Woo Hoo! We're 100! And we look every day of it.
My, my – how things have changed on Real Housewives of Orange County since the beginning! And I can't say all the changes have been good things.
Last night the show celebrated its 100th episode with a 2-hour flashback/recap of some of the show's most iconic moments. Among the milestones was catching up with some of the memorable cast mates throughout the 8-season run and discussing current cast member's reflections to how the show has evolved.
Tamra Barney, you will be relieved to know, hasn't changed one single iota except her hair has gotten less frizzy and her boobs smaller. Thank God for small mercies… #sarcasm In her casting video Tamra is a grade-A bitch and says when producers told her they were deciding between her and one other woman for the spot she turned up the ruthlessness.
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Things begin with a hilarious low-budget home movie "sales pitch" for the show. Filmed in Vicki Gunvalson's living room (among other 'normal places'), it featured a group of women who were mostly close friends from Coto's exclusive gated community. We are talking VHS, America's Funniest Home Videos quality; like not even HD. It was so grainy you wouldn't be able to make out Lauri Peterson save for her omnipresent 90's music video big hair. Girl needs a style reinvention. Speaking of Lauri, the new Lauri has done some funky Taylor-rific alterations to her top lip. Not cute, mama!
Slave Smiley, who unfortunately is still with us after all these years, reveals that he "won" a spot on the then expected to go nowhere show at a community charity auction. Andy Cohen shares with us that in the beginning Coto residents were notoriously private about how they lived their lives despite being into flaunting their wealth. It was difficult to cast the show because of that. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, and Slave apparently has always been desperate. His little famewhore antenna must have been working overtime when he heard "reality television show".
Jo de la Rosa admits that she never had a desire to be on TV, but did it "for love." Both Slave and Jo discuss the dismantling of their relationship. Jo shares that Slave "threw her graduation party" from college and basically met her when she was barely out of diapers. She realizes in retrospect their relationship never would have lasted given their entirely different places in life, but she was swept up in the moment.
Both believe the cameras shone a spotlight on their relationship that really highlighted their differences and flaws therefore allowing them to see how incompatible they were more quickly. Jo concurs that the camera makes people act differently but after awhile she forgot they were even rolling; hence the infamous French Maid costume among other sexytimes they captured. Her mama was not impressed.
Jo is still surprised that Slade effectively dumped her on the sofa in couple's therapy right there on camera, but blessing in disguise right?!
Oh – and Jo discloses that she and Slade were the ones who brought Gretchen Rossi to the attention to the producers. Imagine Jo's surprise when shortly after she and Slade broke-up-broke-up Gretchen turned up on his arm. "That just violates girl code," Jo commented. True, true.
Let's discuss ol' Gretchy shall we. My, my does she look different! What on earth has she had done? I mean her face is a completely different shape. My bet goes to tons of fillers and fat injections along with cheek and chin implants. Whatever the case it is not just fancy Gretchen Christine Plasticine Sheen on her face; although that is certainly not helping her in the looks department! Gretchen's fashions on the show are revisited. Heather Dubrow takes the stage to call them "interesting" and describe them as brave choices. That's a kind way of saying "costumey, cheap, and bat-shit crazy"! Gretchen is a pageant girl forever. Thirties & Tiaras.
Since the early seasons all the women look very finessed. The hair is smoother and better styled, the make-up professional, the clothes, the tans – all of it has improved in value. Sadly, OC is still the tackiest of the HW bunch. Vicki admits that she pretty much burned all her normal working mom clothes from season 1 – especially her intro pants and halter top outfit!
Lauri says that in the beginning producers encouraged them to just be normal and go about their real lives – even if it meant hitting up the supermarket in PJs. Now the producers want the women to be glamorous and represent an "aspirational" lifestyle and sadly so-called normal moments are rarely captured. We never see the ladies in the 'real-real' rich lives but instead in a series of staged events and interactions. I think we can all agree we miss the old days of realistic relationships and a true glimpse into a wealthy lifestyle.
