Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 10 of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Orange County," titled "Viva Mexico."
Greetings, Orange County faithful! Alas, I was unable to recap last week's episode as I was hosting Memorial Day festivities at my very own "cohabitation casa" that spun ever-so-gently of control. I wonder if there will be any parallels in this week's "RHOC" episode? Let's find out ...
We begin at Tamra's home, as she gingerly slices some above-average looking cheese and plops some chutney on a cutting board, because guess who's coming to tea? It's Lydia, ditzy and pleasantly bug-eyed as usual, marveling at the "classiness" of Tamra's dark wood floors and goblets of pink lemonade. Then she pointedly inquires about Tamra's fractured relations with Alexis and proposes a sit-down. You see, Lydia is a "friend whisperer," which is code for "ancillary character who desperately needs more screen time."
Before this chaste three-way can occur, we are treated to interior shots of a rhinestone-heavy swimwear showroom. Apparently Gretchen and Heather are there to design a one-of-a-kind bikini for Tamra, just one brushstroke in the M.C. Escher-esque masterpiece that will constitute the Tamra Barney bachelorette party. Beyond the custom beaded bandeau bikini, the getaway destination itself is a closely guarded secret! This way, Tamra will be challenged to pack one suitcase for cold weather and one suitcase for hot. Riddle me this!
[As lucky viewers, we are informed that the actual bachelorette destination is Puerto Vallarta. Nobody can manage to pronounce Puerto Vallarta, which is sad, especially for those of us who grew up watching "The Love Boat."]
Heather and Gretchen then discuss the upcoming itinerary, and Heather throws out the option of a Puerto Vallarta art gallery/upscale restaurant called Café Des Artistes. Gretchen astutely comments that an art gallery would confuse Tamra, and that a venue more conducive to male strippers might be a wiser choice.
They put the dinner issue aside and train their attention on a cream crystal studded bikini for the third-time bachelorette. Gretchen then casually mentions her designer credentials, and that she is "in the fashion industry." Ah-hem. Gretchen is in the fashion industry like I am in the Paris Review for these recaps.
Meanwhile, Alexis wears a giant metal gladiator necklace and a natty pantsuit at what seems to be the "library room" of a deserted steakhouse. Alexis orders a pink greyhound, which is eternally awesome. Vicki shows up, equally overly accessorized, and moans a bit about Tamra's bachelorette party and how she doesn't really want to go through the whole ordeal, because marriage, sob, Vicki is divorced, etc.
Alexis then relates that Tamra has called her "out of the blue" and wants to meet for brunch. Alexis then relates, in one of her more articulate moments, "I'm not nervous, I'm hesitant." She believes there's good in everybody, "at the end of the day."
Hey, from now on, let's all drink any time a cast member says "at the end of the day."
Now we're at the long-awaited confrontation between Tamra and Alexis, with Lydia running interference. They all arrive at a generic outdoor brunch spot. There are stiff hugs all around.
"This is so unlike Tamra," Alexis says of the meet up. "Stranger things really haven't happened." God bless. Lydia orders a Lemon Drop and Tamra explains that she's "impulsive and explosive." She then offers her own muddled mea culpa: "If it is that bad, I want to break the cycle."
Alexis cries and says it was never her intention to cause so much pain. At the end of the day (drink!) she just wants peace. Pledges for a clean slate and hopes for new beginnings are heartily toasted.
Elsewhere, Gretchen arrives at horse stables to meet former cast member Lauri. There's some awkward horse admiring and petting. Gretchen says that Slade once boarded horses at this very stable. She then interviews that Slade had "technically banged" Lauri "one, two or three times."
Lauri more tactfully interviews that she "dated" Slade briefly, but that she's so blissfully married now that it's all water under the horse-y bridge. The talk then turns to Vicki, as it so often does, as Gretchen bemoans Vicki's hypocritical ways --accusing Gretchen of cheating on her racecar driver Jeff (RIP), and deeming Slade a deadbeat dad; when everyone knows that Vicki's current beau Brooks is on Deadbeat Watch, and that Vicki was a rampant cheater as well.
