The Real Housewives Of Orange County Season 13 Premiere Recap: Team OC

Last night brought lots of changes for the Real Housewives Of Orange County. Most importantly they’re all getting along! In a scary, even realistic kind of way. Which means something horrible is probably going to happen that sucks the whole of the Pacific Ocean into Vicki Gunvalson and Shannon Beador‘s bodies so they can turn them into an epic tidal wave of hysterical tears. Am I excited about this prospect… I mean, yes and no.

Speaking of Shannon she has downsized in the divorce. Dreaded words there kids! So if you see a woman living under the freeway in a cardboard box featuring rococo mahogany legs, you will know it is Shannon! Terribly tragic. 

Shannon probably has a sign outside her adorable new house (adorable despite its astroturf lawn, which admittedly heels don’t sink into so maybe there is logic) which reads “Downsized Divorcee Lives Here (tread lightly for fear of stepping in the shit).”

Shannon bemoans being forced to live in only a mere 4,000 square feet instead of 14,000, but the new place is much cuter than the un-rehabbed 80’s rental! That place had the depressing vibes of a Property Brothers fixer-upper, except those lovely people never showed up so Shannon and David just stayed, dragging their feet on the outdated floor tiles, until they all cracked. Despite her reduced circumstances Shannon seems slightly happier though, plus she’s making progress on her weight loss goals, so that’s all good!

Tamra Judge is also in a new place but for some reason is living through construction. All while Eddie is dealing with AFib (defibrillated heart) and must have surgery. This is stressful because now he won’t be able to lead 16+ glow-cycle classes in a single day followed by romancing Tamra’s stony heart. And what will CUT Fitness do without its intrepid leader – rely on TAMRA?!

Kelly Dodd moved to a very cute condo. Unlike Shannon, she seems thrilled, but maybe it’s because she’s also dating. A lot. She compares it to easy like “fishing with dynamite.” Which sounds scary and dangerous, because Kelly is the dynamite, right? Strangely she also denies dating – so I really can’t figure out what’s going on in that rejuvenated area! Kelly seems positively high on life, though, like a Nancy Reagan ad from my childhood.

Unfortunately, Kelly also seems to be overly relying on Jolie for emotional support and friendship. Jolie is doing 6th grade math, so I doubt she needs to hear the prime candidates for her mother’s evening proclivities. Or maybe Kelly plans to use her own dating life to teach Jolie math …

What’s definitely what I’d consider fishing with dynamite, is Vicki and Shannon meeting for coffee underneath a neon sign that reads “Good Vibes Only.” Is that the only way these two can learn to get along – if it’s literally spelled out in neon flashing lights?

When the camera first panned to Vicki sitting alone in the coffee shop I did a double-take and for a second thought it was Tamra who’d managed to class it up with a blazer. HA. Never that. Anyway, Shannon and Vicki have a timid sort of peace, baby-stepping into the friendship they once had. They talk about Shannon’s weight and divorce. A mere three months after separating David, finally freed from Shannon’s rules, is dating a woman 20-years younger. Isn’t that like a pre-requisite in the OC? Vicki, who must’ve had a partial lobotomy when she went in for her latest face work, actually deployed listening skills. I know right?! Who was that woman?!

Tamra & Eddie discuss his surgery

At 5 am Tamra takes Eddie to the hospital. After surgery, she meets Ryan for coffee. Are you ready?! Because RYAN has shaved his beard. Now THAT is something to thank Jesus for, although it must have been like wrestling a wild boar and required a machete to get that gross hair off. He looks like a normal person finally! Oh, also Eddie’s surgery went OK, but he now needs to have an additional one. While Tamra is taming the wildebeest over hipster drip coffee, Vicki calls and offers to bring her juice. To Vicki, a juice and a casserole are the only cure-alls one needs. Screw western medicine! (Has she met Yolanda Former-Foster?)

Next Vicki and Kelly meet for dinner and poor Jolie is forced to tag along as the third wheel while they down vodkas and Kelly complains that she wishes Michael would make like David and snag a hot younger woman. Vicki plans to set Shannon up with one of Steve’s cop friends, which makes Kelly jealous. What about her – she also wants to be set up because averaging 3 dates a week x all the available men in Orange County = not enough.  Poor Jolie covers her face and cringes (mirroring the rest of us) and even Vicki warns Kelly that Jolie is too young to be hearing this Golden Girls girl talk! Then Kelly announces that she, Vicki, Tamra, and Shannon should do a ropes course together to rebuild trust.

