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Real Housewives

RHOD Ssn 1/Ep 11 - Reunion

Glenn Rowley

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After just 10 short weeks of Southern twang, a disgusting amount of poop jokes and an endless cycle of charity events, it's time for the Season 1 Reunion of The Real Housewives of Dallas! In a surprisingly singular installment, the Southern 'Wives sit down with Andy Cohen to rehash the debut seasons many fights, feuds and personal moments. (Seriously though, I can't believe that Bravo only got enough footage out of the entire day for just one reunion part. It's disappointing.) Read on for my full breakdown of the drama, including an overanalyzing of the seat arrangement and my choice for best dressed on the couches...

On the Couches

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Ok, first thing's first. The all-important reunion seating arrangement. This one was pretty straightforward and easy to call, though I did swap two 'Wives in my prediction. (I'm always close but no cigar...) From the very first episode I pegged LeeAnne Locken and Brandi Redmond as the Housewives who would get the coveted center seats next to Andy Cohen. On the right couch, we have Brandi, Cary Deuber and Stephanie Hollman on the end. (For the record, I mixed up Cary and Stephanie in my guess, thinking that Bravo would keep the two besties together). On the left couch, LeeAnne is seated next to BFF Tiffany Hendra, which...duh. The battle lines between the two cliques were so clearly drawn during the season that any other formation would've been pretty much unthinkable. I'm also going to throw out there that I wouldn't have minded seeing Cary in the hot seat next to Andy one bit, especially considering how her feud with LeeAnne dominated the second half of the season, but I'd be hard-pressed to believe that Bravo would have ever moved Brandi from the hot seat. 

Ranking the Housewives' Looks

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The reunion dress code seems to be solid cocktail dresses with cutouts and all the 'Wives adhere to the theme with just one exception. My pick for best dressed goes to Tiffany, who stuns in a marigold Split Midi dress from Topshop. The yellow frock makes a memorable impression on me for the color alone - I mean, has any Housewife ever rocked MARIGOLD in the history of reunions? I didn't think so. It feels fitting that LeeAnne is in red, though I'm pleasantly surprised at just how refined the burgundy Chiara Boni dress is on her. The elegant three-quarter sleeves and artistic cutout push the look over the edge to me in terms of sophistication and I'm loving it. Cary also chose a Chiara Boni dress for the reunion, hers in a vibrant royal blue. It does look cohesive with LeeAnne's dress, but I have to confess that after a season full of gutsy looks, I'm a little disappointed that Cary didn't go for something just a little edgier. I'm obsessed with her jewel-encrusted Roberto Cavalli heels though! Stephanie looks like a Barbie doll come to life in her bright pink Rolland Mouret dress, but the pairing it with the chunky turquoise jewelry is a miss for me. And then there's Brandi, who clearly missed the solid colored memo by choosing a sparkly gold Herve Leger number. It's my least favorite look of the bunch, trying to be both sexy and frilly at the same time, and is it just me or does the dress look rather ill-fitting on Brandi? Maybe it's the bell-shaped bottom half but either way I am not at all a fan. 

Facing Criticism

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Andy starts things off with a round robin of questions about a number of issues the women were criticized for during the season. Among these complaints were the following:

  • LeeAnne's bright pink blush, which she chose to tone down for once.
  • Stephanie's to-do lists from her husband. Thankfully, she's not getting them since the show has been airing and Travis realized how offensive the habit was to every actual housewife in America.
  • The show's preoccupation with poop jokes, thanks to Brandi and Stephanie's juvenile senses of humor. Both chalk it up to a combination of immaturity and the Hollmans having small boys, but I speak for every fan of the show when I say it needs to stop next year. No one thought it was amusing. Just...disgusting. Not funny. Too much. Also, I just feel the need to point out that I came from a family of all boys too, and we never joked about poop - much less constantly. My mother would've killed us.
  • Apparently Brandi's girls were kicked out of their exclusive private Christian school for their mom's behavior on the show. (Or as she explains it, they "chose to no longer partner with [the Redmonds] for their children's education.] I guess incessantly calling wine "Jesus juice" didn't sit to well with the Christian school, which felt Brandi was making a mockery of the holy sacrament. Oops.
  • Reports in the media that Tiffany worked as a porn star before joining the show. According to Tiff, she had a multi-film contract with Cinemax for a number of racy projects, but none of it could be considered "porn." Just think lots of boobs (by Deubs?)

