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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: heather dubrow

RHOC Season 11 Wrap-Up

Glenn Rowley

rhoc-season-11

Season 11 of The Real Housewives of Orange County has finally, thankfully come to a close. After 18 episodes and one three-part reunion filled to the brim with shrieking outbursts, abuse rumors, ambush accusations and one freak accident in a dune buggy, I'm breaking down what made the season memorable and what could change for next year. Plus, find out where it stacks up against season past in my annual season rankings! 

WHY IT WORKED

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  • The redemption (and re-crucifixion) of Vicki Gunvalson: The biggest reason to tune into the beginning of Season 11 was to see how the OG of the OC would recover from the last year's fake cancer debacle. Finding herself on the outs with all the other 'Wives, Vicki began the season on her very own personal apology tour, seeking a clean slate with her friends. The OG's efforts were fascinating to watch - while some of the women chose to forgive her and move on, others (like former bestie Shannon Beador) were hesitant to jump back into a friendship with Vicki. But slowly, Vicki successfully managed to reintegrate herself into the group, and by the time the ladies took off to Ireland, all was relatively right between the OC 'Wives. However, Vicki's friendship with newbie Kelly Dodd came back to bite her when the rookie revealed damning gossip the OG had shared off-camera about both David Beador and Eddie Judge. And by season's end, Vicki was once again an outcast, with most of the other women vowing to never let her back in.
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  • Kelly Dodd, drama magnet: If there's one thing newbie Kelly Dodd was good for this year, it was stirring up trouble. Though she was brought into the group by Meghan King Edmonds, the rookie consciously bonded with Vicki and alienated the other women with her juvenile jokes, quick temper and crass behavior. Round after round, she feuded with virtually all the other 'Wives - from accusing Shannon of setting her up at the 70's party and turning the sushi night into a shouting match that pushed Heather Dubrow over the edge to instigating the infamously dark and nasty bus ride in Ireland and attacking Tamra Judge as a mother. By reunion time, Kelly even took things a step farther by essentially rescinding any apologies she had made throughout the season and standing by almost every bit of her bad behavior towards her costars. 
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  • Fancy Pants in the mud: While she's always been my personal favorite Housewife in the OC, it's safe to say that Heather Dubrow had a fairly easygoing season last year. Sure she was affected peripherally by the fake cancer controversy, but all in all Fancy Pants built her mansion, launched her sparkling wine and hawked her and Terry's new skincare line. This year it was much more entertaining to see Heather right in the middle of the drama - whether she was standing up to Kelly's "low, base bullsh*t" at the sushi dinner or facing off with Meghan in the dramatic aftermath of the Glamis accident and #HospitalGate.
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  • A hooley kickin' Irish adventure: Top o' the mornin'! Personally, I loved the ladies' vacation this year to the Emerald Isle. It was a unique change of pace and Meghan King Edmonds' desire to explore her Irish heritage was the perfect excuse to go somewhere other than the typical tropical island graced by OC Housewives getaways. From the moment they arrived, the trip was full of drama - from the pub crawl turned brawl between Tamra and Kelly and the Naked Wasted 2.0 scandal to the bus ride from hell that tore the group dynamic to shreds on the way to the airport. However, the trip was also full of laughs and great moments, including the women milking cows at the landmark Bailey's farm and Vicki getting her flirt on with every Irish man in sight. 

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE

Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

  • Mean girls and bullies: As the drama in Ireland raged, I was shocked to see fans all over social media turning on Tamra, Heather and Shannon - labeling them a clique of mean girls with Kelly cast as the poor, bullied outcast. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how this narrative was formed, but it's safe to say that no one came out of the season with their hands entirely clean. Over the last two seasons, life in the OC has gotten so toxic that I come away from every episode with a serious case of Orange County fatigue. Let's stop with the labeling, the bullying and the classic strategy known as the "OC gang-up," shall we?
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  • Kelly Dodd, horrific Housewife: While newcomer Kelly fueled the drama this season like a gallon of gasoline dropped onto a forest fire, I seriously question the impact the rookie had on Housewives as a brand. Honestly, there aren't many 'Wives who come across as legitimately, genuinely terrible people, but Kelly took the franchise to a new low with her vulgar outbursts and vicious attacks throughout the season. (Not to mention the inexcusable bashing, fat shaming and bullying she did to fans on social media while and after the show was airing.) As a self-proclaimed expert on all things Housewives, I have to say that Kelly's inclusion in the cast dragged the entire show down and brought out the worst in the women around her.
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  • A lagging second act: The season both started and ended strong, but a number of episodes in the middle sure were rough. The fallout of the Glamis accident was fascinating but once Heather and Meghan made up at their summit dinner, we were subjected to Shannon's terrible mother-in-law, Kelly crying over her toxic marriage at Glen Ivy Spa, Vicki's ill-advised partnership with a cancer charity and Meghan throwing a party to open a candle store in a mall. Snooze. No thank you. I'll take brawling in Ireland over a completely disengaged Jim Edmonds any day.
Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

