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Sunday’s Real Housewives of Orange County “Fashion Victim” episode starts off with two scenes which viewers have come to expect: Gunvalson awkwardness and Slade emasculation. Elsewhere, Tamra and Peggy are partying in Vegas and Alexis is channeling her inner Project Runway.

Vicki and Donn are tip-toeing around each other while cleaning house and doing laundry, making no effort to connect other than passive aggressively. Gretchen returns home from San Antonio and Slade’s “Tubbawubba” nickname is ressurected. Gretchen also reminds him that since he doesn’t have a job, he’s basically her do-boy. Slade lets Gretchen know he’s no one’s man-servant, while dutifully unloading her umpteen pieces of luggage.

Peggy has big plans for Micah’s birthday. Vegas, baby! Peggy invited Tamra and Eddie and another random couple, Kirsten and Brady. If I had to guess, Kirsten’s gunning for a spot on next season. Peggy is thrilled that Tamreddie (see what I did there??) are her and Micah’s new biffles. The group disses on Alexis and Jim, and Micah goes off on a rant about people in O.C. who are constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses. He opines about “living within your means” and to “stop trying to be something you’re not.” These are clearly digs at Mr. Bellino, but how awkward for the Tanouses to have to watch that scene now??

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Gretchen and Slade have a heart-to-heart about their future, which is being dictated by his child support debt. In a rare moment of seriousness, Gretchen trades her one-liners and grating laugh for tears as she reveals that she’s “madly in love, but not madly in love and stupid.” Good point. Slade seems to shutdown during this conversation, which is occurring in front of a blurred out, half-painted portrait of his son Grayson. Oh the symbolism!

Back in Vegas, Peggy surprises Micah with a book of her lingerie photographs. Are these new boobs or old boobs? They look like new boobs. Very observant, Micah. And romantic(?).

In Coto, Donn is working through dinner and Vicki is frustrated with their lack of communication. A montage of Vicki and Donn’s Bravo relationship reminds us of some happier times (although Vicki is still ridiculously overbearing) as well as this season’s bickering. Meanwhile, Vicki prays for guidance.

Finally, it’s Alexis! I never in a million years thought I’d say this, but she was the breath of fresh air this episode needed to lighten the mood. She and her florist arrive at Pascal’s restaurant to discuss her luncheon and fashion show to launch Alexis Couture (have you bought your dress yet?) Not one to disappoint, and clearly one-upping Micah’s experience with the Border Grille, Alexis begins to insult the chef with varying levels of ditziness and stupidity. He wants to discuss the menu, but she wants to discuss the life-size photos of herself she plans to place around the restaurant…you know, because she’s not modeling in the show. She is adamantly opposed to foie gras and clueless about vichyssoise, saying that the (French) chef’s ideas are “too Frenchy.” Of course, she perks up when her florist suggests sandwiches on croissants. Oui, oui!

Back from Vegas, Tamra takes Vicki to dinner. Vicki says that she got an invitation from Alexis’ assistant Dylan for the fashion show and Tamra questions why Alexis and Gretchen insist on having “pocket gays” who follow them around doing their make-up but are treated as accessories. Vicki reveals that she and Donn have been sleeping apart and that traveling is easy, but being home is stressful. At (liquid) dinner, the ladies shoot their tequila wedding toast style and Vicki opens up about her marital issues. It’s sad to watch, but I love the artistic stylings the Bravo cameraman goes for in this scene. Vicki keeps repeating that she believes in marriage while the camera focuses on her wedding ring. There is no blame game and no fighting, and Vicki seems to take responsibility for her role in the demise of her marriage. She admits the couple hasn’t had sex in two years. Tamra actually seems to be listening like a good friend, so that in and of itself is impressive.

