Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 8 of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Orange County," titled "Hot in Orange County."
It has come to my attention that many viewers dislike this show so intensely that they can't bear to tune in, yet still harbor a nagging desire to know what's elapsed each week. Thus, my role is to be your "Real Housewives of Orange County" seeing-eye dog. A role I happily accept -- I "Watch What Happens" so you don't have to!
On this auspicious note, here we are at Season 8, Episode 8. It's Heather's first day on set of "Hot in Cleveland." She interviews that family is her number one priority, but this year she's been trying to work on her creative side while "servicing my family." A weird turn of phrase, but okay. We hear that Heather doesn't need to solve her issues with Terry right now, instead she just wants him to support her and "handle things."
Meanwhile, Tamra breezes in to an OC jewelry store/bling emporium. She thinks that if she gets things rolling by buying her and Eddie's wedding rings their wedding will actually materialize. Then, totally coincidentally, former "Real Housewife" Lauri strolls in, with an eye-popping sparkly top and triple-decker platinum locks. There's some champagne and talk about Eddie's "ring size." Lauri reveals that when it comes to marriage, the third time's the charm. She then interviews that she and George are happily "blending the family" and that he is her "rock."
Frankly, I hate it when anyone refers to their spouse as their "rock." In my head it's an image of Faith Hill chained to Sisyphus, and my dislike of adult contemporary country music combined with a latent frustration at not remembering much from Greek Mythology 101 comes to a head and I need a gin and tonic to get back on track.
Whew! Hendricks gin is herbaceous! Apparently, Lauri's troubled brood all seem to be doing just fine, which if you remember from seasons past was not the most likely outcome. Good for them. Then, Lauri makes a swipe at Vicki's ex-husband Don Gunvalson, and she and Tamra start hating on Brooks because that is what you do to elicit screen time on this show. Lauri denounces Vicki as a person who can't take criticism, and then just goes for it and posits that Vicki played a role in breaking up Tamra and her ex-husband Simon.
Thank God we're now at Lydia's house, where we learn that her rad stoner mom Judy lives right across the street. Which, we can tell, is a mixed blessing. The reluctant mother-daughter duo page through old photo albums, back when Judy was a freewheeling brunette, smokin' some weed and exposing some side boob.
Lydia reveals, again, that she could never talk to her mom when she was younger because Judy was high all the time. Then she shares that in high school, a group of her girlfriends broke in to their house and wrote "POT ROCKS" on the wall. Is this an incident of life-altering adolescent trauma or just sort of awesome?
Now we're with Heather on set of "Hot in Cleveland." Heather networks with Wendie Malick, who looks fabulous in a black and white striped dress that I am actively Google Image-searching as I write this. Heather explains the intricate process of a table read, in which the actors read through the script. Heather's role appears to be not so far afield, as she is playing a character starring in the "True Housewives." Hah.
Betty White pops in and gives a perfunctory hello as Heather networks around saying she knows everybody and remembers them all fondly from something or another.
Far across town, in a perhaps less robustly funded studio lot, Alexis enters a sad looking "The Actors Workshop" whose interior boasts a word-wall art piece that says "FILM." Alexis shares her "General Hospital" bona-fides, followed by a priceless bit of archival footage of her (sporting fascinatingly serpentine extensions) playing a news anchor on "General Hospital" delivering the late breaking news in Port Charles. There is some high-level industry talk about whether Tom Hanks became "Forrest Gump" or vice versa.
Over on Dubrow Marital Tension Storyline Boulevard, Terry haphazardly parents while Heather is away filming. The kids seem cranky, then Heather calls saying she's on her way home. "Not so easy there at home with the kids," Heather gloats, and then relates that it's good for Terry to do it alone, for a change.
Meanwhile Gretchen and Slade have apparently had a fabulous romantic getaway at L`Auberge Del Mar in San Diego. As they exit this tony resort hotel, a hideous white Diddy video-outtake Rolls Royce pulls up to the curb and Gretchen freaks out.
"Is this mine? I need a driver for this!" she screams, in awe. Then, as reality sets in, asks of Slade, "Are we rich all of a sudden and I missed it?"
It's all very sweet but understandably disconcerting. Gretchen digs a bit deeper and the truth comes out. "The lease on this car is a couple hundred dollars more than your Mercedes," Slade says, gently, and it appears as though Gretchen will be providing the monthly payments for her birthday dream car.
Punishing Birthday Lease notwithstanding, everybody is heading to Los Angeles to witness Heather's acting debut: Gretchen, Slade, Lydia, Tamra, their overly groomed significant others ... everyone but Alexis, who is back at The Acting Workshop. And looking undeniably bombshell-y, to be honest. Then she opens her mouth.
"Change the oil in my car," she says, in the least sexually charged oil-changing scene ever to be captured on camera. "Oil. Grease. Tools. None of this interests me."
Next we're on the set of "Hot In Cleveland," where Heather deftly undermines that the rest of the girls will be "really excited" because they've never been on a "real set" before. Tamra glowers that sitting through a taping is a lot of work, especially watching it all "over and over again", and Vicki hustles in, in a blazing chartreuse power suit. An admirable warm-up comedian named Johnny Hamburger or something gets the crowd prepped.
But Gretchen is MIA.
Heather says her favorite part of performing involves looking up to "see my peeps," but then she sees empty seats where Gretchen and Slade should be -- and another manufactured fight is born.
Undaunted, Heather performs her scenes, and is "rocking it," according to Lydia. Gretchen and Slade arrive, late, and then, to top it off, Slade has some issue with his iPhone and the couple has to get up from their Studio Audience seats and wrangle with the most user-friendly technology the 21st century has to offer. Heather delivers the line: "I will cut you like bad bangs, b---h!" and signs some autographs and everyone seems proud, including Terry.
The after-party takes place in a weird boozy cafeteria. The Vicki-Tamra interaction is quite mild, considering last week's Wine Wives of Winetown meltdown. There is incoherent talk of things festering inside each other's souls. Tamra accurately assesses that Vicki was so defensive because she's alone in a sea of happy couples, and is flummoxed at the group's insistence on disparaging her wayward boyfriend Brooks. The two women agree that they are both b----es and it's the most unexpected but perhaps most understated and genuine truce thus far.
Terry then gives a toast about being very proud of his wife, and it seems like the Dubrows are in turnaround. Kudos, Mazel, etc.! Tamra admits she's falling in love with Heather, Lydia busts out some (non-narcotic) party poppers and this episode ends on a surprisingly positive note!
Next week: Is Gretchen fertile? Does Tamra's mom love her? Is Alexis real? Do come back as I piece it together for you all, most lovely viewers and non-viewers!
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo. Check out a special encore of Heather Dubrow’s full “Hot in Cleveland” episode, airing Wednesday, May 22 at 10 p.m. ET on TV Land.