  • Cast shake-ups: As I mentioned above, the dynamic between the first ladies of Bravo has gotten so toxic and angry, that I've reached the conclusion that it's time for a major casting shake-up, a la RHONY Season 5. Could it be time to axe half the cast and move forward with a cleaner slate to reset the show? I say yes, but the question then to be asked is who should stay and who should go? By reunion time it was crystal clear that Meghan had mentally and emotionally checked out, making it a foregone conclusion that she's making her exit and taking baby Aspen with her. Personally, I'm completely over the back-and-forth between erstwhile besties Vicki and Tamra. We get it, you hate each other, it's never going to be like it was. However, as Vicki screamed at the reunion, RHOC is "her" show and the only way she's leaving is if she wants to. So, if we can reasonably assume that Vicki's sticking around for Season 12, that puts a major target on Tamra's back as the 'Wife most likely to be unceremoniously ousted. Kelly is also up in the air. A week ago I would've said she was a shoo-in but after her husband attacked Andy Cohen on Twitter, now I'm not so sure. So, partly as wish fulfillment I'm going to say next season's cast will be Vicki, Heather, Shannon and two new girls. Kelly may sneak in there too, unfortunately, but maybe my wish will come true that she's a one-and-done.

SEASON RANKINGS

  • Season 8: To me, the eighth season serves as the high water mark for the OC in terms of pure entertainment value. The cast was perfect and the season's storylines carried over from the previous year to give viewers a real sense of closure on the Gretchen/Alexis chapter. The addition of Lydia McLaughlin as a rare sixth Housewife was a perfect fit, and the return of Lauri Peterson ushered in the new era of OG Housewives returning to the franchise. Also, there's no denying that the visual of Vicki Gunvalson screaming "I HAVE NEVER BEEN WITH MULTIPLE PARTNERS IN MY LIFE!" at the top of her lungs while dressed as a snow bunny on the slopes of Whistler was pure Housewives gold worthy of being inducted into Bravo's Hall of Fame. The season also gave us what I consider to be the best, most dramatic reunion in RHOC's history - rainbow of dresses included. Plus, you know a season is particularly special when Bravo decides it deserves its own behind-the-scenes Uncensored special.
  • Season 7: This season ushered in the Golden Age of Orange County. Heather Dubrow joining the show added the class and real wealth - as well as a brunette voice of reason - the show so desperately needed. It's a season I love re-watching and it gave us plenty of classic Housewives moments including the "pretentious intervention" of Alexis Bellino in Costa Rica, the bunco party explosion between Vicki and Gretchen decked out in full 80s garb, the introduction of Brooks as the OG's shady boyfriend and what has been arguably the best season finale in OC history (#BowGate and evil eyes anyone? "YOU WERE MY FRIEND, MY SOULMATE, MY SISTER!"). The current success of RHOC can be traced back to this memorable season.
  • Season 9: Losing Gretchen, Alexis and Lydia was a bit of a reset for the franchise and moved the show in a new direction. However, Shannon Beador and Lizzie Rovsek were definitely the right replacements for the departing veterans and the Canadian newbie. After a slow start, the season really picked up at Shannon's Christmas party with drama between Heather and Tamra and Heather and Shannon, which eventually led to the epic "take the Beadors down" clash between Heather and Terry and Shannon and David at poor Lizzie's ill-fated beach house dinner party. The scandal surrounding David's email (and off-camera affair) added real weight to the season and the trip to Bali was a gorgeous, exotic experience that left me aching to visit. 
  • Season 5: Three words will explain my love for this season: Loony Lynne Curtin. Plus, this year was the end of Jeana Keough's time as a Housewife, introduced Alexis to the series and featured the 'Wives running around in masks at Vicki's sleepover TP'ing Jeana's house. We watched Lynne and her family get evicted from their home, Tamra's marriage to Simon implode and the girls take a weekend getaway to San Francisco. Easily the best season of early, pre-Heather Orange County.
  • Season 11: Yes, this season was an improvement on last year, but still failed to catapult itself into the upper echelons of the OC's season rankings. Blame Kelly Dodd.
  • Season 10: Last year, I said in my wrap-up that I was burnt out from this season. Unfortunately, my feelings haven't gotten any more positive with time. Brooks Ayers' fake cancer debacle took over the show like an actual cancer, to the point that we're still dealing with its effects two years later. 
  • Season 6: The sixth season was a major weak spot for the franchise. Peggy Tanous was boring and it was nausea-inducing to watch her and Alexis fight over Jimmy the Chin Bellino and one-up each other season long. Equally gross was being subjected to Tamra's naked bathtub make-out session with Eddie. That and her lesbian fling with Fernanda Rocha are both things I don't ever want to relive. Tamra throwing a glass of wine at Jeana in the finale is often cited as an epic moment in Housewives history, but I found it to be forced and inauthentic. Just my opinion.
  • Seasons 1-4: At this point, the early seasons of the show all kind of run together as the series getting its feet under it. Memorable moments include Tamra and Vicki plotting to get Gretchen "naked wasted" in Season 4, Vicki's family van tirade, the Bass Lake controversy surrounding Gretchen's relationship with Jeff, the OC Angels smackdown and Lauri's fairytale wedding to George Peterson. Oh and obviously the classic moment where Vicki showed up at Michael's frat house to surprise/humiliate him in front of his college friends. Classic Vicki moment right there.

With that, my coverage of Season 11 in Orange County is over. What were the best and worst parts of the season for you? Who do you think should come back next year? Let me know in the comments!

