Recap: ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’ – ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’

02.07.12 6 years ago


After last season’s acrimonious reunion show, you’d think the ladies of the O.C. would have plenty of pent-up hostility to vent for this season’s debut. Instead, we get nicey-nice meetings, tediously staged coffees and a brand new housewife — whose main attribute, according to the other girls, is that she’s classy. Classy? Who wants classy? We want a spitfire who knows how to throw red wine, hurl insults and work an unconvincing hair extension! Really, this could not be a more stultifyingly dull season debut if it was on NPR. 

Gretchen (and Slade)

Gretchen is off to lunch, and initially Slade is all fired up to tag along (does this guy have anything to do? Ever?). Then, he learns Gretchen is entering the hellmouth — she plans  to bury the hatchet with Tamra. Slade is offended! Gretchen’s not taking his feelings into consideration! Tamra’s been mean to him! I want to know if Slade has ever paid child support, because then (and only then) will I think Slade has any right to pitch a fit about Tamra. I’m just not convinced Gretchen couldn’t do a better than Slade, and this particular hissy fit isn’t convincing me otherwise. 

To her credit, Gretchen thinks Slade can shove it, because she has an agenda. She wants to be the better person. Really, she wants to be the more sympathetic person, because that will do wonders for her image. So, she kisses Slade and tells him she’ll pursue her own friendships, thank you very much. Slade looks entirely put out. Of course, righteous indignation is more impressive when you bathe and aren’t slobbing around the house in sweatpants. 

Gretchen and Tamra sit down for snacks and mojitos and peacemaking. Gretchen thinks Tamra needs to know her for her, because then she might like her. Tamra has always liked her! But they don’t trust one another. Then, Tamra apologizes for talking smack about Gretchen (and, by extension, Slade). Gretchen is gobsmacked. Love is in the air! Tamra gives Gretchen an  ugly bracelet she has specially made for her. Maybe she could have had something specially made that doesn’t look like she bought it at a flea market, but picky picky. Still, both women see problems ahead for their budding friendship. What will Vicki think? What about Slade? Tamra doesn’t foresee a day when she warms up to Slade, and though I can’t blame her, I think it could be the death knell for this warm and fuzzy beginning. 


As we know, Vicki’s marriage is over, her house is for sale, and when she has to show said house, her son Michael wants to smother her with a pillow because she honestly believes a crooked bedspread will keep the house from selling. We also lean she has a new relationship with a guy named Brooks. Who looks like Don. But we know he’s not Don, because he lives in Mississippi. Not that Don is out of the picture, though. He still lives in the house, but it’s fine since Vicki never sees him. This is a very friendly divorce, I have to say, though I’m guessing the current real estate meltdown is making some odd bedfellows these days. 

Tamra and Vicki get together to complain about their mutual divorce proceedings. Simon still hasn’t signed the divorce papers, that control freak! Vicki may have to pay spousal support to Don, and he has a new, younger woman! Tamra broaches the subject of hot sex with younger guys, which makes Vicki turn red and cover her face like a Victorian heroine. Vicki doesn’t want to talk about sex! What Vicki does want to talk about is that she’s having a party. But should she invite Gretchen? Tamra nods tentatively, afraid of disclosing the truth about her new friend-mistress. 


She is so overwhelmed! Alexis Couture is going great guns, but now she’s doing segments on the local San Diego news every Friday. It’s so hard setting up her kids’ juicy water before she leaves for work! But she forgot to set Jim’s alarm! Time to hyperventilate! Wow, it is so hard to get by with just one assistant!

Live TV is SO hard! It’s, like, an art form! Alexis is doing a segment with Dr. Booty, who is very educated about the derriere. Did you know Alexis has no journalistic background or training? But she loves Katie Couric! And Alexis has SO much confidence. She could go anywhere! She could fly to the moon if she wanted! 

In short, Alexis is slightly smarter than a potted plant. But only slightly.  

Tamra (and Heather)

We are introduced to Heather in an entirely fake, meet cute kind of way. Tamra tries to sell Heather a $4.9 million empty lot, which Heather can actually afford. With dollar signs flashing in her eyes, Tamra invites to coffee. Then, she invites Heather to Vicki’s party. That’s a really great way to make a sale — come meet my cray-cray friends! Maybe one of them will throw wine at you! Wait, that’s usually me. 

Over coffee (or really, green tea), Heather reveals she doesn’t like the lot Tamra’s selling, but she does talk about herself. She’s married to a plastic surgeon and she’s already afraid of Tamra’s friends (thus, we know Heather is not an idiot). Tamra suspects Alexis will have a problem with Heather, because Heather is everything she isn’t. You know, smart, classy and actually rich. 

Alexis and Gretchen

Alexis and Gretchen must get together and chat before the big party at Vicki’s. Gretchen worries Alexis will be jealous of her new relationship with Tamra, so she doesn’t mention it. They also talk about Peggy. Alexis does not want to see Peggy. I’m guessing that means Alexis and Peggy will not only see one another, they will get into a screaming fight with one another. Yay! Gretchen’s friend Sarah, who is basically the brunette version of Gretchen but doesn’t have a TV show, arrives and they head off to the party.  

Tamra and Peggy

A world (okay, a short distance) away, Peggy drops in to see Tamra. They talk about Alexia. She doesn’t want to see Alexis! Thus, she will. Tamra also wants to talk about Jim, whom Peggy dated and Alexis married. He MUST have a large penis. Peggy looks like she wants to die, so Tamra decides this is confirmation. We now all know that Jim is well-equipped. Good sleuthing, Tamra.  

So, everyone’s off to Vicki’s party, where hijinks and fighting and nasty digs will surely erupt. But not this week. That’s probably next week. Maybe. Though we do get some juicy scenes from the rest of the season in a promo, I’m a little worried that short trailer may contain ALL the actual drama for the season, if this deadly dull episode is any indication. Right now, everyone is playing nice, aspiring to classiness and keeping their alcoholic beverages to themselves. What a drag.

Do you think Peggy and Alexis are going to fight? Do you think Tamra and Gretchen can really be friends? What do you think of Vicki’s living arrangement?

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