Real Housewives of Orange County Recap – 9/21/15

September 22nd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Like anyone with a hint of a pulse and a semi-decent attention span, I was quickly drawn into the first season of Mr. Robot. Even the commercials for the show were intriguing; they gave away almost nothing about what the eventual plot turned out to be, but there was a style to them that I responded to immediately. The show looked like it was going to be gritty, like it had been shot by some genius in 1973 before the studio system decided to sign him to a binding contract and then required that he trade in his testicles and his taste for some pure mainstream appeal that came with pure mainstream profit.

Only two minutes into the pilot, Mr. Robot managed to remind me of Taxi Driver and Fight Club in terms of having an unreliable but charismatic antihero protagonist and the lush wide shots, off-kilter pacing, and Elliot’s voiceover that came out like a drug-numbed drone settled deep within my head. I focused on the characters and their interactions and I was swept away to a very dark place that I happily crawled back to week after week. As with many series that have interwoven plots and mounds of developing characters and questions that have been alluringly dangled like a bunch of bright green grapes over the course of a season to ravenous viewers who just want something to chew, it was the penultimate episode of the first season that felt the most rewarding to me. Answers were offered and theories were somewhat resolved and so the actual finale fell a little flat for me because it would have been nearly impossible to follow up the gripping hour that preceded it. Still, there was something eerily magical about the conversation Elliot had on the street with Joanna in that last episode. The whole thing was shot in a hushed kind of manner and so much was not being said between them and all of the empty and dense space behind them in the frame managed to look almost menacing and it was just about perfect. For me though, the most perfect part of the entire episode was not that street scene, but a line spoken by Elliot in voiceover when he saw the mania created by the repercussions of his choices and his actions: “So this is what a revolution looks like.”

I couldn’t help but think about the Mr. Robot revolution line as I watched the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County because it certainly seems like a battle is about to burst forth, one that will be fought on the expansive grounds and inside the tacky parties thrown by women who should really know better than to expect normality to govern their lives anymore. I think maybe that’s what actually offends me – that any Housewife still has the audacity to feign surprise that 1) the other Housewives are talking about her and 2) that they are saying only very sh*tty things. What does surprise me, though, is the darkness this franchise as a whole has descended into. The conflicts used to revolve around lies rich women told one another for sport or people showing up to events for which they had never sent an RSVP or any other minor calamity from which an hour (or seven) of dramatics could be squeezed, but we are not in that place anymore. The conflicts have been upped and the fallout has become massive. Now our Housewives face things like incarceration. They fail publicly and spectacularly in alleged quests for sobriety. They are embroiled in lawsuits for screaming across the airwaves that another Housewife’s vagina smells like rotten fish. Depositions are actually scheduled for some of the other Housewives to comment on the record about what they have heard about the alleged scent of another woman’s vulva.

This is what the revolution looks like – and I could not be more disappointed.

It’s not like most of what’s explored on this show has ever been tremendously positive, but we’re veering into a thick and murky area now as the boyfriend of one of the Housewives has been accused of faking his cancer. That is some next level sociopathic sh*t – if it’s true. When the doubt about Brooks’ illness was first presented, it came forth in a way that read as almost silly. It was a whiskey-imbibing psychic who had the first inkling that cancer wasn’t really inside the body of Vicki’s boyfriend, but now that the rest of the women also feel suspicious about the matter, things have gone to the next level, and by that I mean a level down because it doesn’t get much worse than doubting or faking a cancer diagnosis.

So is Brooks lying? My initial reaction, formulated early this season, was no way. I based that opinion on the fact that the guy looked so thin that he bordered on frailty and he said buzzwords like “chemo” relatively frequently and his girlfriend appeared tremendously concerned about his welfare and only a complete monster first seen in a myth about flying beasts would lie about having cancer, right? Right? I am, however, no longer quite so sure in my beliefs, and it looks like I’m not the only one. As more slivers of information have come forth about Brooks and his doctors and his medication, doubt has grown. Yes, it’s revolting to think the guy has been lying, but it’s not like this is the first time we’ve been clued into the fact that the guy who likes to pray before meals served on camera is also a man who has acted, shall we say, less than pious. We have been shown vehement confrontations on reunion shows where Brooks fought with Vicki’s daughter about how he drunkenly advised her husband to knock her around a little bit to keep her in line. We know the timeline is a little blurry (and probably more than a little bit sticky – and I’m so sorry for that imagery) when it comes to when Brooks and Vicki got together and it’s pretty evident that Vicki was probably married at the time. We know that Vicki’s daughter finds the man to be so unsavory that she will not stay in her own mother’s house when she is in town because Brooks is also in that house and she believes him to be the spawn of Lucifer and we know that Brooks was banned from Vicki’s mother’s funeral because apparently nothing is worse than burying a loved one – except burying that person in the vicinity of anywhere Brooks might be. We know Vicki and Brooks have broken up and gotten back together several times, that he has been taped discussing sexual interactions with other women, and that Vicki is a walking open pus-wound of a human being who would rather be dead than be alone. My point here is that this guy has not exactly held himself up to be the President of the Morality Society in the past, so that he is now being accused of something beyond heinous actually might make some sense.

Since nothing can ever be resolved on a Housewives show in a single episode, it has taken us about four episodes to get to where we are now, which is back at Shannon’s Aries Party, an event thrown for no real reason whatsoever besides the fact that Shannon must have drawn the short straw and she figured that if the party was in her own house, she could keep an eye on her husband and make sure he’s not secretly packing a bag to bring along on his escape. With David’s every move covered outside, Brooks and Vicki have gone inside to tell Meghan to stop contacting women from Brooks’ past to inquire about claims that he previously lied about having cancer. It also came out that Brooks doesn’t put a whole lot of stock in anything Tamra says and nobody else should either. And that comment, once it gets back to Tamra, incenses the woman whose eyes are so black and dead that they might as well have been formed out of flattened roadkill.

She’s not exactly one to take a criticism quietly, our Tamra, and so she starts screaming at Brooks and telling Vicki that she has been nothing but supportive to her revolting boyfriend and Vicki tries to calm her friend down because all this screaming about Brooks makes him look bad.

“He didn’t talk sh*t about you, Tamra! And don’t swear at me,” implores Vicki, but it’s really too late. Tamra is positively irate at being called a liar, and I am relieved to my very core that in the past I have only called her trashy, classless, and demonic, which I hope means that I haven’t pissed her off and that she will spare me should she suddenly become all-powerful during the next stage of the revolution. I realize such a thing is unlikely, but so is the fact that any of these women are famous in the first place so it’s really best for me to cover my ass.

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