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 11 - The Moral Minority

Glenn Rowley

heather-dubrow-rhoc

This week on The Real Housewives of Orange County, the ladies' accident in Glamis draws battle lines over who's right, who's wrong and who should have visited Vicki in the hospital. In a surprise about-face, Shannon and Meghan find themselves on the outs after making an unpopular decision. Read on for a full breakdown of this week's injuries, hurt feelings and shifting alliances...

shannon-beador-meghan-king-edmonds

The episode begins 3.5 hours after last week's freak accident on the sand dunes of Glamis, and Tamra Judge is being released from the local hospital. Thankfully, she didn't sustain any major injuries and got the OK from the doctors to return to the camp with strict orders to rest and recuperate. Meanwhile, Shannon Beador and Meghan King Edmonds are hitting the golf course with their husbands at the Edmonds' vacation home in La Quinta. Inexplicably, Meghan waits until the couples are a few rounds into golf before informing Shannon about the accident the other ladies were in. Naturally, Shannon is shocked to hear that her friends just suffered from a near-death experience and in a case of near-perfect timing, Heather Dubrow calls to fill her in on the drama.

heather-dubrow-real-housewives-of-orange-county

Fancy Pants tries to relay just how bad the accident was, but when she explains that Vicki Gunvalson is all alone after being airlifted to Palms Springs Regional Hospital, she's met with an awkward silence. Neither Shannon nor Meghan has any interest in rushing to their frenemy's side. Meghan even goes as far as to suggest that Heather and Kelly Dodd go visit Vicki, after all they are the ones who've decided to be the OG's friends again. Heather balks at this suggestion, pointing out that Glamis is almost three hours from Palm Springs, while the blondes in La Quinta are only 45 minutes away. Sensing an argument on the horizon, Heather abruptly hangs up, utterly baffled at her friends' reaction to the fact that Vicki is alone in the hospital.

shannon-beador-rhoc

Later that evening, a shaken Tamra returns to the campsite at Glamis while the Beadors and the Edmonds sit down for a quiet dinner in La Quinta. Naturally, the dinner conversation circles quickly around to Vicki's injury. Both women question how serious the OG's condition could possibly be and when Meghan whips out some pictures of Vicki being loaded onto a stretcher in a neck brace, Shannon is just about speechless. But not quite. She can't believe she's seeing the pictures on Meghan's phone and claims that if she had just been in a major accident, the last thing she'd be thinking about is getting a good selfie for sympathy.

kelly-dodd-rhoc

Meanwhile, the other ladies are bonding as they FaceTime Vicki back at the sand dunes. High on morphine with no one but a camera crew to watch her, Vicki is slightly loopy but will be released that night once her tests are finished. Thank goodness the OG of the OC will be a-OK. In a shocking turn of events, the accident has also softened Kelly's hard feelings toward Heather. Thanking Fancy Pants for staying so calm and collected in the aftermath of the dune buggy roll, Kelly admits she misjudged Heather and - are you ready for this? - actually apologizes to her! The two brunettes hug it out and agree that they've both given each other a fresh start.

meghan-king-edmonds-vs-tamra-judge

The next day, the trip to Glamis finally draws to a close. Now that she's up to speed on all the drama following the accident, Tamra decides to give Shannon and Meghan a piece of her mind over the phone. After painting a picture for the two about just how bad the accident was, Tammy Sue is stunned that her fellow 'Wives could be so heartless and refuse to drive 45 minutes to be there for Vicki. Meghan immediately gets defensive with Tamra, shooting back that she doesn't appreciate the accusation she didn't care about Vicki's wellbeing and argues that it didn't make sense for her to visit the OG when they're not actually friends. Tamra rightfully fires back that the younger 'Wife certainly didn't seem to mind going to Vicki's birthday party at the Merv Griffin estate just a few episodes back. With that, Tamra dismisses the entire argument, curtly telling Meghan to "go to hell." Oh snap!

vicki-gunvalson-neck-brace

Back in the OC, a shaken Tamra decides to postpone her fitness competition on account of the bulging discs in her back while Meghan heads to Vicki's house with her proverbial tail between her legs. Bringing the OG an apology gift in the form of a candle from her and Jim's new candle line, Meghan tearfully apologizes for not coming to the hospital and being a good kinda-friend. Vicki and her neck brace graciously accept her frenemy's apology, but can't resist questioning why it would take a near-death experience to finally get some of the compassion she's been craving for the past season-and-a-half. 

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Meanwhile, Shannon meets Tamra and Heather for dinner. Word has reached both ladies that Meghan's been going around town saying Tamra was reckless and at fault for the accident, and neither is too pleased that Shannon seems to be on Team Justice Train. Tamra even comes right out and asks Shannon point blank if she's upset that Vicki has suddenly become the victim again thanks to the accident. Shannon decides the best course of action is to backpedal, explaining that she and Meghan didn't understand just how bad the accident really was, and claims that - had she known - she would've been right at Vicki's side in an instant.

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Finally, the episode concludes with Heather meeting Meghan for a classic summit lunch at Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach (also known as the setting for the infamous black and white party in the very first episode of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County). Heather confronts Meghan right out of the gate, saying she hears the younger 'Wife is bugged at her for the entire game of telephone following the accident. In defending herself, Meghan certainly doesn't do herself any favors by calling Heather "theatrical" and "patronizing" within just a few sentences. But Fancy Pants isn't letting Meghan off the hook either, and claims the moral high ground compared in the debate over Meghan's comments over not being Vicki's friend and doubting Heather's version of events. Because friend or not, the right thing to do would've been to get in the car, drive 45 minutes and be there with Vicki in the hospital. End of discussion. Thankfully, Meghan eventually apologizes for letting Heather down and the two manage to make up, but boy was it a rough road getting there...