Lauri leans in, her eyes and highlights gleaming in tandem. "The cheating issues -- it's the pot calling the kettle black," she intones. "I have never known Vicki to be with one person. She's just hopping from guy to guy to guy."
Then Lauri explains that while Vicki was married to Don, she went to Greece one year. "She came back with a 'Grecian God.' But when he opened his mouth, he had no teeth," Lauri says. Apparently Vicki offered to buy her Aegean boy-toy a new grill. This is all profoundly disconcerting on its own, but Lauri's just getting started.
"At an insurance convention in New Orleans, I walked in to the hotel and she [Vicki] was in bed with another woman, and they were both in bed with another man."
"Whether they were having sex or not, I don't know," Lauri posits. She says she feels vindicated in divulging this dirt because Vicki leaked some damaging info about her husband George's family. Ay, this crew!
Thankfully the producers segue to Heather and Terry, who seem on happy couple cruise control, as they discuss the bachelorette party and the fact that Heather has never seen a stripper, except for Terry, who isn't exactly "Magic Mike." Affable rich couple laughter ensues.
Lydia similarly shares her male stripper rookie status. "I have two boys, dogs, and a husband, I don't need to see any more penises," she says. Heh.
Meanwhile Tamra packs two identical hot pink suitcases, one for snow (Uggs, furry vest), one for sun (bikinis, white tank with "Bride" on it). Tamra explains to Gretchen that her preferred bachelorette party mode is "naked wasted."
At the airport, there's some Vicki-Gretchen penis cup competition, to the visible consternation of the skycaps. Tamra finally rolls up and is gifted her custom bikini and bachelorette sash.
Am I the only one that wonders what happened to the second suitcase?
We move forward to a speeding limo in ... Mexico! "You know the rules in Mexico," Vicki says. "Talk to every Mexican you can." Vicki relates that Puerto Vallarta is her "playground" and that her favorite dive bar, Andele's, is base camp one for "whooping it up." She talks about how the men really "take care of her" there and Gretchen makes one of a series of little swipes about the ever-fraying nature of Vicki's moral fiber.
Lydia then interviews, "We are middle aged women, pillars of the community," as Vicki licks a phallic rainbow lollipop.
Now the girls have made it to their resort. Swaying palms, lovely tile floors, accommodating staff, etc. On Heather's high-class insistence, the crew rolls out to Café Des Artistes. Tamra puzzles over the menu, stymied by marinated pork jowls.
Lydia attempts to order "salsa and chips" but the waiter shakes his head sadly no. The consensus is that this place is way too "French" and dignified for a bunch of 40-something bachelorettes. The group then asks Tamra to reveal her fiancé Eddie's best feature (abs), boxers or briefs (both), his favorite color (black), then Vicki asks "what position does he like?" and the merry momentum of the conversation screeches to a dead halt.
The girls pick at their entrees, complaining they can't handle fish with skin on it, and Gretchen is "scared of the shrimp down here." Vicki wants the group to whoop it up at Andele's. Gretchen has had it.
She interviews, "If you wanted to go to Andele's and (blow-job motion) with the doorman, then do it." Gretchen then says she's not calling Vicki a "slut-whore," even though that's exactly what she's doing, and my hypocrite meter just went off. The table silently regards each other in a mutual south-of-the-border hum of loathing.
"What's next, a yeast infection?" Tamra says. Match point, Tamra.
But, hope springs eternal. Somehow Vicki has shanghaied Tamra and Lydia to Andele's, to do Puerta Vallarta her way. Meanwhile, Left Behind cast members Gretchen and Heather share their consternation at being ditched by their tackier counterparts. We cut to Tamra, Vicki, and Lydia wearing neon mouse ears and stumbling around the Malecon.
I suspect a new anti-Vicki alliance forming here as Gretchen interviews that she wants to "unleash a rash of 'furry' on this b*tch", and Heather's eyes gleam their depths-of-the-grave darkness. Viva Mexico!
Next week, Gretchen might kill Vicki, we learn that Mexican strippers go the extra mile, and Lydia feels she must give up her 'next born child' as penance for ditching the girls. At the end of the day ... I'll be there! And, dear compadres, I hope you will be, too.
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.