On last night’s Real Housewives Of Orange County, there was a whiff of secrets in the air and Shannon Beador made the decision to ‘fake it til she doesn’t have to make it anymore’ in her non-friendship with Vicki Gunvalson.
It’s not like Shannon had an epiphany No, she was just tired of everyone pointing out the obvious: she has unresolved issues with Vicki. Of course Vicki resorted to thinly veiled threats basically forcing Shannon to act like her friend, or else, because the best way to start over is by holding a person hostage by potential secrets. ‘Or else’ what…we’re not sure since Vicki has the ‘or else’ in ‘the vault’ stored alongside the date she realized Brooks was faking cancer.
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It all began in a candle emporium. As these things do. Amid cocktails and the many wicks of Jimmy Dad Jeans. It takes a man very comfortable with his sexuality to reveal that what really lights his fire is a scented candle with a long wick.
But, if anything’s going to light the way to a forced but convenient re-friendship, let it be a candle, right? I’ve heard worse (the ‘worse’ being the way Shannon says, “DAAAAAAAAAAVVVVVIIIIDDDDD, can you come here, please,” with that edge to her voice. Nails on a chalkboard.)
Since this is Housewives, where petty slights never die, weeks after the accident in Glamis, when all of the ‘hospital drama’ was supposedly put to bed and gave Vicki hickies on her boobs, it’s suddenly important to Tamra Judge to see if Vicki thanked Shannon for acknowledging she was injured. Even Vicki is like not here, not now, but Tamra is nothing if not persistent.
This message Shannon left Vicki, was sent after Shannon made a big stinkin’ deal that she would NOT go to the hospital to check on a woman she doesn’t consider a friend, who was likely faking her injuries like they were a cancer that could be cured by juice. I mean everybody knows cancer is cured by insurance policies and little rubber bracelets, NOT juice!
Vicki didn’t respond because she didn’t believe Shannon’s call was sincere. Vicki is right – Shannon only called her to save face. Her message sounded about as earnest as when I tell my mother-in-law I would absolutely love if she organized my pantry.
Heather Dubrow is also correct – if Shannon is so freaking over Vicki, why the hell does she care if Vicki thanks her for leaving some fake-ass message because Tamra and Heather guilt-tripped her into it? But such is the social hierarchy of Housewives, you have keep up the pretenses of some semblance of frienemy. These are friendships dominated by threats of exposure, so when Meghan Edmonds encourages Shannon to “be honest” with Vicki, right there at the grand opening of the candle shop, and demand to know why she never received a ‘thank you for calling’ reply, Shannon is all too happy to oblige.
Shannon, with an awkward forcefulness, confronted Vicki over not acknowledging her voice mail. How dumb!
“Our friendship isn’t right,” came Vicki’s terse reply. So then it went down the rabbit hole about Brooks, the argument Vicki had with David, how she and Shannon supposedly moved on. Somehow the conversation returns to everyone’s favorite topic: Who lied. We know David did. We know Vicki did. But suddenly then there is a new element introduced, a toxic mercury I’m pretty sure an organic mattress purveyor would warn you against, when Vicki declares, “We all lie – even you, Shannon.”
Now, I’m fully inclined to believe Vicki pulled that out of her ass to see where it would lead. I’m of another mind to believe Shannon DID spill confidences to Vicki while they were close and her marriage was unraveling. However, I’m a desperate gossip hound who salivates over soap operas, so I probably just want it to be true that Vicki secretly knows Shannon also cheated, or had a three-way with David and the mistress, or some other insanely salacious tale.
One look at Tamra’s face and I know she was thinking the same thing. She pounces like a tiger who spotted a wounded gazelle and pretends she wants to help it. “Secrets…” she purrs, “What secrets? Allow yourself to reveal them under the guise of me being a reborn peace-maker who seeks harmony, flat abs, and happiness for all…” Heather must have smelled trouble wafting through the air and got out of there before she, who has mutual friends with Shannon, implicated herself in corroborating another one of Vicki’s tales!
