The original ‘Housewives’ franchise is back for a twelfth season in the OC, the place where the orange spray tan won the popular vote over the citrus fruit (one has no carbs). The Real Housewives of Orange County is Bravo’s premier reality series following the lives of several domestic divas, and it returned to television to heat up an already sweltering summer.
The new season began with a peaceful scenic vista of an OC beach, but instead of the tranquil sounds of waves crashing into the Pacific Ocean, the audio blasted last year’s reunion show highlights of a swirling vortex of screeching angry rhetoric. Amid the sounds of squawking seagulls, the voices of squawking women were screaming, “You are despicable. I will never, ever speak to you again!” “She made me out like a con-woman and a liar, and I didn’t lie!” “If you’re gonna talk sh*t you’d gotta be able to take sh*t!” “Is she affecting your life?” “Yes! You dumb” bleep, bleep!
Hold on to your sugar daddies, ladies, season twelve of the OC Real Housewives has begun.
The Old Gray Mare She Ain’t What She Used To Be
The first episode brought the viewers up-to-date with the ‘wives.’ Vicki, the last remaining original housewife (the “OG of the OC”), continues to ‘whoop it up,’ whatever that means. She runs a successful insurance agency, and business appears to be thriving as she prepares to move to a larger office space. In the past, Vicki has made the statement, “Go to work!” to or about the women in the group that choose the traditional role of staying home, and she repeated it in reference to Tamra and last year’s bodybuilding competition. Her jabs about going to work come off as disdain for women who don’t have a job outside the home, and it also sounds like sour grapes because she had to pay her ex-husband, Donn, a large settlement after their divorce.
Speaking of divorce, Vicki is still dating the retired homicide detective, Steve, who made a few brief appearances in season eleven. It appears the fourth time may be the charm for love, but only time will tell as Vicki’s relationship insecurities continue to run amuck. She claims she is hesitant to think about marrying Steve because she doesn’t want to go through another divorce.
Vicki’s daughter Briana has moved back to Orange County from Oklahoma, where her husband Ryan is still living. He is waiting for his medical retirement from the military before he can move his petulant self back to the show. Briana and Ryan have two raucous toddler boys. Like little vampires they seem to suck up all of Briana’s energy. She looks worn out as she has lunch with Vicki while the boys hit each other and the youngest cries. Briana is happy to have Grandma, er, Nana Vicki around to help, and her youngest, now done crying, proudly announces, “I farted!” Briana sighs as she says her life has been reduced to “farts and superheroes.”
On a positive note, Briana likes her mom’s new boyfriend, saying, “Steve is totally a saint. He has a job. He hasn’t hit on me. . . .” She wants two things in life; for Ryan to come home, and for her mother to marry Steve. “What are you waiting for?” She whines to Vicki, “You guys are old!” (Vicki is 55).
You Made Me Fat!
Despite being in a beautiful rental home, Shannon is currently living in the Slough of Despond. She mopes around, stressed out and sardonic, seemingly saying, “Poor me,” all day long. Shannon’s bleak attitude reflects in her unhappiness with her seemingly miserable life—the rental home, which sits on a bluff overlooking the water, does not have good feng shui; the family’s new dog is misbehaving; she is befuddled with the current state of her marriage, and she’s ‘fat.’
Shannon has a bemused attitude about the state of her marriage, which had fallen a few notches from last year when she and her husband David were working to overcome the effects of his infidelity. The two seem to be stuck in some type of plateau. David is expecting a ‘Mastro’s filet’ while Shannon is serving up quinoa.
The biggest visual difference in Shannon this season is her noticeable weight gain, which she attributes to Vicki. Shannon has zero-tolerance for her former OC buddy and claims Vicki’s accusation at the reunion that David physically abused Shannon caused her so much angst that she drank and overate to ease the pain. But, even Shannon’s good friend, Tamra, can see through the smoke screen and says David’s affair has more to do with Shannon’s weight gain than Vicki. So, unless Shannon is also claiming that Vicky traveled to her home every day and force-fed her sugar-laced, high-carbohydrate, and high-fat meals, then Vicki is not to blame, and the only person to blame for Shannon’s battle of the bulge is Shannon.
