Everyone who watched last season of the Real Housewives of Orange County knew it was the disappointment of all disappointments. We lost OGs Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson, and it was glaringly obvious the show couldn’t go on without them. Kelly Dodd and Braunwyn Windham-Burke’s outrageous antics only alienated fans more. And Shannon Beador showed she’s not the best leader, or friend, for that matter.
So RHOC had to do a huge shake-up before Season 16. And that included bringing back Heather Dubrow (Hallejuah). Braunwyn and Kelly both got the boot, to no surprise, and have not been handling the news well at all. And Elizabeth Lyn Vargas was taken down with them after just one season.
But Elizabeth’s cut wasn’t a total shocker. She spent most of the season being vague and acting a little bizarre. And even though she told the women not to ask about it, she brought up her divorce at every turn. Her biggest moment was when she unveiled a truth about her childhood, which included growing up in a religious cult, but that was about it. But unlike her fellow fired co-stars, Elizabeth is actually being diplomatic about her exit. Kelly and Boringwyn could learn a thing or two.
Real Housewives don’t always leave quietly. Even less so for veterans with big egos like Vicki Gunvalson. She’s the OG of the OC, and probably feels a sense of entitlement in sharing her opinion about anything Real Housewives of Orange County.
And certainly there’s a lot to talk about. RHOC just had a big cast shakeup. Elizabeth Lyn Vargas, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, and Kelly Dodd Leventhal were all axed after completing Season 15. Tamra Judge is hinting at a return to the series, and alum Heather Dubrow’s comeback has been confirmed.
Well, well, well, what do we have here? What happens when a Housewives season falls flat on it’s face and thoughts, prayers, or medical science can’t bring it back from the dead? When this unusual phenomena occurs, someone at Bravo makes a phone call and calls in the big guns – or as my father would say, “the cleaners”. Real Housewives of Orange County is a mess, a big mess. Viewers are saying good-bye to dead weight and Heather Dubrow is coming in hot with the Windex.
Buh-bye Kelly Dodd, good luck Braunwyn Windham-Burke. Elizabeth Lyn Vargas, eh. RHOC suffered in the wake of Covid filming and cast members competing to see who could be the biggest asshole. We know who won that contest and the prize was walking papers. Fancy Pants is coming back but could another old school vet also materialize in an attempt to return RHOC to the glory days of yore? If that isn’t the case, Tamra Judge sure as hell wants you to think it is.
While Tamra Judge has always been a polarizing figure since her entrance onto the Real Housewives of Orange County, she’s damn good at being entertaining. And unlike some other ladies in the Real Housewives universe, she has always been open about her private life on screen. I still get chills thinking about her asking Simon Barney for a divorce in a limo in front of the cameras. And one of the best RHOC moments of all time was her wine throw at Jeana Keough. She was honest about her parenting struggles and the reality of how divorce can tear apart a family. And she’s literally exposed her naked body on TV more than anyone, so she really doesn’t hold back.
There’s been a lot of buzz about whether or not Tammy Sue will return to RHOC. Her fabulous better-half Heather Dubrow is coming back to save the series, and I secretly hope Tamra is by her side. She’s just sooooo good at stirring the pot, and her departure is part of the reason why the series fell apart last year. Her contentious relationship with Vicki Gunvalson was central to the show. And Shannon Beador hasn’t been interesting since the tres amigas broke up for good, so she needs Tamra back to give her a storyline.
Shannon STORMS Beador is no stranger to courtrooms or controversy. The returning Real Housewives of Orange County star is mocked on a regular basis for overreacting to situations most humans would stop processing after blinking twice. But Shannon is a certified worrier and tends to… hold onto things. Hopefully Heather Dubrow remembers this little detail and doesn’t ask Shannon to leave her home at any point in the near future.
Shannon is also a bit of a health nut. She relies on New Age medicine and enjoys a crystal or two being buried beneath the foundation of her homes so the wood fairies will bless her with clear chakras and men who don’t cheat. Shannon uses these basic principles when deciding how to make money and what products to endorse but that doesn’t stop other companies from illegally using her image. Now Shan is worried about social media platforms allowing ads she didn’t clear on products she doesn’t want her name attached to. Mark Zuckerberg better lawyer up and watch out because Shannon finished off Jim Bellino and she’s coming for Facebook.
Love her or hate her, Tamra Judge created a legacy throughout her time on the Real Housewives of Orange County. She was always down to whoop it up alongside Vicki Gunvalson, get naked wasted in a hot tub and, when necessary, throw a glass of wine in someone’s face. We’ve watched her go through a divorce, strained relationships with her children, a new marriage and plenty of physical transformations throughout her years on the show. And I’m not even talking about her bodybuilding phase.
There’s been plenty of RHOC buzz lately since Bravo finally listened to the fans and fired Braunwyn Windham-Burke and Kelly Dodd (Hallelujah). Heather Dubrow is on her way back to make RHOC fancy again, and there have been rumblings about whether or not her buddy Tammy Sue will be returning as well. We know both Tamra and Vicki would likely do anything for a comeback at this point. And after last year’s trainwreck of a season, fans are coming back with their tail between their legs asking for a comeback. But this time, it seems unlikely that a tres amigas reconciliation would occur considering both of their non-existent relationships with Shannon Beador.
Bravo FINALLY announced the upcoming shake-up on the Real Housewives of Orange County and, to the dismay of the OG of the OC, Vicki Gunvalson was not on the list. Heather Dubrow is making a comeback while Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Kelly Dodd and Elizabeth Lyn Vargas got the boot. It’s clear that Vicki will never return to RHOC unless she has the center orange in her hand. Tamra Judge, on the other hand, could still make a cameo as a friend-of.
But Vicki cannot be happy about the news. Shannon Beador is the sole amiga left with an orange in her hand. But following Tammy Sue and Vicki’s exit, the nail was put in the coffin for the tres amigas. Considering the constant shade-throwing by all three women, it’s not a big surprise. And they don’t have an opportunity to make up with an awkwardly long group hug at a reunion to patch things up.
Real Housewives of Orange County wasn’t always a hot mess. In fact, RHOC had an amazing run from Season 3 to Season 11. That’s nine seasons of good TV, which is a difficult feat for any show, scripted or otherwise. We can attribute a lot of this success to stellar casting decisions. For instance, Tamra Judge’s arrival in Season 3 changed everything about the OC. Heather Dubrow’s debut in Season 7 had the same positive effect on the show. After Season 11 however things went south – or at least THAT’S MY OPINION. I attribute the descent into awfulness to two things. The first is the casting of Kelly Dodd and Heather’s subsequent termination. Now, after five years, Bravo finally saw the light and reversed their terrible mistake.
The second catalyst of this downward trajectory was Vicki Gunvalson and Brooks Ayers’ cancer scam in Season 10. Brooks was rightfully questioned by the women on the show for all of his past shady behavior. To rehab his image, Brooks faked having cancer for sympathy. This phony story was initially brought to light by Tamra’s psychic, and then vehemently unraveled thanks to the serious detective work of Meghan King. Vicki has always claimed she “wasn’t in on a cancer scam!” She just wanted casseroles. Most people agree with Shannon Beador’s assessment that Vicki is “too smart” to not know. Bottom line, this cancer scam put a dark spot on RHOC and showed the lengths desperate people will go to on reality TV. Regardless of Vicki’s involvement, this dark spot will always be over her head.