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Who's in the right? Should Meghan and Shannon have visited Vicki in the hospital? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 7 - Something's Fishy

Glenn Rowley

heather-dubrow-rhoc-season-11

The Real Housewives of Orange County descends into madness this week as a celebratory party for Meghan becomes a screaming match between Kelly, Heather and Tamra. Lines are crossed, vulgarities are spewed and one 'Wife takes a stand against the new girl on the block. Read on for my complete recap of all the insanely unpredictable drama... 

real-housewives-of-orange-county-kelly-dodd

We start the episode with Tamra Judge, who's invited Kelly Dodd over to help put together origami party favors for the upcoming sushi party. Tamra's put the whole event together to celebrate Meghan King Edmonds' impending pregnancy, since she won't be able to drink alcohol or eat sushi until after the baby's been born. Kelly, however, is much more interested in rehashing her issues with Shannon Beador, which have escalated immensely since their blowout fight at the 70s party two episodes ago. The newbie has bluntly concluded that Shannon "isn't [her] kind of girl," but Tamra cautions her not to judge so quickly. Yes, Shannon's had issues over the years with virtually every other woman in the group, but Tamra promises that if she'll just give it time, Kelly will see what a good person the holistic Housewife is. The rookie isn't interested though, and wants to stay as far away from Shannon as possible the next time all the ladies are together.

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Once Kelly leaves, Tamra calls Meghan to go over the party's guest list. However, the IVF treatments must be making the younger 'Wife more hormonal than usual because she throws a tantrum the second Tamra mentions that all the girls will be there - including Vicki Gunvalson. Despite sharing what she called a "moment" with Vicki at the 70's party, Meghan flat-out does not want the OG "shoved down [her] throat" the day before she gets pregnant. This declaration leaves Tamra baffled, since the mom-to-be had told her to invite Vicki to the party literally the day before. So which is it?? When Tamra suggests that she'll just disinvite Vicki, Meghan takes her fit even further by pouting that they might as well just cancel the whole thing. She'd rather stay home and sleep anyway. With the patience of a good Christian, Tamra chalks this outburst up to Meghan's wonky hormones and promises to take care of the entire thing, but the party's still happening whether Meghan wants it or not.

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Meanwhile, Heather Dubrow is busy continuing to build her empire. Taking a break from overseeing the construction of the Dubrow Chateau, Heather's doing an appearance on daytime talk show The Doctors fresh off her trip to Washington D.CIn her confessional, Fancy Pants explains that she's finally figured out the work/life balance that allows her to have it all: she's writing a book with Terry, hosting TV gigs like Botched Post Op, building the new house and doing her PodcastOne podcast, Heather Dubrow's World, all while being the wife and mother that holds the Dubrow family together. Now if only she can get Terry to achieve the same balance and appreciate his responsibilities as a dad more...

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Back from D.C. as well, Meghan pays a visit to Shannon's sports medicine doctor at Pacifica Wellness for help with alleviating her discomfort associated with IVF. However, when Tamra and Shannon crash the appointment, conversation naturally turns to the guest list for the fast-approaching sushi party. Since their phone call, Meghan's softened to the idea of Vicki coming to the party - which comes as a relief to Tamra as the hostess but is downright baffling to Shannon. The holistic Housewife pointedly calls out her friends for gradually loosening up on the hardline stance they'd adopted as a group towards the OG. Rumors circled in the media following Season 10 that the other 'Wives had banded together and were refusing to film with Vicki, and while that's obviously not true it's clear the women had multiple conversations about not letting Vicki back into their lives. But from Shannon's perspective, it seems the OG is slowly but surely slithering her way back into all of their lives. Shannon may have been the last one standing in Vicki's corner last season, but it looks like she might be the last one refusing to give in this year.

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That evening, Vicki goes to Kelly's expansive beach house for dinner. While Vicki promptly gets stuck in the house's elevator, Kelly's ready to vent about her issues with Shannon from the 70's party. The more she's stewed over the "set-up," the angrier she's gotten and now Kelly's translated Nina's comment to mean that she's a prostitute. (Seems like quite a specific, though slightly understandable, interpretation of "I don't have to suck d--k to pay my bills.") In fact, the newbie informs Vicki that she even shot an angry text off to Shannon, warning her that she's planning to sue Nina for slander and defamation of character. After reading the text message, Shannon promptly calls Tamra to inform her of this new litigious development and accuses the veteran 'Wife of sitting on the fence by not going to bat harder for Team Shannon. A storm of drama certainly seems to be brewing, even if everyone's supposedly "made up" in the wake of the vicious 70's party fiasco.

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Just in time for Meghan's big sushi party! The mom-to-be has begrudgingly allowed Tamra to invite Vicki to the party, and the OG comes bearing an olive branch in the form of a baby gift. Vicki explains via confessional that all she wants with Meghan is polite peace - she's not looking to be "friends, friends, friends" any time soon. Once the rest of the ladies arrive, Shannon's seated as far away from Kelly as possible, but the tension is immediately palpable between the two. Inadvertently, Meghan manages to kickstart the drama by asking Kelly how her lunch with Shannon went in last week's episode. At first, Kelly says she's fine with the veteran 'Wife (she just hates her friends), but quickly unravels when Shannon overhears the conversation. 

