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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: bffs

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 2 - A Very Hairy Christmas

Glenn Rowley

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It's the holiday season on this week's The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but not everyone is feeling very festive. Teresa attempts to mend fences with both Melissa and Jacqueline, but only one of her fellow 'Wives is feeling the spirit of the season. Plus, we learn more about Dolores's life before Housewives and Siggy is nowhere to be found. Read on for a full recap of the drama...

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Since we didn't get to see it in the premiere, let's analyze the new intro and taglines before jumping into this week's episode, shall we? My vote for best tagline of the bunch goes to Teresa Giudice for "I used to flip tables. Now, I'm turning them." Not only does it reference the iconic Season 1 table flip that cemented the OG's place in Housewives history, it also rather cleverly ties in the title of her new memoir and tells us we're dealing with Teresa 2.0 this season. Quick thought on the others: Melissa's is great, if a bit on the nose regarding her storyline of becoming a modern Italian woman. Newbie Dolores Catania's is classic Jersey - she'll fit into the show's modus operandi like her last name was Manzo. Fellow rookie Siggy Flicker elevates her line through delivery alone. She may be "too much," but I'm sensing a star being born. Lastly, fans should be happy Jacqueline Laurita is back full-time after spending last season relegated to part-time Friend of the Housewives status, but her tagline is easily the worst of the bunch. It's never a great sign when a Housewife's tagline is clearly targeted at someone else on the show - it rubs me the wrong way and just proves her critics' assertion that she's obsessed with Tre. (Also, it's weirdly aggressive and threatening, which makes me even less of a fan...)

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Now, on to the episode. It's the morning of Teresa's release from Danbury. As the other 'Wives watch via smartphone and laptop, Tre's lawyer James Leonard, Jr. holds an impromptu press conference in the Giudices' driveway - wishing the gaggle of reporters a happy holiday and sending everyone on home. The moment has Jacqueline all sorts of mixed up - one second she's wiping away tears thinking about how happy Tre must be to be home and the next she's making digs about the brand new Lexus in the Giudice's driveway. Wise as a sage, Dolores sees right through Jac's facade and calls out the real, emotional reaction she's having. Jacqueline can't deny the history she has with Teresa, admitting that while she's been upset with her former BFF, she's never stopped loving her. Now that Teresa's reached out, Jac doesn't know what will happen next between the pair...

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It's the day of Christmas Eve and the Giudice house is still being swarmed by dozens of paparazzi. In her confessional, Teresa explains that all of her businesses essentially hit rock bottom when she went to prison and she needs to start bringing in the money again. To do this, she's given People Magazine an exclusive on her first few days home, including pictures of the morning of her release and the first Christmas photo of the entire family. After all, as Tre wisely points out, the price tag on her face will never be as high as it is right now. To avoid the photographers parked outside the house, Joe Gorga comes to the rescue - giving the entire family a ride to his house and covering Teresa with a coat to avoid any snooping flashbulbs as she makes her grand entrance through the Gorgas' garage. This is the first time Melissa's seen her sister-in-law in more than a year, and while she didn't quite know what to expect, Teresa immediately acts like nothing ever happened. Literally like she just got back from a year-long trip to the grocery store. The entire family sits down for Christmas Eve dinner and when Melissa goes to the kitchen, Teresa seizes the opening to talk one-on-one. 

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The OG opens the sisterly chat by reiterating how much she wants things to go back to the way they were when Melissa first married Joe. You know, those storied off-camera days when the Gorgas and Giudices apparently got along perfectly. Melissa agrees, but wants their relationship to finally...finally be real. In the past, she feels Tre has put a wall up and only tried to make their relationship copacetic on a surface level. Teresa counters that she was only guarded because she didn't feel like Melissa was being genuine and all of a sudden it feels like we're back on the hamster wheel of Seasons 3 and 4. But hold the phone. This is Teresa 2.0 and we're all going to be real, ok? The sisters-in-law eventually agree to not rehash the past and move forward with the promise that they'll always have each other's back. Sisters and best friends from here on out. Peace on earth, good will towards Housewives, it's a Christmas Eve miracle!

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Two days later, Dolores goes to therapy, where we finally get to learn a little more about the newbie's backstory. Turns out that Dolores divorced her husband way back when her now-20-year-old daughter Gabby was only three years old and she was nine months pregnant with Frankie, now 17 due to his cheating. For six years as a single mom, she worked as a cop, transporting prisoners from the cell block to the courtroom. Following the divorce, Dolores never remarried - going as far as to get engaged before breaking it off (due to what she refers to as her then-fiancé's "extracurricular activities"). Now, she's living back in the house she shared with her husband and is ready to rediscover and reinvent herself. After years of selflessly taking care of everyone around her, it's time for Dolores to put herself first for once.

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While Jacqueline banters with her daughter Ashlee about their respective sex lives (cringe), Joe Gorga takes the kids to visit Melissa at the construction site that is quickly becoming Envy by Melissa Gorga. However, while Joe may be remodeling the space, he's still not very enthusiastic about the project. Melissa maintains that Joe should step up to the plate if she needs extra help with the kids as she gets the boutique running, but he doesn't exactly appreciate being Mr. Mom. He throws out a dig about not signing up for a "part-time wife" when they got married, and thankfully Melissa puts a stop to that line of thinking right then and there. Joe may be old-school Italian, but Melissa is well on her way to becoming a 21st century housewife.

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Meanwhile, Dolores sees Teresa for the first time since her release from Danbury, and is taking the OG out for an afternoon of manicures. As Tre fills her old friend in on what life was like in prison, it's nice to see the easy, natural dynamic between the two and I'm struck again by how seamlessly Dolores fits into the show. After Teresa invites her over for New Year's Eve, the newbie reveals it's her birthday. Dolores may not love making herself the center of attention on her big day, but she sees Teresa's insistence at throwing her a party as a way to get all the ladies in the same place - Jacqueline included. Just call Dolores the friendship whisperer of RHONJ.

