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Real Housewives of Orange County recap: Baptism By Fire

During Tamra’s baptism, the women finally confront Vicki about her shadiness.

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The Real Housewives of Orange County

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Current Status:
In Season

Tamra Judge is checking out the venue of her impending baptism and finds it to be the perfect backdrop for “the first step in a journey of over a year to wash away all my sins.” Uh, right. While many plotlines on this show feel overproduced and shoehorned, this one in particular strikes me as quite disingenuous, mostly because it was but a few short weeks ago when Tamra couldn’t pronounce the word “pastor” correctly, and was acting pretty un-Christian when cursing out Bricki and others at Shannon’s Aires party. Maybe we’re not privy to enough of Tamra’s newfound respect for the Lord, but, given the edit we’ve seen this season, it seems like Tamra’s the same old tiger with the same old stripes and that this baptism is more of an excuse to get all gussied up and have a party.

Accordingly, everyone’s here. Tamra’s penniless louse of a son, Ryan, Lizzie From Last Season, Lynne from Many Seasons Ago, Vicki’s son Michael, some woman named Tammy Knickerbocker that I don’t remember from season 3, Pastor Mike and his choker necklace and, of course, all the ladies and their significant others (except Jim Edmonds). Vicki Gunvalson’s on high alert since she “doesn’t want to be around conflict tonight,” so she’s mostly sticking to her brother’s side. Shannon Beador, free of that pesky lingering piece of her home colonic kit, is bouncing around like normal, though she’s concerned Vicki will call her nasty and disgusting again. That will not stand with Ole Lemon Bowl.

Tamra walks out, is “overwhelmed and feels like her life is going to change and people are going to know a side of me I’ve never known!” A church choir comes out and sings about the path of Jesus at these people who are decidedly not “white as snow,” as the choir exalts, if this season’s footage is any indication. Shannon ballyhoos about Tamra “committing her life to the Lord,” while Heather Dubrow can’t find a Jewish equivalent of the baptism: “In fact, our whole slogan is ‘Never forget.’”

We get underway and Tamra speaks about all the good and hard times and “knows God has a plan for me and can’t freaking wait to see what it is.” Then she disses ex-husband Simon and publicly forgives him for the hellish custody battle he put her through. She closes by admitting she will continue “to mess up from time to time, but what was once my mess is now my message.” Uh huh. Into the pool Tamra and Pastor Mike go for the big dunk. Tamra says she sees her whole life as she hits the water, and since she’s spent a considerable part of it in front of a camera crew, Bravo treats us to a clip show of her best and worst moments. The choir sings “Amazing Grace,” and there’s a laughable cut to Vicki, who is holding her hand to the sky and singing along.

Everyone spills into the reception and I’m hoping that with the addition of alcohol we can move away from this saccharine opening and into some confrontations. Instead we have to watch Vicki stare at boats docked in the marina behind the venue and rue how she never bought a yacht. Then she tells us how she’d ordinarily be talking to all the Housewives, but this is a conscious choice to be on her own. Despite a desire not to interact, Meghan approaches, noticing Vicki is cold, and offers to help her find a shawl. Vicki walks away, telling us she just wants to give Tamra her present and get out of here.

Next Vicki stands behind Shannon, though they never speak. “The one that hurts the most is Shannon,” Vicki tells us. “I’ve been nothing but nice to her.” Untrue. You’ve gossiped heavily behind Shannon’s back, Fun Bus. I wonder what it’s like inside Vicki’s brain. Is there just some little version of Vicki in there, tasked with taking in everything Vicki sees and hears and figuring out a way to make the output all about Vicki and how she’s been wronged?

NEXT: Yet another lie