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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: cut fitness

RHOC Season 11 Premiere - When the Ship Hits the Fan

Glenn Rowley

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The first ladies of Bravo are back! That's right, The Real Housewives of Orange County has cleared the 10-year mark and is starting Season 11. Veteran 'Wives Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Judge, Heather Dubrow and Shannon Beador are back, along with Meghan King Edmonds and new girl Kelly Dodd. 

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As the familiar notes of the theme music, start I'm already jumping for joy because we have a new intro! Hooray! After using a recycled version of the Season 9 opening last year, I'm super happy to see that the ladies in new looks for the revamped intro. Immediately my vote for best tagline goes to Shannon for "Karma's a bitch, so I don't have to be one!" Not only does it cheekily reference the holistic Housewife's love of all things Eastern and mystical, but it made me laugh out loud too. Quick thoughts on the others: Tamra's is amusing and seamlessly blends her path to Christianity last season with her upcoming storyline as an aspiring bodybuilder. Heather revealed on her podcast that Bravo came up with her line, but I thought it cleverly poked fun at her Fancy Pants persona...and also happens to be kind of true. Meghan's sticking with another baseball analogy for her second season and the reference to "choosing her team wisely" must have to do with either her alliances with the other 'Wives or the in vitro journey we'll be seeing this year. Newbie Kelly promises to be a barrel of fun, so expectations are sufficiently high. And OG Vicki takes solid aim at her frenemies with "Before you judge me, you better be perfect." As a whole, I have to say that the new bunch of taglines are among the series' strongest and it's a promising way to start of the season. 

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Now onto the episode! We start by catching up with Tamra, who is apparently training for an amateur fitness competition. Following her baptism last season, she's still on the straight and narrow path back to Jesus, but she's determined to get to the pearly gates looking her very best - menopause be damned! As Tamra climbs a rope and I see that her arms are now bigger than mine, it hits me that Tamra as a bodybuilder kind of scares me a little. And also that I need to recommit to the gym regularly. In other news, Meghan and her husband Jimmy have moved into a new home, started a candle business (random?) and Meghan's prepping to start IVF treatments in order to get pregnant. Heather's still overseeing the construction of the palatial Dubrow Chateau while Terry's working more than ever thanks to filming Botched, plus its new spinoff Botched By Nature, on top of his surgical practice. And Shannon and David seem to be doing better than ever, having put his infidelity from Season 9 in the rearview mirror to focus on selling their house and downsizing. 

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And then there's Vicki, who was left friendless following last season's fake cancer debacle involving her shady boyfriend Brooks Ayers. Thankfully, the most controversial couple in the OC has (FINALLY) broken up and Brooks moved out, seemingly for good this time. Which hopefully means that this season won't be dominated by his drama the way that last year got hijacked. (Seriously, if I never hear the words "fake cancer" again, I'll be perfectly happy.) However, despite breaking things off with Brooks and living on her own, Vicki still remains estranged from the rest of the group. One by one, the other 'Wives explain in their confessionals that all they're looking for is some form of accountability from Vicki that she was in on the cancer scam and a sincere apology to start moving on, (minus Shannon who doesn't want anything to do with her), but the OG continues to maintain that she had nothing to do with Brooks's lies. And if she had to do it all over again, she claims that she would still stand by her man.

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Due to Jimmy's new job as a coach for the Arizona Cardinals, Meghan's left to go to her doctor's appointments for IVF without him. Thankfully her mom is able to come to the OC to go to the appointments in her husband's place. With this IVF storyline, Meghan's hoping to break the stigma that remains surrounding both IVF and infertility in general for the millions of women watching, and today she's undergoing a hysteroscopy. However, because of her uniquely c-shaped uterus, the procedure turns out to be incredibly painful for Meghan and she spends the majority of it screaming in tears of pain. This on top of her deathly phobia of needles and it appears this IVF appointment isn't exactly a walk in the park for the 31-year-old mother-to-be.

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In an effort to get all the 'Wives together, Heather's throwing the first party of the season and meets Tamra at a local nursery to run the idea past her while shopping for citrus trees. Having just gone through a secret wake-up call regarding Terry's health, Fancy Pants is putting together a little dinner cruise on a yacht in the spirit of love and friendship. However, when it comes to the guest list, Heather's conflicted about whether or not to invite Vicki. None of the other women have seen the OG for months, but Heather's feeling these days like everyone deserves a second chance - Vicki included. Tamra points out that Shannon will be upset if their former friend shows up at the party, but at the end of the day it's Fancy Pants's party and she can invite who she wants. 