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New Year's Eve rolls around and it becomes quickly apparent there are two dueling parties with Teresa and Jacqueline as the respective hostesses. In the Giudice corner, we have Teresa, Juicy Joe Melissa and Joe plus the entire extended Gorga/Giudice clan. Well...not the entire extended family: over at the Laurita house, Jacqueline and Chris have invited Rosie Pierri and Kathy Wakile, Teresa's cousins and this season's official Friends of the Housewives, along with Kathy's Jeff Goldblum lookalike husband Richie. Then there's Dolores, who's left to ride the fence by juggling both parties. (Fellow newbie Siggy Flicker was in Boca over New Year's and is absent for the entire episode.) It's a slightly strange dynamic, which Jacqueline makes crystal clear when she asks point blank why the cousins aren't celebrating with Teresa and the rest of the family.

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Ever the peacemaker, Dolores hits Teresa's party for the first part of the evening, and helps Tre navigate the tricky waters of letting Gia go out with her friends for the night. When it comes time for her to head to Jacqueline's, Teresa decides to call up her former BFF to wish her a happy New Year and let her know Dolores is on her way. Tre is once again extending an olive branch but Jacqueline isn't sure what to make of it, and the conversation quickly turns awkward when Kathy and Rosie chime in from the background. Caught off guard, Teresa asks Jac to take the phone off speaker, but it's too late. The chat has soured. After hanging up, Jacqueline starts to spiral, describing the call as "cold" and "distant" and claiming it felt less than genuine. Once Dolores arrives, she questions the newbie about Tre's motivation behind the call and hesitantly brushes off the idea of rekindling their old friendship. Happy New Year?

What did you think of this week's RHONJ? Was Teresa's attempt to make amends with Melissa sincere? Was the phone call with Jacqueline? Let me know in the comments below!

RHOC Season 8 Uncensored

Glenn Rowley

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In 2013, Season 8 of The Real Housewives of Orange County premiered on Bravo and ended up becoming one of the most unforgettable seasons in Housewives history. Thanks to the perfect combination of Housewives, surprising alliances, and major moments in the lives of the ladies, the season earned its own look back with the RHOC Season 8 Uncensored special. Featuring never-before-seen footage and brand new interviews with Housewives and producers alike, we got to learn more than we ever knew about what really went down in the OC. Read on for my full recap of all the revelations and new details from the special...

A Whole New Vicki?

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The start of Season 8 revealed a shocking new face in the OC – except the new face was a Housewife we'd known since the beginning. Vicki Gunvalson. Between seasons, the OG of the OC had decided to get some fairly major plastic surgery on her face following the “Miss Piggy” comparisons levied at her by Slade Smiley in Season 7. Vicki specifically chose to undergo surgery while the cameras weren't rolling so that she could come into Season 8 healed and looking better than ever. However, this plan was foiled when her daughter Briana went into labor with Vicki's first grandchild and Bravo wanted to catch the moment on camera. So, production was pushed up to just a couple of weeks into the OG's post-surgery recovery. Camera crews arrived at the hospital on the night of baby Troy's birth and when Vicki came down to meet them in the parking lot, they were shocked to see her swollen face mostly frozen in place since the secret surgery. Much of the season essentially documented the healing process of Vicki's face - almost episode by episode fans could see differences in her appearance as the dust settled.

Shady Friendships & Shifting Alliances

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To say that the season began with the dynamic between all the 'Wives in a very strange place is an understatement. For multiple seasons the shows main alliances consisted of Vicki and her BFF Tamra Judge in one corner and their arch-rivals Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino in the other. However, over the course of the previous season, Vicki and Tamra's rock-solid sisterhood had been blown to smithereens by the OG's relationship with Brooks Ayers while Gretchen and Alexis feuded over a job as a local lifestyle correspondent for FOX5. In the most baffling turn of events possible, mortal enemies Tamra and Gretchen started Season 8 as BFFs, leaving Vicki and Alexis to develop a new friendship with each other. As such, the show entered unchartered territory with the women in alliances that just one year prior would have been unthinkable. 

Alexis Returns & Lydia Joins the Show

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Additionally, Alexis's return to the show, complete with a freshly-shorn haircut, was another surprise. Her story is that she quit the show after spending most of Season 7 as the primary target of the other women's criticism (pretentious intervention in Costa Rica, anyone?) while most of her co-stars claim she was fired by Bravo. Either way, Alexis still had more story left to tell, and this time she was coming back with a friend in tow...For Season 8 producers chose to add a sixth Housewife to the cast, which is a rare move for the OC franchise. Lydia McLaughlin joined the show as a friend of Alexis and brought a whole new flavor to Orange County. A thirty-two-year-old born again Christian who originally hailed from Canada, Lydia was the editor for Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine with her husband Doug - whom viewers lovingly dubbed "Jesus Abs." However, while she was already friends with Alexis, Lydia's first time meeting the rest of the women was more explosive than she could have ever predicted...

CUT Fitness Chaos

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In the first major event of the season, Tamra threw a dinner party to celebrate the groundbreaking of her new fitness studio, CUT Fitness. According to executive producer Kevin Lee, the party started off on the wrong foot because the rest of the 'Wives resented that Alexis was returning to the show. Battle lines were drawn as soon as Vicki walked in with Alexis and Lydia - with those three on one side and Tamra, Gretchen and Heather Dubrow firmly on the other. Co-executive producer Bill Fritz revealed that part of the tension stemmed from the fact that in between Seasons 7 and 8, Gretchen had accused former bestie Alexis and her "camp" of trying to steal a number of her personal appearances. Don't mess with a Housewife's fame, y'all. Of course, drama erupted the second Tamra confronted Alexis over why she would want to come to the dinner in the first place when she'd been threatening legal action against the hostess for slander, which resulted in the epic "YOU GET THE F--- OUT!" moment where Tamra kicked Alexis out the party. In the ensuing chaos, producers claimed that Heather made a beeline to them and promised she had other friends who could join the show to replace Alexis while Gretchen breaking into applause at her former friend getting booted signified the permanent end to their once-close friendship. What a welcome for Lydia, am I right?

Housewives Rules 101

Next, in an amusing segment the show's producers revealed the list of unspoken rules that the Housewives have developed over the years for being on camera. These rules of extreme convenience include the following:

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  • New 'Wives are never to stand in front of veterans on camera, particularly Tamra.
  • Housewives are to never eat on camera because it's impossible to look glamorous and beautiful while doing so.
  • Housewives form cliques and promise to have each other's back, but the alliances are subject to change from season to season.
  • All friendships of convenience between other 'Wives are to be exposed and undermined.
  • Develop real friendships with your fellow cast mates or you will be called out.

