Eight long years ago – yes 8 – Vicki Gunvalson first appeared in our living rooms through our television screen. It was a sad day for mankind because it was also around that time that Slave Smiley first graced us with his presence!
Real Housewives of Orange County started the phenomenon that has become a monster in its own right. Tonight the OG of the franchise celebrates the season 8 premiere and through this season the show will reach it's 100th episode!
For Vicki, she felt a responsibility to both viewers and the franchise to continue with the show even when it captured some not-so flattering moments, like her marital difficulties. Vicki and Donn Gunvalson have still not settled their pending divorce.
"I have a sense of responsibility," Vicki explains to The Huffington Post. "I would've been (bleeping) at myself if I backed out of season five or six and saw the success of the franchise keep going, and I elected to pull back because I couldn't handle it anymore. There's nothing I can't handle. I just have to figure out a way not to crumble when times get tough when I'm doing this."
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Vicki began the show a much different woman; married and working hard to build her then new insurance business. She was also a mom of two teenagers. The show has chronicled her friendships, her children becoming adults, her crumbling marriage, and her flourishing business. It has also shown her relationships with a variety of women – and some epic fights. This season Vicki will also become a grandmother!
Vicki has no regrets about doing the show, but she does feel it played a major role in the collapse of marriage to Donn. And probably in the attracting of a man like Brooks Ayers, who will have a continuing storyline this season as Vicki finally realizes their relationship isn't working.
All the same Vicki says she won't leave until Bravo throws her out! "There will be a day when the curtains close or Bravo tells me they're going with a younger crowd or that I don't have a story anymore," Vicki acknowledges.
"I don't believe I'll never not have a story. I'm Vicki Gunvalson. I'm not boring. I'm always juggling 900 things at once. There's going to be a story. The question is does Bravo want it? That's their choice."
She also readily admits for being billed as reality, there is sometimes little of that actually happening. And Vicki shares one of the hardest realities to face was her problematic friendship with Tamra Barney. The women actually did become true friends but somewhere last season that friendship fell apart.
"The reality is when we're not filming, we're not hanging out together," Vicki confesses. "We're not going on vacations together. I really had to separate my on-camera friends from my off-camera friends. That's helped me get through the uncomfortable times." Tamra says this season viewers will see the two repair their relationship.
Heather Dubrow explains that the show is an alternate reality. "The show is like a Venn diagram," Heather concedes. "You have the show, reality and the show's reality intersecting. It really does exist on three different planes, so to be doing an interview breaking down the fourth wall (for the 100th episode) was a little surreal."
And despite the fourth wall being dismantled by social media and up-to-the-minute tabloids breaking the scoops, viewership for the Housewives franchise grows by the season.
Shari Levine, Bravo's senior vice president of original programming, reveals that the 100th episode will explore the evolution of the show – and the characters. "There's a lot of people who have been on the show. The cast has changed over the years. People's lives have changed. It's interesting to be reflective. We're not usually reflective. It's an opportunity to do that."
One thing is certain, this season Vicki's WOO-HOO lives on. Joining the ladies will be newest Housewife Lydia McLaughlin, who is apparently a religious spitfire who also runs a magazine. Should be interesting!
Real Housewives of Orange County premieres tonight at 8/9c. A preview is below. Tonight we check in with the original Blondes Behaving Badly and well, frankly I cannot wait!
Reality Tea will be live-tweeting the first ladies of Bravo as they come crashing through our screen one orange spray tan and overly highlighted coif at a time. Oh, Heather will be there too… You know you can't wait!
[Credit: Alex Martinez/Bravo]
TELL US – CAN YOU BELIEVE RHOC WILL REACH ITS 100TH EPISODE? AR YOU EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW SEASON?