It’s fashion show time! Woohoo! Dylan’s gone blonde! The restaurant is decked out with stiletto centerpieces, and non-model Alexis is giving modeling lessons to the actual models. Gretchen arrives (“Hi Gretch!” chirps Dylan. Fabulous). Apparently having forgotten that she dropped out of the cast, Lynne is back again, and Tamra and Fernanda make their grand entrance. But wait, where’s Vicki? Dylan (in an amazing bow-tie, bolero tie hybrid) introduces Alexis, who describes her dress line as “girly, fun, comfortable and flowy.” I have to admit, I had to rewind that part three times, because I kept thinking she said “comfortable and slutty.” And honestly, can you blame me? “Move over, Cavalli!” Alexis exclaims. Fear not, Alexis…I think ol’ Roberto won’t want to be anywhere near you or this dress line.

The names of the dresses and Dylan’s commentary during the show are equally priceless. Holy minis! Some of these dresses are so short. Alexis’ shot at swimwear strolls down the non-existent catwalk, and maybe I was right in thinking she said “slutty” and not “flowy.” Even poor Lynne, whose face is totally immobile, is unable to hide her reactions to these garments.

Vicki’s absence is explained when Tamra receives a text stating that Vicki is in the hospital. Gretchen, whose sentitivity chip was front and center earlier in the episode, has changed her colors and tries to convince Alexis that this hospitalization is a ploy to make the fashion show all about Vicki. Lynne doesn’t think anyone should be overly worried until they know exactly what is going on, especially since worrying causes wrinkles. Oh Lynne. That’s why you botox! Alexis starts to believe the bitter bug in her ear Gretchen, and Gretchen tries to explain Vicki’s attention-seeking ways to Fernanda. Tamra is extremely concerned after learning that Vicki is bleeding internally and must have surgery (as evidenced by the picture text of her IV that Vicki sends Tamra). Gretchen suggests that it is more than a little ironic that this happened on the day of Alexis’ fashion show. Tamra says she’s confused, does Gretchen actually think that Vicki chose to bleed internally in order to miss the show? Apparently she does. Cue Gretchen’s screeching laughter that has been missing in action (thankfully) most of the episode.

In two weeks (next week’s a repeat) airs the season finale for the Orange County ladies. Alexis confronts Peggy about her issues with Jim, but these relative newbies have no clue how to end the season with a bang. Never ones to disappoint, veteran housewives Tamra and Jeana bring the drama with the literal smackdown we’ve all been waiting for–get it, girls!

On Watch What Happens Live, Andy welcomes Kara DioGuardi and Gretchen Rossi. Gretchen apologizes for her skepticism about Vicki’s hospital visit, but says her reaction was “authentic and real” at the time. Kara says that, as a viewer, the fashion show was hard to watch, inquiring “how was that not a big deal?” Gretchen defends herself and her short term memory has minutes later forgotten about the apology, as she continues to call out Vicki. Poor Kara, she keeps saying “I’m just here to talk about my new show [Platinum Hit].” I never watched American Idol when she was on it, and now I’m kind of regretting that decision. She is too funny!

Andy is excited to announce that the porn star Alexis Couture has been tweeting him, and he clears up the scandal behind re-casting Slade’s mom (hilarious) by informing the viewers that the lady in the RV from season one was his step-mother. Gretchen isn’t singing tonight as planned, but is very vague as to why. The crew discusses Alexis’ scene with the French chef and Kara draws to everyone’s attention the fact that Alexis referred to a “delicacy” as a “delicatessen.” Wow.

It’s game time, and Platinum Hit or Piece of Sh*t has the ladies judging past housewives (and husbands and stylists)’ songs. Kara gives props to Kandi Burris for “Tardy for the Party” but it’s nearly impossible to judge the songs alone and not their horrendous performances. Gretchen, of course, thinks any housewife who tries to start a musical career is brave and wonderful. Funny how that works. Poll results are revealed, and shockingly 84% of viewers think Gretchen should NOT have children with Slade. Really? It’s a truly, truly mind-blowing result. Seriously, what are the other 16% smoking? Mazel!

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