A Bachelorette Party Turned Battlefield

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Next up for discussion is the unforgettable trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for Tamra's bachelorette party. Due to the flip-flopped friend dynamic of the season, Gretchen fell into the role of putting the bachelorette party together for Tamra rather than Vicki. Meanwhile, Alexis had been invited to Mexico but one of the hard and fast rules in the Bellinos' traditional marriage is "no bachelor or bachelorette parties," so she stayed behind in the OC. And while Heather ran behind the cameras and jokingly (but kind of seriously) threatened a sexual assault lawsuit if the Mexican strippers so much as touched her during the wild in the hotel, the bachelorette party turned into a turf war between Vicki and Gretchen over who was a better friend to the bride-to-be.

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Vicki essentially went into the trip with a secret plan to snatch Tamra from Gretchen's clutches and when Gretch and Heather went to the bathroom following a snoozy first dinner, the OG saw her chance. With newbie Lydia in tow, Vicki kidnapped Tamra and ditched the other women to go to Andale's, her favorite dive bar in Puerto Vallarta. Despite not having filming permits for the bar and not really knowing where it even was, the Bravo crew spent the majority of the evening following Vicki and the other 'Wives through the streets of Puerto Vallarta as they bought light-up bows, danced on taxis and whooped it up once they found Andale's. Naturally, getting ditched left Gretchen infuriated and the conflict that came out of the night became pivotal to the season's story. Gretchen and Vicki were officially at war with Tamra as the victor's prize, and ultimately the OG would come out on top.

The Dubrows and the "D" Word

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One of Heather's major storylines for Season 8 was the conflict in her marriage with husband Terry Dubrow. After being considered for Season 5 (the year Alexis Bellino joined the show) it's a well-known fact that Terry actually forged Heather's signature on her contract when she finally joined the cast two years later. Terry was the one who pushed Heather to do the show, and producers even described her as a "reluctant participant in her husband's misadventures." Nowadays it's hard to imagine RHOC without Fancy Pants (she remains my all-time favorite OC 'Wife), but in her first couple seasons, Heather admits she had trouble really opening up in front of the cameras. Behind the scenes, the Dubrows' worst fights were about her being on the show because she didn't actually to do reality TV. So when Terry failed to support Heather's renewed acting career, which was being documented throughout the season, Fancy Pants threatened to quit the show and Terry threw the word "divorce" out during a blow-out fight between the two. By the time the season wrapped, Heather and Terry's marriage was stronger than ever but getting to that point was certainly a rocky road.

The Revenge of Lauri Waring Peterson

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Season 8 also brought the return of a familiar face from the show's early days: OG Housewife Lauri Waring Peterson. After leaving the show midway through Season 4 to focus on her new blended family with her Prince Charming, George, Lauri blasted back onto the scene with an agenda to take down her old friend Vicki. Lauri had originally been Vicki's secretary and protege-of-sorts when the show premiered way back in 2006, but the moment she came back to film with Gretchen, Lauri threw the OG of the OC under the bus with a scandalous rumor that she'd caught her in a threesome back in the day. From Vicki's perspective, the attack was insulting but logical: in order for Lauri's return to be as relevant as possible, she had to go after the dog at the very top of the food chain. Mind you, Lauri insists in her interview that she didn't have any vendetta against Vicki, but that's a hard claim to swallow as fans watched the salacious drama unfold.

Go Yell It on the Mountain

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A tricky game of telephone was born out of the gossip Lauri spread, and when the rumor reached Vicki during the cast trip to Canada, she exploded. Decked out in full snow bunny gear on the slopes of Whistler, the OG hunted down the show's executive producer, shoved him up against a brick wall and threatened him that it would hurt a lot worse if this storyline made it to air. To make matters worse, the other woman in the rumor actually turned out to be Vicki's sister, whom the OG insisted be cut out of the conversation. (Only after talking to her sister later and getting her blessing did Vicki use the fact to defend herself in blogs and on WWHL.) Producers note that Lauri was very careful not to ever use the term "threesome," but Vicki's ensuing freakout is still one of the most iconic moments in Housewives history.

Gretchen Rossi: A Cautionary Tale

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Next, the special addresses the downfall of Gretchen over the course of the eighth season. Executive producer Douglas Ross explains that when Gretch joined the show in Season 4, she let viewers completely into her life - from her relationship with now-deceased, older fiancé Jeff Beitzel to getting "naked wasted" by a scheming Tamra and Vicki, nothing seemed to be off-limits. However, as her time on the series progressed, Gretchen started presenting a much more whitewashed, inauthentic picture of herself. Once she started dating Slade Smiley, the much-reviled, self-proclaimed "Housewife Hunter," the execs at Bravo noticed that the couple always seemed to be working some sort of angle for the show. (We all remember the time Slade "bought" her with a Rolls Royce, right?) And everyone knows that once self-production is an automatic death sentence in the Housewives universe.

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This forced inauthenticity was never more clear than in Gretchen's decision to stage an elaborate rooftop proposal to Slade at the end of Season 8. For three seasons, Slade had been floating out the idea of getting engaged to Gretchen but never quite seemed to be able to pull the trigger. Flipping the script in the name of quasi female empowerment, Gretchen put together an extravagant proposal for her boyfriend that involved a song on the radio, a helicopter ride and all of their family and friends - but none of the other Housewives. Heather opines in her confessional that Slade was probably in on the surprise and even Andy Cohen notes that the entire event rang hollow and felt purely put on for the cameras. (Obviously Gretchen denies this.) Not inviting any of her cast mates also proved to be one of the final nails in the coffin for Gretch, though during the special she points the finger at producers for why none of the other ladies were included. Also, it's important to note that it's now been three years and Gretchen and Slade still aren't married. Maybe they'll walk down the aisle if someone offers to turn their wedding into a TV special a la Tamra's OC's Wedding

Winter Wonderland Finale & the Reunion of Rainbow Dresses

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By the time Vicki's Winter Wonderland-themed finale party came around, every other Housewife had her own personal issues with Gretchen. So, throughout the party poor Gretchen was forced to go on a giant apology tour, moving from one sit-down to the next so all the women could air their grievances against her. To this day, Gretch maintains that the other Housewives banded together to get her off the show, but we all know that's not exactly how cast changes work. At the Season 8 reunion, which in my opinion stands as possibly the best Housewives reunion ever, resentment toward Gretchen was at an all-time high and she had simply burned too many bridges to have any shot of staying on the show for Season 9. 