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Before anyone can count to ten, Kelly's face is red as a blotchy tomato and she's spewing profanities and calling Shannon the "c-word." From the newbie's perspective, she's simply defending herself from the slanderous accusations of Jaci and Nina, but she's gone completely off the rails and attacking Shannon isn't doing anything except make her look mentally unhinged. Tamra attempts to mediate, pointing out to Kelly that if what Jaci and Nina were saying is false, she should just let it go. After all, is it really affecting her life? At this, Kelly blows up even further, screaming that Tamra is a "dumb f--k," and now the rookie's managed to either offend or shock basically everyone at the table. (To the credit of her newfound Christianity, Tamra manages to keep herself from jumping across the table and ripping Kelly's throat out. Maybe she really has found Jesus?)

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Heather, however, is completely repulsed by this outburst of Kelly's and has had enough. Rising from the table, Fancy Pants puts her foot down, proclaiming that Kelly's behavior is nothing more than "LOW. BASE. BULLS--T!" and orders the rookie to leave the party if she's going to continue acting so psychotically. Kelly is taken aback by this demand and curtly refuses, pointing out that Heather's not the hostess and doesn't have the right to dictate the guest list. Well, if the person screaming vulgarities and calling her friends names won't leave, then Heather is out. Taking a stand, she storms out of the party while Kelly attempts a half-hearted apology to Shannon and Tamra for her vicious name-calling. (Accroding to Kelly, that's all it should take to make up for the chaos she created ten minutes prior.) Tamra urges for everyone to have compassion for the clearly disturbed newbie, but Shannon is setting a clear boundary. After being attacked by her new co-star three times in less than a week, she's seeing evil in Kelly's eyes and vows to steer clear from now on.

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In the limo on the way home, an overwhelmed Heather breaks down in a flood of tears. Calling Terry, she fills him in on the whole blow-out fight and claims through sobs that she's never been around someone so vicious and vulgar before in her life. She doesn't want to be associated with this new 'Wife who's elbowed her way into the group in any way. Meanwhile, back at the cleared-out sushi party, Kelly's back to "normal," sipping champagne and making fun of Heather to Tamra and Vicki. Apparently in addition to being a loose cannon, she's also a comedian! Can you blame Heather and Shannon for not wanting anything to do with this volatile newcomer?

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Were you shocked by the sushi party screaming match? Are you Team Heather or Team Kelly? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below...

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 4 - Frozen Assets

Glenn Rowley

meghan-king-edmonds-pregnant

This week on The Real Housewives of Orange County, Kelly's beach party continues with an icy face-off between Shannon and Vicki over the future of their once-close friendship. Plus, Meghan takes the next step in her IVF journey and Vicki's daughter Briana deals with a major health scare. Read on for my full recap of all the drama...

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After last week left off with Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge's heart-to-heart on the beach, it's time for Kelly Dodd's party to move inside. (Inside meaning her gorgeous four-story beach house.) Vicki's apology tour is going full speed ahead now so, emboldened by Tamra's super-Christian forgiveness, she immediately pulls Shannon Beador aside to repeat the process. However, if the OG is expecting the same result from Shannon, she's rather sorely mistaken. Shannon explains that she's forgiven her former friend for last season's cancer scandal, but refuses to believe that Vicki had no idea Brooks Ayers was lying for a year and a half. Furthermore, Shannon vehemently defends herself against Vicki's assertion that she made the scam about her - the holistic Housewife did nothing of the sort. In fact, she was the last one standing in Vicki's corner while the evidence against Brooks continued to pile up. The OG even starts getting emotional in her apology, but the tears won't work on Shannon. She doesn't want the friendship back and she's not budging. 

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The women retire to Kelly's gigantic closet to help Meghan King Edmonds give herself her second IVF shot and while they're sure to move the Gucci scarves away from the blood, they can't escape the lingering drama with Vicki. The OG mopes her way into the closet close to tears and, backed up by Kelly's inane cheerleading, whimpers that all she wants is to be friends with the other 'Wives again. Of course, this plea is met with terse silence until Meghan pipes up that she and Vicki were never actually friends to begin with. So...awkward? Vicki maintains that she just doesn't have the energy to be at conflict with the entire group anymore, and leaves the party in tears. Will we ever be able to move on from Season 10?

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The next day, Meghan and her husband Jimmy go to the doctor's to pick up a cryogenic tank filled with the sperm samples he froze seven years ago before his vasectomy. It's both exciting and strange for Meghan - particularly considering that she and Jimmy didn't even know each other when he froze his swimmers. After driving the tank to the fertility clinic, the couple arrives back at home to the mountain of paperwork required for the IVF treatments. Since Jimmy will be away in Florida for work, Meghan's mom is coming into town for her bloodwork appointments and egg retrieval procedure. Ever the absent husband, Jimmy doesn't seem to care much that he's missing so many steps of the process, and his lack of involvement is starting to wear on Meghan's maternal patience.

