Oh, Real Housewives of Orange County. Why do you always start off with puppies and princesses and end with emotionally charged mother-daughter fights? That’s what happened in Season 7, Episode 14, anyway. At first, we were lulled into a false sense of security by all the glitter and the piles of sleepy puppies, and then we had to witness another Vicki/Briana squabble. Alexis, do you have any of those pooches left?
Alright, let’s start with the party. Since Alexis’s daughters love both princesses and puppies (who doesn’t?), their birthday will combine both. As her hired help rushes around, Alexis takes a spray tan break. “This princess and puppy party is going to be proof that I really can do it all,” the increasingly tan Alexis says. Not everyone can pull off puppies and princesses, you know.
With Heather in tow, Slade goes to see Gabe the jeweler to find Gretchen a ring. Though Gretchen’s father wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of debt-saddled Slade proposing, he’s still going through with it. Gretchen has no idea, of course. Last episode, she told Tamra that Slade needs to clear up his debt before she ties the knot and takes on that financial burden.
The engagement will likely last awhile, Slade tells Heather, but he wants Gretchen to carry a piece of him everywhere. Well, as long as that piece isn’t too expensive. A yellow diamond Slade selects costs $250,000, and he quickly hands it back to Gabe. Then he and Heather ooh and ahh over diamond-encrusted ring. The center stone costs $30,000, and the setting is $7,000. Heather politely hides her shock when Slade asks the jeweler if he can put an imitation stone in the center while he works his way towards the real deal. Gabe is less polite about concealing his dismay. They don’t do imitation. To the camera, Heather paints a picture of Slade getting down on one knee, proposing, popping open the box, and saying, “By the way honey, that’s not real.” Instead, she suggests he just get a band because all Gretchen will care about is Slade saying he loves her and wants to marry her. Gabe gives them a “We don’t do plain bands” look. “Let me go put some money together and come back,” Slade tells the jeweler. Gabe’s expression says he doesn’t expect to see Slade again.
Once again, we get to see inside one of the Housewives. Tamra goes to see Dr. Terry so he can de-Simon her finger. It turns out having her ex’s name tattooed on her body upsets Eddie. Though she’s had it lasered several times, the damn spot won’t come out. Ever the resourceful surgeon, Dr. Terry says, “If you can’t laser it off, let’s cut it out.” During the procedure, which is interrupted by Tamra’s rumble-y tummy and bathroom trips several times (“Clearly, Simon is still a pain in my ass,” says Tamra), she confides that Eddie has promised her a ring once she’s tattoo-less.
Though she’s excited about the prospect of moving things along with Eddie, she’s afraid it could break them up. Tamra isn’t sure incorporating their families will work.
Billy, Vicki’s brother, is still in town. He spent the previous night getting to know Briana and her new husband, Ryan. The long list of reasons Vicki thinks they should have waited to get married includes money, communication, family, religion, how they’ll raise their kids, and a lack of pre-marital counseling. But if they were going to rush into marriage, couldn’t they at least have had a full-blown wedding? She still thinks Briana took her dream away from her. Yet Bri and Ryan are still planning on having an actual wedding. The whole extended family will be there: Billy. Vicki. Brooks. Donn. When Billy asks if that won’t be uncomfortable having Brooks and Donn in the same place, Vicki responds that her ex is probably dating too, then gets pretty upset at the prospect.
Alexis is still prepping for the twins’ birthday. Since the Bellinos don’t have any dogs, Alexis had to bring them in from an outside source. The puppies are placed in pens around the yard. Aw, puppies. So cute. Everything is happy. Everything is tranquil. “Go get your makeup on,” Alexis tells one of her 4-year-olds.
Meanwhile, Gretchen can’t get over Heather’s huge house. As the ladies sit in the room adjacent to Heather’s personal bathroom (the secret to a good marriage is separate toilets, she tells Gretch), they discuss Slade. Gretchen thinks she wants babies and to be married again, but she’s scarred by her first husband, who also had financial issues. With all Slade’s debt, it’s not the best time to get married, Gretchen says. Heather has more trouble hiding her shock this time around. How long ago was it she was picking out a ring for this girl?! “Slade may be in a flowery-er place,” Heather tells Gretchen tactfully, adding that they need to talk about their issues. With Gretchen’s biological clock ticking (she wants to have a baby in the next year or two), the Housewives agree Gretchen and Slade should see a counselor.
