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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: stepmom

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 20 - Reunion Part 1

Glenn Rowley

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It's reunion time in the OC! After a season of seemingly nothing but rumors and drama surrounding Brooks and his fake cancer, the 'Wives sat down with Andy Cohen on a soundstage set somewhere in California to rehash the most controversial season yet in Orange County. Thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, we were spared any mention of Brooks, PET scans or the dreaded "c" word during Part 1, which focused instead on much of what happened towards the beginning of the season. As I did with RHONY, I'll split up the three-part reunion by package and topic of conversation. First, let's break down the seating on the couches and the Housewives' reunion looks...

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On the Couches

Seating is a little tricky when there are only five women in the main cast, as there are significantly fewer arrangement options than say, the eight 'Wives in NYC. In fact, as the season raced on part of me wondered if the reunion would simply be 4 on 1, with Vicki on one side of Andy and the rest of the women on the other. Ultimately, the seating chart Bravo decided on - with Vicki and Heather on the left couch and Shannon, Tamra and Megan on the right - was one of the only arrangements that could've worked. The only other option would've been for Tamra and Heather to trade places, but Tammy Sue had much too significant a season to be relegated to the end of a couch.

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Vicki and Shannon are the natural, right picks for the hot seats next to Andy considering that they ended the season at each other's throats with their friendship having self-destructed in a kamikaze of betrayal and hurt feelings. So yes, the seating makes sense. However, my biggest disappointment is that it's honestly not all that different from where the ladies sat last season. Vicki and Tamra have basically traded places, Lizzie's been traded out for Meghan and Shannon and Heather are in the exact same spots they occupied at the reunion for Season 9. It would've been downright revolutionary had production merely switched the couches, with two women on the right and three on the left. I guess the more things change in the OC, the more they stay the same. 

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Ranking the Housewives' Looks

When it comes to reunion looks, the first ladies of the OC are significantly different from the rest of the Housewives in other cities. They generally tend to stick to short cocktail dresses in solid colors, forgoing the floor-length gowns and over-the-top ensembles found in other cities across the franchise. This reunion was no exception. My favorite look this year goes to Heather for her edgy, black Tom Ford number. Her makeup is also ON. POINT. this year – I couldn't stop noticing every time there was a close-up of her face. As for the others, I liked Vicki's pearls, but she might be trying a teensy bit too hard with the angelic white after a season of being demonized. I'm glad Tamra finally moved away from the pink she's worn for the last two reunions, but the tiny stomach cutout makes no sense to me. The color of Shannon's deep purple Yves Saint Laurent dress is simply gorgeous, but runs the risk of looking slightly madame with its conservative cut paired with her jewelry. And Meghan was almost my runner up for favorite look for her red dress mixed with the new brunette locks, but the dress is a basic wrap-dress – too basic to really stand out. Far and away, Heather blows the rest of the ladies out of the water.

Stepmom Wars & Sweeping Judgements

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After a couple of questions about Tamra's granddaughter and Vicki's double nip-slip on Instagram, things kick off with a package about the tension early in the season between Vicki and Meghan. Being a new stepmom may be tough, but being the new girl around the OG of the OC is even harder. Vicki stands by her opinions from Tahiti about what a stepmom's boundaries should be and the difference between biological and stepchildren, but Meghan's defensively points out that since Vicki doesn't have stepchildren, she can't know the difference. Newsflash Meghan, by that logic, you can't understand the difference either since you don't have biological children. Five seconds later, Vicki's backtracking to say she doesn't understand how it all works since she doesn't have adopted or stepchildren, but Meghan's not letting it slide, calling her opinions disrespectful. 

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Tamra and Heather both get dragged into the conversation, with Tamra backing Vicki's opinions as a mom and Fancy Pants being asked whether her friendship with Jimmy's ex-wife Allison is a conflict of interest in her relationship with Meghan. However, she insists the former MLB star and his second wife didn't break up because of the newbie 'Wife, so it wasn't an issue. When the OG and the 30-year-old (31 now!) start arguing over whether Vicki was a hypocrite for gifting Briana a car after she told Meghan to take away Hayley's, Heather puts a stop to the conversation by telling Vicki she can't issue such "sweeping judgements" about how other people should live, parent and behave. Isn't that the entire job of a Housewife though?