The Legacy of Season 8 in the OC

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To this day, Season 8 of The Real Housewives of Orange County remains a high water mark for both the show and the franchise as a whole. Alexis was let go at the end of the season when it became clear that viewers had now seen the beginning, middle and end to her story arc, while newbie Lydia chose to walk away after just a single season to focus on her family and have a third baby. As Andy succinctly states in the special's closing moments, Season 8 remains iconic for being a changing of the guard in Orange County and will never be forgotten in the annals of Housewives history and the larger pop culture.

What did you think of the RHOC Season 8 Uncensored special? Do you love the season as much as I do? Should Gretchen, Alexis and/or Lydia ever return to the show? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

RHOD Season 1 Finale - The Full Nelson

Glenn Rowley

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After ten weeks of poop stories, fart jokes and charity events, we've reached the end of our first season with The Real Housewives of Dallas. When Stephanie hosts one last bash that brings all the ladies together, confrontations involving nearly all of the 'Wives leaves the group of Dallas ladies more fractured than ever. Read on for a full recap of the finale...

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Stephanie Hollman and her husband Travis are getting ready to host their annual Bryon Nelson party. Since the iconic Dallas golf tournament is held right in their backyard on the course at the Four Seasons, it's the perfect excuse to invite 400 of their closest friends, clients and fellow 'Wives over for a day-long drinking extravaganza. However, there are two things Stephanie won't put up with at the party: to-do lists from Travis and any drama from the girls. Following the nightmarish trip to Austin, Stephanie wonders if she should disinvite LeeAnne Locken to the party, but decides in the end to include the queen bee on the guest list. After all, it's the finale, right?

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Speaking of LeeAnne, she's still reeling from her behavior on the Austin trip and hits the gym with BFF Tiffany Hendra to talk things out. After the dark confrontation and all the controversy over her supposed death threat to Friend of the Housewives Marie Reyes, LeeAnne is somewhat hesitant to go to the party at all, but Tiffany is able to convince her that bailing would just make things worse between her and the other ladies. Plus, it's common knowledge that Housewives Rule #106 is the following: never skip the season finale filming. (Just head over to Beverly Hills and ask Adrienne Maloof how it worked out for her in Season 3...) LeeAnne's also not looking forward to seeing Cary Deuber after all the tension that's been building between the two for several episodes, but she's willing to bite the bullet and do it if it means a good Byron Nelson party. 

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While Tiffany takes her husband Aaron and his perfect hair house hunting for a second time, Brandi Redmond is out with her husband Bryan and their two girls for a family day. There's no denying that Brandi has been through more than her fair share of personal turmoil this season - including meeting her estranged grandfather for the first time and coping with her brother's PTSD-related suicide attempt. On top of that, her marriage was in a terrible place, leaving her feeling more disconnected from Bryan than ever in the midst of so many struggles. However, after much effort the Redmonds appear to have worked through their marital issues and are the picture of a happy family as they spend the afternoon bowling. Bryan has promised to cut back on his traveling and make more of an effort to connect with Brandi and the girls, so we'll see how this works out...In other good news, Aaron informs Tiffany that he's decided to relocate permanently to Dallas! 

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Meanwhile, LeeAnne is busy plotting her next career move and meets with a public relations agency to discuss jumping into the motivational speaking circuit. After knocking her keynote speech at the Grace Conference out of the park, LeeAnne feels that she's found her calling in life and wants to continue using her story to help inspire and uplift others. The meeting goes well as she discusses writing her memoirs and starting out with some smaller speeches, but the big bucks will come if the PR agency can help LeeAnne become an in-demand household name. Thanks to a little network called Bravo, I think LeeAnne is well on her way to doing that herself, thanks.

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Before we know it, it's already time for the Byron Nelson party and all of the 'Wives show up to the Hollman house wearing their brightest dresses and biggest smiles. However, tension is thick in the air as the women spend the early stages of the party warily circling each other and waiting for someone to make the first move. Eventually, Tiffany and Cary meet in the kitchen and tersely discuss LeeAnne over hor d'oeuveres and carbs. Cary is still disturbed by LeeAnne's "gut you carny-style" outburst in Austin and calls her a bully, but Tiffany defends her best friend and points out that she was the one who was betrayed by Marie. Cary's not buying it though, calling Tiffany LeeAnne's "sidekick and lapdog" and the two walk away from the conversation claiming that they can't be friends since Tiffany's allegiance will always be to LeeAnne.

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Seeing Marie laughing and socializing with the other girls while LeeAnne is being ostracized, Tiffany decides to take matters into her own hands. In an attempt to put the Austin drama to bed once and for all (or at least until the reunion), she pulls Marie aside for a talk with both her and LeeAnne. Rehashing the poop story that sparked the screaming match in Austin, Tiffany rationalizes that there's no way the gossip could have gotten to the other 'Wives without it coming from Marie. After all, when the embarrassing incident happened, the only people present were LeeAnne, Tiffany and Marie. However, the Friend of the Housewives continues to insist that she never repeated the story and the confrontation quickly goes nowhere. My question is still this though: if Marie didn't repeat the story about LeeAnne pooping in her pants, then how in the world did anyone find out?

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The conversation over Marie's betrayal is cut short, however, when Cary decides to interrupt for her own showdown with LeeAnne. To show her just how unintimidated she is, Cary proceeds to tell LeeAnne precisely what she thinks of her - specifically that Cary can't say a single thing without the queen bee trying to turn it around on her. In this conversation, though, LeeAnne seems to be the one who can't get a word in edgewise as Cary throws out that LeeAnne hasn't ever been honest to her face about how she feels. From LeeAnne's perspective, Cary tends to rally Brandi and Stephanie to turn her into the bad guy and accuses the show's voice of reason of orchestrating what's become a "mob mentality" against her. Cary promptly dismisses this claim, shooting back that if LeeAnne plays the victim then she can't be seen as a bully. However, when Cary calls LeeAnne sharing her life story as a way she plays the victim, the carny side of the queen bee comes out just a little as she demands that Cary not demean her lived experience. The fact of the matter is that the two 'Wives simply don't like each other and they're bound to clash at every turn because of their differences. After proclaiming that she doesn't like the "evil" inside of Cary, LeeAnne walks away from the conversation, leaving her fellow 'Wife on the couch to roll her eyes.