Tamra Judge & New Housewife Emily Simpson

Tamra leaves Eddie’s side, where he is wallowing in construction dust and lack of exercise, to meet new housewife Emily Simpson for a leisurely hike. They discuss how Emily once betrayed Tamra for Gretchen, the White Witch. We should be careful saying her name lest she be summoned and pull from her plastic handbag all matter of sorcery in the form of ineffective botox or dangerous rumors about your husband’s predilections. Or just as bad: Slade. God knows none of us want the return of Gretchen Christine Puke-ay. Anyway, Emily once planned a party for Tamra, then she buddied up with Gretchen and Tamra’s ex BFF Ricky (whose name she won’t invoke) which was the ultimate stab in the back! Similarly, Emily thought she and Tamra were friends, and had NO idea (yeah right!) about Tamra’s years of fighting with Gretchen then found herself in the middle of an epic feud without even so much as a Bravo paycheck, so now she too has trust issues. Has she considered a ropes course? This Emily seems a wily one …

Anyway, now Emily is in therapy to resolve toxic relationships and the first person she thought to call, naturally, was Tamra. Cause Tamra = Toxic. Tamra and Emily hug, the universal housewife symbol for ‘I pretend to forgive but will never forget should the need for drama and storyline arise,’ and Emily is hired to plan Tamra’s housewarming party. In the unfinished house? Who does Tamra fancy herself to be – Heather Dubrow?!

Then we are introduced to Emily at home, an attorney by day; party-planner by night. She also has three kids: Annabelle, Luke, & Keller and is married to Shane. They were friends for years until one random day Shane proposed OVER GOOGLECHAT – and they got married a couple weeks later. “It’s weird, I know,” Emily admits, surprisingly presciently and sheepishly. While eating what I think is dinner off weird plastic plates with crap all over the table they lose one of their three-year-olds inside their enormous house only to find him on the sofa in the family room right near where they are sitting.

Tamra leaves Eddie again to visit Shannon in her microscopic house. It’s so diminutive I’m surprised she can get through the door. Alas, like Alice turning giant and being forced to stoop, Tamra scuttles inside and decides it’s high time Shannon take off that wedding ring! She drives this point home by suggesting that David started seeing his current flame before he had even separated from Shannon. Shannon struggles because she’s still attached. To her, the ring symbolizes being a wife and mother and a woman who could afford a 14,000 square foot house with a basketball court, and now what – she’s just a middle-aged divorcee competing with gold diggers.

Shannon Beador tries to remove her wedding ring

In ultimate symbolism, of the best kind, Shannon actually can’t get the ring off. She needs an enema for that finger! It takes Shannon and Tamra, working together with soap and hot water, to finally pry it from her finger. Errrr… awkward. “I feel naked,” says Shannon, stroking her bare-knuckle and looking strangely euphoric.

Finally KellyVicki, Tamra, Shannon head to the ropes course which has all the drama you can expect from 4 crazy women doing a normal suburban activity. Isn’t it so fun seeing them all as friends though, and laughing over Kelly’s sex with the milkman while Shannon is on a 17-year dry spell. I do hope things stay this way!

Vicki falls getting her harness on

Seconds into the ropes course they’re all making thinly veiled barbs about why they don’t trust each other, but everything is righted when Vicki tumbles, ass over teacups, trying to put on the harness and sit down at a picnic bench at the same time! She blames the course instructor for pushing her, of course, and Tamra yells, “It’s always somebody else’s fault!” There’s some math – Tamra has Vicki’s number pegged. It’s also great irony to demonstrate how Vicki should never, ever trust herself. HA.

Shannon & Tamra climb the ropes course

Shannon hyperventilates on a wobbly rope ladder, but not to be upstaged Vicki has a full-fledged screaming meltdown because her finger gets stuck. Vicki and Shannon started by shrieking encouragements at each other, until Shannon took a misstep onto a rope that was under Vicki’s hand or something. My TV eventually didn’t reach that decibel – it sounded like cats mating in an alleyway, but it was actually Vicki just begging for her finger’s life while Shannon bawled an apology and Tamra and Kelly – the sane ones! – screamed instructions. Maybe Vicki needed her hand amputated or had broken a nail, but mercifully they all made it through until they had to shove each other from the zip-line platform.

Kelly & Vicki

Pushing each other off a metaphorical cliff was probably the best therapy these ladies could find! To new beginnings #6893756289664! So, just so you know – all it takes to resolve trust issues in Orange County is neon-colored athleisure wear and a couple histrionic moments on a playground apparatus. Welcome back, girls!

Vicki Promises A Season Of Whopping It Up, But Admits There Are Major Friendship Dramas!


[Photo Credits: Bravo]