Remembering Vicki's Mom

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Next conversation turns to the biggest tragedy of the season - the sudden death of Vicki's mom. Andy asks if Vicki regrets the cameras being there when she found out, but she says she was in so much shock that she didn't even realize the cameras were filming. There was quite a bit of debate on social media about whether the cameras should've gone down and given Vicki privacy, but I feel like the situation was actually treated very compassionately and didn't feel exploitative. For her part, Vicki claims Bravo handled everything very graciously and were nothing but supportive of her in her time of need. At the end of the day, it was Vicki's decision to include the unexpected tragedy in the season's footage because it's what was happening in her reality. She then shares a hilarious story about when her mom was arrested in a TJ Maxx for keying a motorcycle that was riding her butt into the parking lot. Joanne Steinmetz, you will be missed.

Judgey Eyes and CharityGate

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After a funny montage about the Housewives' very specific ordering habits at restaurants, the ladies relive Shannon and Meghan's feud that drove the early part of the season. From being disinvited to the JDRF gala to having "judgey eyes," Shannon couldn't do anything right when it came to Meghan. Andy asks if Shannon thinks she overreacted in Napa with the whole private cell phone drama, but she insists that she stormed away because she knew what Meghan was trying to do. At the time, she had just come from the couples retreat and had a ton of stress on her marriage - the last thing Shannon needed was to get pulled into a brawl with the new girl she barely knows. However, Andy points out that by the end of the season, things started looking up for the pair and Shannon explains that they were tentatively trying to move their relationship forward. Meghan says the turning point was when Shannon went out of her way to make a few calls to get LeAnn, Jimmy's cancer-stricken first wife, into her doctors. At the time, Shannon had no reason to do anything kind for Meghan or her family, but she did it out of the goodness of her heart. Now Meghan loves Shannon! No really, just ask her.

Tamra's Secret Battle

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Part 1 ends with the focus squarely on Tamra, who spent much of this season getting her groove back after a terrible Season 9. After a year of staying silent, Tamra finally opens up on the couch about the nasty custody battle she was going through at the time and how her oldest daughter Sidney cut off contact with her after moving in with Tamra's ex-husband Simon. The process was any parent's worst nightmare, but Tamra chose not to disclose it on the show in order to protect her kids. Knowing everything she was really going through at the time certainly helps put her bad behavior in better perspective. 

xoxo, Jesus Barbie

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The topic turns to Tamra's recent religious conversion and all the changes she's been making in her life. Andy asks what Tamra thinks her former nemesis and outspoken Christian Alexis Bellino would think of her being baptized and Tamra says she hopes Alexis would be supportive. Surprise, surprise, Andy got an email from Alexis the night before the reunion, which she asked to be read to Tamra. In the email, Alexis goes for the jugular, calling Tamra out for not being a good Christian and making a "mockery" of Jesus. According to Alexis, someone's faith shouldn't be put on display for entertainment, signing the note "Jesus Barbie." The ladies are all understandably shocked by this judgmental outburst and Tamra defends herself by saying that Alexis is the kind of Christian that gives Christianity a bad name. If Alexis was such a good Christian, she probably shouldn't be judging Tamra so harshly. And with that, we're left with a cliffhanger until next week's Part 2!

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 9 - Swimming With Sharks

Glenn Rowley

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We're back for a second week in paradise as the OC 'Wives whoop it up Tahitian-style! Or maybe that should be Moorean-style. Mo'orean? I've tried to do some research on the spelling but have come up empty-handed on a definitive answer. Any French Polynesian readers out there who can help me out? Not knowing will honestly drive me crazy. Well, apostrophe or not, I have to say that Housewives across the board have really outdone themselves on vacation this year. From RHOBH in Amsterdam and RHONY in the Turks and Caicos to this OC adventure in Tahiti, all the big cast trips of 2015 have been really fun to watch with equal parts antics, culture and plot. And this trip isn't even over yet! So, let's take a dive into the shark-infested waters the ladies found themselves in this week. 