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Meanwhile, Vicki's daughter Briana is in the midst of a full-blown medical crisis. After battling health issues for years - including a recent post-op infection in her leg, Briana suddenly started having trouble breathing. As Vicki rushes her to the hospital, the situation gets so dire that they end up calling an ambulance on the way. Briana is being loaded onto a stretcher and taken away in the ambulance, and lo and behold, none other than Tamra's son's ex-fiancé happens to be in the parking lot to see the whole crisis unfold. What are the chances of that? Tamra the Christian swears on the Book of Proverbs that Jesus put Sarah in Vicki's path to help during the emergency. Either way, it's a miracle she happened to be at that particular gas station because she's able to watch little Troy and Owen at Vicki's house while the OG rushes to the hospital. (Side note: how crazy is it to think of how many crucial moments Bravo's cameras have been there for in Vicki's life?)

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Later, Kelly heads to Meghan's house for a night of drama-free girl talk and champagne. Naturally, the topic at hand is the tension between Vicki and the other 'Wives from Kelly's beach party, and the newbie is quick to defend the OG. She was specifically bothered by Shannon talking to her about the entire convoluted situation at the beach, which seems inexplicable considering that she's already involved herself in last year's drama. As her friend, Meghan tries to advise Kelly to stay out of the mess and keep her mouth shut, but the rookie asserts that she has the right to voice her opinion if everyone else is going to continue talking about it. Once again, Kelly starts rattling off all the wonderful things she's seen in Vicki and deliberately chooses to ignore Meghan's advice, dismissing it as typical millenial self-absorption. Huh? Does 31-year-old Meghan even qualify as a millenial?

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While Heather Dubrow oversees the construction of the home movie theater in the Dubrow Chateau, Shannon meets Tamra for lunch at Tortilla Republic. Over butter- and sauce-free pieces of grilled chicken (yuck), Tamra fills Shannon in on Briana's health crisis. Shannon immediately questions why Briana came back to Orange County without her husband, and posits that it may be because Vicki bought her a house. (Keep in mind, Briana needed access to better medical care from her team of doctors in the OC...) Both openly wonder if there were strings attached to Vicki buying Briana a house. Hmm...

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It turns out the lymph nodes in Briana's chest were so enlarged that they were compressing her lungs, making it difficult for her to breathe. However, Shannon and Tamra are already moving to the next subject: Shannon's upcoming 70's-themed party. Not wanting anyone to feel left out like she was last year (a la Meghan's charity event last season), Shannon's decided to extend a tentative olive branch to Vicki in the form of a backhanded invite via email. She reads the draft she's come up with aloud, and Tamra is quick to point out that starting the message with "Although I've made it clear I'm not interested in pursuing the friendship we once had..." is a tad bit passive-aggressive. Tamra helps Shannon reword pretty much the entire email and once it's reached an appropriate level of civility, the message is off to Vicki's inbox. Next week's 70's party is going to be nothing short of explosive...

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Has Shannon truly forgiven Vicki? Is Kelly overstepping her bounds by getting involved? Let me know in the comments section below!

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 3 - Lies in the Air, Sand in My Hair

Glenn Rowley

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This week, The Real Housewives of Orange County gather for a beach party thrown by newbie Kelly, where Vicki and Tamra attempt to hash out last season's drama once and for all. Can the OG truly make amends with her one-time soulmate and sister? Plus, Meghan starts IVF and Heather finds the world's fanciest kind of ice. Read on for my full recap of the drama...

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We begin this week's episode in Oklahoma of all places, or as Vicki Gunvalson referred to it in Season 9, "the forgotten state." Her daughter Briana is finally moving back to the OC, so Vicki's flown out to help her road trip back with grandsons Troy and Owen. (Briana's husband Ryan is still employed by the Marine Corps, so he's staying behind temporarily to put the house on the market and move everything.) The reasons for Briana's return to Orange County are twofold: first for better medical care with her team of doctors in California and second because Vicki bought the young family a new house. Always the level-headed voice of wisdom on the show, Briana has struggled with her health for years - battling a cancer scare in Season 7, having lymph nodes and her thyroid removed and now healing from an infection in her leg as the result of a surgical complication. She's on strict doctor's orders not to fly, which means she and Vicki are in for a 23-hour road trip from Oklahoma to Orange County with two toddlers and a car full of luggage. Still recovering from surgery, the long drive is no walk in the park for poor Briana, who spends much of the excruciating trip in pain. Thank goodness the OG of the OC was there to help lighten the mood and play grandma to the boys.

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Back in the OC, Meghan King Edmonds is officially begin her IVF treatments. Since her husband Jimmy is off in Florida for MLB spring training, Meghan's creating a video diary to document her first round of shots for him. (Though I suspect it's really just a clever way to get the footage for viewers rather than for Jimmy.) Apparently, IVF involves a series of shots that have to be injected every day to help the ovaries grow, which doesn't exactly gel well with Meghan's deathly fear of needles. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror with a syringe in hand, it takes the mom-to-be roughly 11 minutes of psyching herself up before she's able to give herself the shot. It's a small, personal victory that brings Meghan to tears, but it's also the first of many to come, so she might as well get used to overcoming this particular phobia. 

