Five episodes to watch while calculating the perfect cocktail of pills to keep you comfortably in denial.
Welcome back to The Essential…, where I propose five episodes that embody the perfect madness of one special Housewife. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the chronically underrated Lynne Curtin. In many ways, Lynne represents every reason I watch this show. On the lighter side, she’s charmingly wacky and often genuinely hilarious. On the darker side, hooooly shit. The saga of the fall of the Curtin family is one of the most comprehensive, textured, scathing indictments of the American dream ever, from a franchise whose entire cast spent the mid-2000s short-selling their homes. It haunts me even still. Get ready for some cuff love: here’s five hours you have to watch.
Lynne’s first meeting with the women is predictably disastrous. You can also look forward to Lynne refusing to disclose her age on camera, and some truly insipid teenage drama about who gets to wear a certain white dress. The latter paints a tidy miniature portrait of the Curtins, a family that channels their legitimate heartbreak and angst into a series of petty conflicts about material things because it’s the only language they know how to speak.
S04E08: “Naked Wasted”
Better known for Tamra’s stunningly amoral ambush on Gretchen, this episode features problem boozing of another kind: the Curtin girls get wasted in a bowling alley while Lynne and Frank idle nearby, wondering what happened to their mysteriously missing wine. Fun fact: the Lynne era of OC featured a permanent end-credit disclaimer in which Bravo disavowed underaged drinking.
S05E05: “Friends, Facelifts and Florida”
Lynne and her daughter Raquel undergo simultaneous surgical procedures, a facelift and a nose job, respectively. The footage of them going under the knife is accompanied by misgivings from Alexa, who was previously reduced to tears of horror when Lynne and Raquel disclosed their plans, and Frank, who frankly (lol) explains that the Curtins can’t really afford the procedures. Easily the darkest and most critical take on cosmetic surgery from a series that regularly glamourizes it.
S05E09: “No Boundaries”
If you’re buying into Lynne, you’re buying into the Curtins as a unit, each of whom has a legitimate case for being the most tragic. This episode is about the youngest Curtin, Alexa, who was always the most affected by her family’s lax boundaries and terrible priorities. Lynne and Frank bring in a “youthologist,” Vanessa, to “rap” with Alexa and get to the bottom of her issues. You’ll be shocked to hear the parents are at the root of it all.
S05E12: “You Can Dish It, But You Can’t Take It”
In a climax both shocking and inevitable, the Curtins are delivered an eviction notice on camera. Lynne and Frank are missing, so it falls to their hungover teenage daughters to accept the papers. Lynne confronts Frank, who reveals that he’s been hiding a critical financial decline from a family that can’t handle the truth. Lynne reels, then buys a $1,200 leather jacket. One of the most brutal, breathtaking endings to any Housewife’s arc.
Typically, I use the end of The Essential… to quickly recommend additional episodes, but because Lynne’s time on the show is so brief, and because it’s such a complete, succinct narrative, I fully encourage you to take some time and just watch her whole run. She has a few scattered, fun conflicts with the ‘Wives — with Vicki, with Gretchen, etc. — but her solo arc is some of the most fascinating, anxiety-making stuff the show has ever offered.