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Next we finally meet newbie Kelly, who goes out to dinner with Meghan at OC eatery The Quiet Woman. Apparently, Meghan has known the newest 'Wife for about a year and can bond with her over IVF since Kelly used in vitro to conceive her daughter, Jolie. (For the record, I asked Kelly on Twitter, and she named her daughter after the french word for "beautiful," not Angelina.) From the get-go, Kelly's personality seems to scream "in your face FUN" with a capital F, as she boasts about being voted homecoming queen in high school and making varsity cheer as a junior. So when Meghan invites her to come along to Heather's yacht party the following weekend to meet the girls, Kelly's all in for a good time.

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While Heather calls Vicki to extend the olive branch invitation, Shannon and Tamra are at the doctor's office getting a new cosmetic treatment called Ultherapy. Rocking a gorgeous gold top in her confessional, Shannon admits that it would've been unthinkable two years ago for her to say that Tamra is one of her better friends but hey, when someone fakes cancer real miracles can happen. Shannon also reiterates that she has no interest in renewing a friendship with her once-close former friend Vicki. She's capable of forgiving for last year's medical records nightmare, but that doesn't mean they'll ever go back to being Aries buddies like they were during Shannon's first season on the show. And forgiving certainly doesn't mean Shannon will be excited to see Vicki at Heather's yacht party either.

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After seeing a glimpse into Kelly's unconventional home life (which involves living in a four-story beach house with her husband, daughter, mother and brother), it's time to hit the marina for Heather's party. Boarding a yacht called the Icon, the Dubrows' guests - including the other 'Wives and their significant others - are treated to a gorgeous spread of food and, of course, champs. When Meghan introduces Kelly to Tamra and Shannon, the rookie makes quite an impression with her "MC Hammered" sense of humor. Tamra's amused when Kelly tries to stuff her boob in the veteran 'Wife's mouth upon meeting. Shannon, not so much. 

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Tension creeps in when Vicki makes her grand entrance with former OG Housewife Jeana Keough in tow, but there's no time to dwell on the negativity because the yacht sets sail and it's time for dinner! Once everyone is seated, Heather stands to make a heartfelt toast, revealing that Terry recently underwent a health scare involving a stress EKG that could've resulted in his needing a heart bypass surgery. Thankfully, the test turned out to be a false positive, but it made the Dubrows really sit back and reevaluate what - and who - was really important in their lives. Everyone is surprised by this news and visibly moved, and I have to confess that seeing Heather tear up in her confessional as she talked about how much Terry means to her made me get a little emotional as well. With the toast having made its intended impact, Vicki gets up from the table and asks Heather to come to the lower deck of the yacht for a private chat. 

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Once the two 'Wives are alone, Vicki starts off by thanking Heather for even inviting her to the party in the first place. Then, she jumps headfirst into the real issue, admitting that she handled everything that went on last year the wrong way and was simply trying to maintain a toxic relationship that was slipping through her fingers. Still insisting she wasn't in on any cancer scam, the OG asks for Heather's forgiveness and hopes to move forward with a fresh start and clean slate. Now, this is exactly what Heather had been talking about earlier in the episode - that everyone deserves a second chance - but before she can reply, the screen cuts to black and the premiere is over! We'll have to wait until next week to see what Heather has to say about Vicki's mea culpa moment. 

What did you think of the RHOC premiere? Can you believe we're watching Season 11? Was your first impression of Kelly good or bad? Is there any way Vicki can get back into the other 'Wives good graces? Leave your thoughts and reactions below in the comments!

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!

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 13 - Sex, Lies and Leeches

Glenn Rowley

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This week, the OC was all about sex, lies, cancer and...leeches? While Tamra and Eddie were busy launching their new sex tape-themed workout video for CUT Fitness, Heather and Terry were getting busy with a blood-sucking new beauty treatment. But first, the aftermath of the luncheon at the Dubrow Chateau...

