RHOC Premiere Recap: Raise Your Champs
After five long years of bad cast shakeups, boring newbies and a shit tonne of fake designer clothes, Heather “Fancy Pants” Dubrow is finally back to remind us all how poor we are. In a weird way it feels like Heather never left, although that may be due to the fact that rewatching OC’s Golden Age (seasons 7-11) was a constant for me during lockdown.
Heather’s return is like ordering an expensive cocktail on a Friday night after a shitty week of work. It’s new and exciting but still has the familiar taste you know and love, however, in this situation, a shitty week of work is four seasons of declining ratings. But it doesn’t matter because once you have the first sip of delicious alcoholic sweetness, you can completely forget about Kelly Dodd’s loud mouth, Braunwyn’s thirsty antics and that time Lydia dressed up as Abraham Lincoln.
I don’t believe anyone can save a Housewives franchise, it really is a group effort but Bravo bringing Heather back is a step in the right direction. Apart from finally finishing Chateau Dubrow and continuing to be rich AF, Heather has been busy raising teenagers and none of them are in jail, on drugs or having mental breakdowns on TikTok so I’d say she’s doing a pretty good job. Heather is definitely the type of mother who has her kid’s lives scheduled weeks in advance, has tutors to help with their homework and a chef to cook them dinner, so she gets to be the cool rich mum who can hang out with them and get the gossip on their lives. On top of that, she has a successful plastic surgeon for a husband and a house the size of a shopping mall, so when you break it down does anyone have it better than Heather Dubrow?
It feels very medieval switching from the opulent champagne lined halls of Chateau Dubrow to the peasant filled strip mall parking lot where Gina and Emily were getting ready for a workout class. The fact that these two have made it this far in the Housewives game is astounding, however, they’ve definitely stepped it up this season. Gina has finally come into her own after leaving her abusive ex-husband and finding a hairstyle that doesn’t resemble Amanda Bynes circa 2013.
Say what you want about Gina and the fact that she lived in someone’s backyard during her first season on the show, she’s been through hell and back and at this point she really has become a valued member of the cast. As for Emily, her little bitch of a husband finally passed the bar and she got herself a new hip, face and boobs. It may have taken four seasons but these women finally have what it takes to be Housewives.
I swear you can’t swing a dick in Orange Country without finding a rich, white woman who is social friends with at one of the Housewives. Heather met up with her friend Nicole who not only knows Shannon, but is also friends with Noella, who used to be BFFs with Braunwyn. If you’re rich, middle aged and white with a dream of being on TV, move to the OC, make friends with your neighbour who will probably know one of the thirty women who have been on this show, and then wait about three years before the producer’s inevitably invite you in for a screen test.
This woman Nicole came ready to meet Heather for a hike with a head full of extensions and one of those Vanderpump dog ponytails. If I have to see one more Housewife show up with the same haircut as one of LVP’s Pomeranians I’m going to run into oncoming traffic. Although Nicole isn’t holding an orange this season, she was a central part of this first episode. Nicole introduced Heather to Noella, who looks like a life size barbie doll. I know that’s pretty common place for a woman living in the OC but Noella really is one of the most glamorous women I’ve ever seen.
All we really know about her is that she's married to a lawyer, she used to be friends with Braunwyn and she’s got a sex dungeon in her home. Three things that are a winning combination to land you a job as a Real Housewife I guess. The fact that you know Braunwyn is at home in a ball shitting herself and crying knowing her former friend is holding an orange and she isn't makes Noella's position on this show even juicier is
From looking at “the blogs” I’m pretty sure Noella gets divorced a few weeks into filming which is ironic considering she spent 90% of her screen time gushing over her kinky sex life with her husband. Although I like Noella’s upbeat, out going energy I can also see why she was friends with Braunwyn because she is putting EVERYTHING out there and is a little too excited about inviting Bravo cameras into her life when she’s only got about three weeks left of her marriage.