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With that, the finale rather abruptly and quietly ends. As the party wraps up and the 'Wives leave, we're treated to the "where are they now?" cards that cap off every finale. Tiffany and Aaron are staying in Dallas permanently even though they lost the house they looked at to a higher bidder. Cary and her husband Mark spent their summer in Switzerland, where she achieved her yogic goal of touching her feet to her head by her 40th birthday. Now the Deubers want homes in both Switzerland and Italy. Stephanie's party was a success and her husband is no longer leaving his infamous to-do lists for her. LeeAnne still isn't engaged to her boyfriend Rich, but she's entered anger management and continued working the motivational speaking circuit. And Brandi and Bryan renewed their vows on their anniversary, but if the marriage doesn't work out she's still planning on marrying Stephanie. In the finale's last moments, the two BFFs jump into the pool and bring the inaugural season in Dallas to an end with a giant splash. 

What did you think of the RHOD finale? Are you on Team Cary or Team LeeAnne? Should Marie have been a full-time Housewife this season or what? And will Brandi and Stephanie end up ditching their husbands for each other? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

RHOD Ssn 1/Ep 9 - Killing Time in Austin

Glenn Rowley

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The Real Housewives of Dallas head to Austin, Texas for their first-ever cast trip, but the weekend getaway takes the darkest turn imaginable when Marie experiences the wrath of LeeAnne over a humiliating betrayal and the women clash over death threats and the definition of the word "kill." Was this the most terrifying vacation in Housewives history? Read on for my full recap of the drama from the lake house turned slaughterhouse...

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Naturally, the prerequisite for any girls trip on Bravo is a good ol' Housewives packing montage. The ladies are headed to the lake house in Austin, Texas that Brandi Redmond and Stephanie Hollman's husbands built together on the shores of Lake Travis. The two besties are anxious to host their cast mates, but the rest of the 'Wives aren't quite sure what to think. LeeAnne Locken and Tiffany Hendra are simply hoping the lake house isn't a dump, while Cary Deuber's husband Mark is making her promise not to start any issues on the trip where they don't exist. Any bets on how long that promise will hold out?

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All the 'Wives arrive bright and early at The Rustic to board the party bus to Austin. Friend of the Housewives Marie Reyes and Cary's friend Courtney Westmoreland Rider, a statuesque, quiet blonde, also scored invites to the weekend getaway. For the first couple of hours, the drive to Austin goes smoothly as the alcohol starts flowing and empanadas get passed around the bus. However, everything starts going downhill when Brandi has to urinate and can't wait until they reach their destination. As Tiffany says, when you've gotta go, you've gotta go, right? Brandi decides that the most logical solution to this conundrum is to pee in a red solo cup in the back of the bus as Cary shields her with a blanket. When LeeAnne finds this disgusting, Brandi and Stephanie joke that peeing in a cup doesn't compare to the story they heard about the queen bee "sh***ing in a bag in the back of a car." (Remember, they got this nasty piece of gossip during Marie's cocktail party way back in Episode 4.) According to the two BFFs, they were told by Taylor Garrett, a reality TV alum from Logo's A:List Dallas, who apparently heard the story from Marie. Oh boy...from the look on LeeAnne's face, this isn't go to go well.

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Arriving at the Hollman/Redmonds' shared lake house, the rest of the women are blown away by how spacious and nice it is - especially when Stephanie and Brandi explain that Travis and Bryan built the house themselves. However, LeeAnne is starting to boil inside about the poop story and confronts Marie about it. Marie denies spilling the secret to anybody - especially Taylor - and even offers to take a polygraph test to prove she's telling the truth. According to LeeAnne, though, only three people were present when the embarrassing story took place 13 years ago: herself, Tiffany and Marie. And she knows it didn't come from Tiffany, so that only leaves Marie as the guilty gossip. However, I can't help but be frustrated that of course the major drama on the cast trip is about poop. Because apparently on RHOD, the women have to reference fecal matter at least once per episode. I honestly can't with the constant poop talk anymore.

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While a private chef cooks dinner for the women, Brandi bonds with Tiffany and LeeAnne over goblets of wine. The former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader thanks Tiffany again for her husband Aaron's song dedication to her veteran brother suffering from PTSD at the charity concert in Episode 7. Opening up that her brother checked back into the hospital the day before, Brandi breaks down in tears and the other 'Wives finally seize an opportunity to be truly vulnerable and bond with her. Just like that, it seems like everyone is finally starting to get along on this girls trip.

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Dinner is served and the Jesus juice starts flowing at maximum capacity. Before we know it, Brandi is three sheets to the wind, drunk as a skunk, wasted out of her mind. Quiet Courtney asks the women whom they would want to have at their perfect dinner party and once the 'Wives debate the merits of feeding either Bono or Mother Teresa, LeeAnne turns the conversation to why she finds it so hard to trust people. Citing her chaotic childhood and being abandoned by her mother, the queen bee explains that she's always had a difficult time letting anyone get close to her - even her BFF Tiffany had to claw tooth and nail to prove she wouldn't abandon her. Cary finds some common ground in this story, piggybacking on to explain that she's surprisingly similar to LeeAnne when it comes to letting people in. Maybe this is why the two have spent the majority of the season butting heads? To lighten the mood, an extremely inebriated Brandi decides to show off her tumbling skills by performing a bikini-clad backwards somersault on the dining room table. Now that is one way to end a Housewives dinner party, y'all.

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By the next morning, everything has taken a shockingly dark turn. Via confessional, several of the 'Wives explain that they were awoken in the middle of the night to the sounds of an enraged LeeAnne arguing with Marie over the poop story. And when they say enraged, they mean screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs, roaring-throughout-the-house levels of anger. After stewing about the betrayal all day, LeeAnne finally exploded after cameras went down and the Bravo crew left for the evening - threatening to "slaughter" Marie and "gut [her] carny-style." Meanwhile, the rest of the 'Wives cowered in fear in their rooms, with Brandi and Stephanie apparently sobbing in bed as they clung to each other in pure terror. Thankfully, Cary caught a portion of the terrifying exchange on her phone - in the clip, we hear LeeAnne screaming "s--- like this? You don't want that side of me!" presumably at Marie. Otherwise, the entire frightening ordeal would simply be hearsay without a shred of proof.

