The Housewives all gather in the same room for the first time this season
Credit: Bravo

Well, it finally happened. For the first time this season — and it only took six episodes to get here — all of the Housewives were in the same room at the same time. And you know what? They kept it together! Sure, there was plenty of awkwardness to go around, but it was hardly a sequel to the now-legendary Quiet Woman blowout. You’d be forgiven, though, for thinking that’s where the party was headed given all the buildup that seemed to foreshadow a Tamra-Vicki showdown. Just about every single Housewife spent this week’s episode fretting about what might go down.

The tension starts to creep in as soon as Meghan starts making calls inviting the Housewives to her sip-n-see, a concept with which few Housewives are familiar. Meghan says the tradition — which she describes as “a baby shower with the baby” — is popular in the South; Tamra and others, meanwhile, write it off as a millennial thing. (Or in the words of Vicki, a “millenniums” thing.) It’s Lydia, however, who later astutely points out the true function of the event: It’s really a sip-n-see for Vicki and Tamra, not the baby, which is why the Housewives spend their phone calls with Meghan talking about how they’ll collectively avoid the drama. Vicki promises she won’t throw any wine and that she’ll put her differences with the other women aside for the sake of the baby. Meghan seems pleased, though she notes that her invitation doesn’t mean she’s totally patched things up with Vicki: “It doesn’t mean I’m okay with everything she’s done.”

Then Meghan calls up Peggy, who suggests that the solution to keeping the peace at this party is to pass the baby around whenever things started getting heated — nobody’s going to fight if they’re holding an infant! Meghan’s phone call interrupts Peggy and Diko as they’re debriefing about about their Lamborghini event, during which Diko has to explain to Peggy a number of figures of speech and/or Christmas references, including “beating a dead horse,” “the naughty list,” and a “getting a lump of coal.” I find it interesting that Peggy has no problem making some distasteful spousal abuse jokes at a dinner but is flabbergasted that people actually say “beating a dead horse” as an expression. Even more curious: Meghan’s phone call apparently causes Peggy’s phone to vibrate so hard that it falls off the table, shattering the screen, and Peggy insists that she’s going to make Meghan go to the Apple store on her behalf. Meghan’s confused reaction says it all — does she actually like anybody she’s inviting to this party?

In preparation for the sip-n-see, the Housewives spend a lot of time shopping for presents, which nobody seems to be happy about: Vicki jokes that she has to spend $100 every time she leaves the house. Tamra and Shannon go shopping together and practice the cold, distant greetings they assume they’ll have to give Vicki and the others.

Meanwhile, Vicki and Kelly are in the middle of gift hunting when they smell what they think is a diaper-related emergency from a nearby child, which prompts Kelly to pull off one of the most amazing segues in the history of human conversation: “Speaking of s—….” (Is it brilliant? Is it terrible? Does it transcend the binary of good and bad? I can’t decide!) Kelly reveals to Vicki that she met up with Tamra and is going to meet with Shannon, too, though she leaves out the fact that she reached out to Tamra first, because Vicki thinks Tamra is just trying to get in between their friendship. (And if the potty talk of this shopping trip wasn’t enough to gross you out, Kelly also provides, uh, a vivid description of everything that happened after her “hoo-ha” rejuvenation.)

Shannon, Tamra, and Kelly finally meet up, and despite all of the red flags that Kelly has waved regarding her true intentions with these reconciliation meetings in the past, the smoothie summit actually goes off…pretty smoothly. Shannon apologizes for saying that Kelly showed up to the Quiet Woman with the goal of causing a scene, because as we learn via a flashback, Lydia had recently told Shannon and Tamra that she was the one who actually invited Kelly. In turn, Kelly apologies and calls the dinner incident “a complete miscommunication” and says she wasn’t trying to antagonize, even though I think sneering, “Keep eating!” at someone who just talked about their weight gain to you is, like, the textbook definition of antagonizing. They don’t dwell on the details, though. Shannon wisely concludes that the key to moving forward is not recapping every single incident — if Kelly promises to drop the nastiness she’s known for, then they’re good to start over.

Progress, right? Not so fast. When Kelly meets up with Vicki before the sip-n-see to give her a rundown of the meeting, the whole thing starts feeling less warm-and-fuzzy. Kelly mentions that Shannon is still hurt by Vicki’s allegations about her husband, which Vicki refuses to back down from. (She says she still has text messages and pictures, which, ugh, Vick, just drop it.) Kelly also mentions that Shannon blames her conflict with Vicki for her weight gain, and Vicki’s reaction is not exactly empathetic, to say the least. (Recap continues on page 2)

At the actual sip-n-see, the Housewives are bracing for conflict. Tamra starts downing champagne while Vicki goes on the hunt for wine, and each swears not to approach the other until the other approaches her first. That ends, as you can imagine, with nobody talking to anybody, though they do end up sitting on the same bench while Meghan opens presents that are variations of the same outfit. (That’s the downside of nobody knowing what the heck a sip-and-see is). Meanwhile, Peggy is already over it: “I think all this pettiness is ridiculous,” she says, setting up a tagline-worthy quote. “I’ve lost a mother, a father, breasts. Petty things don’t get to me.”

Despite the will-they-or-won’t-they-talk tension, the sip-n-see is ultimately anticlimactic. As she’s leaving with Kelly, Vicki says goodbye in the general direction of Tamra’s group, but Tamra just stares at her without saying anything. In fact, it only gets emotional and heated once Vicki leaves: In the car, Vicki and Kelly seem to be making mean comments about Shannon’s weight, even if the exact audio is “inaudible.” Meanwhile, Meghan tells Shannon and Tamra that Vicki is just hurt by them, which prompts scoffing and a few mean remarks from Tamra. Meghan does offer to play peacemaker and volunteers to meet with Vicki to get to the bottom of this — if only Lydia were around to warn her not to get involved! — but even she can’t resist getting in one jab at Vicki: “How does she sleep at night…or is that why she looks so old?” Nobody comes out looking good.

Well, except for maybe one Housewife. This week’s MVP has to be Lydia, who plainly tells the other Housewives at the sip-n-see that she wasn’t sure they could all get their act together in time for her upcoming magazine launch party. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted you all to come,” she tells them, but she’s feeling “encouraged” by the lack of glass-throwing and screaming matches and decides to invite them anyway. While I don’t exactly believe she has to protective of her “livelihood” as she says — something tells me you don’t get to be an O.C. housewife if you’re depending entirely on print media profits — I do applaud the guts it takes to tell your friends you were on the fence about their attendance because you had concerns about their behavior.

Also, I’m sure we can all agree that this party sounds like it’s going to be terrible, right? Doug has decided that he’s going to have a “shaving station” for men, despite the the fact that: (a) most people want to get their grooming before a party, not during, especially if they’re dressing to impress; (b) as Lydia points out, it’s a little gross to have people getting a shave next to people who are eating sushi; and (c) are you really going to put a bunch of feuding Housewives in a room that has an ample supply of straight razors? I can’t imagine how that could possibly go wrong. Tune in next week to see if The Real Housewives of Orange County turns into The Real Housewives of Sweeney Todd.