Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 3 of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Orange County," titled "Making Up Is Hard To Do."
What is the true measure of a "Housewife"? Is she merely the sum of her fame-gulping, idiom-murdering, Dysport-plumped parts, or is there something deeper -- a profound pathos in her fruitless struggle to stay rich, thin, and most of all, young?
As any reluctant follower of this series may attest, the heartbreak of bankruptcies, divorces and foreclosures pales in comparison to that of the clammy specter of aging. Beneath the upbeat Bravo sound bed, one hears the thin whine of hysteria as our ladies rage against the ravages of time and the intransience of beauty. Can they ever achieve contentment in this plastic hedge maze of diminishing returns? Crush a halfie of your preferred controlled substance into your Moscato and let's find out ...
Big news: Alexis is the first "OC Housewife" to behold Vicki's grandson Troy. I truly hate to baby-shame, but sometimes newborns are a bit scary, and alas, Troy is in the dead-eyed-alien stage of babyhood. Vicki announces it's been six weeks since she's seen her controversial cap-toothed man-friend Brooks. Beleaguered daughter Brianna continues her crusade against all things Brooks, blackballing the Southern gentleman of "poor character" from the Gunvalson estate. Mother/daughter roles are thus upended as Vicki blinks into the middle distance.
Meanwhile, Heather visits husband Terry at his place of business -- The Newport Happy Time Elective Surgery Factory -- where he has thoughtfully placed a three-tiered serving tray of breast implants on his desk. Heather foreshadows new cast member Lydia McLaughlin, owner of Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine, a storied literary publication renown for progressive postmodern thought. Apparently, Lydia wants to feature Heather and Terry in the next issue, although as far as I know they don't live in Beverly Hills. A wily jeremiad indeed.
At the local upscale baby boutique, Gretchen and Tamra further their suspicious alliance as Gretchen muses about when she should start "popping out" a brood of Slade Juniors before she gets "too old." Then she runs around the store pushing a stroller while flashing her red-soled Louboutins, which is playful and fun and not gauche or calculating in the slightest.
Next we sojourn back to Heather's manse where we finally meet rich-niche-magazine magnate Lydia McLaughlin, who -- in addition to being the heiress of a Canadian media mogul -- is also a serial hugger. Lydia drolly divulges her publication's brand identity: "Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine is supposed to represent that everybody wants a Beverly Hills lifestyle."
Heather goes in for the kill, demanding that her home deserves not just a feature story, but also the coveted cover. Lydia deflects, claiming that her husband calls the shots when it comes to cover stories. Lydia then naively drops the bomb that she's friends with Alexis, which disgusts Heather even more than an uninvited onion ring.
Tamra prowls the vacant square footage of her new fitness studio (note: CUT Fitness stands for "Cardio Unique Training"), a vast industrial space with a few black-trim mirrors. Her arch-nemesis Vicki's business, "Coto Insurance" is right across the depressing office park. Vicki drives her Mercedes the 50 paces across the lot to visit Tamra and everybody dies a little.
To stave off existential dread, we then hop on over to Lydia's house, which is more tasteful than one should reasonably expect. Her husband Doug is, to be blunt, a hot piece. She explains they met at a "Christian volunteer meeting." Praise the Lord. We are treated to a few leering closeup shots of Jesus Abs doing shirtless pull ups in his walk-in closet before they get dressed for a night out on their fancy speedboat.
In a proximate neon detailed banquette establishment, Vicki and Tamra have a Let's Bee Friends meal, and I honestly feel bad for the innocent waitress as these two stare each other down.
"You were not just an Alexis to me," Tamra expounds. ("Alexis" is now shorthand for crumpled pile of used facial blotting pads.)
Vicki brings it back around to Vicki by accusing Tamra of not caring about Vicki. Tamra admits to past wrongs. Vick admits she feels ostracized for loving Bad Boy Brooks. She explains how hard it is to be in love with someone whom everyone else unilaterally hates. Vicki then promises to not say mean things, which is like a coastal bird promising it won't peck at tangles of beached kelp. But still -- a new hope.
Back with the Dubrows, it's Yom Kippur and Terry promises to atone for all the irritating jokes he makes. The Dubrow brood run rampant in temple. Terry takes little Collette in the back while suggesting to the ether that he should break the fast with a cocktail. Dubrow tensions are now at Threat Level Magenta.
We are left hanging on a predictable cliff as Vicki says she wants to invite Alexis to Tamra's gym opening. CUT FITNESS DRAMZ!
Next week, we revisit the scandal surrounding Alexis' fake diamond engagement ring. We attend the opening party at CUT Fitness where Alexis utters an eloquent "butt out." Don't worry, all, it's going to be OK. I think! Till next week, lovelies!
"Real Housewives Of Orange County" airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.