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Last week's episode ended with a foreboding "To Be Continued..." and this week picks up right where we left off in the middle of Heather's disastrous luncheon. Emotions are running high for both Vicki and Meghan as the OG uses the "potty" excuse to retreat with Tamra and Shannon, effectively leaving Meghan in tears at the table. The rest of the women start jumping in to put out the fire - ever the good hostess, Heather makes sure Meghan's OK while Lizzie points out in her interview that it's time for the newbie to shut it. Fancy Pants also checks on Vicki and tries to explain where Meghan is coming from, but the OG doesn't want to hear it. In her confessional, Heather's quick to point out that Vicki's always been a mama bear when it comes to Brooks, but her reaction to the cancer conversation is over-the-top even for her. Vicki angrily exits the luncheon and takes the air out of the room with her. Strangely, after a small lull in the conversation, Tamra changes the subject to invite the ladies to a sex party for the release of the new CUT Fitness workout video. Umm...OK?

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The next day, Shannon pays a visit to Dr. Moon, her holistic Chinese energy medicine specialist. Last season, Shannon was visiting him three times a week, but since she's been so much healthier this year, she's on the full moon/new moon plan. Since the affair, she's tried to deal with things on her own, but is still doing muscle testing with Dr. Moon to work on how her emotions are affecting her physical body. The biggest constant emotion for Shannon? Resentment. To fix the problem, Dr. Moon recommends Shannon start doing the "angry eye" exercise to let go of all the built up anger inside. Is that a step up or a step down from having judgy eyes?

Feeling picked on after Heather's luncheon, Vicki retreats into family to have a date night with her son Michael at Settebello. Mike is so refreshing because even after 10 years on the show, he could really care less that his mom is a reality star. He cuts through the drama and histrionics with the most dry humor that never ceases to make me chuckle, and this scene is no exception. When Vicki starts throwing a pity party about how much she misses her mom, Michael wryly points out that passing away at 83 is a long, full life. I love that he refuses to play into his mom's hilarious tendency to make everything about her. Vicki complains that she feels like a (53-year-old) orphan, but says that when she dies Michael and Briana will be fine: she has lots of life insurance on herself.

Meanwhile, Tamra and Eddie are setting up for their sex party at the nightclub. After all the drama from the last get-together, Tamra wants to throw a fun, drama-free night for the ladies full of dildos, anal beads and sex swings. She's still trying to convince Vicki to come to the party, though. She's given all the women explicit instructions not to talk about Brooks or the cancer issue at the party for her bestie's sake. At the same time, Shannon is trying to rally enough to go to the event. Dealing with all her resentment has her wiped out. Talking through last week's very unhappy birthday with David, the Beadors try to put the whole mess behind them - each apologizing for not meeting the other's expectations. In her confessional, Shannon admits that she sometimes feels pressure to simply get over the affair, but feels entitled to take the time she needs to fully forgive and move on. After all, plenty of other people would have walked away from the marriage - particularly in the OC.

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The night of the sex party arrives and most of the women are dressed to the slutty nines: Tamra's rocking a lace catsuit with pasties for underwear, Meghan's in a studded bra and Shannon's donned a long, purple wig to unleash her inner whore. I'm also obviously happy to see Lizzie and sexy Christian arrive in, respectively, a white wig and a bowtie. If only he'd ditched the matching shirt...While Heather's wearing a more age-appropriate top and skirt, she and Terry have clearly gotten in on the fun: she's dragging him along on a leash. It's clear who plays the dom role in the Dubrow household! Vicki, meanwhile, seems to have missed the kinky memo, and arrives sans Brooks in a lacy white dress - vowing not to give little Meghan Edmonds the time of day. 

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Tamra and Eddie waste no time getting the party started with the premiere of their "sex tape," which is really a cheeky promo for their YouTube channel. Eddie's clearly not the greatest actor in the world, but the whole thing is funny and the women are at turns amused and horrified all the moaning and double entendres. I remember feeling similarly when the video was released on YouTube and I kept seeing "Tamra Judge Sex Tape!" all over my Twitter feed. The food at the party is served Samantha Jones-style, with fresh sushi on a naked model. I have to say, my absolute favorite part of this episode was Vicki staging an intervention with the naked sushi model: "does your mother know you're doing this? She would not be proud of you. I want you to put some clothes on and go to college." I was dying laughing at that. Never change Vicki Gunvalson, never change. 

