So, before we begin I must confess with great shame that this is my first season watching The Real Housewives of Orange County. And while I'm already enamored of these freaks, I need you all to help me understand some things. Primary among them: what…exactly…is wrong with Vicki Gunvalson?

Like, on the one hand she seems kind of enjoyable. She'd totally deliver you a stiff drink at the end of a long day! And the thing where she pretends to fall asleep while people are talking is totally funny (unless she ACTUALLY has narcolepsy, or YOU are the boring target of her ZZZZs). But then also, she has a LOT of crazy on her face. And I mean beyond the fact that her face has…evolved. And they keep flashing back to her freaking out at people like a maniac, which means I obviously have to watch the past eight seasons. And what's the deal with this Brooks fellow that everyone seems to hate? So many questions!

Another thing I can't figure out: Am I supposed to like Heather Dubrow or not? I refuse to judge her poorly for possessing a ninth-grade vocabulary (sorry, Tamra), but also WHAT IS HER DEAL with this chair situation? She goes on and on to her creepy plastic surgeon husband, Terry (and if you don't think he's creepy, as my first piece of evidence I submit him asking his daughter, "Was that tongue?" as she kisses him hello) about Shannon's alleged chair-stealing and subsequent rage-fit during last episode's dinner. All this even though flashback video evidence of a very calm Shannon shows that Heather's perception of the event is, shall we say, skewed.

Meanwhile, Shannon is also forced to discuss the chair situation while buying boots for Heather's impending hoedown. She tells Vicki, "I've never argued over a chair in my life." Which, I mean, welcome to Bravo. I will say that I kind of love Shannon (except when she's being publicly horrible to her husband) because I think she's SUCH a glorious weirdo. And I don't even mean the woo-woo stuff—that seems rather normal relative to everything else. In any case, let's hope that some way more dramatic fight happens soon so we don't have to hear about how someone stole someone's fucking CHAIR for the rest of the season.

In other burgeoning feuds, Vicki HATES Lizzie. She also acts like "Lizzie" is the world's strangest name, saying, "Why does she have to be called like an animal?...Isn't that like a lizard?" I think maybe Vicki is projecting rage due to the fact that her daughter Briana is making a diarrhea-inducing move to Oklahoma and browbeating Vicki into going house-hunting in a tornado-stricken area ("the houses are all brand new!"). I'm gathering that at least one of Vicki's problems is that she's a control freak?

Anyway, so Heather is having this hoedown party to celebrate breaking ground on the lot where her new house is to be built, and also to remind everyone (and herself!) what an amazing life she has. At the hoedown site she says, "Yesterday, this was just a barren dirt lot." Today, it is just a barren dirt lot with a bar. And an onion ring station. And a bluegrass band. And some famous sports people in attendance. (Dear producers, this is SO not the target audience for those particular special guests.)

At precisely 1:00 p.m. PST, late-gate threatens to overshadow chair-gate. Yes, Shannon and Vicki are one hour LATE to the party. Heather is pissed, because she had a ceremony planned, and REALLY wants everyone to hear, in her own words, why her life is so amazing. So she starts the ceremony (which is just her talking about how great her life is and then her family wielding shovels and THEN a guy with a backhoe pushing around some dirt because why would that guy ever want or deserve a day off?) and Shannon and Vicki arrive sometime in the midst of it.

Vicki can't be bothered to worry about Heather's ire, because she's too busy saying, "Nice to meet you" to Lizzie. And let me tell you, that's the strongest shade on this barren, treeless dirt lot. (Tamra's response: "Why would you say that?") Or else…maybe Vicki actually has early onset dementia? Perhaps this is the answer I have been seeking for the past five episodes! I mean, it would explain a lot. Either way, in the face of Vicki's nonchalance, Heather and Terry focus their wrath on Shannon. They plan to extract revenge by showing up late to Shannon's party, which, good burn.