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That night, Heather Dubrow, Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge meet newbie Kelly Dodd for dinner at Casa Ranchero. The meal is a chance for the veteran 'Wives to get to know Kelly a bit better, especially considering that the initial impressions she made at Heather's yacht party and Meghan's kitchen demolition have been a mixed bag at best. However, Tamra almost immediately puts the newbie on the spot by forcing her to tell Heather she had lunch with Vicki. Oh boy. This is not the best way to get on the rest of the 'Wives' good side Kelly. Once again, the other ladies air their grievances about the OG, trying to give the rookie some context about why they feel the way they do, but to no avail. Really though, Kelly would be better off staying out of last season's fray, no matter how much she sees herself in Vicki. In other news, Heather also informs the women about the upcoming party to celebrate the launch of her and Terry's book, but Kelly interrupts to invite them all to a beach party at her house. So the beach party comes first, I guess...

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While Vicki is playing supergrandma for Briana - who's been admitted to the hospital - Tamra's training for her fitness competition at CUT Fitness with Mia, her personal trainer/unofficial priest/spiritual mentor. Tamra explains that with so much chaos going on in her life, the fitness competition gives her something she can actually be relatively in control of. She's still concerned about the relationship drama between her son Ryan and his fiancé Sarah, but Mia reminds her to pray and give it all up to God because remember Tammy Sue's still a Christian now. (Side note - am I the only one who just can't help but wonder what Alexis Bellino thinks of it every time Tamra brings up Jesus on the show?)

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Meanwhile, Heather's still busy singlehandedly overseeing the construction of the Dubrow Chateau. The house still isn't finished, but she's finally getting to shop for the fun things, like $7,300 pizza ovens for the backyard and a 54-inch grill that her chef can use - Terry doesn't flip burgers. Most importantly, Heather's making the final decisions on which shapes of ice each refrigerator and ice machine will produce throughout the house and settles on fancy hexagonal ice for the subzero freezer. Who knew there were so many options for ice? I mean, hexagonal ice is apparently jewelry for your glass!

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It's beach party time! All the ladies descend on the beach that basically serves as Kelly's backyard for an evening of food, fun and a little bit of volleyball. As the hostess, Kelly has thought of every single detail and I must say, the party looks gorgeous and relaxing. Heather's sporting a "Brunettes vs. Blondes" t-shirt while Shannon arrives in full beast mode, ready to crush the competition in any game the gang is going to play. But of course, all eyes are on Vicki as she waltzes into the party, the last to arrive. Heather's the first to make conversation with the OG, asking her for an update on Briana's health now that she's been released from the hospital, but Shannon avoids Vicki like the plague - adamant that she has nothing to say to her former buddy.

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As the golden hour approaches, Vicki and Tamra find themselves alone and sit down for a much-needed heart-to-heart. Vicki opens up to her longtime BFF that she's still trying to heal and move on from the "sh--storm" that was last year, but admits that she misses having the other 'Wives in her life. Tamra bluntly counters that she still doesn't believe there was any possible way Vicki couldn't have known Brooks was faking cancer. Yet, Vicki continues to maintain that she was innocent in the cancer scandal and Brooks pulled the wool over her eyes just like he lied to the rest of the world. Tamra points out that she thinks Vicki lied because she wanted everyone to like Brooks and feel bad for him - specifically citing the OG's admission at the Season 10 reunion that she fabricated the story about Terry Dubrow and the IV. However, Vicki still claims she was simply blinded by love and this conversation is turning into a never-ending hamster wheel. Please, can we just get off yet?

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Tamra presses Vicki to just be honest, and questions why - out of all the other 'Wives - she would ever choose Brooks over her best friend. There's way too much blame shifting going on, but eventually an overwhelmed Vicki starts breaking down in tears and admits that Tamra is right. She meekly, tearfully asks whether Tamra can forgive her, and making the decision as a good Christian, Tamra says she can. The episode ends with Tamra encouraging Vicki to continue trying to make amends with her friends no matter how hard it may be. And with that, we're slapped with a "To Be Continued" and will have to wait until next week to find out what happens next...

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Should Tamra forgive Vicki? Is Kelly wrong for getting involved in last season's drama or is she just trying to integrate herself into the group? Do I need hexagonal ice in my fridge now? Let me know in the comments!

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 2 - Making Friends But Not Amends

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of Orange County, the new girl cozies up to Vicki but makes a strong second impression on the other girls at Meghan's demolition party. Plus, Heather jets off to Turks and Caicos for some much-needed family time with Terry and the kids. Read on for my full recap of this week's drama...

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The episode picks up right where the premiere left off: in the midst of Vicki Gunvalson's conversation with Heather Dubrow at the latter's yacht party. Vicki asks Heather for forgiveness regarding Brooks Ayers's fake cancer scam last season and just wants to be friends again, but Fancy Pants isn't letting her off the hook that easily. Heather rightfully points out that she doesn't care what the OG's ex-boyfriend did, she only cares about Vicki's involvement in the lies. Vicki still stands by her claim that Brooks lied and pulled the wool over her eyes as well, though none of her fellow Housewives believe that story. However, Heather graciously ends the conversation by reiterating that she cares about Vicki and advises her to talk to each of the girls to individually make amends. What the other 'Wives do with Vicki's olive branch is up to them. The OG bursts into tears on the way home, telling former Housewife Jeana Keough that she just doesn't want to talk about it anymore. No more Brooks. No more cancer. No more medical records. Can't everyone just leave the whole mess in the past and let her try to be happy again?