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Now, an overwhelmed Marie is cowering in fear at the dining room table as Tiffany tries to convince LeeAnne to approach her and the other women whisper about the previous night's confrontation upstairs. While Marie looks likes she's ready to burst into tears, LeeAnne and Tiffany enter the kitchen to address the tension. Marie refuses to talk to LeeAnne unless the former carny kid is calm, and LeeAnne counters that the only reason she's "agitated" is because she feels so massively betrayed by her friend of nearly 20 years for spreading such a humiliating story about her. Tiffany points out that there's no other way Taylor could've known the anecdote about LeeAnne, yet Marie continues to deny telling the gay gossip anything. Marie is still horrified that LeeAnne threatened her life in during the verbal attack, but a fed up LeeAnne shoots back that what her friend thinks of as "killing" and what she thinks of as "killing" are two different things. The queen bee also argues that when she dramatically said she would "gut" Marie, she merely meant she would cut her out of her life.

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Inevitably, the other women intrude on the conversation, with Cary specifically asking Marie what "kill" means to her when it's directed as a threat. Clearly still afraid, the Friend of the Housewives simply mutters that the word means that LeeAnne was extremely upset. Cary accuses her of dodging the question, but the most she can get out of Marie is an admission that the word was used as a threat to her safety. Stephanie adds that due her previous career as a social worker, she would categorize LeeAnne's attack on Marie as "beyond abusive." Feeling guilty for her verbal outburst, LeeAnne tries to offer a blanket apology to everyone in the room, but none of the other women are letting the threats get swept under the rug. In her confessional, Tiffany defends her bestie, explaining that she can't understand why LeeAnne is being so quickly condemned while Marie gets away with her betrayal by looking like a veritable saint. However, my biggest question is this: if all the other women were so scared for Marie's well-being, WHY DIDN'T ANYONE DO ANYTHING? If you honestly think your friend is in danger, you call 911 or step in and do something, not just hide in bed crying.

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Since there's still an entire day left, the trip must somehow go on in spite of the disturbing drama and the 'Wives attempt to awkwardly move forward with their plans. Pulling LeeAnne aside, Brandi sympathizes with her former nemesis for feeling betrayed and even persuades her not to leave the trip early. Somewhat inexplicably, the ladies divide into two cars (guess who's in which) and head to the Four Seasons for a supposedly relaxing afternoon of spa treatments. While the other girls hit the spa, Marie and LeeAnne stay behind in their room with Tiffany to mediate. Marie remains traumatized by the entire ordeal and breaks down in sobs as she asks why LeeAnne always has to lash out when she's hurting. LeeAnne's still visibly fuming from the discovery that she was betrayed, but as Stephanie, Brandi, Cary and Courtney commiserate over how unhealthy her close friendships seem to be, the queen bee manages to establish a fragile peace with Marie that ends in a tearful hug.

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That night, the women get dressed up and head to Bob's Steak and Chops for a group dinner to celebrate Cary, LeeAnne and Marie's upcoming birthdays. However, by this point LeeAnne has shut down and gone into complete survival mode - barely speaking as she picks her way through a salad. A frustrated Cary calls her out on not wanting to be there and it opens up a whole new can of worms regarding the season-long tensions between the two women over who's judging whom. In an effort to defend her best friend, Tiffany (who's rocking an awesome half-bun topknot), speaks to the fact that LeeAnne is constantly being judged and attacked by the other women for putting herself out there. Stephanie fires back that nearly everyone in the cast has been attacked by LeeAnne by this point, but Tiffany urges the other girls to try putting themselves in LeeAnne's shoes for a minute. Fed up with Tiffany constantly making excuses for her bestie, Brandi accuses both her and Marie of enabling LeeAnne's behavior and storms off to the bathroom. 

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Of course, Stephanie is quick to follow after her BFF, but not before calling Tiffany out for giving LeeAnne positive reinforcement to lash out at people like she did to Marie. Further, Stephanie throws out that if the trio of women are going to simultaneously attack and protect each other, she doesn't need it in her house. With Brandi in tears in the bathroom, LeeAnne gone silent and Cary fed up with the entire mess, dinner ends with an awkward parting of ways as the group of Housewives seems more fractured than ever before. All I want to know, though, is how in the world did everyone get back to Dallas in one piece?

What did you think of this nightmarish girls trip to Austin? Were LeeAnne's threats to Marie unforgivable or does she have the right to feel betrayed? Was Tiffany right or wrong to defend her best friend? Should the other women done more to protect Marie? Leave your thoughts and opinion in the comments section below!

RHOD Ssn 1/Ep 6 - Locken Loaded

Glenn Rowley

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This week, The Real Housewives of Dallas get even more real as one 'Wife copes with a major betrayal by a long-time friend and another works to save her floundering marriage. Read on for my full breakdown of all the Texas-sized drama from this week's episode...

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Stephanie Hollman is putting aside the drama this week and has hired an interior designer to help redecorate her oldest son's room. Of course, her husband Travis is also gung-ho about giving his input - his mom was an interior decorator so he thinks the talent got passed down in his blood. However, Stephanie is more than a little wary of letting her husband bulldoze over her with his opinions, and the project gives us a little more insight into the dynamic of the couple's marriage. In her confessional, Stephanie explains that not only does Travis have the world's worst taste when it comes to design (exhibit A: the samurai statues out front she's nicknamed Gayle and Oprah), but the fact that he insists on being in control of every little detail doesn't give her very much creative freedom. When Travis starts question her decision to do carpet on carpet, I'm starting to see that those lists of chores from the premiere are actually the least of Stephanie's worries.