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We actually do start out in Tahiti, but only for a minute. On route to Moorea, Vicki's dry heaving, Meghan's getting on people's nerves and Shannon was up sick all night. As Tamra points out in her confessional, this vacation is off to a great start. After taking the giant fun ferry, the ladies arrive at their resort and are greeted with leis and a troupe of locals performing a traditional Polynesian dance. This vacation is finally underway. Vicki, Tamra and Heather are escorted to their bungalow huts on the water and the three vets are on a private cul-de-sac of tropical perfection. While Shannon's worrying about mosquitos over the water and fattening food in her bungalow, Tamra's ready to skinny-dip and she's not kidding. Next thing we know, Tammy Sue is topless and jumping into the crystal blue water with nothing but her hanky pankies on. That's one way to break in your new boobs. Meghan joins her for the swim, albeit slightly more covered up. Tamra tries to tempt her into going topless with the argument that they're technically in France, but Meghan's a proudly modest American. Thankfully, Fancy Pants calls the swimmers to dinner before any more nudity happens.

The ladies arrive for their first dinner in Moorea decked out in tropical colors with their hair pulled back and almost immediately their palates are challenged by the slimy scallops, mussels and too-rare meat. The funniest moment had to be Vicki sending her meat back to be cooked more right after she argued that this was a "pre-fixed" dinner, no menu shopping allowed. A close second place was Meghan complaining about how high maintenance these OC women are followed by her choking for air on her spicy food. Classic Housewives juxtaposition.

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While the women are on vacation, Brooks has apparently gotten all the guys together for dinner back in the OC and eventually, the dinner conversation turns to his cancer treatment. Meghan asks Vicki if he's still doing chemo, but the OG explains that he has to decide this week whether to continue the treatments and is leaning towards ending them because he thinks the chemo will kill him. Before the cancer does?, Lizzie wisely asks. Tamra thinks Brooks should continue the chemotherapy, but Shannon points out in her confessional that it's not a decision of chemo or nothing. There are other, more holistic treatment paths, and Shannon thinks it's about time for Brooks to meet her doctors. Either way, Tamra points out in her interview that it's probably not a great decision to cease chemo treatment when you have Stage 3 cancer, particularly after only a few rounds. This is all rather ominous foreshadowing of the drama to come surrounding Brooks, Vicki and the cancer during the second half of the season.

Moving the topic away from her boyfriend, Vicki informs Lizzie that she has a present for her in the form of two different early detection pregnancy tests! After her admission that she might have a bun in the oven, Lizzie's eager to find out how much fun bussing she can handle on this trip. Retreating to the bathroom in Vicki's bungalow, Lizzie's peeing on a stick and Vicki is requiring a detailed play-by-play through the door. Eventually the results appear and...Lizzie's not pregnant! Time to sip some champs and get to partying!

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The next morning, all the women are ready for an adventure, but only after Vicki deals with the 160 emails in her inbox. Even Vacation Shannon has emerged from her deathbed ready to rock. While waiting to be picked up by their boat, Meghan brings up her living situation again, saying in her interview that she's had to sacrifice seeing Jimmy's younger kids half the time by living in California. Vicki once again starts an argument about the definition of a mother by telling the newbie that it's different when they're, you know, actually your own kids and insists that Meghan doesn't really get it. But have you actually been a stepmom?, counters Meghan as she starts getting teary-eyed. Taken aback, Vicki rather harshly points out that there's nothing to cry about, Meghan just can't know what it feels like to be a mother until she has kids of her own. In her confessional, the OG claims that, being a newly-married stepmom, she finds Meghan's attitude disrespectful to moms - the thirty-year-old needs to find her place. In the midst of the escalating conversation, Meghan insists that it's a really personal issue and the other women simply don't know the complexities behind being a stepmom. She tearfully complains that she's constantly reminded that she doesn't have kids of her own, and sticks a giant foot in her mouth by saying she wishes she was their real mom. Yikes. But you're not, Tamra bluntly points out, which is followed by an uncomfortable beat. Thankfully, the boat finally shows up and the conversation gets swept under the rug. 

