This is it. The end of Season 15 of The Real Housewives of Orange County. We made it, guys. Now, I for one wouldn’t actually say it’s been the worst season in modern Housewives history. (That distinction still goes, in my opinion, to Season 13…) But it certainly was an odd duck in the show’s fifteen-year canon. And sure, there are plenty of reasons. Blame it on the pandemic. Or in the glaring absence of Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson. Blame it on the new girl. Or on the fact that these women don’t really have authentic friendships anymore.
But really, when you look back at the history of RHOC, the show veered off course after Season 11. And it’s been in a never-ending nose dive ever since. (Though I for one rather enjoyed most of Season 14…) Personally, I have my theories about why that is. (Read: the unforgivable loss of Heather Dubrow, which many fans are just now starting to recognize four seasons after her exit.) But either way, this is where we’ve arrived. So for one last time, let’s dive back into the complicated mire that is Season 15 in the OC.
The Real Housewives of Orange County sure are squeezing as much out of this Lake Arrowhead trip as they can, huh? In no year other than 2020 would a non-international cast trip featuring only four of the ‘Wives get stretched out for three episodes. Just imagine the quick Season 6 jaunt to San Antonio lasting that long. Because Lake Arrowhead is basically the equivalent of that, just with fewer Gretchen Christine Beaute handbags.
This trip has thrown Braunwyn Windham-Burke for a loop. She calls her BFF Shari from her hotel room to vent about the “anti-Braunwyn campaign” the other ‘Wives seem to be on. And sure, you can argue that Braunwyn is being paranoid. Except that at that very moment, plenty of anti-Braunwyn gossip is being thrown around the house by her cast mates. Kelly Dodd calls her a “Debbie downer.” Gina Kirschenheiter says she came in “nervous and aggressive.” So is she really that wrong that an anti-Braunwyn campaign is happening?
Well, this is it. The very last episode before The Real Housewives of Orange County gets overtaken by the coronavirus. It was a good run. (But…was it, though?) All season, the looming threat of the global pandemic has tugged at the show’s periphery. You know it’s coming. But with a wave of the hand, it’s been constantly batted away and dismissed as the women have squabbled. They have more pressing things to fight over, after all. Like alcoholism, gag orders, tinctures and lice. Coronavirus has been something distant and irrelevant to joke about and toast to…and occasionally get mildly annoyed over. (But only when your precious natural products expo gets cancelled and you have nowhere to hawk your vitamin-infused water.)
But somebody call the CDC because there’s a life-threatening virus on the loose in the OC. However, we’re still treated to about 33 minutes of willful ignorance this week before the pandemic unleashes its full wrath on RHOC. Because these women would much rather ignore it for just a little while longer. They simply refuse to let a novel coronavirus harsh the vibe of their cast trip to Palm Springs. I mean, it would be a shame for a little thing like that to get in the way of gossiping about each other.
There is more trouble brewing between Real Housewives of Orange County stars Gina Kirschenheiter and Braunwyn Windham-Burke. During the Season 15 premiere, Braunwyn revealed that she is an alcoholic. It was a shock for RHOC viewers.
She is also redefining her relationship with her husband, Sean Burke. The couple has shared that they had threesomes with other women in the past.
Gina Kirschenheiter has had a hard time since she’s joined Real Housewives of Orange County. Her first season shined a bright light on the fact that her now ex-husband, Matt Kirschenheiter, had probably been cheating on her for a while. Season two, we watched her live life in a casita while going through a divorce. Now in her third season, she’s living in a “sad townhouse” (trademark NOT Shannon Beador), fighting with Braunwyn Windham-Burke, and sporting hair extensions that aren’t even trying to hang on.
Point being – Gina lays it all out on the table for us and that makes her a pretty great housewife. In fact, some could say she learned from the best. Tamra Judge took Gina under her wing early on, and maybe she showed Gina that it’s best to be yourself rather than fake storylines for
casseroles sympathy. What’s that? *Crickets.* Okay, I get it, no one likes RHOC or Tamra the same way I do, well, except for Gina.
Well, that’s it. My brain is permanently scarred. My eyes can’t unsee it. Did anyone have Kelly Dodd filming in bed with a shirtless Rick Leventhal on their 2020 Bravo bingo card? Because that’s how this episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County opened. And in the immortal words of one Valerie Cherish, “I don’t need to see that!” (Listen, if you know, you know.) Honestly, the less said about the Fox News reporter wanting to hang things Kelly (in 7 minutes though?), the better. The only good thing about suffering through that opening scene was seeing it get interrupted by Hoda Kotb reporting on the encroaching coronavirus.
This season is turning out to be a bit like Game of Thrones when it comes to the pandemic. Like the families of Westeros, the women are busy fighting and feuding and getting offended. But the real problem on the horizon is the proverbial White Walker they’re all dismissing. It’s coming, ladies. Even if Rick Leventhal isn’t worried about it. And it’s going to lay waste to this season, which apparently, we might already be about halfway through? If that’s true, is this jaunt to Palm Springs supposed to count as one of Season 15’s cast trips?
For a filler episode, this week’s Real Housewives of Orange County was quite the roller coaster, wasn’t it? There was a heartwarming high. There were low-budget lows. And then right at the end, was the lowest low of all. Personally, over the course of the episode I went from getting choked up. To being weirded out. To being completely shocked, emotionally triggered and happily surprised at the return of a familiar face. And finally, to feeling physically sick to my stomach by the final scene. For a Housewives season many fans are choosing not to watch, this year in the OC is certainly delivering all kinds of emotions so far. And we haven’t even reached the earth-shattering outbreak of a global pandemic!
Let’s just start with the low-budget low, shall we? The episode kicks off with Emily Simpson FaceTiming Gina Kirschenheiter to rehash last week’s drama. Which would be a totally ordinary thing to do in the world of Housewives if Gina weren’t busy shopping at…Walmart. Now listen. I’m not saying shopping at Walmart is sad and depressing the way some ‘Wives might. But it’s normal. Which is precisely what I don’t want from a Housewives show. Give me luxury! Give me wealth! At the very least, give me Trader Joe’s. I mean. Can you imagine Heather Dubrow deigning to shop at Walmart during her five seasons on the show? I didn’t think so. Gina getting caught shopping at Walmart on camera just goes to show how far this show has fallen from its glory days.
Real Housewives of Orange County star Gina Kirschenheiter hasn’t been lucky in love. When she started appearing on the show, her husband, Matt Kirschenheiter, lived in an apartment three hours away. Gina had never even seen his
bachelor pad apartment. RHOC viewers never caught a glimpse of her husband, but now he is set to make his debut during Season 15. Is this really necessary?
In April of 2018, Gina filed for divorce because Matt had an affair. On June 22, 2019, Matt allegedly physically attacked his wife, and he was charged with felony domestic violence. Even more disturbing was the fact that their children were home at the time.