Shannon initially is less concerned about being late, and more concerned that her husband David is doing shots with Vicki (less worrisome) and one of the sports-guest's hottie wives (more worrisome). Vicki can understand why Shannon is upset, since, "Her hot husband is standing here with two hot babes." Perhaps this is why, when Heather confronts them about their arrival time, Shannon is so quick to call out David for being at fault. He apparently coaches his kids' basketball team, and while she asked him to end practice early, he did not. Perhaps he didn't realize how much fun he was going to have by coming to this party and getting WASTED and HORRIBLE, which, more about that later.

Anyway, Shannon gives David a LOT of shit, and Heather gives Shannon a LOT of shit for not just telling her in advance that she'd be late. Shannon actually literally says that she doesn't understand the constant humiliation she has to endure, to which I would say: read the fine print on your Bravo contract, lady.

In the middle of all this, Tamra is being a peacemaker/instigator—another role that all Housewives are contractually obligated to play at least twice a season. First she gives Lizzie some "advice" about Vicki, then serves as a go-between for Shannon and Heather. She tells Heather that Shannon thinks she's looking down on her. Heather's response is that she literally IS looking down on Shannon. Your house is on a hill and has an onion ring station that you won't stop talking about. WE GET IT.

Vicki joins the conversation eventually. As Heather goes on (and on), Vicki dons her sleeping face and accompanying snoring noise, which is delightful. Except to Heather! Heather wonders, "If I'm so boring and you don't want to speak to me, why are you sitting here? Why are you at my party?" I again point her to the Bravo contract section K-1534 re: dress-up parties. I also hope that Vicki's contribution to Heather's good wishes jar is just a piece of paper that says, "Zzzzzzzzzzzz."

While all this is going down, Vicki also admits that she was mean to Lizzie. She says, "That's the way I am when I first meet girls. I really don't like girls that much." Quoth Lizzie: "What is wrong with this lady?" Dementia, according to my current working theory! And then we go back to Vicki's extremely sensitive exploration of Lizzie's ethnicity, during which she insists that Lizzie is Mexican. (Simultaneously there is some talk of a Mexican stripper that makes me know FOR SURE I need to go back and watch past seasons.) Lizzie is relieved when line dancing starts, since, "You know what I love about dancing? Nobody's talking!"

Heather and Shannon are both dramatic in separate corners for a while, until Heather finds joy in watching kids have donut-eating contests and Shannon finds joy at the bar. Shannon is certain that she doesn't want to make a scene at the party, so we'll likely look forward to rehashing chair-gate AND late-gate next week. Yippee.

And then it's time for some bull riding. The Househusbands are the ones to first suggest this, because while their ladies have been talking about tardiness to the party and chairs, they were busy getting WASTED. Eddie is first up, and Tamra quite correctly notes that in his denim ensemble, on a mechanical bull, "Eddie could definitely be one of the Village People." Lizzie of course rides the bull like she's gently devirginizing him, while Shannon does a respectable job, likely due to the pent-up rage that has rendered her core rock solid.

And then when Heather gets on the bull, David—Shannon's husband—starts yelling, "Ride it hard. Ride it hard baby." For some reason Terry—Heather's husband—thinks this is hilarious. David continues to yell, "Spread your legs! Get it on baby!" which makes me think that Shannon should start nagging and emasculating him MORE. Eddie weighs in by yelling, "Show us how you ride Terry!" because he can't let the other Househusbands lay claim to all the disgusting grodiness. This made me sad, because I've been kind of partial to Eddie.

In any case, Tamra jumps up on the bull like a champ (this isn't HER first mechanical rodeo) and Heather clowns around at the bull controls. Terry tells Heather to turn the speed way up, and then Tamra gets thrown off rather dramatically. She thinks she's broken her arm, which Heather interprets as God telling Tamra not to be rude. Way to be a great hostess! Tamra jokes, "Welcome to my lot," before going to the hospital. In the end she's fine—just soft tissue bruising despite a gnarly appearance—and is able to joke that, "This ho went down." It's too bad, since Tamra suing Heather and Terry for all they're worth would for SURE knock chair-gate off the radar!

Next time: Vicki Gunvalson brings her reign of terror to the state of Oklahoma.

[Images via Bravo]

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