Personally, I think both sides of the argument are valid, and Vicki, Tamra and Meghan simply can't see the other side because each woman has never been a stepmom/biological mother. It's lose-lose for everyone with Vicki looking unnecessarily harsh and Meghan looking naively out of line. 

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This crazy excursion Vicki has booked for the afternoon involves swimming with stingrays and "tiny" sharks. In the open ocean. No thank you. The local guide promises it's perfectly safe and that the sharks don't bite, but this does nothing to put the shrieking OG's mind at ease. When she put the activity together, Vicki assumed that the wild sea predators would be far away to look at, not right up close and personal. As Shannon puts it in her confessional, this isn't a stingray farm. They're actually going into the wild with stingrays who can kill the ladies with their tails. The rest of the women jump right in but Shannon and Vicki stay planted in the boar. How do you know they won't eat you? Also, are sharks mammals? Eventually, the heat wins out, prompting Shannon to get into the water, but not before Vicki frantically makes sure the Beadors have a life insurance policy. Vicki tentatively follows and only lasts about three seconds before she's screaming bloody murder clinging desperately to the guide with Shannon wrapped around her. I was ugly laughing at this point. Vicki Gunvalson, please never change. 

With that activity checked off the bucket list never to be done again, the ladies arrive back on land and head to a pizza place. While stuffing themselves with "bread and cheese and bread and cheese," Shannon calls home to find out that one of her twins managed to fracture her foot while TP'ing a house during their first sleepover. These are the kinds of things that happen when David is left in charge. However, Shannon claims in her interview that had she gotten this type of phone call a year ago, she would've ripped David's head off. However, the new and improved Beadors will handle a little setback like vandalism as a team. 

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That night, the women split into two groups, with Heather, Meghan and Lizzie and her flower crown heading to the Moorea Beach Club for dinner and Vicki, Tamra and Shannon staying in at the hotel bar. According to Vicki, the whoop it up dream team has now been assembled and the three blondes manage to get completely plastered on the Moorean twist on fireball shots: straight whiskey with ice and a lemon circle as garnish. This was definitely a language barrier miscommunication, but it led to plenty of hilarity from the three as they kissed, laughed and chugged alcohol like they were back in college.

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Meanwhile, the brunettes and Meghan are having a much deeper conversation at dinner as the newbie brings up the mothering conversation from earlier. Meghan feels slightly attacked, saying that Vicki never seems to address her kindly and admits to getting emotional around the other women. From her perspective, Vicki and Tamra are implying that her love for her stepkids will never be on par with their love for their biological kids, which is kind of how it's coming out. Ever the mediator, Heather sticks up for Tamra, explaining that it's a sensitive topic after her lengthy, ugly custody battle with Simon. Fancy Pants wisely points out that this is a battle Meghan will never win - Tamra will likely never even say "I see your point." Back at the hotel bar, Vicki claims to be confused by Meghan's point of view and Tamra agrees, saying that if Simon's girlfriend said the kinds of things that had come out of Meghan's mouth earlier, she would feed her to the sharks. The newbie's friendship with Heather also gets called into question by the veteran 'Wives and Shannon, who all find it odd for Fancy Pants to be friends with both Meghan and Jimmy's second wife Allison. According to Shannon, this is a huge violation of the girl code - you don't go hanging out with the new wife if you're friends with the ex-wife. (The girl code is popping up across the franchise this year...maybe Shannon will make a guest appearance on the remix of Countess Luann's new song?)

