First Contact: The Real Housewives of Orange County, Season 11

In fairness to Vicki, most men are either gay and/or abusive.

Heather

heather dubrow bus ride from hell shannon airport ireland

Main Storyline: The house still. isn’t. finished. Also maybe some shit about Terry never being around to raise his own kids, I feel like that bleeds through every Heather season too, I dunno.

Pros: Served as a very good anti-Vicki mouthpiece in those moments when Tamra and Shannon were too blinded by rage to articulate English-language sentences.

Cons: “Chief of the morality police” indeed, Meghan. Heather’s righteous indignation about the Glamis car wreck was all the worse because it had a medical component, so of cooourse Heather storms around with her MD-by-marriage to deliver nonstop lectures about how serious it all was. (I won’t even address the truly endless house construction as a con because why fight the tides?)

Kelly

kelly dodd crying

Main Storyline: Being a drunken, verbally abusive nightmare, though ostensibly it’s her rocky marriage to her also drunken, also verbally abusive nightmare of a husband.

Pros: I understand that Kelly is a vulgar, uncouth, childish, rageaholic simpleton uh, polarizing, but God help me if I didn’t love her absurd messy ass. It all clicked for me when (in meeting Shannon and Tamra for only the *second time ever*) she reminisced about how her (clinically diagnosed) narcissist husband had become “like Hitler” (her words) and caused her to leave him for another man, and then, in a true horror movie reveal, informed them that she was talking about her current husband.

Cons: She should proooobably stop throwing people’s cheating husbands/estranged children/Jewish ancestry(!!!) in their faces the second she gets angry at them. Oh Kelly you so wacky!

Meghan

meghan king edmonds

Main Storyline: Boy let me tell you I didn’t know IVF involved stabbing yourself in the gut with needles.

Pros: Has to be the moment when, to get out of visiting Vicki in the hospital, she consulted Mapquest to helpfully provide Heather, still suffering from whiplash, an convenient route so she could visit herself.

Cons: The IVF storyline is definitely not very interesting in and of itself, but God help me I was mildly entertaining by the absurd body comedy-horror of it all, as well as by Meghan’s obnoxious-to-all insistence that her days-old embryo was already creating a baby bump. But yeah I get finding that shit boring.

Shannon

shannon beador 70s party mrs. roper

Main Storyline: Desperately insisting that Davidandi’s Marriage is improving.

Pros: Lucky for us, we have a Housewife who’s an expert in organic, non-toxic, latex, hypoallergenic, demagnetized, chemical-free mattresses. And, as ever, Shannon’s meltdowns were the chocolate chips in the cookies of an RHOC season (not fat shaming here I swear). If ringback tones ever return to vogue I’m making mine “it was you/who/it was you/who/it was yooou” hundo.

Cons: There is nothing bad about Shannon Beador how dare you you are despicable I am never speaking to you again!!!!

Tamra

tamra judge crying shannon beador hugging

Main Storyline: When Tamra spun her Wheel of Subplots this year she somehow, improbably, landed on bodybuilding. (Don’t worry if you missed it; she loaned it out for RHONJ9.)

Pros: Spending an entire season painstakingly reintegrating Vicki into the group, learning that Vicki has spread gay rumors about Eddie, and burning it all down in yet another classically rabid Tamra reunion performance. The full gamut, truly.

Cons: People need to lay off the Rodney King references; that shit was 25 years ago and deeply depressing, and also he’s dead now.

Vicki

vicki gunvalson brook ayers voicemail

Main Storyline: Crossing that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish supervillainy.

Pros: Uh it’s the Real Housewives, we must necessarily smile upon those who would pass off literal slander to dimwitted loudmouths for petty revenge over problems they themselves created.

Cons: I mean, in conventional terms, Vicki is—how shall I put this—the biggest piece of shit on Earth this season. More disappointingly, though, she’s lacking her usual panache. The broad strokes of using Kelly as her flying monkey are great, but the flatness of her gobsmackingly monstrous behavior just doesn’t live up to nailed-to-the-cross-like-Jesus territory for me, alas.

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