Will Tamra ever learn to just keep her mouth shut?

By Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal
August 30, 2016 at 01:45 PM EDT
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Maybe it’s just me, but this episode of RHOC was like the equivalent of “opposite day” that gets declared out of nowhere on playgrounds at elementary schools everywhere. Shannon and David are blissed out on their second honeymoon in Mexico, as if the past two years never occurred and there was nary an affair for them to have overcome. It’s nice to see them happy, but we probably saw a little too much of David from the footage of their home videos. We get it, it’s a honeymoon, but wearing pants when the camera’s on is just a nice courtesy for the rest of us!

But the real “opposite day” shenanigans happened at the Merv Griffin estate in Palm Springs, the site of Vicki’s birthday celebration. For the record, no one knows who poor Merv Griffin is and that makes me sad — none of these women watch Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune? But what’s really shocking is Vicki and Kelly are whooping it up together and Tamra is basically the third wheel. There’s rarely a trip where Tamra and Vicki aren’t attached at the hip and making everyone else feel like they’re not part of the cool clique. I still don’t trust Kelly and her mood swings, but I do have new respect for Vicki. She invited everyone, including Shannon, to her birthday weekend.

As we know, neither Vicki nor Kelly was invited to Shannon’s birthday surprise/vow-renewal, so it was a really nice gesture from Vicki to show the women how desperately she wants to just move on. No one will ever forget “Cancer-gate,” but haven’t we gotten to a Brooks-free zone where everyone can just back off a little? Of course, Vicki can’t help but take a little jab at Shannon and David for excluding her by reminding the world her own vow renewal with Donn didn’t exactly have lasting repercussions. In fact, now that Vicki mentions it, there has been a vow-renewal curse plaguing the Real Housewives universe (see Ramona and Mario from RHONY or Peter and Cynthia of RHOA fame). Hopefully, Shannon and David won’t face the same fate.

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Overall, though, it’s nice to see Vicki in a good place, celebrating her birthday and taking her rightful place as the OG of the OC. Her kids, Briana and Michael, are present along with her grandkids. Vicki pulls off the most insane surprise for Briana and flies in her husband to surprise her (it’s B’s birthday, too), eliciting a floodgate of tears for me and anyone watching who has a soul. Vicki is smiling, sans a man, sans Brooks, and it’s the total opposite of what we’ve seen so far this season. But you know what they say: The more things change, the more they stay the same, and friggin’ Tamra is still stirring the pot and running her big mouth.

Tamra even knows she’s making things worse, but she just can’t help herself. The situation: Heather v. Kelly. Tamra’s involvement? She’s planning a big birthday trip for Eddie. Everyone is invited, along with their families and kids, and Heather’s worried Kelly is going to unload “f-bombs” and “see you next Tuesdays” around her son. The truth is, I get where Heather is coming from, because Kelly has proven to be such a loose cannon and who’s to say kids would be exempt from her tirades? Yes, being told you’re a prostitute when you’re not is something to get angry about. But Kelly’s on a different plane, and the way she went from zero to 100 (and to back to zero) like it was no big deal at Meghan’s “night before getting knocked up” party was CRAZY.

Come to think of it, Heather demanding Kelly leave (and then storming out when she wouldn’t) was actually pretty crazy, too. But all Tamra really should have done was roll her eyes at both of them and STAY OUT OF IT.

NEXT: Tamra, for the love of G-d, just STFU

Instead, Tamra couldn’t control her mouth and told Heather that Kelly mocked her after she left the party. If Tamra had zipped it, things may have actually been okay, since Kelly (shockingly) texted Heather a rather nice apology; however, Heather never responded to it because she was so pissed off at what Tamra told her. Then, in what was probably a bid to kick Kelly out of Vicki’s number-one spot, Tamra also revealed to Vicki that Heather was worried about going to Eddie’s birthday trip because of how Kelly might behave in front of the kids.

Vicki actually made a terrific point: When did any of this become about Heather? Kelly’s outbursts all stemmed from Shannon’s friends allegedly setting up Kelly at the ‘70s party. Heather’s biggest concern this season has been the amount of time Terry spends with their kids, so her blatant disdain really doesn’t add up. Bottom line? Nothing would be an issue if Tamra had just STAYED OUT OF IT.

It’s become obvious that if Kelly feels insulted or attacked in any way, she gets very emotional and lashes out — she admits as much later on. So, of course, Kelly gets stuck on the idea Heather is so worried about her cussing in front of her son. That’s the other thing — Kelly won’t let you forget what a good mom she is, so how dare Heather think she would cuss or explode in front of the kids? Kelly finds a way to attack from another angle, too, so maybe she’s the one who should be worried Heather is going to flip on her. This is all Tamra’s fault; she’s backed herself into a corner, and now she has no choice but to play peacemaker or this is all going to implode on her watch. So Tamra goes to dinner with Heather and Kelly to help them see eye-to-eye so Eddie’s birthday trip can be saved.

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But first, another “opposite day” twist: Meghan arrives to say Happy Birthday to Vicki…with a gift! I think she maybe wants to see Merv Griffin’s 40-acre estate, but I think the real reason is to show the girls her “baby bump” courtesy of boy-and-girl twins. Considering there’s no bump and no positive pregnancy test, there’s definitely something about this house that opens a portal to an alternate universe!

NEXT: Kelly cries her way to more crazy

That portal dumps us right into the fateful dinner with Heather, Kelly, and Tamra. Kelly looks nervous and I don’t blame her; Heather is intimidating. I have to give Kelly credit, too, as she’s already apologized to Heather over text — which is either a brilliant or crazy move, depending how you look at it. It’s also brilliant, because who can stay mad at the person who owned up to their mistakes? That would make Heather look like the crazy/mean one for not forgiving her. And that’s the path Kelly goes down at dinner, saying all the right things: She’s ashamed of herself and very sorry, because her outbursts weren’t directed towards Heather. But she also can’t help but kick it up a notch, making sure Heather knows it wasn’t her place to tell her to leave Meghan’s party.

Heather isn’t backing down so fast, though. She’s offended by the use of the C-word and how Kelly had the audacity to mock her. And the, here it comes: Kelly’s finger starts wagging, her voice goes up an octave, and she goes for it with the one thing Tamra was praying to Jesus would not be said. Kelly knows from Vicki that Heather doesn’t want Kelly to come on Eddie’s birthday trip because Heather doesn’t want Kelly around her kids. Got that? It doesn’t really matter if you don’t, because the main takeaway is Tamra told Vicki this news, so bottom line? Tamra should have just stayed out of it! And as Kelly starts crying, Tamra plays dumb. But Kelly breaks and starts crying harder, especially when Tamra opens her mouth again and admits that yes, there is a fear she’s going to go off the rails and use bad language around the children.

The thing is, I get where Heather and Tamra are coming from. Kelly’s track record speaks for itself, and who’s to say a kid wouldn’t step on her foot and set her off? The probability is low, but it’s not a completely out-of-the-realm possibility. I do think Kelly’s tears were truly remorseful, as she admits the combination of alcohol AND getting attacked made her emotional and struck a nerve. Heather sees Kelly is being real, but it’s hard to just forgive and forget since she sees a different personality from her every time — we saw at least two at this dinner alone. So where do we go from here? Heather won’t actually accept Kelly’s apology, but she agrees they should all go to Eddie’s birthday weekend together and “have fun.”

I can’t help but think those are some famous last words.

Episode Recaps

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