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'The Real Housewives of Orange County' recap: A pile of Slade

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“Bring it on!” Vicki told a table full of Housewives. Unless you’re going to try and make her feel in any way self-reflective, in which case keep it to yourself or prepare for a teary walk-out scene. Alexis got on her high horse and started counting up all the women who found Vicki obnoxious. (If I’d been invited to the lunch I would’ve given Vicki a distracted “mmm, sorta” hand and then a half-hearted “woo hoo!” to the waiter for another round of mimosas.) Vicki, of course, did not appreciate Alexis assuming the helm of criticism and stomped off, complaining of being attacked.

Lynne had dizzily excused herself to the lady’s room so she missed the whole fight and Tamra was struggling to use two pieces of flatware at the same time. So it was left to Briana to break down the argument in terms the ladies could understand. She started making excuses for her mother’s behavior, and why blind-siding her with a confrontation was a bad idea, before giving up altogether. “I’m 22 years old,” she sputtered — to herself, to the production crew, to America! — “I don’t want to get in you guys’ BS. I’m a nurse! I have my own life!” Oh how I love me some Briana. Though my affection for her dimmed somewhat when she blamed the whole fracas on the sheer number of gathered women. “This is why I don’t hang out with girls!” she said. How that tired line chaps my hide. I’ve heard it spoken from too many women who almost sound like they’re bragging. I can hang with the dudes, man, but broads? They get to talking about their feelings and somebody gets hurt or hormonal or bitchy or whiny and inevitably somebody winds up with a Lee press-on nail stabbed in their back. So, a quick rant from me to the Brianas out there and the women who raise them: (1) If you as a female don’t like women as a gender, it might simply be that you fear it’s you who are unlikable. (2) Hang with different women. They come in all types. (3) If women raise their little girls to be princesses (Tamra! Lynne! Alexis!), and teach them to crave compliments about their adorableness above all else, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when these same little girls grow into women who are threatened and unkind when they find themselves alongside other women in a room.

Gretchen, who looked especially lovely in her rose-colored hat, kept a cool head throughout lunch and even managed to coax Vicki back to the table. But Alexis had already done the unforgivable (did we miss the part where Alexis slept with Don or stole Vicki’s bank card?) and Vicki will never forget. Alexis’ bloated, stream of consciousness prayer for Briana’s health won’t heal this rift. But it did give Tamra another opportunity to test out some more candidates for the season’s catch phrase. “How many flavors of dysfunction can you taste at this lunch!” she asked, her eyebrows wagging hopefully. “Holy inappropriateness!”

Over at the Merv Griffin estate (?!), Slade tried to ingratiate himself with Gretchen’s crinkle-nosed parents. Love these two!  “I wonder how deep the pond is Brenda,” Gretchen’s father wondered. “You probably couldn’t find Slade in there for weeks.” And then later he in fact did coin the season’s best expression: “On the way in, I stepped in a little pile of Slade.” That one is going straight into my repertoire and I shall use it for the rest of my dog-owning days. Slade didn’t help his case by turning on his patented snake charm at dinner. “Brenda, you just come over here, Snookie,” he said, gesturing to the seat next to him. Brenda gave him the stink eye, along with the rest of Bravo’s female audience.

I’m starting to think Frank is a character straight out of a Jeannette Walls book. The man has rocks in his head and fluorescent stars in his eyes. He asked Lynne and Alexa to meet him at his hotel so he could express his regret for landing the family in financial ruin. This was his time to be accountable and he was finally going to talk straight for the sake of his loved ones. Poor guy tried for a few minutes to be responsible but all of the sudden some weird switch flipped and bootlegger nonsense started spilling out of his mouth. It was a stunning display of pathological denial. They may be homeless, there may be countless creditors coming for his knees, but how about a bonding trip to sunny Cancun!

Frank: “I feel a real family vacation coming on! How do you feel about that?”

Alexa: “I feel that’s bull—-.” (Cut to Lynne’s dreamy expression where you can see her planning a spray tan appointment and a bikini shopping trip.)

Alexa: “We move every six months!”

Frank: “Lots of families move!”

Alexa: “Not like us.”

Frank: “This is going to be our year!”

Alexa: “You said that four years ago.”

Frank: “You’re my special angel.”

I normally want to ground Alexa or at least give her a list of chores when she starts in on her pouting, eye-rolling routine. But when she announced for the fifth time that she was like so over this, I was like oh sister, I am like so with you.

Elsewhere, Jim and Alexis’ gentle pastor and his cool-seeming wife suffered through a breakfast of pumpkin bread, yogurt, and righteous narcissism. Jim and Alexis seemed to agree that her augmented breasts were her gift from God.

What did you all think? Vicki should probably get herself some thicker skin, don’t you think? Would you rather spend an hour with Alexis or Jim? Why is Simon so ridiculously hellbent on trashing Vicki? How big of a nut is Frank?