Pain and Gain
Tamra, the petite pugnacious bodybuilder who exhibits a habitual proclivity for mischief, continues to run her gym with husband Eddie but claims she does all the “s**t work.” She jokes about the rumors that made her so angry last year, but she has not forgiven Vicki for repeating them. Tamra is still “good” friends with Heather, the former verbose housewife whom Tamra nicknamed “Fancy Pants.” But her good friend has yet to invite anyone, including Tamra, to her new home. Tamra says she has seen the inside of Heather’s home, but it was on Instagram.
Tamra made her faith known on the show a couple of years ago, and she continues to talk about it. During a Bible study, Tamra tearfully told a group of women she’d just met (with the exception of Lydia) about the separation from her 18-year-old daughter, Sidney, with whom she’s had no contact for three-and-a-half years. She’s hopeful for the future because Sidney has recently answered a few texts. Perhaps Tamra should stop talking about her daughter on the show and maybe there will be more contact in the future.
Season 12 Taglines
Shannon: The truth is organic, but lies are just artificial
Tamra: I’m pint-sized, baptized, and highly prized
Lydia: If you can’t take my sparkle then stay off my rainbow
Meghan: I can handle a baby and women who act like one
Kelly: If I want your opinion I’ll give it to you
Peggy: I’m living the American dream one sports car at a time
Vicki: I go big or go home, and I am not going home
Potty-Mouth Party Girl
Kelly is the same party girl from last season and continues to add to the language pollution with her off-color remarks. Regarding her marriage, she says, “Being married for thirteen years, it’s not like Michael and I are banging like a screen door in a hurricane. . . .”
Kelly remains close with Vicki, and both are still at odds with Tamra and Shannon.
And Baby Makes A New Storyline
Meghan and her husband adjust to their new bundle of joy. The bliss at home with baby Aspen is portrayed, and Meghan gushes that her husband Jimmy is a very hands-on dad who changes diapers. Why Meghan would ever want to leave her baby to hang out with this group of women is beyond me.
Rainbow Bright Eyes Is BAAAACK
Lydia first appeared as a cast member in season eight. Her large doe eyes; goofy arm waves that resemble a wacky waving inflatable tube man; and eccentric pot-smoking, fairy dust throwing, flower child, hippie mother (who seems like she would be quite comfortable hanging out with a group of gnomes) are all characteristic to the petite, animated returning housewife. She appears to have an unwavering enthusiasm and belief in God, and it is her faith that reintroduces the audience to her when she invites Tamra to a Bible study. At one point, however, Lydia appears disingenuous when she questions Tamra about her friendship with Vicki as if she’d not watched last season’s drama. When she ‘learns’ of the discord between the two women, Lydia inserts herself into the situation by volunteering to set up a lunch to clear the air.
Lydia is married and has three boys who could rival Briana’s in the rambunctious department, and perhaps her boys give Lydia the confidence to believe she can handle any situation. She claims to be the “friendship whisper,” and she’s going to do her darndest to ameliorate the situation between Tamra and Vicki. Who knows, she may take a cue from her mother and throw ‘fairy dust’ on all the women.
Next week, the newest housewife, Peggy, is introduced
The Fickle Finger Of Fate In The OC
From the outside, the OC lifestyle appears close to perfect, but behind the façade of ‘fun in the sun’ is real life in the privileged hood—and it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Relationships are stagnant, marriages are crumbling, folks are stressed out and depressed, overeating and alcohol consumption are high, and people realize that money doesn’t buy happiness. But, there’s good in the OC as well. Faith offers folks hope.
On a lighter note, the most positive change for The Real Housewives of Orange County—the glib, sanctimonious, and elitist housewife is gone—No more “Fancy Pants!” Now that’s something to say “Whoo-hoo” about!
About The Author
Deb Wax is a writer prone to four-legged words and prolix opinion pieces; she describes herself as a “procrastinating perfectionist who is also introspective.” Deb has several years of online writing experience, working with various web publications, including writing for a popular website as their 70’s Music Contributor. Deb’s writings cover a hodgepodge of topics, from hot-button issues to coffee culture musings—and Deb does it all with the finesse of hyperbole. In addition to writing, Deb is also an avid photographer and stock-photo contributor on Shutterstock.