After Vicki dropped her ‘You lied…’ bomb, Shannon froze for a second. I imagine, desperately trying to recall those drunken nights crying on Vicki’s shoulder – did she spill something other than vodka onto Vicki’s lap? – before vociferously denying it and demanding to know what it is she supposedly lied about. “Not here,” husks Vicki.
Then Jim told them to take it outside. He’s there to sell candles, not tickets to the freak show! So Vicki turned on her heel and marched out, with Kelly Dodd following behind.
Then there were three, two of whom are 100% certain that Shannon and Vicki have something “on each other.” Tamra and Meghan remind Shannon, yet again, that she has unresolved issues with Vicki. Shannon has unresolved issues with life! The woman can’t even choose a mattress without 400 concerns and potential dangers.
Later, while extolling the virtues of organic mattresses, Shannon realizes that she hasn’t slept well since Vicki indicated she knows a dirty little secret. Why would you lose sleep over something that you know is just another of Vicki’s lies? Shannon decides purchasing a more holistic, less rubbery, less fire retardant, less metallic mattress will give her the rest she needs. With the iciness emitted from Shannon all the time, she does need less fire retardant in bed.
Heather visits Shannon, arriving with a giant block of Himalayan Sea Salt as a housewarming gift. Shannon the holistic queen, has never heard of this pink salt and dismisses it as a “happy fat” hiding place. How is it that Shannon has no idea what Himalayan Sea Salt is? My mom, who doesn’t know holistic from a house plant, bought some at Trader Joe’s for $1.99, so if she’s heard of it, a faux-hippy hausfrau buying $10,000 organic mattress should know. Maybe that’s the big secret Vicki has on Shannon? Shannon actually doesn’t live holistically and has a hidden bomb shelter filled with Cheetos, Ziploc bags, and Poly-Propheline onesies? Oh, and I bet she drinks diet coke for breakfast!
Heather and Shannon’s visit comes down to discussing Shannon’s so-called unresolved issues with Vicki, and the so-called secret lies Vicki is simmering on and threatening to reveal if Shannon doesn’t stop pushing her buttons. Heather informs Shannon that it’s obvious she isn’t ‘over things,’ because she goes rigid at the very mention of Vicki’s name. They can’t be in the same room without Shannon without acting like the place is haunted.
Also, Heather and Tamra have both received confirmation from Kelly that Vicki does possess a damning secret about Shannon, and “Oh, it’s bad,” Kelly assured them, slurping her wine, “Real bad.” Cause: credible!
If this is truly some terrible secret that Vicki swore she’d never reveal, she shouldn’t even be threatening to spill. It makes her look bad!
And when did Kelly and Vicki become arbiters of some closely-guarded truth? Would anyone truly store any secrets in their Louis Vuitton Pouchettes? I tend to believe there’s a grain of truth to what Vicki is saying – at the very least she’s heard something she’ll try to spin, or probably, she’s merely hoping Shannon will be too nervous to call her bluff so the threat of a secret lingering, seconds away from exposure, will get Shannon in line. And in that instance Vicki was correct.
Shannon decides, while sitting in her massive vacant living room, staring out at the endless ocean she doesn’t swim in due to toxins and resting her weary, haggard heart on the two lonely patio chairs, that she’s gonna prove to everyone how much she doesn’t care about Vicki by acting like she’s over it. Just like she did with her marriage – she’ll pretend all is fine, then colonic out the build-up later. The perfect place for Shannon to enact her resolve is at Heather‘s book launch for Dr. & Mrs. Guinea Pig. There Shannon will play the guinea pig to test her own new approach.
Meanwhile, Vicki goes shopping with Tamra, almost loses a Prada heel to a crack in the floor, then loses a nipple cover to the crack, then she and Tamra crack up while trying on clothes. They are fun together. Two wrongs make a right here, and that’s that.