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In the middle of all the dildos and black lights, Tamra brings up that she's thinking of getting baptized which is news to Eddie. (With her religious conversion and all the cash she's giving to Ryan, there seems to be a lot Tammy Sue isn't telling her hubby these days.) Tamra claims she didn't tell Eddie because he called her a "Jesus freak" the other day, but he sweetly promises to always support her in anything she does - including finding Jesus. In her confessional, Tamra also admits it was wrong to call Alexis "Jesus Jugs" a few seasons back, saying she shouldn't have insulted Jesus like that. Meanwhile, Heather pulls Vicki aside because blood happens to be leeching through her skirt. The reason? She and Terry did leech therapy skin treatments earlier in the day. Apparently, it's supposed to lighten and brighten your skin - it's Demi Moore's secret to looking 20 years old. However, Heather didn't account for the anti-coagulant enzyme that would cause her to bleed for up to 24 hours. The price of beauty, ladies and gents.

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Once the bloody emergency of Fancy Pants is taken care of, the drama moves back to Vicki and Meghan. Somehow in trying to kiss and make up, the pair go for round 2 of their fight, with Vicki calling the newbie crazy, evil and "not a nice person" and Meghan refusing to apologize for anything she's said. For some reason, Meghan feels the need to enlist her husband for support and drags him into the argument as well. Surprisingly, Jim ends up as the voice of reason - simultaneously supporting his wife and seeing Vicki's side. However, Vicki once again goes for the jugular, this time attacking the Edmonds' marriage and saying she feels sorry that Jimmy has to deal with Meghan every day. Meghan didn't start the drama, but can't resist getting a few shots in by accusing Vicki of being bird-brained and having blinders on when it comes to Brooks. Vicki then reiterates that she never asked Meghan for her opinion, her voice raising a few dozen octaves in the process. With a "bye, Felicia" she dismisses the newbie and continues to lambast Jim over his choice of bride.

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Vicki goes for the kill by telling Jimmy to talk to her in five years when he's divorced, and now the Edmonds are ready to leave this party. Jim's irritated at Meghan for getting him involved in her fight - he's made it very clear all season that he couldn't care less about the drama his wife gets herself into. In the limo on the way home, Jim tries telling his wife not to make this a bigger issue than it already, but Meghan's once again fired up. She's come to the conclusion that the OG of the OC is a con artist, and now nothing is going to get in the way of bringing her to justice. Because you know how much Meghan loves justice. (Apparently a lot.) I have a sinking feeling that this fight is far, far from over. 

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 11 - A Psychic Surprise

Glenn Rowley

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Uh oh, here comes the cancer storyline. Now that the ladies are back from the cast trip to Tahiti, we're moving into the second half of the season and the confusion and rumors surrounding Brooks' cancer will dominate the drama in coming episodes. The unfolding of this storyline will be particularly interesting in light of the news that Vicki and Brooks have officially called it quits via a joint statement earlier on August 16. 

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The episode starts at the Beadors with Shannon and David sitting down with twins Stella and Adeline. Shannon Beador, Queen of Fun is none too happy about the twins' TP'ing shenanigans during their first sleepover and is ready to lay down the law. Stella, who's still in on crutches thanks to the adventure, argues that everyone's TP'd at least once in their lives - even Dad has done it! In a classic dad moment, David manages to derail the disciplinary conversation by copping to throwing pumpkins at mailboxes as a youth. Stella's on a roll, talking back to her parents and throwing out that they don't understand what it's like to be 10. According to the pre-teen, the only fun Shannon knows how to have involves drinking. Shade! As punishment for the night of vandalism, Shannon and Dave are making the twins right a letter of apology to the owners of the house they TP'd. This turns out to be the end of the world for the 10-year-olds because the entire point of the TP'ing was for a boy they liked. Sufficiently humiliated on national television, Stella crutches away, refusing to write the letter of apology to her crush's parents. Parents, they just don't understand.

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Downtown, Meghan and her giant shoulder cutouts are having some alone time with Jimmy for the first time in three and a half weeks over lunch at Babette's. Thank goodness for technology or the couple would never even communicate with each other. Meghan fills Jimmy in on the comments Vicki made in Tahiti about Hayley. Jimmy wishes Meghan would've told Vicki the way they parent the teen is none of her business. However, the newbie admits that she said she agreed with what Vicki was saying, but didn't know how to assert herself more as a step-parent. Her husband says Hayley doesn't have the drive and Meghan needs to stop pushing so hard and just keep an eye on her. So, is Meghan supposed to be a parent or a babysitter? 