Andy reveals that in the beginning Vicki had a really hard time adjusting to the editing and would call him freaking out about what the internet was saying about her. Leave it to Vicki to want to "control" the internet. No can-do, mama! Vicki shares that her favorite moment was in season 2 when the Gunvalson family was headed on a European cruise and she ordered a limo-bus transport to the airport. Unfortunately a cheap, old-school minivan arrived in its stead. So not glamorous! Vicki throws a big ol' tantrum on the phone while Donn (I miss Donn!) laughs hysterically and gamely climbs in the front seat. That was a fun a moment and it shows that Vicki had (has?) a sense of humor about her ridiculous, neurotic nature.
Jeana Keough and her kids are featured heavily in the episode. Jeana has nothing but positive memories of being on the show but does regret showing husband Matt and his issues to the world. She also regrets that her kids' adolescence was such a focal point and it didn't always show them in a good light. All the Keogh kids seemingly have turned into well-adjusted (and hot!) adults with a balanced perspective of the show. They admit it was embarrassing and often hard to handle the criticism but they all grew from it.
All the Keough kids admit that saying or doing some really mean things to their mom in the heat of the moment (or because they were showing off for cameras) are their biggest regrets. Interestingly in the early years, bad kids was much more a storyline than badly behaving moms. You know, when the show was actually about 'real housewives'.
Jeana discusses how her friendship with Vicki fell apart – it was all because of the real estate deal gone wrong where Vicki felt Jeana wasn't working to get her a fair price for her second home. Jeana credits the bad economy. She seems disappointed that their friendship didn't last as reality television – and money – ultimately tore them apart. All the women lament the difficulty of remaining friends given the environment where honesty is a requisite for the job and talking about your friends behind your back is a necessity.
"The allegiances have to change position all the time because everybody's constantly stabbing each other in the back," describes Lauri.
Speaking of the economy, Andy says the show was conflicted about how to approach the tanking market after the 2008 crash, but they were surprised when fans continued to embrace the ladies despite diminished circumstances. All the women were affected by the economy and confess to living beyond their means. We get a flashback of Tamra receiving her "layaway" Rolex from Simon on her rented yacht birthday party. Oh the memories. I wonder if that thing was hocked to pay the mortgage on the house they ended up short-selling?
Tammy Knickerbocker and Lynne Curtin are revived, speaking of bad economy. Lynne's eviction is heavily discussed and she calls out the "pretentiousness" of the OC. Was it my imagination or did she use and pronounce that word correctly.
Lynne refers to the eviction as one of the most embarrassing moments ever – you don't say – but also a huge wake-up call. Lynne is just as loopy, delusional, and immobile as ever. It is still a mystery to me how she was ever cast on this show, but spilled wine, right?! And can she get a refund on that facelift? Unlike Vicki's it has never "settled" into something resembling a face.
Tammy reveals that the gate shown in the opening credit (still used today) was the gate in front of her old house pre-divorce from Lou and pre-financial bottoming out. Lynne – and especially Tammy – expressed sadness over how their children were portrayed and having their parenting flaws exposed on the show. For Tammy she decided she had to leave the show after Lou's death and the toll it took on her daughters (oh and the COMPLETELY embarrassing OC Angels debacle)!
"Housewives Hazing" is a topic that comes under hot debate. Gretchen definitely had it worse than any other newbie,(even Alexis Bellino concurs with this!), a fact Vicki blames on her non-ass kissing attitude in the beginning. Everyone agrees Vicki was and is the girl to impress around here. After all this show is her "baby".
Heather doesn't believe she was subjected to any hazing, but that's because (and Vicki admits) they were desperate for a little class so they no longer looked like the trashy red-headed stepsister of the Housewives world. Oh, and I'm sure Heather's supremo wealth didn't hurt her either, right Fancy Pants!
Andy plays a clip of "Naked Wasted", which still remains one of the most ruthless and amazingly authentic moments of the show. Which leads me to the friendship trials of Tamretchen.