Vicki tells Tamra about her new man, whom she’s bringing to Heather’s party. He’s a cop. Tamra is already paying $9.99 to background check him. Which I mean, someone needs to, but my guess is Tamra was sleuthing for dirt. Vicki declares that no one is allowed to judge Steve, after all she doesn’t judge anyone else’s relationship. Cut to 11 seasons of Vicki judging everyone else’s relationship and Donn calling her a “f–king liar”. Aah, good times, great oldies! And this folks, is why Vicki makes great TV: no self-awareness.
Like when Vicki films a Kill All Cancer commercial, and does so without a hint of irony because she truly belies this exonerates her from any seediness she was ever implicated in via Brooks.
So, why Meghan can’t cook frozen peas and spaghetti? I’ll cut her some slack since she has perinatal depression, which I also had and it’s awful. I’m glad to see Jimmy being supportive by locating scissors for which to slice open the plastic baggie of frozen peas and then not really cooking them.
Peas that remain frozen after they’re supposed to have thawed is a pretty good metaphor for Jim and Meghan’s marriage, though, isn’t it.
Also frozen are Kelly and Michael. They have a chat on the beach and Kelly blames Michael for all their problems then forces him to promise he’ll try to kiss her ass more. I was having difficulty concentrating on what they were even saying, because I was so distracted by Kelly’s heaving bosom, which was WAY WAY too big for her bikini top. I mean, eek! I was petrified those things were going to launch right out, whack Michael in the face about 35 times, and then stomp down the beach yelling “FREEDOM NOW!” Later they leave him at Costco for a Diet Coke and then Uber their way home.
On the night of the book launch party, Heather is overjoyed by the wrinkled table cloths and the tacky ice sculpture. I question her taste.
Vicki unveils Steve, and for once I don’t think I question her taste! Tamra gives him the full pat-down; literally checking for guns and other dubious bulges, then pronouncing him “employed” and “nice.” And also Briana-approved. Meanwhile, Kelly observes Michael get drunker and drunker until he is sexually harassing Heather’s stylist, who politely deflects him until Kelly literally wrenches him away. “I can’t take him anywhere!” she seethes to Vicki. “Michael is a drunk.”
When they drink, they fight more, but I think they both drink because they’re unhappy with each other and the only way to tolerate it is to be drunk?
Shannon finally arrives. And oh boy did she put on a show. Full of fulsome determination to act like she doesn’t care about Vicki, she overdoes it. Shannon was on ‘Fetch’ level.
Everyone noticed Shannon going over-board to pretend that suddenly she was totally fine with Vicki, and not only that, friendly! Having shots! Laughing! Vicki kind of laughed along, afraid that this was some sort of trap. Tamra and Heather played along too, while noticing how incredibly awkward it all was.
Let’s be honest – Shannon’s shtick contains a bit of the ol’ ‘Lady doth protests too much’ to it. Like she’s afraid it might be out there somewhere – these secrets – so better safe than sorry. If she’s positive Vicki is a lying liar-face who lies about lies, Shannon may have shrug it off. But that’s not Shannon – shrugging anything off is as likely as her consuming SPAM.
Meghan tells Heather that she’s dying to take a heritage trip to Ireland and find her ancestors, so Heather invites herself along. They inform all the other women that next week they too will be abandoning their children, businesses, fitness competitions, secrets, and lies.
Finally, Heather forces them to make ice cream from dry ice which is like the most 1992 party trick in history, but also an incredibly apt analogy for this group. They all stand around, tepidly holding whisks they’re not sure how to spin, until clumpy brown emerges from the frozen smoke.Tamra declares that it looks like a yeast infection – which Tamra really needs to visit her gyro if she has THAT going on down there.
At this moment, they decide, with Shannon finally just grovelling in the acceptance that Vicki is fun in a whoop it up way, to go to Ireland together. If that isn’t a prediction and proper send-off, I don’t know what is…
You can take the girls to the blarney stone but you can’t expect the jig to be up!
TELL US – DOES VICKI HAVE A SECRET ABOUT SHANNON?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]