Meanwhile, Tamra and Eddie are at home with Tamra's mom, Sandy. Tamra lets Eddie know that on Friday she's bringing the ladies to the gym to prototype her booty class, but hasn't practiced teaching yet. Also, Ryan and his fiancé are visiting the same weekend to look at houses - (remember when Tamra promised Ryan she'd do anything to help them move back to the OC?). Tammy Sue also explains that she's meeting with Scott Cruz, a psychic whom she refers to as her "spiritual advisor" the following day, and that Heather and Meghan are tagging along for the reading. Apparently, the psychic has been right about everything he's predicted - from Tamra's custody battle, kids, husband and business to the gender of her granddaughter.

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The next day, Vicki is busy putting together a memorial garden for her mother in her backyard, complete with angel statues, wind chimes and a water feature. Brooks joins her in the yard to get a recap of the trip to Tahiti. Even having gone on vacation, Vicki is still feeling in a funk after her mom's passing. She claims in her interview that Brooks has been her rock throughout this time in her life and it's important for her to be able to lean on him. While Vicki was in French Polynesia with the other ladies, Brooks was busy going to appointments with doctors and figuring out the next step in his cancer treatment. Vicki explains in her confessional that this is the third time Brooks has had cancer since 2009, as he tells her that he's found a doctor with a new alternative treatment he's anxious to try instead of chemotherapy. 

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Tamra, Heather and Meghan get together for the aforementioned visit with the psychic at a restaurant called Sapphire. Before he arrives, Tamra admits to the other women that this is the first time she's actually met her spiritual advisor in person. Apparently he lives in LA so their multiple sessions per week consist of plenty of FaceTime and phone calls. Once Scott arrives, the women are anxious to get him liquored up and talking, though Heather wonders in her interview how good of a psychic he really is if he didn't arrive with his shirt off to show how built he is. After giving a reading about Heather's grandmother, Meghan's future child and how Shannon sees Meghan as a threat, Tamra brings up Vicki's recent hardships including her mother's death and Brooks' cancer. Buckle your seat belts because this is where things start to get dicey. The psychic says he may be picking up the energy other people's thoughts on it, but he has a "wishy-washy perspective" on the cancer. He just doesn't see it. Tamra presses the issue, asking if Brooks doesn't have cancer, and the psychic responds that it's very possible. The allegation makes all three women uncomfortable, with Heather quick to say she can't imagine someone doing such a thing as faking cancer. Meghan, however, points out that she knows a former co-worker who collected disability for a long time by faking cancer, preying on the sympathy of others for attention. The psychic also quickly backtracks by emphasizing that he's not any kind of guru (or doctor for that matter) and that just because he doesn't see the cancer doesn't mean it's not there. He recognizes that it's a very sensitive issue and doesn't want to offend someone if the cancer really is there. In her confessional, Tamra says it's not a good idea to bring up what the psychic said to anyone, especially Vicki - who will likely blame her for the accusation if she were to find out.

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I'm going to pause for a moment and break this down because it's a big allegation and, as I said, it will drive much of the conflict for the rest of the season. Several questions could be asked about this psychic's reading. If Tamra's been consulting with him for a year, how much has she told him about her friends? Has he seen past seasons of the show or followed reports in the news about Brooks having cancer? I'm not saying Tamra intentionally prepped him to drop a bombshell on camera, but did he really come into the situation without any prior knowledge? Another valid point is that just a few episodes ago, Tamra was calling out another psychic during the big old-fashioned séance at Vicki's house, so what makes one psychic more credible than another? What makes Scott Cruz right about things he can't see but the medium from Vicki's séance wrong in his predictions? I will say, I found the medium at Vicki's to be less than convincing because of how he glossed over Tamra's questions and her psychic seems much more straightforward and sure of himself. Also, at the root of all these questions is the basic query of whether or not to believe in psychic abilities in the first place. Keep all of this in mind as this narrative continues to unravel.

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A day or two later, Tamra's getting everything ready at CUT Fitness for her very first booty class. She may not have practiced much, but she has a mic like Madonna on tour and lighter weights on her barbell so she can provide instruction throughout the class. The ladies arrive one by one and when Vicki shows up, Tamra tells her she has a cake to celebrate Brooks' birthday after the class. The class starts with some laps around the gym and the entire workout is the Shannon Show. First, she can't run because she'll pee her pants and once the booty workout starts, she has no coordination whatsoever. By the end of the class, she's officially sweaty, tired and over the entire thing. All I have to say is that Shannon Beador is all of us at the gym. 

