Shannon's mother-in-law gives manipulation a whole new meaning
Credit: Bravo

We learned some unexpected new things about the ladies of the OC in “Stage Moms and Dropped Bombs.” For starters, who knew that Shannon’s daughters were in their own little rock & roll band, aptly called “Lock – Ladies of Rock”? We learned that Tamra is an even bigger s— stirrer than we ever thought possible while Vicki is ready to have sex and will make that known even if it means traumatizing her kids. And finally, Shannon is able to forgive — she does have that gene — it just goes dormant in regards to Vicki and her mother-in-law (but way more on that later).

So with that said, here’s where we are this week: Tensions are still high over the accident at Glamis. Tamra and Meghan aren’t speaking because Tamra heard that Meghan is spreading rumors that she was “reckless” and that’s why there was a crash. Shannon left Vicki a message to see how she was doing, but Vicki is refusing to call her back — which by the way, I totally respect because I still don’t get why Shannon and Meghan didn’t go visit her in the hospital and I still don’t get what Heather said that didn’t make the accident sound severe enough? Did Heather need to call screaming and crying when she too was in shock over the incident? It’s all an excuse because Meghan and Shannon just can’t admit that they iced Vicki out long enough over Cancer-gate. But, when Shannon invites Tamra over to a get together to help clean out/pack up the house she needs to be out of in 10 days… Tamra (who has now dubbed herself the Rodney “Can’t we all just get along?” King of the OC because of her mad peacekeeping skills) asks to bring along Kelly. You know, the same Kelly who called Shannon a “see you next Tuesday” and the same Kelly who thought Shannon “set her up” at the ‘70s party. Shannon says okay! Say what? She’ll let Kelly in her home after such craziness but it took an accident for her to even acknowledge Vicki’s existence?

I do give Shannon credit for at least trying to bury the hatchet with Kelly. Though that’s not to say things aren’t extremely awkward when Kelly walks in — bottle of bubbly in hand and all — and hugs Shannon while apologizing for her poor choice of words. I don’t want to pack for myself when I’m moving let alone anyone who called me a “see you next Tuesday” so props to Kelly for showing up — she must really be sorry! Meghan arrives, and Tamra is not happy to see her. Of course the accident comes up, and Tamra says her injured back feels okay unless she hyperextends it — which Meghan is dubious about. “Do you do that a lot?” she asks with an air of superiority. Why actually Tamra does because she exercises a lot to prep for her big fitness competition. It’s right about then that Tamra decides it’s time to leave because she doesn’t want to hang around when everyone is acting like there are no issues and no one wants to talk — namely Meghan. Which means that of course Tamra isn’t really leaving and of course a fight conversation begins.


Meanwhile, Vicki is obviously not at Shannon’s packing party, but she is out to dinner for Brianna’s birthday where we learn that she has a very skewed view of herself. Ready? Vicki thinks she’s low maintenance, doesn’t cause fights, and is submissive. She’s also oblivious because I don’t think she had any idea that Brianna, Michael, and Ryan’s mouths were gaping open in disbelief. And Vicki also thinks her kids would like to know that when she does find her soul mate that she just wants to travel with him and have sex. WHAT!? Earmuffs please — no kids, no matter what their age, ever need to hear about anything to do with their mom’s sex life. EVER!

NEXT: Drama just follows Shannon everywhere — even her daughters’ concert

Vicki is also not invited to a little concert that “Lock — Ladies of Rock” put on at a local bar. Maybe she would have been there if she called Shannon back, but I really don’t blame Vicki for standing her ground on that one. Shannon’s daughters are adorable, but Shannon is such an annoying stage mom. It almost feels like Shannon is upset her girls didn’t ask her to join the band. Though that’s the least of Shannon’s worries because what should have been a fun night celebrating her girls takes a dark and twisted turn when her mother-in-law shows up. It’s unclear exactly why, but there’s major beef with Shannon and her MIL that goes back to the beginning of her relationship with David. It’s also affected David’s relationship with his family.

