Credit: Vivian Zink/Bravo Photo: Heather Dubrow, Sarah Winchester, and Alexis Bellino in Season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County

Remember last episode’s mud run? Tamra and Heather do, and they toast their success over some wine in Real Housewives of Orange County Season 7, Episode 9. The ladies’ get-togethers have been such a success that Heather wants to plan a bowling party with everyone: couples and champs — pronounced shamps.  “Who says that?” Tamra wants to know, wondering why Heather insists on fancying up the word champagne. We do, Tam. We do.

Tamra is shedding her own bowling balls, a.k.a. implants, and she can’t referee Vicki and Gretchen at the party. Maybe Southern charmer Brooks will keep her in line, though Tamra thinks he’s too perfect. “He’s so charming that you just think, bulls**t.” With her money and loveless marriage, Tamra thinks Vicki is a sitting duck for a shyster.

Speaking of the sweet couple, Brooks drawls to Vicki over a quick lunch, where she once again avoids the PDA trap. Undeterred, Brooks hands Vicki her Card of the Day. Hallmark and Brooks say he’s committed to their relationship and he wants to share everything. All of Vicki’s tanks are full of Brooks’ sugar. Then Brooks asks about all the assets Vicki and Donn have to sell off — and thanks to Tamra, we find this very suspicious. Is Brooks a Mississippi scammer?

Next, we see Heather’s phone montage: She calls Vicki to invite her to the champagne bowling party. Then she calls Alexis, who is still in recovery. “I can’t bend over for four days,” says Alexis, explaining why she won’t make the event. Not to steal a line from Clueless, but there goes your social life. In order to reach Gretchen, Heather must first contact her secretary, Slade.

Credit: Michael Rosenthal/Bravo © 2012 NBC Universal, Inc. Photo: Alexis Bellino in The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 7

Meanwhile, in L.A., Alexis is prepping for her weekly Fox 5 news spot. “I need both brains going,” Alexis says, referring to her mom-side and business-side. We can only imagine what Heather and Tamra will have to say about that comment. If you noticed that Alexis is very comfortable on camera and doesn’t talk over her guests and fumble her lines, it’s because she took exactly one journalism class in college.

Gretchen is heading to her vocal coach to prepare for her Pussycat Dolls performance. Her vocal cords are injured from screaming at Vicki, so she isn’t supposed to be talking. Luckily, she has Slade to talk for her.  As she practices her off-key scales, Slade snickers in the background. Nice.

In her pink velour tracksuit (which, based on what Alexis wore to get her nose job, is the plastic surgery uniform), Tamra prepares to have her implants removed. Eddie seems to be asking his questions a little late. “Are you seriously taking them all out?” he wants to know, sounding concerned that she’s not leaving any implants in at all. “It’s my body, and I’m gonna do it because I want to,” Tamra tells the camera, shrugging off her boyfriend’s doubts. Plus, she’s about to instantly lose four pounds, so who wouldn’t be psyched about that?

It’s date night for Alexis and Jim, who head to a restaurant. They are celebrating their financial success in the tough economy — which is partly due to Alexis’s job on Fox 5. Yet Jim thinks they’re changing the terms of their marriage contract. “When we got married, we became one flesh, biblically,” Jim tells her, adding that “There’s only so much time in the day to raise my kids.” We’re pretty sure once you become one flesh, biblically, they’re actually both of your children, Jim. Alexis’s husband wants her to give up some of her extramarital activities, like the Fox 5 gig. Excuse us, Jim, but this is what Alexis went to one college class for. Though Alexis doesn’t really press the issue with her spouse, she tells the camera she doesn’t want to be just a stay-at-home mom.

Credit: Michael Rosenthal/Bravo © 2012 NBC Universal, Inc. Photo: Tamra Barney in The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 7

While Eddie reassures a groggy, post-surgery Tamra that she still has boobs, Gretchen arrives. Though Tamra calls Vicki in her druggy state, she still wishes her friend had visited like Gretchen. Taking a page from Brooks, Gretchen gives Tamra a card, which reads, “Welcome to the itty bitty titty committee.” Aw. Gretchen also marvels that Tamra’s makeup is still intact. “I will die with lip gloss on,” Tamra vows. That’s going on her tombstone.