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The next morning, while newbie Kelly Dodd engages in the classic mother/daughter warfare of getting Jolie to school and Heather's packing for the Dubrow family's trip to Turks and Caicos, Tamra Judge is dealing with her own family drama. It turns out that things aren't all sunshine and romance for her son Ryan Vieth and his fiancé Sarah Rodriguez. In fact, the fighting has gotten so bad that Ryan's moved out to an apartment while Sarah continues living in the house Tamra spent $8000 on last season with the four girls. Ryan explains to his mom that most of their fights revolve around petty issues like Facebook and Instagram, but truthfully I'm too busy staring at his incredible beard to focus on all the details. Of course, Tamra's husband Eddie is less than pleased to learn that his wife is starting to get involved in Ryan and Sarah's drama and demands she stay out of it. Any bets that Tamra will do what Eddie said and take a step back from the family drama? Didn't think so...

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Apparently it's February in Orange County, because Shannon Beador and her husband David are celebrating Valentine's Day at The Ritz. Watching the couple during dinner, it's clear that the Beadors' marriage has come so far in the wake of David's affair. However, David's still not quite the perfect husband, as evidenced by Shannon unwrapping her Valentine's Day gift from him. Upon seeing the slightly garish pearl necklace, Shannon's face freezes into a deer-in-headlights smile as she assures David that she loves it. (According to her confessional, David has a long history of picking out gifts that his wife would never buy herself and this seems to be an extreme instance to add to the list.) But hey, at least Shannon continues to wear the necklace she so clearly hates through the rest of dinner. And that, folks, is what true love's about...When the yacht party comes up, Shannon makes it clear that she has nothing to say to Vicki - she has no intention whatsoever of rebuilding any sort of friendship with the OG after last year's cancer scam. According to Shannon, forgiveness means moving on, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have to go back to being BFFs.

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While Vicki hosts a Chamber of Commerce mixer at Coto Insurance back in the OC, Heather's soaking up family time in the Turks and Caicos sunshine. Their trip to the Beaches resort looks like a total dream, and includes a full-service butler named Ainsworth for the length of their stay. This family vacation is particularly important to Heather, who explains in her confessional that Terry says yes to so many things when it comes to work that he barely ever spends time with the kids anymore. Heather laments that her husband is missing the kids growing up, but in his own confessional Terry sheepishly admits that he doesn't actually feel all that bad about working so much. He's more creatively and professionally fulfilled than ever. Plus, someone has to pay for the Dubrow Chateau, right? Ouch. I guarantee that's not what Heather was hoping to hear when she watched this episode back to write her Bravo blog.

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Despite Meghan King Edmonds' warning at the yacht party, Kelly decides to cozy up to Vicki by asking the OG to lunch. Vicki's "whoop it up" radar goes off when it comes to the new girl, and the two women immediately bond over their love of having fun and the fact that they share a height and a shoe size. Vicki also opens up about her love life, lamenting that she's been alone for seven months since she broke up with Brooks. However, Briana and the boys are moving back to Orange County from Oklahoma soon, so she won't be alone for long. I for one find it hilarious that Kelly pretends not to know anything about Vicki's relationship with Brooks, considering that last season's scandal made national headlines all over the internet. Give me a break. My mom even knows what happened with Brooks and she's never seen a single episode of any show in the franchise.

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As an excuse to get together, Meghan invites Shannon, Tamra and Kelly over to help demolish her new kitchen. Shannon arrives as her lesbian alter ego, Deb the Contractor and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Please, please, please let us see more of Deb this season. Donning hard hats and googles, the ladies take turns putting hammers through the walls and sawing two-by-fours and part of me is shocked that no one cut off a finger. Retiring to the sitting room for some champagne in red Solo cups, Kelly reveals to her new friends that she went to lunch with Vicki the day before. Naturally, this is met with wide-eyed stares and awkward silence from the veteran ladies, who are less than pleased that the newbie is deliberately choosing to befriend the one 'Wife on the outs. Then, Kelly takes it a step further by claiming she thought the other 'Wives were "mean" to Vicki at the yacht party. Whoa, Kelly. Slow your roll. Shannon and Tamra curtly remind the new girl that she wasn't around last year, so she has no context for the group's current dynamic and should really stay out of it. This is not a great second impression for the new girl on the block.

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It gets worse. After telling Shannon she found her to be standoffish at the yacht party, she manages to make Tamra cry by asking about her relationship with ex-husband Simon. This naturally turns the conversation to Tamra's estranged relationship with her oldest daughter, whom she hasn't seen or had any contact with in two years. Tears start to fall as Tamra expresses her fear that she won't be invited to her daughter's high school graduation, and now Kelly's feeling awkward because everyone hates her. Oops. In an attempt to redirect the conversation, Kelly reveals that she and her husband Michael filed for divorce and were separated for two years, but eventually decided to get back together. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, Kelly then drops the bombshell that her husband has  a narcissistic personality disorder, which he discovered after undergoing a 730 psychiatric evaluation. As for whether she loves her husband, Kelly merely responds that he's "a really nice person." Hmm...not sure what you're going for here Kelly, but you're leaving quite an unforgettable impression in just a couple of episodes. What could the new girl possibly do next week?

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Should the 'Wives just forgive Vicki already and move on? Is Kelly setting herself up as a lightning rod or what? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!