The other new girl on the scene is Dr. Jen Armstrong. She’s a plastic surgeon with a wild personality and a hot husband named Ryne (gag me with a spoon) who seems like he hates her. What’s not to love? We didn’t learn too much about her in this episode but I’m liking the educated yet chaotic energy she’s giving us this far. My only problem with the injectable queen is that she sounds like Teddi Mellencamp which is a lot to handle. Every time she opens her mouth it takes me back to when that dry, socially awkward, monotone accountability coach was running amuck in Beverly Hills. But I'm learning to live with it.
We’re only one episode in but it’s pretty clear this season is hinging on the dynamic between Heather and Shannon. Although these two became friends towards the end of Heather’s run it’s clear without Tamra in the mix to bring them together they're not meant to be friends. Both of these women are controlling and uptight but the difference is Heather is actually in control of her life, whereas Shannon’s always one Casamigos away from drunk calling everyone in her phone on a Tuesday night. These two are never really going to be friends but it’s so fun watching them awkwardly try.
Shannon had lunch with Emily and Gina and after they were done filming the threesome went to OC hotspot Javier’s off camera, where they ran into Heather Dubrow. Orange County really is the size of a sesame seed. This is when Shannon told the girls that Nicole, who Shannon knew back in the day, sued Terry Dubrow. There’s nothing I love more than a Housewife having a salacious backstory about a new cast member that predates their time on the show and Shannon certainly has one when it comes to Nicole Weiss/James.
Basically all you need to know is Shannon got shit faced and told the girls gossip off camera she shouldn’t have. This is where it gets tricky. If Shannon told them behind the scenes then Gina and Emily shouldn’t have spoken about it on the show. It’s Reality TV 101 and it’s almost like it was a test on Shannon's behalf to see if she could trust them. However, this is also a woman who has a history of stirring shit up behind the scenes and then pretending to be shocked when it bites her in the ass on camera, so her telling them this news wasn't exactly innocent.
Shannon has been on this show for eight seasons and she knows that if she says something salacious off camera about another cast member, that it will be revealed on the show, so she definitely told Emily and Gina this information with the intent for it to become a storyline. Although she told Gina not to bring it up during the lunch with Heather, Emily saying that Shannon told her to dig up information on the lawsuit tells us everything we need to know. Shannon wanted this to come out. Period. End of story. Shannon has a pattern. She gets drunk, repeats rumours she’s heard about her cast mates and then yells and flaps her hands around whenever someone confronts her about it. Shannon has become the human embodiment of a headache during the last few years, however, her shit stirring ways and train wreck personality really made sure that this season kicked off with a bang.
In terms of Gina and Emily, their decision to bring it up to Heather is also pretty calculated and that’s not shade, it’s praise. Like I said, they've finally become Housewives. Even though Shannon was being malicious by stirring things up, she never actually said it on camera, so Gina putting it out there gives the rumour attention, however, it also makes it a storyline on the show which is literally her job. Gina’s smart because she’s killing two birds with one stone. She gets to cause drama by telling Heather this gossip while also getting to be the good guy by exposing Shannon’s shady ways.
This way Gina gets in Heather’s good books and pits her against Shannon, it’s genius really and I’m shocked that she’s already 10x better at playing the Housewives game than Shannon. At the end of the day if Shannon was smart she would’ve told Heather the rumour herself because if it came from an authentic place it could've actually been something she and Heather bonded over and they could’ve gone after Nicole together but Shannon can’t help her sneaky tendencies.
The person we are forgetting about in all of this is Nicole. This bitch must have some BALLS if she thought she could come onto the show as Heather’s “friend” and the fact that she tried to sue her husband would never come up. By the end of the episode I fully understood why Nicole didn’t get that orange after all because just like a closeted gay, the truth always comes out and if this woman joined THE REAL HOUSEWIVES not knowing that, then she’s not meant for this world. Like usual, as soon as the drama started to boil up, the editors hit us with the three words every Bravoholic dreads: TO BE CONTINUED, which definitely had the intended affect because I can't fucking wait to watch the shit hit the fan in Chateau Dubrow next week.