By the time Heather, Lizzie and Meghan arrive back at the hotel, the other three are completely wasted and have officially won the unofficial battle of which group can whoop it up more. Clearly these old women have been channeling their inner thirty-year-olds, Meghan snidely points out in her interview. The episode ends with Vicki, Tamra and Shannon fully clothed in the pool. Maybe they had one too many? Woo-hoo!

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! 

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 6 - Full Circle

Glenn Rowley

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This week, we had a relatively drama-free episode with lots of real life happening for the OC Housewives. It's almost as if someone hit the pause button on the narrative that was starting to build with the trip to Napa and CharityGate between Shannon and Meghan in episodes 3 and 4. As has been reiterated time and again by many 'Wives in many interviews, sometimes your real life intersects with "reality" and that's the case here. Who would've guessed that the milestone tenth season of the franchise's original show would feature death, birth, healing a broken marriage and the circle of this crazy thing we call life? This is part of why I love reality TV, you can't predict where life will lead you over the course of filming. Nothing's mapped out and everything's a surprise. 

The episode opens with Tamra and her mom Sandy packing to go to Roseville, where Tamra's going to become a grandma! Ryan's fiancé Sarah is nine months along and due any day, so the mother-daughter duo are going up for the big occasion. Tamra's already planning on spoiling the kid rotten, she's even got boots with the fur ready to go from circa 2008. She proclaims in her interview that she's going to be the hottest grandma in the OC. Maybe that's the real reason she got her boobs redone?

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Meghan, meanwhile, is bonding with her stepdaughter Hayley during a session of paddleboard yoga. That's definitely a combination I wasn't expecting. I can barely balance on land let alone the ocean's surface. Meghan explains that she makes it a priority to go out and do cool things with her stepdaughter because she wants to strengthen their bond and also help out Hayley's mom LeAnn, who's battling aggressive colon cancer. The new 'Wife thinks of herself as a cool stepmom because she's young and hip and can talk about Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter #stepmomhood. Because she's so much closer in age to 17-year-old Hayley, Meghan feels she can maybe communicate and identify with her better than the other adults in her life. At this point the yogi instructor gets the two up into a pro pose, at which point Meghan promptly face plants onto her paddleboard and falls into the icy Pacific.

At what looks like the same time, Heather and Lizzie (yay Lizzie!!) are meeting up for sushi. Since our favorite Sun Kitten couldn't make it to Shannon's bunco party, Heather fills her in on the events of Vicki's mom passing away. Meghan's also recapping the sad news to Hayley, and tearfully explains that she saw the situation as if looking through a lens at Hayley. She points out that the disparity between Vicki's mom's sudden passing and Hayley's mom's cancer battle is that Vicki was 50 when she lost her mom, Hayley's having to face that prospect at 17. Back at the sushi restaurant, Lizzie points out to an emotional Heather that when all else fails, you have your family and that's what life is all about. This statement turned out to be an appropriate theme for the episode as a whole. Tamra also explains in her interview that the situation seems unfair: on the same day she's welcoming a new granddaughter into the world, Vicki's saying goodbye to her mom. The circle of life is sometimes a wholly incomprehensible thing. 

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At her house in Coto, a devastated Vicki is packing for her trip to Chicago for her mother's funeral. With the pain still fresh, her mind is running in circles as she processes her loss. One minute she's talking about wanting to look pretty for her arrival and the next, she's falling apart in Brooks' waiting arms. In her confessional, Vicki describes feeling lonely and lost, and is sad that her boyfriend can't come with her for support. The doorbell rings and Tamra and Eddie have dropped by to lend support. At seeing her friend, Vicki breaks down again and it's genuinely touching to see Tamra console her. These two have been through so many ups and downs, but when push comes to shove, they're like sisters. Vicki tearfully explains that her mom was supposed to come out to California in one month to take Briana, Ryan and the kids to Disneyland. She bursts out that "people can't die when you have plans!" Vicki's completely serious, but even in her darkest moments this woman is making me chuckle. Tamra offers Brooks support while Vicki's in Chicago, and explains in her interview that Vicki's family doesn't approve of Brooks, so he can't go to the funeral with her. Whether viewers love Brooks or not, it's terribly sad for Vicki to have to go through such a painful experience without her boyfriend or best friend by her side, as Tamra also points out. After a quick prayer between the two couples, Vicki proclaims that Tamra can't ever get mad at her again, because her mom liked Tamra so much. The tragedy definitely seems to be putting any unimportant pettiness into perspective for the OG.

