Friday, June 14, 2024

Real Housewives of Orange County finale: Tears and truth serum

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Move over, Tamra Judge, there’s a new villain in Orange County – and he’s not even a housewife.

“The Real Housewives of Orange County” wrapped up the second of two reunion shows on Wednesday with the revelation that Shannon Storms Beador, who worried all season that too much housewife tittle-tattle would scuttle her relationship, had in fact been dumped by boyfriend John Janssen.

Like most things with Shannon, it’s complicated.

The episode opened with a montage of Shannon and John clips from Season 17, ending with a warm moment in which he told her he was ready to take their relationship to the next level, fueling Shannon’s dream that once her twins left for college this fall, she and John might shack up together.

Bravo’s Andy Cohen, hosting the reunion show, quickly got Shannon to acknowledge that the couple was no longer together, and all had not been as rosy as she’d tried to portray on the show.

“We argued,” she said. “He would leave and ghost me and he wouldn’t speak to me for days. I had never been more in love with anyone in my life than I had with John Janssen.”

Why say he was ready to “take it to the next level” if he was thinking of ending it, Cohen asked her.

“He was trying to get through filming, so that he didn’t look bad,” Gina Kirschenheiter interjected as Shannon reached for the first of many tissues.

“He said it on camera and a week later he broke up with me,” Shannon said as tears flowed.

“Ugh, horrible!” Jenn Pedranti said.

After a tangent into Shannon’s frantic season-long efforts to keep her castmates from talking about her relationship with John on camera – more on that in a moment – the end of that relationship resurfaced on the show.

“He broke (bleepin’) up with me,” Shannon tearfully said. “He broke my (bleepin’) heart. Can I look back at certain scenes and you can see that he’s checked out? Absolutely I can.

“I’m like embarrassed,” she said. “I feel like I’m a smart person that has a semi-decent head on my shoulders. And I’m like, ‘My god, look at how he’s looking at you,’ or, ‘Did you not see things?’”

Cohen noted that photos on Shannon’s social media recently had shown her out with John.

“Are you back together?” he asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Are you hoping?” Jenn asked.

A few questions later, Cohen said asked what he really wanted to know: “Is he a friend with benefits?”

“Sometimes,” Shannon replied.

“Wow,” Cohen said. “All right. We’re gonna leave it there.”

The shadow of Shannon’s recent DUI arrest again loomed over the proceedings. As in the first reunion show a week earlier, a text slide filled the screen at the start to note that the reunion had taken 10 days before that arrest.

And there’s really no way the show could have avoided acknowledging that, given that a large chunk of the second reunion episode again involved talk about Shannon getting drunk in a reality show setting.

After Shannon told Cohen that in fact she does consider Heather Dubrow to be a Machiavellian figure, Heather pushed back against Shannon’s portrayal of herself as someone who would never tell the other housewives about her love live’s highs and lows. Well, certainly not the lows.

“Please don’t get angry at me,” Heather began. “You tend to drink and then call some of us.”

Guess what? Shannon got angry at her.

“You know what, Heather, that is a (bleeped) up think to say to me,” she shouted.

“It’s not! You’re the town crier,” Heather replied.

“Do I go out and drink sometimes?” Shannon replied with a righteousness she probably regretted 10 days later. “For you to say I need rehab. For you to paint a picture so I’m calling people every single night.”

She turned from Heather to Emily Simpson.

“For you to say I need a breathalyzer –”

“I think it’s a good invention,” replied Emily, who during the season suggested Shannon use one before calling after she’d had a pop or two.

Shannon then turned to Gina.

“You saying it’s truth serum, when I haven’t had an intimate conversation with you,” she said, attacking Gina for her quip during the season that the sauce gets Shannon spilling secrets. “Let me reiterate, Gina. I don’t like you.”

Gina rolled her eyes, she does it very well, and then Emily turned the conversation in a surprising direction, ignoring the facade of reality around the show to discuss the nature of what a Real Housewife™ does.

“You share things with people that you’re on a show with while you’re filming, (and then) you act like you don’t understand how this works,” Emily told Shannon. “If you don’t want any of us to talk about it, and you don’t want it to come out –.”

“– don’t tell us,” Heather interjected.

“Our job is to say how we feel and to say the truth about what’s going,” Gina said with the kind of confidence that comes from having memorized the Real Housewives code of conduct.

“My job is to be Shannon Storms Beador!” Shannon replied at considerable volume. “So I am not going to look at things and go, ‘Oh, I am on a reality show, so I’m going to act different now.’ I act the way I am.

“Do you know what I’ve done on reality TV?” Shannon continued. “I took my shirt off when I gained 42 pounds” – a clip is helpfully provided. “I’m the first housewife that’s delved into infidelity.”

The housewives are unimpressed.

“Why does that make it better than anybody else?” Heather asked.

“Gina had a DUI,” Emily added. “Tamra weighed me at the gym.”

But really, the rest of the episode wasn’t nearly as interesting as what you’ve read already. You don’t really need a play-by-play of the the hearing by the House Special Committee on Who Called Who a Loser at BravoCon do you?

Nah, didn’t think so. Suffice it to say that by the end of the episode, most everyone had made up. Heather and Tamra, certainly had. Shannon still didn’t like Gina.

And with a round of tequila shots, and Red Bull shot for post-DUI teetotaler Gina, we bid our fair housewives adieu.

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