Five episodes to watch while you kill all cancer.
Welcome back to The Essential…, where we propose five episodes that embody the perfect madness of one special Housewife. Dig deep enough into any civilization’s history and you’re likely to find myths of a vengeful, primeval earth goddess; so it is with The Real Housewives. Vicki is the sole survivor of an era populated by bratty homophobic teens and pre-bubble McMansions, and she will never for a second let you forget it, even as ever-younger newbies stream onto the show to take a shot at the OG. Many have tried to expose her as a cruel, deceitful narcissist and easily succeeded, yet inevitably found themselves cast aside as Vicki hurtles forward, season after season, dreadful and unstoppable as a black hole plunging through a galactic core. Below, a televisual CliffsNotes of the DSM–5.
S02E02: “Be Nice to the New Girl”
Heart of Darkness with a little family van. Preparations for a cruise give us our first glimpse of Vicki’s true, monstrous face (uh, the first one, anyway). Yes, you remember the improper transport accommodations, but this is a full-fledged Vicki nightmarefest, from her berating customer support about internet availability at sea to demanding that the dogsitter screen her home phone calls to telling her own husband “I’ll see you tomorrow on the plane.”
S07E20: “Are You in or Out?”
A season’s worth of anti-Brooks skepticism and whispering bursts into the open, as Brooks calls out Tamra’s evil eye, Tamra calls out Brooks’s existence, and Vicki consequently loses a best friend/soulmate/sister. Arguably the turning point where Vicki fully commits to the Brooks Ayers Delusion, crossing that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish supervillainy.
S08E14: “The Cold War”
Has Vicki ever been with multiple partners? How about a big Greek guy with no teeth? Lauri has some strong opinions on these matters and more. Watch the debate ensue through ski goggles on the slopes of Whistler, as Vicki’s echoing scream causes avalanches across the countryside of British Columbia.
S10E19: “Baptism by Fire”
Cancergate comes to a head, as the group gathers to ream Vicki out for her various shady dealings and deceptions at, uh, Tamra’s adult baptism. Once Shannon realizes just how dirty Vicki has done her it’s well and truly on, and before you know it Vicki’s been nailed to the cross like Jesus was.
S12E17: “A Case of the Vickis”
A heart attack (or just slightly elevated blood pressure who knows) lands our heroine in an Icelandic hospital, with the cast rushing to…grab a bite to eat, as they consider whether they’ll eventually visit. Never fear, though; they’ll make up for it later with a casserole. Also features one of the season’s few truly earnest attempts at a Vicki/Tamra reconciliation, derailed only slightly by a drunk Shannon bellowing out Vicki’s crimes to one and all.
S05E13: “Let’s Bow Our Heads and Pray”
Alexis leads the group in an attempt on Vicki’s life during a San Fran trip (pay attention; you’ll be hearing about this later).
S07E06: “The Party’s Over”
Gretchen isn’t a mother she has no idea what it’s like.
S08E10: “Viva Mexico” / S08E11: “Dirty Dancing in Mexico”
Vicki successfully pries Tamra away from Gretchen courtesy of Andale’s, literally marks her territory by pissing herself on Tamra’s bed.
S08E21: “Reunion: Part Three”
Andy Cohen mediates a little light group therapy session for Vicki, Briana, and Brooks.
S10E05: “Game Changer”
Picture your average person’s reaction to their mother’s unexpected passing, then multiply by Vicki.