“I’m not sure these are the type of girls who do champagne and caviar, but I’m relatively sure they can handle champagne and bowling,” Heather says of ladies attending her soiree.  Let’s not count our gutter balls before they’re hatched, Heather. While bowling isn’t Heather’s thing, she says, “champagne makes everything better. Well, the good champagne, anyway.” We share that sentiment, but even the mediocre stuff works pretty well.

First to arrive are Sarah Winchester and her fiancé, Kurt. Gretchen was the one who invited Sarah — the brunette rubs Heather the wrong way. Vicki and Gretchen hug, though they still have issues. They haven’t spoken since the Bunco party, but neither wants to fight tonight.

“I’m very unproficient at bowling,” Gretchen says, which is too bad for her because there’s a bottle of Cristal at stake. After Vicki lands on her butt and Slade helps her up (chivalrous!), she and Brooks win. The former friends take little swipes at each other out of earshot.

As Gretchen explains to her pal Sarah, it’s not the night to start a fight because of her damaged vocal cords. “It’s something that needs to be talked about,” insists instigator Sarah.

Credit: Michael Rosenthal/Bravo © 2012 NBC Universal, Inc. Photo: Vicki Gunvalson in The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 7

Everyone seems to be getting along. Brooks and Vicki talk to Heather’s husband, Terry, about embracing life and living it to the fullest. In the middle of a conversation between Vicki and Heather, Sarah asks Vicki if they can talk. “What do you want, what do you need?” Vicki asks, clearly wanting to avoid Gretchen’s friend. The blonde Housewife scoots away, offending Sara. “No, no, no. Come here. I’m talking to you about a serious issue. You come here,” Sarah calls to Vicki, crooking her finger like a dog trainer. She then proceeds to try and continue their conversation, following Vicki around the bowling area with a plate full of food.

“Who do you think you are?” Sarah demands.
“I’m me,” Vicki responds.
“You’re me?” asks Sarah, and Vicki escapes in the confusion.

Sarah retreats to her friend. Gretchen stirs a cup tea, as Sarah flips out over Vicki’s behavior. “That’s not cool, but I can’t fight,” says Gretch, still trying to preserve her voice and the peace. “Vicki, why are you being rude?” Sarah calls out to her nemesis, who is ensconced in a group with Brooks and Terry.

Heather plays peacemaker but finds she can’t reason with Sarah, who can’t get off her hamster wheel of hurt feelings. “She’s a bully,” Sarah complains to Gretchen. Terry thinks Sarah needs some Thorazine. We’re reminded of that quote that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. As if on cue, Sarah asks, “Vicki, can I talk to you for a minute.” Realizing her friend is crying and out of control, Gretchen tries to calm Sarah down and stop her from repeating the same story ad nauseum. “I do think Sarah approached her in a very aggressive way,” Gretchen tells the camera, siding with Vicki.

Vicki actually appreciates that Gretchen is trying to rein Sarah in, but then the newbie comes back for more. “Can I talk to her for a minute?” Sarah asks the group at large. Oh, Sarah. Just walk way. Heather thinks Vicki needs a restraining order.

Master of irony Heather thanks her guests for a “gorgeous, stress-free la-di-da” and hands Vicki her prize. Never change, Mrs. Dubrow. “After I went through what I did with Sarah, I deserved to win,” Vicki says. Cheers to that, Vicks.

“I don’t want to be the sacrificial lamb,” Sarah says as Gretchen and Slade lead her away from the Dubrows. Surveying the black-lit bowling alley, Heather and Terry rehash the night’s events. “Where did she park her spaceship?” Terry asks his wife. She wants to hook up Alexis and Sarah. “Alexis may be dumb, but Sarah is crazy,” Heather declares. And that’s a good combo because...?

Next week, the ladies become Wilderness Girls.

 

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