In a post-$60,000 child’s birthday world, Alexis’s puppy pee-filled party doesn’t seem jaw-droppingly extravagant, even if there are princesses for hire and a tuxedoed man with pink beverages. Alexis gives a special welcome to her daughters before they make their grand entrance. In her speech, Alexis explains how Melania and Mackenna were born premature at 34 weeks. “Mom almost passed away,” continues the hostess with the mostest over sharing. A pulmonary embolism landed Alexis in the hospital for five days. “I’m doubled over, I can’t breathe … I’m on demerol, I’m on morphine. And that’s what this celebration today is all about,” Alexis tells the shell-shocked, glitter-wearing children at her feet. Quick, kids. To the puppies! They’ll make everything better.
Anyway, princess time. Melania and Mackenna come down the stairs, and it’s time for the royal puppy princess parade — which is basically a bunch of kids holding puppies. Adorable! The parents don’t look happy when Alexis tells the kids the dogs need homes and can be taken as party favors. The final surprise of the night is a horse-drawn, Cinderella-style carriage ride that our 5-year-old selves are completely envious of.
Heather calls Terry from the car to tell him she didn’t get the part in the movie of the week she’d auditioned for. Although she’s a little bummed, she also realizes it wasn’t realistic to try and jump back into a project that was filming in Canada. The ever-supportive Terry points out it gives her more time to focus on the restaurant she’s opening. Oh, yeah. That’s a thing that’s happening.
In full baby-fever mode, Alexis forces Jim to look at, smell, and hold a 2-month-old. “No more,” he tells her.
Tamra and Eddie head to dinner at a restaurant that inexplicably has a train that goes by right outside window. It’s a good place for a serious conversation, basically. When Eddie mentions he wants to have a sleepover at his house with the kids, Tamra breaks down in tears and says she’s afraid he’ll leave if he has to deal with her kids all the time. Tam thinks he won’t like all the bickering and backpacks everywhere. This is an emotional conversation to have next to train tracks.
“Why would somebody in your situation want to take on me?” she cries. “You’re hot. You could have 25-year-old girl.” Though Eddie agrees he could get a hot, “exotic” girl (“Why throw exotic in there?” Tamra wants to know), he says not everyone is smart and witty like her. Aw, he knows a good thing when he sees it. Somehow, the discussion moves to Tamra’s tattoo, and Eddie says he’ll give her a ring if she gets it removed. OMG, Tamra is a master strategist! How did she maneuver the conversation like that? She shows him her “Frankenstein stitches,” and Eddie is stunned. “This is the end of me and Simon,” Tam says as he kisses her tattooless finger. Eddie is happy. He’s also turned on by her stitches, which is weird.
Vicki and Briana haven’t spoken one-on-one since the wine party. Vicki says she’ll support her daughter’s marriage, but she needs to have the same thing from Briana. However, Bri is worried about Brooks. “You’ve been married most of your life, since you were 19,” her daughter tells her, saying she’s afraid her mother is lonely and latching on to the first guy that came along. As they continue to argue, Briana slugs her wine. She doesn’t want her mother to compare Brooks and Ryan, and she doesn’t want to hear about Vicki’s spousal support woes with Donn.
Then the Internet conversation starts. When Vicki says she read Ryan was married when he first started dating Briana, her daughter lists off everything she’s seen about Brooks on the web: “DUIs, not taking care of his kids, he’s got four kids by three different women…”
After Vicki tells her daughter to shut up and that she’s out of line, Briana replies that she thinks he’s an opportunist. Brooks has never lied to her, Vicki insists. “I know a lot more than you think I do,” Briana says. Vicki responds, “Bring it on.”
Then Briana accuses her mother of having an emotional relationship with Brooks and says that kind of affair is worse than a physical one. Vicki gets up to leave. Briana says her mother has changed. Vicki agrees — she’s happy now. For Briana, this the same pattern her mother always falls into, and she says Vicki was happy in her first two marriages at first. “I wasn’t happy with your father. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic,” says a slightly hysterical Vicki. Then she wishes Briana the best and says she has issues with Ryan for not asking for Briana’s hand in marriage.
As Vicki is preparing to leave, Briana tells her she’ll have to have two separate lives: one with her kids and one with Brooks.
In the next episode, we doubt there are puppies, but Slade and Gretchen see a counselor and Tamra calls Alexis shallow… to her face.
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