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Brooks arrives at the end of the workout to a surprise birthday celebration complete with cake and sparkling sake. In her confessional, Vicki says she's happy to see Tamra finally being nice to Brooks. Despite whether the women like him or not, all she's ever wanted at the end of the day is for her friends to respect him. Meghan invites all the ladies to a NASCAR event in Fontana in a few days, which we'll see next week, and then the conversation turns to Brooks' medical treatment. He tells the women that he's choosing to pause chemotherapy for 90 days in favor of blasting his body with the antioxidant resveratrol. Apparently this new doctor Brooks met with claims the alternative treatment put his own non-Hodgkins lymphoma in remission seven years ago. During his explanation, Brooks suspiciously refers to it in the past tense as the "same cancer he had." Oops, he meant has. Was that a mere slip of the tongue or did the women just catch Brooks in a lie? Meghan asks if his oncologist is concerned with him choosing to stop chemotherapy for 90 days, but Brooks says he's done various forms of chemo off and on for the past five years so it can't hurt to try a new approach.

At this point, Ryan makes a surprise appearance with Sarah and baby Ava, giving Vicki an opening to go back to work and take Brooks with her. Once the other ladies have taken turns holding the baby, Shannon tells Tamra, Heather and Meghan that she and David are going to dinner with Brooks and Vicki to celebrate his birthday that evening. Tamra questions the disgusted look Shannon had on her face while Brooks was talking about his doctor, and the holistic housewife explains that she's been trying to help him - even referring him to her own doctor at City of Hope, but her efforts to help have been rebuffed as he's chosen to go a different homeopathic route. There's also been some miscommunication as to whether Brooks has requested his medical records or he has them in the neatly color-coded binder Vicki put together. It's all a little confusing.

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With confusion in the air, Meghan informs Shannon of the psychic's allegation that Brooks doesn't have cancer. Shannon is visibly stunned, and calls the comment potentially life-damaging in her confessional. Tamra is quick to add that he's not always right about everything (contrary to her earlier claims in the episode), and reiterates in her interview that it wasn't appropriate information to share because now the accusation has officially become a topic of conversation. Heather corrects everyone by repeating the psychic's exact words, but the ball is already rolling and there's no stopping it. Tamra asks if the other 'Wives noticed Brooks slip of the tongue - obviously no one missed it - and reminds them that Brooks' past is littered with sketchy behavior. However, they all agree that no one in his or her right mind would lie about having cancer, and Tamra ends the gossip session by telling the other girls that they shouldn't talk about it with Vicki. Heather agrees that the whole thing is really none of their business.

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Cut to Vicki and Brooks arriving to his birthday dinner with the Beadors. Being his birthday, Brooks immediately orders alcohol, which Shannon finds concerning considering the amount of sugar in the drink that will simply fuel the cancer. Little red flags are being raised all over this episode when it comes to the veracity of Brooks' cancer. As he orders a second cocktail, Shannon admits in her interview that she's having a hard time putting on a happy face when she's armed with this potentially damaging information from Meghan that Vicki and Brooks don't know. She asks Vicki to go to the bathroom with her, which the OG finds strange to do in the middle of dinner but goes along at Shannon's insistence. Once away from the table, Shannon starts tearfully explaining that she loves Vicki and Brooks and she doesn't want to screw up his birthday, but that something happened after they left CUT Fitness. She gets as far as explaining that Meghan said something that wasn't good about Brooks when Vicki cuts her off and goes back to the table, not wanting to have any drama go down on his birthday. Too late for that. Vicki brings the conversation back to Brooks and David, reiterating that whatever the gossip is, she doesn't want to know about it. By this point, Shannon's in tears trying to explain that this is exactly what she didn't want to happen and she was just trying to be a good friend. Her efforts to sweep the accusation back under the rug are unsuccessful though, and Vicki is getting angrier and angrier, demanding to know why Shannon's crying when she's not. Shannon admits she screwed up and should've kept her mouth shut, and Brooks tries to remind his girlfriend not to shoot the messenger, but it's officially too late. Vicki stands up in a barrage of expletives and starts lashing out at Shannon, saying Brooks doesn't need any more negativity to come as a result of dating her. From Vicki's perspective, Brooks has been put through the ringer and she won't sit by as yet another attack on him is brought into the show's narrative. Shannon tearfully insists that she gets what her friend is saying, but Vicki storms out with Brooks, ending the dinner in shambles. Watching the couple storm away, David puts it best: that wasn't good at all.