Things get weird when the MIL chooses Kelly of all people — who was barely even invited to the show — to confide in. She reveals to Kelly that she never sees her granddaughters because Shannon “hates her guts!” What!? Who starts pulling strangers into decades old family drama? How did she know to pick Kelly out of anyone there? She’s worse than Tamra when it comes to stirring the pot. Kelly relishes in the opportunity to be the hero and smooth things over and tells the MIL, “No, [Shannon] doesn’t hate YOUR guts; she thinks YOU hate HER guts.” Okay, thank you Kelly, now walk away as fast as you can. But no, instead Kelly stays planted firmly in the middle as the MIL goes on to tell Tamra and Kelly that David “made one mistake” (the affair) and that Shannon “pushed him.”

It takes a lot to shock me. I have watched a lot of Real Housewives in my day and seen a lot of crazy drama go down, but this is beyond my comprehension. We’re missing a piece of the puzzle — why in the world does Shannon’s MIL want this dirty laundry aired out all over the place? And why did she pick Tamra and Kelly of all people to air it out to? Was there a master plan because the cameras were rolling?

Tamra takes in this bombshell and goes off to have a truly heartfelt make-up session with Meghan. Kelly, however, starts telling Shannon about what her MIL said (minus the pushing to affair part) and when Shannon gets defensive and pissed, Kelly actually tries to defend the MIL. Kelly is being really gutsy, but thankfully realizes she was getting in too deep and backs off. Shannon has her hands full — apparently she hadn’t seen her MIL since Christmas, didn’t know she was coming to the concert and the MIL has apparently told her daughters that Shannon is a horrible mother. Kelly still can’t wrap her head around this because the MIL cried over her lack of a relationship with Shannon, David, and the girls. It’s okay though, Kelly is in the clear and won’t have a chance to put her foot in her mouth because Tamra can’t help herself and decides Shannon needs to know that her MIL thinks she pushed David to his affair. Yep, this is exactly what Rodney King was hoping for when he begged all of Los Angeles to get along.

Now, I sure as hell didn’t expect Shannon to be happy to hear this news. But considering it seemed like Shannon wrote her MIL off as a crazy person, I didn’t expect her to fly off the handle quite as far. But a nerve was struck — and Shannon erupted like a volcano and went insane. There was yelling at David about what his mother said, hysterical crying in the bathroom, and a demanding of David to defend her. And then, it was out of her system and Shannon strutted back to the table like nothing happened; she apologized flippantly and blamed it on “16 years of the same stuff.” Kelly, G-d bless her, still tries to defend the MIL for wanting to make things right while David makes sure he says loud enough for everyone to hear that Shannon has been nothing but amazing.

Now, we know that Shannon and David are coming up on the two-year anniversary of the affair and that’s supposed to be the magic amount of time that makes the hurt and anger go away. And we know that David went above and beyond to make things right by throwing Shannon a surprise vow renewal ceremony. But Shannon proved something very important tonight: She’s not over the affair. Sure, she’s in love with David and is going to do whatever it takes to make their marriage work — but there are scars on their marriage that run deep, even deeper than the affair, and the MIL is a trigger. On the way home while desperately trying to figure out a diplomatic way to explain to the girls what happened, I thought David did very well when he said his mother, “said things that she believes but aren’t necessarily true.” Well, that was hyper-offensive to Shannon, causing David to rephrase it to “said things that were inappropriate.”

I think Shannon is in denial about a few things — mainly that she’s over the affair. She’s not, and that’s okay, but she needs to figure out a better way to deal with her emotions and not let them be so close to the surface that they erupt without warning. She also doesn’t realize what a difficult position her husband is in. It sounds like he has limited interaction with his family because of the way they treat Shannon, but he hasn’t completely cut ties — and you know what, that’s okay, too. It’s his family, it’s his mother and having such animosity from his wife toward her not only puts him in the middle but also must be incredibly painful. But the bigger question is — why does Shannon see her MIL as a threat? Is she that insecure about any woman in David’s life or is his mom even more horrible than she came across tonight?

Hopefully this incident doesn’t set Shannon and David back too far as they’ve made a lot of progress and we’re rooting for them to make it. But wow do they need to get some closure or resolution on this situation with the MIL or they’re never going to be in a truly good place. Instead they are going to be in a constant state of limbo, waiting for the MIL to light another match, stand back, and watch it burn them up.

Episode Recaps

The Real Housewives of Orange County

Bravo turns its cameras on California's ladies who lunch (and shop, and tan, and get plastic surgery, and bicker…)

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