At the Dubrow rental house, Heather's helping Nicky with a school project, and the preteen is having a very similar reaction to building a (model) house as Terry has to building one. Plenty of moaning all around, despite the seven-minute reprieve Fancy Pants gives her son as the glue gun warms up. Collette, the youngest Dubrow child, comes downstairs requesting goldfish and chips but definitely not a kiss from daddy. Heather says in her confessional that Coco is a smart girl, and knows it bugs Terry when she withholds affection. It turns out Coco's personality is much more like Heather's and the four-year-old is bothered that Terry's not around as much with such a demanding schedule. Coco has officially become the Milania of RHOC.

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Shannon and David are returning home from some sort of father conference in their white Range Rover and (coordinating?) black leather jackets. There seems to be quite a bit of leather in the Beador wardrobe. Upon walking in the door, the couple promptly explain to their waiting kids that they've been learning about how fathers need to listen to their children, and David starts oversharing about why Mom was so mad at Dad all morning...and afternoon...and last night. He explains to the kids that he didn't respect her enough to call her when he said he would. Shannon rightfully shuts down the conversation and confronts David in the kitchen about the somewhat obvious fact that there are some things you don't need to share with the kids. According to her interview, the girls have already been through enough with the cheating scandal, and they don't need any more negativity in their lives. Especially if it's about something that will make Shannon look "silly." Apparently, there were far deeper issues that caused the fight, as Shannon discovered more betrayals, and demanded her husband compile a list of all the restaurants where he took his mistress so she wouldn't have to suffer through added humiliation. Shannon tearfully explains in her confessional that every time she finds out another piece of information, it's like getting a new knife to the heart. Shannon and David have both repeatedly said in interviews that they chose to make their marital issues part of their storyline in order to help other couples, but it's starting to feel as ill-considered as both seasons of True Tori.

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Meanwhile, Tamra and family are up at 4:12 a.m. in Roseville to take Ryan's fiancé to the hospital for her C-section. It turns out Ryan's already a stepdad to Sarah three other daughters: Brookelynn's 11, Emily's 10 and Ella is 5. On the drive to the hospital, Tamra reminisces about having Ryan as an 18-year-old and having no idea what to expect when it came to having a baby. Aside - I must say, Ryan and his incredible beard are really doing it for me right now. Tamra exclaims in her confessional that with three little girls and a baby on the way, Ryan has no idea what he's in for. It's crazy to think how much his life has changed since the days he was trying to hook up with a 'naked wasted' Gretchen in a closet. 

Back in Orange County, Meghan and Hayley's mom LeAnn are arriving at the Surf & Sand Resort to set up the pre-party for the teenager's Winter Formal. As they check into the California suite, Meghan reflects in her confessional on how much fun the fanfare always was surround high school dances: parents taking pictures, figuring out where the afterparty was and who was buying the alcohol? Meghan is determined to make the night a bonding experience so that Hayley can have a special experience with her mom. Just as Jimmy and LeAnn's husband Donny show up, Hayley's friend calls to inform the parents that Hayley somehow managed to forget her dress. In her interview, Meghan points out that with such a non-traditional family unit, it's extremely rare to have exes and new spouses get along as well as the Edmonds clan. (Also, I'm dying over her interview look with the green top.) A sullen Hayley arrives with friends in tow, stressed and blaming her mom for forgetting the dress. Teenagers, amirite? 