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 7 - Bowling in Heels

Glenn Rowley

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We're now seven episodes into the season and the storyline is finally starting to pick up again after taking a moment to regroup from the tears, tragedy and life changes of the past couple episodes. The residual aftershocks are still being felt, particularly for Vicki, but it was nice to see the women get together this week for some laughs and good times. 

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This week starts off with Shannon at the gym, ready to get in shape and shed some pounds. She explains in her confessional that she and the scale have become good friends as of late, since the "freaking thing keeps going up." Determined to lose weight, she heads to Pacifica Wellness for her first training session. According to the gym's scale, she clocks in at 134 pounds, which may not seem like much but is about 15 pounds over her usual weight. As is typical, Shannon is no holds barred when putting her life in front of the cameras, and it's pretty brave to disclose your weight on national TV. Equally brave was lifting her shirt to expose her stomach on camera - that's something I wouldn't do at this moment and I don't have to fit into a bikini. Shannon's toning her body up for the first time at age 50, and it's a painful process, or as she describes it "a freaking nightmare" and "pure hell." Way to go, sister. Now I need to hit the gym.

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At CUT Fitness, the exercise professionals are also busy at work. To combat a dip in sales, Tamra and Eddie are branching out into the world of fitness videos. However, working together is starting to create friction for the couple: Eddie thinks sex sells and likes the producer's idea to film "quickie workouts" but Tamra's against it. Once they get in front of the cameras, the two start getting on each other's nerves and bicker over how to film their opening lines. Everything Eddie does, from hand gestures to introducing Tamra to saying his own name manages to come out wrong. Tamra asserts that Eddie treats her like an employee when she's at the gym and warns viewers in her confessional that working with a spouse isn't all it's cracked up to be. 

Meanwhile, Vicki's decided to hire a medium to try to gain some closure over her mother's passing. Brooks and her brother Billy are at the house for the session and she's invited Tamra and Shannon over as well. While they're waiting for the medium to arrive, Shannon asks Brooks how his cancer treatments are going. Post-chemo, he's stuck to a juicing regimen and has lost over 40 pounds in five weeks. Shannon's recommended a doctor who combines a holistic approach with Western medicine to help treat Brooks' cancer, and is frustrated that Brooks hasn't taken her up on the offer yet. 

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The medium arrives and announces that they'll be having a big old-fashioned séance. Vicki explains that she doesn't typically rely on the paranormal, but if the experience gives her some peace, how could it hurt? Tim, the medium, reminds everyone to keep an open mind, but Tamra is skeptical. In her interview, she says she believes in mediums - and even goes to one - but also believes that there are plenty of sketchy fakes out there who take advantage of people's grief. Once the séance starts, the medium connects with Joanne's spirit and begins delivering messages about everything from her dental work and Billy's need to do a cleanse to her grandson's new tattoo. However, when Tamra's questions the medium on the type of tattoo, he glosses over it, somewhat passive-aggressively calling Tamra's interruption "cross-interference." Now, mediums have a storied history on the Housewives (Alison DuBois, anyone?), but this guy seems far from convincing.  

At the Edmonds house, Meghan's learning how to effectively stepparent. With Jimmy splitting his time between Orange County and St. Louis, Meghan has the primary responsibility to take care of 17-year-old Hayley. Apparently, the teenager is doing independent study through the public school, but isn't turning in assignments or showing up at school. Meghan does her stepmotherly duty by giving Hayley her weekly $100 allowance and encourages her to save the cash and learn money management skills. In her confessional, Meghan admits that she puts a lot of pressure on herself to parent her stepdaughter well, but hasn't yet gotten a grasp on the job.

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Later, Shannon and David are having pre-Valentine's date night at Mare. The Grey Goose is flowing as Shannon explains in her interview that V-Day hasn't traditionally been the best holiday in the Beador household. Last year, she gave David, who was in the midst of his affair, a gift and a card but got nothing in return. To make up for the failures of Valentines past, David presents Shannon with a shiny Neiman Marcus bag carrying a handwritten card and a gorgeous John Hardy dragon bracelet. (I did some research and the bracelet retails for $3900. No big deal.) David tearfully explains that though they've been through some huge struggles, the two have held their family together and he loves Shannon for that. She reciprocates that while she couldn't imagine sitting together and having this conversation a year ago, she knows fixing their relationship is possible. This storyline has been difficult to watch (it feels like intruding on really private ground), but it was really nice to see the Beadors in love and moving forward in their marriage.

