First Contact: The Real Housewives of Orange County, Season 8

Let he who has never described his dick size to his girlfriend’s daughter or told her husband to beat her cast the first stone.

Alexis

alexis

Main Storyline: What Alexis lacks in, uh, filming with the other women, she makes up for with such delightful pursuits as Sky Zone, the Bellinos’ trampoline park, and acting courses in which she hones her craft by watching Olsen twins films.

Pros: I’m not sure anything in the Housewives canon is as surprising as Alexis managing to get in goo…well, relatively good with the other women after the S7-8 transition (which, to refresh your memory, features Jim Bellino threatening to sue Tamra over the phrase “Jesus Jugs” and Tamra subsequently pulling Alexis’s chair out from under her to evict her from a party as her ex-best friend claps in the background). Jesus delivers, what can I say.

Cons: I was initially sad knowing this was Lex’s last season—and don’t get me wrong, it’s never okay to fire Alexis Bellino, and this show did it twice—buuut…was there a better case scenario here? She got four full seasons, culminating in a redemption arc in which Tamra calls her a good person. Tamra!!! In 99/100 Housewives universes Alexis is dumped out unceremoniously on her ass, universally loathed by cast and audience alike (and, again, this initially happened with her first firing post-S7) so I suppose I can accept the fleeting beauty we’ve all been gifted by God.

Gretchen

gretchen

Main Storyline: As we rumble into Year Four(!!!) of Smiley/Rossi marriage indecision, Gretchen sees the ax looming and, in one final, beautiful moment of emasculation, panic-proposes to Slade via a shitty autotuned song and a helipad. And now they’re married, of course,

Pros: When you start to see the tide turn against her at last, and know her days are numbered…ooh if I could bottle that feeling. I think I fell in love with Andy Cohen briefly at the reunion when he asked Gretchen whether she considered anyone in the cast to be a friend and she looked like she swallowed a highball glass. The relitigation of Jeffgate after five years is also some beautifully byzantine shit.

Cons: GRETCHEN ROSSI GET OUT OF MY LIFE. I’m sick of your squawking. I’m sick of your fake-ass singing career and cosmetics career and pretending to be even remotely human career. I’m sick of SLADE FUCKING SMILEY like my GOD when Jo and JJ and the global economy stuck the stake in his heart back in 2007 he was supposed to stay dead and yet Gretchen just haaaad to recite that Sumerian curse to resurrect him as her penniless golem minion God DAMN it. I’ve never in my Housewives viewing career encountered someone so plainly infuriating, with such a bad personality, despite her nominally being in the right in a majority of conflicts she’s had. She’s just so full of shit always and she’s on the wrong fucking show. You wanna make a bad dinner theater adaptation of Newlyweds go right fucking ahead and do that shit on YouTube, but do not suck up time that could otherwise be spent watching Vicki carp at service folk or Tamra dance around the legal definition of libel. BYYYYYYYYEYEYEYEYEYEYYYYYYYEEEEE.

Heather

heather

Main Storyline: Agonizingly mundane marriage woes, then guest shots on Hot in Cleveland and a Reba vehicle that is already history by reunion time.

Pros: Heather’s admittedly tolerable, even enjoyable, when training her fire on Gretchen (“I feel I’ve been a proponent of all your varied….careers, including the acting…thing…which…if you’re saying you’re not trying to do that, that’s…fine…”). She’s also indirectly responsible for Wendie Malick and Betty White cameos on a Real Housewives episode, which is inherently amusing.

Cons: As a child of divorce, I’ve seen every variant of Boring Marriage Argument, so I reeeally didn’t need to watch Heather and Terry act out numbers 43, 49, and 116a.

Lydia

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Main Storyline: Spends the early season nagging her mom to stop smoking weed—not a position this site even remotely endorses—before transitioning into the more constructive pursuit of Slade-bashing.

Pros: Spreading the Good News of Alexis to unbelievers like Tamra and Heather was pretty righteous, I must admit, and she also saw Slade for the demon he is. Perhaps there’s something to religion after all.

Cons: Still, choosing Christianity over weed? Your loss, sis…

Tamra

tamra

Main Storyline: Tamra uses her downtime from wedding planning for wacky pursuits like capriciously flipping from Gretchen back to Vicki and randomly forgiving Alexis for…well it’s never really clear that Alexis actually did anything to her ever but y’know water under the bridge regardless right???

Pros: Tamra couldn’t move plot forward better if she had a storyboard at her disposal, but then again maybe she does? Anyhoo nothing in history will ever be more gratifying than Gretchen proposing to Slade, then she gets fired and *Tamra* gets the wedding spinoff.

Cons: I’ve been quite clear about my position on body horror, so I was not down with the extended segment about Tamra leaving a piece of her tongue on the wall of an ice bar in British Columbia.

Vicki

vicki

Main Storyline: Vicki’s Season 8 is characterized by her attempts to use gossip and alcohol to pry Tamra away from Gretchen (successful!) and to use wheedling and maternal guilt to get Briana to accept Brooks (very, very unsuccessful!!!).

Pros: Here we are in 2013, and Vicki is screeching at Lauri across a Canadian ski slope because Lauri spread threesome rumors about her as revenge for Vicki forwarding a slanderous email from Lauri’s husband’s ex-mother-in-law to Jeana Keough to disseminate as gossip circa 2007. I love historical epics. Anyway, to set the record straight, yes, Vicki and Donn cheated on each other constantly, and no, it’s not hypocritical that she accused Gretchen of infidelity, it’s just ironic.

Cons: Woof Brooks. I mean don’t get me wrong, Briana eviscerating him for an entire Reunion Part is glorious, epochal television, but on a human level what the fuck are you doing Vick. (Oh right…”human.” My mistake.)

Next time: Beador.

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