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By five in the afternoon, Ryan and Sarah's baby has been born, and it looks like Tamra may have delivered on her promise of getting a GoPro into the hospital room for Ava's birth. Ryan cuts the umbilical cord and the baby looks kind of gross covered in bodily fluids, but apparently she's perfect? Having never been in a delivery room, I'll take the doctor's word for it. Soon after, Ryan brings baby Ava out to meet Tamra, Sandy and the girls. As Tamra reflects on her firstborn having his firstborn, she says the moment feels overwhelming, precious and reminds her that she's getting old. She holds the baby for the first time and proclaims her entire world changed and cries classic fake Tamra tears over meeting her granddaughter. 

Back in the California suite, Jimmy is moving a bunch of little rich girls' designer purses while Meghan is munching on a chicken skewer and giving a pep talk to a moody Hayley. The teenager is coming off like a petulant, spoiled brat and Meghan tries to explain that she has no idea how lucky she is. Meghan and LeAnn have put so much work into this pre-party and aren't getting so much as a thank you. Even a surprise professional photographer taking their pictures on the beach barely registers a reaction out of Hayley and her friends. As Meghan points out in her interview, this is all for you and this is how you're acting? Teenagers are lame. Finally, the girls' dates show up and Meghan wisely explains that it's important to capture these moments because, with Leann being sick, there's no way of knowing how many the family has left. 

Vicki's back from her mom's funeral in Chicago, which gratefully wasn't filmed. Bravo took quite a bit of heat last week for airing the moment Vicki heard the painful news, and it's best that something like a funeral was kept private. While unpacking, Shannon calls and Vicki recaps the funeral services to her friend. She describes the service as the most surreal experience she's ever had, and apparently picked her mom's body up out of the casket to sob. Shannon promises 24/7 support and urges Vicki to sit down and take a breather. After all, no one body can handle this much stress. 

At the Dubrows', Heather is showing her kids pictures of Ava and haranguing them for dinner. Coco's throwing a tantrum over ice cream and Fancy Pants points out in her interview that, with the kids getting older, there are a lot more emotions and activities going on in the house, which takes more work. Retreating to another room, she calls Tamra with champs in hand to wish her congratulations and starts planning a get-together for all the girls. With so much craziness going on in their lives, Heather wants to get all the 'Wives together do something silly and help take Vicki's mind off of her mom. 

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Meanwhile, Shannon visits Vicki with a holistic gift bag of Umcka, a homeopathic remedy for grief and a rescue remedy for calming in hand. Vicki just wants to know if it will bring her mom back. The pair sit down and Vicki tells Shannon about Tamra's new grandbaby. Shannon looks hilariously less than enthused at the news, saying she already got a picture via text from her frenemy. With the conversation on Tamra, Vicki explains that while she and Eddie came to visit, Vicki's guard is still up. At the same time, she also recognizes that Tamra has a soft heart and is human and prone to mistakes. Drawing the talk back to Vicki's grief, Shannon asks what she can do to make the situation better. However, Vicki's already figuring out how to cope, and is determined to meet with a medium, though she keeps pronouncing it 'median'. As the wife of a heavy highway contractor, Shannon knows that the concrete slabs in the middle of the highway probably don't talk to dead people, but she doesn't take the time to correct her friend. 

Back in Roseville, Tamra is preparing to leave her cowgirl-themed child's room to go home to Orange County. Her tears start up again and Ryan promptly tells his mom to stop crying, which is possibly one of my favorite things he does on this show. Tamra explains in her interview that she always felt like a failure as a mother because of Ryan's past choices and mistakes, but watching him with his newborn daughter and family, she knows she's raised a good son. Ryan brings up that he wants to move back to Orange County; Roseville just doesn't feel like home. Tamra is naturally ecstatic over the suggestion and promises to help make the move easier however she can. Promising financial help without consulting Eddie spells trouble, but she'll pretty much do anything to be in close proximity to her new granddaughter. As Eddie calls to check in on the new dad, Tamra exclaims that she's just glad the baby wasn't born with a beard, thank you Jesus! Wait. Is Melissa Gorga hiding somewhere in the OC?