The next day, Heather and Tamra meet to do some exercising on a giant 250-step staircase and catch up on each other's lives. On the beach following the staircase climb, Tamra opens up to Heather about the tensions with Eddie and the gym. She explains that Eddie doesn't like to be bugged or talked to when he's working, and that she feels second on his list of priorities. Heather offers valuable advice on the importance on having face time with your spouse and making your time together meaningful. She also shares the news that she and Terry are in the final stages of developing their line of skincare products, Consult Beaute (no, not the same as Gretchen Christine Beauté...)

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Finally, the ladies all meet up for a night of bowling to reconnect and get Vicki's mind off of the recent sadness about her mom. Meghan's ready to win, but Heather and Tamra are sticking to bowling in heels. Vicki may want bowling shoes by Gucci or Louis Vuitton, but either way the ladies could really benefit from using bumpers. Vicki ends up beating Meghan by a single pin, and is the only 'Wife to break 100 by the end of the night. During the game, Tamra asks Vicki about Brianna, who's still struggling with her mom's relationship with Brooks, and asks Vicki's permission to talk to her about it. Vicki suggests that the duo take Brianna to Vegas to dance on some bar tops, but when Tamra points out that they'd need to hire a babysitter, Vicki reflexively says that her mom can watch the kids. The statement stops the OG in her tracks and she realizes that she forgot for just a moment that her mom had died. The new normal is going to take Vicki a long time to get used to. Shannon also pulls Vicki aside to discuss her concerns about Brooks' health, but Vicki brushes it off by telling her to leave the treatment to the professionals. The OG also happens to remark that she hasn't been to a single one of Brooks' doctor's appointments yet, which seems like a questionable red flag...

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After bowling, the 'Wives meet Lizzie (who missed the game due to a broken rib) for dinner at Costa Mesa hotspot SOCIAL. Heather's ordering food for everyone, Lizzie's wearing an adorable pastel yellow blazer and Shannon's shrieking about the amount of food in front of her, when Meghan announces she's hosting a couples game night at her house for all the ladies during the upcoming week. However, Vicki manages to top that announcement by making a toast to thank the women for their recent support in the wake of her mom's death, and invites them all on a girls trip to Tahiti! More specifically they're going to the island of Mo'orea, but not even Fancy Pants knows where that is or how to spell it. Tamra doesn't know where it is either, but definitely knows it's not in Mexico. Throwing shade at Jesus Jugs! It seems a bit early for the season's big cast trip, but recent events have apparently managed to upend the traditional filming schedule, and the 'Wives could use an escape from all the sadness.

On the limo ride home with Vicki, Tamra announces that she wants to be stuffed like a mannequin when she dies, which seems potentially traumatic for her loved ones, and the limo manages to break down on the side of the freeway. Vicki immediately starts panicking and choking on imaginary fumes, and I can not get enough of this classic Vicki/Tamra situation. 

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Meghan arrives home to an empty house to discover Hayley's unfinished stock market assignment left out on the table. Apparently, being a #coolstepmom isn't going to cut it to motivate the teenager. At first Meghan is angry, but then starts to blame herself and wonder if she didn't work with Hayley enough on schoolwork. In her interview, Meghan tearfully explains that she feels very alone in parenting with Jimmy gone all the time, and has expressed to her husband multiple times that she feels like a failure of a stepmom. When they got married, she really thought she could do this whole parenting a teenager thing, but is now worried she may not be up to the task. 

The episode ends with Tamra and Eddie running through Tamra's new booty workout class at CUT Fitness. After seeing the workout, Eddie incredulously asks if that's all Tamra has come up with, and Tamra finally tells her husband that she might need a little break from the gym. She expresses to Eddie that it feels like he doesn't need her there, and he admits that it's easier when she's not at the gym because it means they don't fight. Tamra explains that she's starting to miss the great relationship they've always had and thinks it's important that they each have their own focus, which is why she's going back to real estate. The couple come to an agreement that Tamra moving her attention away from the gym full-time will be best for their relationship, though she's quick to remind Eddie that it's still a project they share. After all, she owns 51% of the business, which is something Eddie would be wise to remember...

Next week: Tahiti!