Carny Kid or Charity Maven?

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In the first package of the day, Andy turns the spotlight on queen bee LeeAnne, whose childhood on the carnival circuit constantly bumped up against her image at the center of the Dallas charity world. When pressed by Andy, Stephanie admits that she was referring to LeeAnne when she said the charity scene had some "egomaniacs" in it when the 'Wives attended Mad Hatter's, and most of the women are quick to agree that LeeAnne's sole passion in life seems to be charity work. However, more than the egomaniac comment, LeeAnne takes issue with Cary's claim that you have to be born into society to be a true Dallas socialite. Not even considering the fact that the American Dream is kind of built on the idea that you can work your way up the ladder and build your own success without a family legacy, in LeeAnne's book anyone can become a power player in society through hard work and making connections, and she's living proof. What happens next is an inexplicable name-dropping contest of all the most elite families in Dallas society. Ok ladies, I know you haven't done this before, but newsflash: we don't know who any of these people are. No one cares which socialite's wedding you were in. Move it along.

The Affair Heard 'Round Dallas

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Next, Cary's husband Mark joins Andy and the ladies to discuss the rumors that plagued the Deubers throughout filming about how their marriage started. In a dandy orange tie with matching socks and pocket square, the good doctor comes in guns blazing, with his sites set particularly on LeeAnne. He accuses the queen bee of spreading false stories that Cary stole him from his second wife and perpetuating the rumor that their marriage began as an affair. However, LeeAnne claims she was simply repeating what she "knew to be true" about the couple and doesn't see it as spreading gossip. Mark shoots back that with over a million people watching the show, LeeAnne's chatter has made all of America think he and Cary had an affair and insists it's simply a slanderous lie.

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At this point, LeeAnne lays the entire story that she heard out on the table: that Mark and Cary started having an affair when she worked for him but broke it off when he insisted on staying married. Then, seeing Cary marry another man (her second husband, for just a few months) eventually pushed Mark over the edge to leave his second wife for her. Cary is utterly floored, having never heard this complicated and rather messy version of the rumor, and gets so riled up that she walks off the set in tears. Andy has commented before that reunion walkoffs are SO 2009, and I agree, but I'm too distracted by the hilarity of Cary's crying faces to really take in the drama of the much-overused move. Methinks Cary might have had a little too much Botox injected before the reunion, because her face is forced to contort into impossible-looking shapes to make up for the fact that she can't move her forehead. 

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Once Mark has talked Cary off the ledge and she's sufficiently calmed down, she returns to the couch with Andy eager to wrap the topic up in a bow. LeeAnne finally apologizes upon seeing Cary so upset and the two actually make peace with a hug. However, the moment isn't all sunshine and roses when LeeAnne makes an off-hand remark warning Stephanie not to call her an egomaniac or narcissist because of the gesture, and Steph throws back that LeeAnne can't help but be insulting even in the nicest of moments.

The Rocky Marriage of Brandi and Bryan Redmond

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Next in the hot seat is Brandi, whom Andy questions about the marriage troubles she endured throughout filming with her husband Bryan. Brandi claims that she didn't even realize how disconnected they were as a couple until production started on the show and chalks Bryan walking out on their date night as she cried at the table to him not wanting to argue in front of the cameras. However, what angered her husband the most was Brandi's cringe-inducing wild night out at the strip club with Stephanie and Cary. (The Redmonds have an agreement that neither will go to such establishments, which Brandi clearly broke.) The couple's relationship hit an all-time low, however, when the episode actually aired and Bryan saw Brandi wasted and giving the male stripper a veritable lap dance. In the fight that followed, Brandi tearfully recounts that Bryan said he wanted a divorce and that the lapse in judgement took a long time for the couple to get over. Now, though, things are apparently better than ever. Brandi and Bryan are communicating well and establishing respective their needs in the relationship, and even renewed their vows on their wedding anniversary! Too bad Bravo's cameras weren't there to catch that moment...

