasons - but this is the first time she's used her Housewife status to put her name and reputation on any type of product. The development of Collette is a natural fit for Fancy Pants, because if there's one thing viewers associate with her, it's champagne.


The next day, the women and their husbands take a tour of Raymond Vineyards with Jean-Charles the fabulous tour guide. As Lizzie points out in her confessional, this winery is a cross between Willy Wonka's factory and somewhere in the red light district. I wouldn't have been surprised to see Oompa-Loompa hookers crushing grapes with their tiny feet while dressed up in naughty lingerie. Fifty shades of Cabernet is right! As the group samples product from the winery's barrels, Tamra insists on drinking it directly from the source. After contaminating the entire barrel through double dipping, the tour guide lets Meghan follow suit by sampling from the cylinder. Tamra then declares Meghan her fifteen-inch-taller "mini-me", a thought that scares Heather to her inner soul. 


On their last night in Napa, the Dubrows take the group to a party at the Bello family's luxurious estate. At such an extravagant party, Shannon, Lizzie, Meghan and Tamra decide to congregate in front of the indoor fireplace, on account of the cold weather. After another toast by Heather, Meghan decides to pull Shannon aside to finally discuss the charity phone call gone wrong. The newbie explains that she hates to leave an issue, no matter how small, unfixed and doesn't want to just brush this under the rug if she wants to be friends with Shannon. Right out of the gate, Meghan starts with explaining that she felt a little offended by the way Shannon talked to her over the phone. Shannon counters, claiming that she too was offended because Meghan didn't use her married last name when she introduced herself. Therefore, Shannon didn't know who could possibly be calling from a Missouri number and thought Meghan was a telemarketer. Why Shannon would claim to be offended by that is beyond me, but OK. The whole time she was trying to process "who is this girl and how would she know my cell number?" all while her kids were in the car. Her KIDS, you guys. Meghan tries to explain that she was just trying to get Shannon's help for her charity event and was directly referred to her by the nonprofit. After recognizing there had been a miscommunication, Meghan texted Shannon an apology, but Shannon never replied. For some reason, this conversation sets Shannon off, and she storms out with the instantly-quotable line, "I START charities, Meghan!" The newcomer is left in shock at the outburst, and points out in her interview that the entire situation could have been easily resolved with a simple apology from Shannon. Instead, she's found herself starting a problem with Shannon, who accuses the newbie of making her out to be uncharitable. The episode ends with Shannon stomping upstairs and Heather walking int to ask a stunned Meghan, "What in the world just happened?" 


I have to say, like many of the petty squabbles we see on Housewives, this issue is definitely being blown completely out of proportion. However, petty or not, I'm siding with Meghan on this one. As the new girl in town, she was simply asking for help on a charity that Shannon had worked with in the past. Regardless of who was on the other end of the phone, Shannon didn't need to be rude and short, and not even replying to Meghan's text trying to clarify the situation was the icing on the cake. Granted, Shannon has a lot going on with attempting to repair her marriage, and is clearly sensitive in general, but there's no need to speak to someone they way she did to Meghan on the phone. Furthermore, I don't understand her reaction to Meghan wanting to talk about it. Meghan wasn't on the attack, but Shannon clearly felt the need to get defensive and then storm away from the conversation in a huff. We won't find out how the argument will end until next week, but with the actual charity event coming up, it's a guarantee that this problem between Meghan and Shannon is just getting started.