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Meanwhile, Brandi Redmond heads over to Friend of the Housewives Marie Reyes's house to give another dance lesson to her daughter Sophia. Brandi's still upset with her husband Bryan for showing up drunk and late to the BBQ for her estranged grandfather last week, but goes to Marie's to take her mind off the struggles in her marriage. Plus, Marie's been one of LeeAnne Locken's BFFs for almost 20 years so she's hoping to get some dirt on her nemesis. After going through a toned down, PG-rated routine with Sophia, Brandi sits down with Marie and immediately brings up the blow-up between herself and LeeAnne at last week's cocktail party. The former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader starts off the conversation by calling LeeAnne "batsh-- crazy" and Marie is shockingly quick to jump on the bandwagon and start bashing her friend. Even though she's known the queen bee for two decades, Marie agrees with everything Brandi says about her and pipes in that LeeAnne could benefit from therapy. This about-face seems to come out of the blue on Marie's part, but we'll soon discover that it's been going on longer than anyone could have guessed.

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Next is a fun scene of Cary Deuber and her husband Mark going shopping together. Like many viewers, I'm a little bit obsessed with the dynamic between Cary and her plastic surgeon husband, who has most definitely become the most lovable Househusband we've seen in the franchise in years. Mark is planning a photoshoot to update the website for the couple's practice, and figures it's a perfect excuse to buy Cary some new dresses for the occasion. It is for work, after all...My favorite thing about Mark is how much of a fashionista he is inside. (Cary even jokingly refers to him as her "wife.) As the couple walks into a store, Mark can immediately identify a Chanel dress on the rack, and has the magic ability to pick out dresses that will look amazing on Cary sight unseen. As Cary reminds us in her confessional, when it comes to fashion, Mark is always right. 

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The next day, Brandi drops by Stephanie's house for a chat with her BFF. After bursting into a fit of the giggles over the giant grey and blue decorative balls in Chance's new room, Brandi starts venting about Bryan's behavior at the BBQ. Stephanie takes the moment to apologize for Travis's part in Bryan showing up late and drunk - if she would have known earlier that their husbands were together, she would have made sure Travis got Bryan there on time. However, Brandi points out that the situation was neither Stephanie's nor Travis's fault. It was all on Bryan. There's clearly a lack of communication going on in the Redmond marriage, and Stephanie advises her BFF to go on a date night to talk things out with Bryan. Brandi agrees that this could be a good idea, but admits in her confessional that she's nervous about how her husband will handle the confrontation. 

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It turns out that Marie has been texting Tiffany Hendra incessantly since the cocktail party, psychoanalyzing LeeAnne and talking badly about her. Naturally, Tiffany goes straight to LeeAnne with this information and the two BFFs head over to Marie's house to confront her together. Tiffany's even printed out copies of all the texts as reunion-style evidence of everything Marie has been saying to her about LeeAnne - from claiming that LeeAnne thinks she's "an expert on everything" and always sees herself as the most important person in the room to asserting that her supposed best friend is "spiritually and emotionally about 14" years old. Ouch. Naturally, LeeAnne is blindsided and hurt by finding out that Marie has been spreading negative opinions about her to Tiffany, and wants to confront Marie head-on about the nasty texts. Tiffany starts out the conversation by saying that it should be clear by now that she doesn't like engaging whenever Marie texts her, seeing that she rarely replies and refuses to feed into all the bashing. When she pulls out the printed messages, it's clear that Marie is in shock - her deer-in-the-headlights expression can only say one thing: "oh sh--."

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LeeAnne demands to know why Marie would possibly think it's a good idea to talk about her behind her back to Tiffany, and points out that if the brunette had anything to say, she should've gone LeeAnne herself. Tiffany saw the texts as coming out of nowhere, and questions what Marie's motivation was for sending them, but the Friend of the 'Wives insists that she was merely concerned for LeeAnne's welfare and state of mind. Connecting the dots, however, LeeAnne calls attention to the fact that nearly everything Brandi has had to say about her is also in Marie's texts; there has to be a connection. Yet even as the flashback plays to earlier in the episode where she and Brandi were bashing LeeAnne, a wide-eyed Marie swears Brandi's never said a bad word about the queen bee. In her confessional, Marie defends herself by insisting that LeeAnne's behavior at the cocktail party was indefensible, but LeeAnne angrily explains that she left the party because she felt pushed to her limit with Brandi's attacks and was "pissed as hell!" Clearly caught in a lie, Marie asks how the women can move forward from this, but LeeAnne is so hurt and upset by Marie's betrayal that it seems this friendship may be unsalvageable.

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Having bought all the required wardrobe, Cary and Mark use her friend Courtney's high-rise apartment for their photoshoot. As the star of the shoot, Cary admits she doesn't exactly feel comfortable modeling, but Mark is sure that having her in the photos will help the practice stay on-brand. As Mark snaps all the pictures, Cary explains in her interview that photography is basically just one form of foreplay for her husband, and he eventually convinces her to even go topless for a few shots! The practice's tagline of "Boobs by Deubs" has literally never been more true than it is in this moment. At the end of the day, the new pictures turn out exactly how Mark wanted them and Cary looks incredible, even if she thinks her butt needs to be retouched.

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Over at the Hollman mansion, Stephanie reveals Chance's new room to the boys and Travis. Chance is overjoyed by the room's Dallas Cowboys theme, and is particularly excited about the cubby hole he can lock his little brother in. More importantly to Stephanie, though, is that Travis approves of all the work she put into the room, and he gives her an enthusiastic two thumbs up on the project. Having gotten her husband's stamp of approval, Stephanie feels relieved and empowered, but also admits in her confessional that the amount of pressure Travis subliminally puts her under is completely unnecessary for her to successfully take care of the boys and run their household. Thankfully, she has Gayle and Oprah the samurai statues to dress up in random costumes when the pressure from Travis gets to be a little too much.

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Finally, the episode ends with Brandi and Bryan's date night to Texas de Brazil. After making small talk about his latest business trip, Brandi broaches the subject of how alone she feels when he's not home and tries to tactfully explain that she feels Bryan doesn't give her enough attention. Bryan is taken aback by this revelation - this clearly isn't the date night he was expecting - and as Brandi expresses more and more of her feelings, he gets more and more defensive. Bryan claims that he gives Brandi all the attention in the world yet it's still never enough, and goes as far as to openly mock her when she starts crying. Brandi tearfully asks if she did something wrong, to which Bryan responds with a curt "yes." When she asks him to tell her what she did, Bryan declares that he's done with the conversation, gets up and walks out of the restaurant, leaving a tearful Brandi alone at the table as she watches her marriage crumble before her eyes.

