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I’ll have to admit that I, unlike Slade Smiley, left the O.C. for a while.  Oh, I still watched (like one of Pavlov’s dogs when the first few tings of the theme music begins), but I was indifferent to it.  Lauri Waring was gone.  A once biting but funny Tamra Barney became just down right mean, ladies whose names I can’t even remember (Quinn who?) and women whose faces didn’t move were shuffled in and out, and, well, Slade stayed.  I was tired.  But then something amazing happened in the form of this season.

I’m not going to give all the credit to Dr. and Mrs. Disgustingly Rich and Fabulous but Incredibly Normal Dubrow (aka Heather), although they deserve a bunch.  This season on Real Housewives of Orange County, I’ve got Briana Culberson giving hell to her mom’s love tank and affirmation hoarding beau.  My hilariously crass, semi-trashy, rhinestone-studded Tamra is back with a vengeance, and–even better–she’s friends with a kooky Gretchen Rossi.  Minus a few extras (and even Jesus Barbie brings at least one laugh an episode), the show is actually fun again.  But I digress.  Let’s dish deets on the wedding ceremony of one of my current favorite housewives, Briana.  Okay, so technically she’s the daughter of a housewife, but she’s now more of one than her mom!

Briana and mom Vicki Gunvalson spoke with Star/RadarOnline.com about Briana’s big day…which was a long time coming for Vicki.  Viewers are watching weekly the relationship between Briana and Vicki get increasingly tense after Briana and supposed boyfriend Ryan Culberson drop the bomb that they got hitched in Vegas at a drive-thru wedding chapel.

Vicki tells the magazine, “My anger and my disappointment at what Briana did almost destroyed our relationship.  We didn’t speak for two months. But time heals, and our relationship is stronger than ever.”

Briana agrees, “My mom has been amazing. It’s been really fun planning the wedding with her and just having her by my side.”

The ceremony took place on May 12 at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara.  The bride wore a gown of Italian lace and carried a bouquet of roses as the pair read their vows at sunset.  Missing from the guest list?  Vicki’s castmates.  She explains, “[I]t had to be about Briana and Ryan. It is not my party.”

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“The wedding was very intimate and very personal and different,” gushes Briana. “We are so excited because it turned out just the way we wanted it!”  Congrats again!

And because everything can’t be all catered soirees and chandeliers, let’s move on to Tamra getting real with Alexis Bellino.  She asked her to though, right?  In an interview with WetPaint.com, Tamra talks about her uncomfortable (to say the least) meeting with Alexis, her involvement of Terry, and where everyone stands now.

What was it like to finally sit down with Alexis and tell her how you feel about her?
I guess it was kind of a relief. You know, I never wanted to meet with her. She asked twice before and I said no both times, but then she asked again and I finally agreed. We both had this nervous energy going into it. I had no idea what she wanted.

Why do you think she’s fake?
I think she’s as phony as they come. But you don’t see a whole lot of it on the show, which can be frustrating. On the show, she’s harmless. But in real life, it’s a different story. Off-camera, that’s not who she is.

How did it feel when she asked you to “be authentic” with her?
I took great insult to that. As a five-year cast member on this show, I am as authentic as they come. I show the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m not the richest or the prettiest, but I put it all out there. That’s what drives me crazy about her. Why can’t she just be herself?

Do you feel bad about the way things went?
A little bit, but when someone says “Tell me what you think,” they need to be prepared. If you ask, I’m going to tell you.

Do you feel bad about telling her that Terry Dubrow, Heather’s husband, also said she was phony?
Oh god, that opened a can of worms. What happened was Alexis kept pushing me and pushing me. She said, “Who else thinks I’m fake? Give me examples.” She wouldn’t let it go. So finally I said, “Terry Dubrow met you for ten minutes and said you were the phoniest person he’s ever seen.” I felt immediately bad after. I kind of tossed him under the bus.

Was there a fallout?
I actually went to his office and I said, listen I have to tell you about something I did. He was like, okay. But Heather wasn’t happy with me for a little while. She knew I didn’t make it up…but she wasn’t thrilled. We’re fine now though.

It looks like the subject is far from dropped, though. Previews for the trip to Costa Rica show you guys hashing it out with Alexis…
We had a phony intervention with her. Listen, it’s a problem and it’s something everyone wanted to talk to her about. We said, “Let’s talk to her. Let’s try to get through to her.” We attempted to talk to her. As you’ll see, it doesn’t go well. But it was something we had planned on doing.

You recently tweeted that filming just wrapped. What kind of vibe is there among the cast right now?
I’ll be honest with you — most of the cast is not speaking. Gretchen and Heather and I stay close. But the rest of us aren’t talking to each other. Everyone has their own issues.
For Vicki and I, the season finale is pretty strong. We didn’t end it on good note. I think the reunion is going to stir up a lot of emotions. I’m hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

That’s my crazy Tam, speaking her mind.  I know I’ll get lots of flack from commenters, but I love a humble, yet feisty Tamra…she’s been away for so long!  I truly believe that the most laid back and drama-free (I would have never said that about Tam a year ago) are finally getting to enjoy one another’s company.  Oddly enough, this is the only franchise for which I have strong feelings.  Normally with the Bravo Housewives they all get on my last nerve for the sake of entertainment.

Tamra takes to her Bravo blog to issue a more public apology for throwing Terry under the bus with Alexis.  She says that she wishes she had just left the faceoff as her versus Alexis, but she felt like her hand was being forced.  Not sure if I believe that…we all know how Tamra likes to stir up some shiz!  Her mea culpa follows:

Most of all, I am sorry for repeating what Gretchen told me [about Terry saying Alexis was fake]. After 45 minutes of arguing with [Alexis] I was so frustrated, and it just came out of mouth. I threw Terry under the bus and that was not cool. I am truly sorry for that.

I will end this post saying these women are some of the most real among the franchise, in my opinion (IN MY OPINION! :)).  Do I think Vicki is genuine?  Most definitely.  Intense?  By all means.  But I think Gretchen and Tamra have gotten to a place where they are just being themselves, love them or hate them.  That said…Alexis?  I think she has a genuine heart, but feels the need to put forth a front…if she let that down, I think she’d fit in much better in the O.C.

TELL US-WELL WISHES FOR BRIANA’S CEREMONY?  THOUGHTS ON TAMRA’S INTERVIEW?  WHICH OF THE WOMEN WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO BEFRIEND?  NONE IS A TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE ANSWER!  :)

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