Queen for an Episode: The Real Housewives of Orange County – S12E11

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O.C. finally turns the burners on for its most explosive episode yet. Settle in, have a vodka soda. Feel to use the WiFi. The password is 9L3m0ns1b0wL.

Who needs their parts reduced this week?

7. Meghan: I would say she should be a Friend Of, but whose Friend is she Of?

6. Lydia: God help me, I tried with Lydia. I wanted so badly to like her, both in deference to her original righteous season of Smiting Slade Smiley and just to prove the haters wrong. But, sadly, Lydia sucks. I don’t know if she sucks now, or if she always sucked and it was only by explicit comparison to haunted Malibu Stacy dolls like Gretchen Rossi and Lauri Peterson that she escaped detection the first time. But she sucks.

I do buy into her basic observation that Shannon feels threatened by the idea of a Vicki/Tamra reunion, but… why shouldn’t she? Vicki is a woman who manipulated both Tamra and Shannon before, who perpetrates lies that are unconscionable even by the standard of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and whom no sensible person would ever speak to again. It baffles me that among the literal vessels of Satan that comprise this cast, Lydia has so singlemindedly locked in on Shannon Beador as the most worthy of her ire. Like, yes, Shannon is annoying, and needy, and has the general demeanour of a cartoon hen whose egg has been stolen in a Foghorn Leghorn short. But she’s basically a good soul, whereas everyone else is a toxic mutant occasionally capable of aping pro-social qualities. I don’t get it.

5. Kelly: I’m not sure how Kelly’s incredibly half-hearted attempts at playing the peacemaker have allowed her to skate by so far. Looks like hitching her star to Vicki Gunvalson is finally paying dividends. She was just a season too early. Kelly Dodd: a woman ahead of her time.

4. Tamra: Needs to make Shannon Beador feel appreciated. In a world where Tamra’s grasp on the crown is slowly slipping to Vicki Gunvalson of all people, Tamra needs to make sure her lone remaining soldier is fed and happy. Maybe send her an Edible Arrangement of just vodka.

3. Peggy: Peggy felt a lot like the grout in the mosaic of Kelly’s boob reduction party, filling in the gaps between the shinier gems with a nice foundation of generic stankness. I haven’t yet figured out what’s wrong with her, but at this point I don’t really care. Let her be the grain of sand in Shannon Beador’s shell. A pearl will come of it eventually.

2. Vicki: Another star performance from Vicki Gunvalson, chair of the Coto Insurance Ethics Committee. Vicki is in the rare position of having something like broad respect among the group (at least 50% of the cast is firmly on her side, a staggering number I still can’t wrap my head around) but absolutely no credibility with either the producers or the audience. So Vicki’s rants are depicted as they are: the unhinged ravings of a delusional narcissist so far divorced from reality she might as well be attending Kelly’s tentacle reduction party on the planet Zorp.

The person Vicki has most reminded me of in the wake of Cancergate is Chris Brown. Both did a bad thing, both seemed to grasp that an apology was expected of them, and both persistently melt down when people continually hold them accountable for the bad thing they did, seemingly oblivious that the apology needs to be accompanied by meaningful personal change in order to be worth anything. One of the best exchanges of the episode is when Steve tells Vicki she can’t expect everyone to like her and Vicki very earnestly mewls back, “why?” The woman has no fucking clue. And as we’re all devastatingly aware by now, an idiot in power is a dangerous thing.

1. Shannon: By contrast to my ramble above, I won’t subject you any meaningful analysis of Shannon’s performance in this episode. I’ll merely comment on the sheer velocity with which she bombed through three consecutive scraps with Vicki, Peggy and Lydia at the party. The hat trick is a commendable feat, especially when, as with Shannon, you manage to inhabit the right side of all three arguments without ever saying anything right. Kadooze to Shannon Beador, our weepy MVP.

Next week on The Real Housewives of Orange County: Shannon launches her new restaurant project, This *IS* My Fucking Plate.

2 thoughts on “Queen for an Episode: The Real Housewives of Orange County – S12E11

  1. I was rooting for Lydia too, but I just did a rewatch of season 8 and sadly, she was always like this. It wasn’t as obvious back then, but it was there.

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