Apparently all the animosity began when Tamra called Gretchen out on going on vacation while her fiancé was dying of cancer. Gretchen denied going to the lake, which Tamra (and the internet) have proof that she was there. There began the feud. Tamra says if her fiancé was that sick she would quit the show in a hot minute. And even worse, off camera Gretchen was a totally different person than she presented herself to be.
Which is what led to the "sinister" (Andy's word!) Naked Wasted dinner party which had even Lynne expressing serious concern. Tamra reveals that off-camera the women had often run into a drunk and lushy Gretchen who was not the caring and devoted fiancé she presented on screen and Tamra wanted to expose the "real Gretchen". And down the rabid hole we went!
Gretchen is still disgusted by the lengths Tamra went to expose her. And despite the fact that they have supposedly rekindled things Tamra quips that Gretchen will never come clean about cheating on her dying fiancé. I guess that little friendship bracelet didn't mean much did it? Ooopsie!
Speaking of friendships, Tamra and Vicki have worked hard to rebuild their's but Vicki has still not recovered from Tamra stabbing her in the back last season over her relationship with Brooks. Tamra, on the other hand, still considers Vicki like family and feels they do everything to extremes.
"I honestly think they're both scared of each other," Gretchen says of Tamra and Vicki's friendship. Apparently since they're both so mean and ruthless they stay close to avoid turning on each other. I would lump Gretch into that category as well. All three of these women are like piranhas!
And now onto divorces of the marital kind. Tamra's pre-divorce fight with Simon in the limo is played and we are reminded of how vicious and visceral their relationship got as she gained independence. She insists the fame from the show had nothing to do with it. #lies She claims Simon resented her happiness and freedom and she began to realize her marriage wasn't what she wanted in her life. She reflects that the show basically deepened problems they already had, a sentiment also echoed by Vicki in her relationship with Donn.
Vicki seems sad to admit that she got a little too big for her britches and over time because of the show and the success it brought, she stopped needed him and depending him. They apparently swore they wouldn't succumb to the reality TV divorce curse, but unfortunately their marriage just wasn't happy for a long time. Vicki never wanted to defend her actions in filing for divorce by exposing Donn as a bad husband, but he kinda was in a lot of ways. Ouch!
Tamra describes her on-screen proposal from Eddie as her favorite moment on the show.
Everyone agrees true friendships are impossible on this show just because of the environment, especially when you are "anticipating a fight" (Tamra's words) with a friend or former friend. And Andy openly relishes in the fact that the show cultivates fights – particularly when they go on vacation!
Vacations all I never wanted! Senor Cohen believes going away is the catalyst for some of the most raw moments of the show since the women are isolated together and usually drinking. Classy, Andy. "They can't run from each other!," he says jubilantly. He says vacations also continue to reveal the "aspirational" aspect of the show (aka Bravo pays for the lavish spread so they can capitalize on the huge drama revenues). All the ladies admit that vacays are pretty much a disaster and, like reunions, a necessary evil associated with the show.
And speaking of reunions, it is of no surprise that everyone hates them! Andy admits that one of his slip-ups was asking Lauri how she reacted to being called a "transvestite." Ha! Tamra calls her child support fight with Slave in the S6 reunion one of the worst moments she's ever had on camera and is still surprised at how raw it is. Slave agrees it was awful, although he is still smirking over Tamra storming off stage.
And that's pretty much it. Two hours of RHOC therapy and careful self-reflection on eight seasons of bad behavior! There were good times, there were wine throwing times, and there were truly flabbergasting moments – like revisiting all the hideous outfits these women wore! The satin halter tops and plunge dresses were an all-time low.
The most important lesson I learned from all this: plastic surgery is very aging. Do your research!
[Photo Credits: BravoTV.com]
TELL US – WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS FROM THE SHOW? SHOULD RHOC CONTINUE OR HAS IT PASSED ITS PRIME?