The Many, Many Feuds of LeeAnne Locken

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At this point, Friend of the Housewives Marie Reyes joins the ladies, wearing a lovely, one-shouldered Chanel dress in navy with an oversized ruffle on the single shoulder, and the tension on the couches is palpable. Immediately, Tiffany calls Marie a "f---ing a--hole" under her breath, requests to sit on the opposite couch and ends up sliding as close as she possibly can over to LeeAnne in order to keep away from her nemesis. However, Andy's main concern is to begin addressing the many conflicts LeeAnne found herself in over the course of the season - with literally every single one of her fellow Housewives. As the package rolls, we see clips from her confrontation with Brandi in the very first episode, the infamous "bow at me" lunch with Cary and Stephanie, her screaming/shoving match with Tiffany after throwing a drink at a cocktail party and her sit-down with Marie upon discovering her scathing betrayal of texts to Tiffany. 

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In discussing the "bow at me" lunch, LeeAnne asserts that she wasn't trying to get Cary and Stephanie to stop being friends with Brandi, just to consider how their reputations were being affected in the wake of the poop scandal at Mad Hatter's. Stephanie shoots back that it sure felt like she was trying to take down Brandi and opines that rather than shine the light on herself, LeeAnne spent the majority of filming trying to discredit each of the other 'Wives. Moving on to the shoving showdown between BFFs at the cocktail party, Tiffany claims she was like a stewing volcano that simply erupted in the moment after spending the better part of a year defending LeeAnne to everyone in Dallas. However, Stephanie stands by her comment that Tiffany and Marie both seem to merely act as LeeAnne puppets and lapdogs - the former being the mouth that says whatever LeeAnne wants and the latter being the a--hole for taking so much constant abuse. 

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Which brings us to Marie's first betrayal - her string of text messages criticizing and psychoanalyzing LeeAnne to the queen bee's other best friend, Tiffany. Tiff maintains that the texts went on for about a year before she finally told LeeAnne about them and accuses Marie of purposely leaving out the message where Tiffany asked her "with respect" to stop texting her and go to LeeAnne instead. Marie defends herself by saying that she was merely worried for LeeAnne as a friend, while still managing to throw in a dig that she apparently wasn't eating or bathing at the time. Yikes. Either way, LeeAnne feels Tiffany did the right thing by showing her the text messages and there's clearly no love lost between her and her former bestie. 

Keep Austin Crazy: Poop Stories & Death Threats

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Finally, it's time to discuss the darkest moment of the season - the ill-fated girls trip to Austin, Texas that resulted in oversharing of a poop story (of course) and LeeAnne threatening to "kill" Marie in a terrifying altercation in the middle of the night. Marie reveals that once the ladies got back from Austin, she actually filed a police report and restraining order against LeeAnne after being threatened again over text. LeeAnne completely owns that she lost all control to her raging temper that night, but continues to point out that she was acting out of absolute humiliation upon finding out Marie had once again betrayed her. (Mind you, Marie still insists that she never repeated the story about LeeAnne pooping her pants, but the kid who told Brandi and Stephanie couldn't have exactly made it up out of the blue...) There doesn't seem to be much hope for a future reconciliation between LeeAnne and Marie, and we may never get to the bottom of who really spilled the poop story that resulted in a girls trip death threat... 

Final Thoughts

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Wrapping up the reunion, Andy points out that quite a bit has changed in the lives of each of the 'Wives since filming wrapped last summer, and asks them to share how they've grown. Stephanie found her voice by standing up to Travis and her marriage is apparently better than ever. Tiffany is all about self-improvement and is just happy that she gets to lay her head next to Aaron Hendra's ripped abs and gorgeous head of hair every night. Cary realized through the show that some people may view her relationship with Mark as weird or different, but still doesn't care what the critics have to say. LeeAnne's in anger management and continues trying to work through her traumatic past. As for Brandi, the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader views the show as a gift, in ultimately helping her marriage, introducing her to her grandfather and documenting such a difficult year of her life. And with that, the very first - but hopefully not last - reunion in Dallas officially comes to a close.

What did you think of the RHOD reunion? Do you wish it was more than one part? Are you Team LeeAnne, Team Tiffany or Team Marie? How do you feel about where the 'Wives left off? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!