Welcome back to week three of The Real Housewives of Orange County! Now before we go down the rabbit hole to discuss Shannon Beador‘s revamped food line, Kelly Dodd‘s latest tone deaf behavior or whatever hair nightmare Gina Kirschenheiter will inflict upon us this week, I realize I failed to analyze one very important element of any new Housewives season last week: taglines! Since I started with episode 2, I didn’t think much about it. But in retrospect, Bravo supplanted the taglines in the reveal with Jeana Keough‘s epic Desperate Housewives-inspired intro. So let’s dive into the Season 15 taglines shall we?
For starters, they’re pretty atrocious. I mean, right? Like, all together they might be the weakest batch in RHOC history. Possibly in all of Housewives history. And that’s saying something for a show that started out with Vicki Gunvalson crying, “I don’t wanna get old” way back in Season 1. Kelly telling viewers not to judge her? After everything she’s been doing and saying in the wake of a global pandemic? That’s rich. (And don’t even get me started on that “Drunk Wives Matter” moment.) Braunwyn Windham-Burke‘s makes more sense in the context of her alcoholism than it did before the season premiered, while Shannnon‘s “closed Beador” probably would’ve been more effective if she’d used it back in Season 13 right after her split.
As for the others? Gina‘s mixed metaphor in defense of her tiny home? Laughable. Emily Simpson‘s body-positive embrace of her curves? We love to see it, but production did her dirty by inserting her shouting “new hip!” into the middle of the sound byte. Newbie Elizabeth Lyn Vargas‘ declaration of “I made my money the old-fashioned way: marrying it, then making more,” is actually the best of the bunch — if only funny in its blatant ownership of her gold-digging start. But all in all, this season’s intro is almost tragically sad. And I’m not sure I can put up with hearing it for the next 10 weeks.
This week’s episode revolves around the lead-up to Shannon‘s housewarming party. But honestly, not much happens other than a whole lot of filler for the first 30 minutes. Elizabeth reveals during dinner with Kelly and Gina that she’s under a very strict gag order about her divorce. Which means we won’t be hearing much about her billionaire ex-husband, Bernt Bodal, on camera this season. What we’ll hear about instead is her sex-free relationship with boyfriend Jimmy Juarez. Which, really, the less said about the better, but the rookie won’t even confirm how long they’ve been together. Apparently because of said gag order? It’s all bizarre and something tells me it will still be confusing come reunion time…
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Instead, let’s talk about Gina‘s brewing issues with Braunwyn and Shannon. Ever since hearing through the grapevine that she was disparaging her not-casita as “sad and depressing,” Gina’s starting to question Shannon’s friendship. Were all of last season’s trips to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive shopping sprees just for show? Either way, Gina’s feelings are hurt and the relationship is on its way to being more damaged than the hair she’s trying to hide with her bad extensions. She also cheers to 2020 being better than 2019, and all I can do is maniacally laugh at the naïveté of it all. Oh what an innocent time we were all having back in February.
Meanwhile, Braunwyn continues to do all the heavy lifting in terms of storyline this season. On a visit with Shannon to the famed Dr. Moon, the sophomore ‘Wife admits she threw her pal under the bus by repeating the comments she made about Gina‘s condo to Emily. Which then, of course, made their way back to Gina. Shannon denies — and is visibly displeased at — this information, and jumps on Braunwyn to correct the record the next time the ‘Wives are all together. However, via confessional, Braunwyn claims that the conversation happened off-camera while Shannon had been drinking. And furthermore, the vet added the caveat that she would “deny it till the end” if the comments came up on camera. Uh oh…looks like we’ve got a serious case of she said/she said brewing in the OC.
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The day of Shannon‘s party finally arrives. And rather than hiring a real catering company the way, say, Heather Dubrow would’ve five seasons ago, she’s forced her daughters and boyfriend John Janssen‘s kids into leggings emblazoned with lemons to pass around trays of Real for Real Cuisine. Gina arrives first. And she even brings boyfriend Travis Mullen along, who correctly and casually drops another Desperate Housewives reference in regard to Shannon, Kelly and Braunwyn all living right next to each other in the swankiest suburbia of the OC. (Are the Porch Streets of Newport Beach the new Wisteria Lane? You know Shannon thinks she’s totally this group’s Susan Mayer now.)
Before everyone else arrives, Gina confronts Shannon for allegedly dissing her new house. And just like she said she would, Shannon deny, deny, denies. The words “sad and depressing” aren’t even in her vocabulary! OK?! Instead, she’s placing the blame squarely on Braunwyn for putting words in her mouth. And Gina chooses to believe her. Which honestly makes sense since she spent two seasons openly craving Shannon’s approval and literally loathes the newer ‘Wife. And now Shannon is seeing red and also reveals that, out of all the ‘Wives, Gina’s the only one who owns her hope, however tiny it may be.
RELATED: Real Housewives Of Orange County Star Gina Kirschenheiter Says Braunwyn Windham-Burke’s Family Is “In Crisis”
When Braunwyn arrives, she’s immediately triggered by all the alcohol at the party, and retreats to the bathroom in tears. Considering she’s only told Emily and Shannon about her sobriety, the rest of the women are just confused and see the outburst as typical Braunwyn dramatics. Shannon then pulls Braunwyn aside to unleash her anger. And while the latter promised she’d say she got confused over the alleged comments, now she doubles down and refuses to walk the gossip back. Instead she insists Sean Burke heard Shannon’s comments too, which sends Shannon into a rage. The argument escalates to a back-and-forth about who remembers what, with Braunwyn staking her claim on her sobriety. For the first time, she can trust her memory.
In classic Shannon fashion, she storms away and the argument jumps like a wildfire to Braunwyn vs. Gina. However, as the two start hashing out their long pent-up animosity, you can practically see Shannon vying for the spotlight. As she goes off on Sean, the wheels turning in her head are almost blatantly visible. Finally having the seniority means Shannon isn’t going to let these ‘Wives further down the pecking order take center stage. Except it doesn’t really work. Because, for as loud and hysterical as Shannon can get, Braunwyn and Gina are determined to get louder.
It goes a little something like this. Gina labels Braunwyn‘s campaign against as a “crazy f**king wack attack.” Accusations of money and character get tossed out like grenades. Gina goes on the offensive by calling her nemesis a “sloppy chihuahua” who’s “wasted all the time.” At that point, Braunwyn pulls out what she thinks is her trump card, proudly (and angrily) revealing that she’s 30 days sober. So what ammunition does Gina have on her now?
However, Braunwyn must have borrowed the Tamra Judge playbook. Because when Gina rather rudely questions whether she’s really sober, she proceeds to A. Throw a drink and B. Storm out of the party — in a move reminiscent of both Tammy Sue’s Season 6 wine toss and her Real Housewives of Orange County Season 9 storm-out in Bali. And with that, we’ll have to see what happens in the wake of Braunwyn pulling a “You will never see my face again!”
RELATED: Vicki Gunvalson Says Emily Simpson Is “One Of The Worst Casting Decisions Bravo Has Ever Made”
TELL US – ARE YOU TEAM BRAUNWYN OR TEAM GINA? WAS SHANNON TRYING TOO HARD TO MAKE THE ARGUMENT ABOUT HER? DO YOU BELIEVE SHE CALLED GINA’S HOUSE “SAD AND DEPRESSING”? WHO’S THE REAL “SLOPPY CHIHUAHUA” THIS SEASON ON REAL HOUSEWIVES OF Orange County?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]