What did you think of this week's episode of RHOD? Are you Team LeeAnne & Tiffany or Team Marie? Do you think there's any hope for Brandi and Bryan's marriage? How much do you love the relationship between Cary and Mark? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

RHOD Ssn 1/Ep 5 - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Glenn Rowley

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The explosive fight continues this week on The Real Housewives of Dallas, and all of the ladies are left to pick up the pieces in the feud's aftermath. Plus, one 'Wife celebrates her wedding anniversary in style, while another's husband disappoints during a family moment meant to be special. Read on for my full recap...

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This week picks up right in the middle of last week's brawl between some of the 'Wives at Marie Reyes's cocktail party. Once LeeAnne Locken throws her glass of champagne on the ground and tells Stephanie Hollman off for defending Brandi Redmond, the queen bee of Dallas exits the party stage left. It's a wise choice because, as LeeAnne says in her confessional, she's so upset that her only options are to either "kill the bitch or start crying." As she marches angrily down the street, Tiffany Hendra follows her in an attempt to diffuse the situation. However, LeeAnne is having none of it from her BFF of 25 years, and lashes out by accusing Tiffany of not having her back in the confrontation with Brandi. In fact, from LeeAnne's perspective, Tiffany was the one who put the entire ambush into motion by bringing her over to talk to the redhead.

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Naturally, this accusation sends Tiffany into a rage as she shoves LeeAnne and gets in her face to scream about just how much she's taken up for her misunderstood bestie. Now LeeAnne is the one who doesn't want to talk, telling Tiffany to shut the escalating argument down since the cameras are filming them. Enraged, Tiffany couldn't care less about the cameras but LeeAnne is pushed to her limit as she screams at the cameras to stop filming. And then it happens. In possibly the most instantly iconic moment of the season, LeeAnne full-on attacks the Bravo camera, punching the lens and wildly swinging her purse at the poor cameraman. As a bewildered Tiffany looks on, LeeAnne then proceeds to remove her shoes and stomp across the street, making sure to slap a passing trolley with the flat of her hand as she does so. LeeAnne Locken is officially done with the drama for the night, leaving Tiffany to go back into the party and issue a blanket apology to the other 'Wives for the massive scene that was caused. 

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In spite of all the drama and hurt feelings, LeeAnne and Tiffany are forced to see each other the very next day, since they both committed to participating in a clothing drive for women with HIV. Talk about the worst timing possible. Since they're feuding, the BFFs spend the entire charity event avoiding each other and not speaking, even though they're literally right next to each other. Fellow Housewife Cary Deuber gets a front row ticket to the awkwardness, as she's donating clothes to the Legacy Counseling Center as well, and explains to Tiffany that the designer dress she wore to the cocktail party had to be sent to the cleaners because it ended the evening soaked in LeeAnne's champagne. As Tiffany drives away from the charity event, she finally caves and leaves a message for LeeAnne on her voicemail, acknowledging how uncomfortable it was for the two to avoid each other and saying that she's ready to talk things out whenever LeeAnne is. 

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Meanwhile, Stephanie and her husband Travis are celebrating their seventh anniversary and Travis has a special surprise planned to get his wife's mind off all the drama from the night before. The couple hits the town in their vintage Rolls Royce, dressed to the nines as they pull up to de Boulle Diamond and Jewelry, the most exclusive high-end jewelry store in all of Dallas. To her shock and awe, Travis informs Stephanie that for her anniversary gift, she's allowed to pick out any bracelet she wants. Owner Denis de Boulle has selected a few exclusive pieces for Stephanie to try on, and she ultimately selects a 23 karat white diamond bracelet to the tune of $75,000. Talk about having expensive taste! Then, as a teaser for their 10-year anniversary, Denis lets Stephanie try on a gigantic 20 karat diamond ring that comes with a $2.5 million price tag. Better start saving if you plan on buying that in three years, Travis!

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After talking to him for the first time in her life last week, Brandi's invited her estranged grandfather John to visit her in Dallas. As she and her mom anxiously await the arrival of her grandpa and his wife, Brandi laments that her husband Bryan isn't there to meet him for the first time since he's out of town on business. However, she's specifically planned a big family BBQ for the day between Bryan's business trips so he can actually be present for such an important moment in her life. When Brandi's grandpa arrives, she's stunned at just how large and intimidating the former NFL player is. Yet, they immediately begin bonding and she's also blown away by how much he resembles resembles her brothers, uncles and other family members. 

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Following a quick, sweet scene of Cary's husband Mark surprising her with a Roberto Cavalli dress to make up for the one that got ruined at the cocktail party, LeeAnne and Tiffany finally meet at a restaurant to talk about their blow-up fight. Both 'Wives come to the meeting ready to put the clash behind them and immediately apologize for their respective parts of the feud. LeeAnne owns that she was pushed past the point of what she could handle and should have recognized her bestie actually had her back, while Tiffany points out that she went full Mr. Miyagi on her friend. Honestly, it's very nice to  see the BFFs make up so quickly and genuinely, and I agree with LeeAnne: you can only be Christian and kind so much until your inner carny comes out ready to bite someone's head off.

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The next day, Brandi's family comes together for the BBQ to meet John, and by the time Stephanie arrives to support her friend, Bryan's still nowhere to be found. When Steph calls Travis to find out when he'll arrive at the party, she learns that Bryan's actually been golfing with her husband and now they're out at a bar. This is news to Brandi, who expected Bryan to be there to support her on such an important day, and by the time he finally shows up late and drunk, she is visibly unhappy. However, the second Bryan walks through the door, it's clear that he has some sort of wall up, and barely greets his wife before saying a few words to her grandpa and retreating to the backyard to play with one of the girls on the swings. Brandi is rightfully upset and disappointed by her husband's shockingly distant behavior, and points out in her confessional that all she can think about how he's being the "biggest douchebag in the world" and will be most definitely be sleeping on the couch tonight.

What did you think of this week's episode? Are you happy LeeAnne and Tiffany were able to make up? How would you have reacted if your husband showed up to an important family moment late and drunk? Leave your thoughts and opinions below in the comments!