Housewives. They just never stop, do they? They just keep going and going and going and they will continue to do so until we are all, every one of us, dead in their acrid wake. I mean, until next week.
Last night's episode was all about change. About the changes we make when we try for something new, like Gretchen did. About the changes we make when we return to something old, like Vicki did. About the changes we make when we are faced with great difficulty, like Lynne was. About the changes we make when we begin to reconsider the world, as Tamra did. And about the the changes we make when we pay a stranger to cut parts off parts of our face and replace them with other parts of our face, as Alexis (and her mother!) did. Change change chaaaaange, change of liiiiife. That's a lyric from Menopause: The Musical, a beautiful piece of theater that I spent my first year out of college selling tickets for. Ohhh I heard that show so many times. I think of it now, when regarding these blonde apocalypses.
Let's start with Tamra. Oh Tamra. She is a curt and sour, her eyes are beginning to look like darkening slot canyons, like Antelope, the flash-flood waters coming. To celebrate this fact, Tamra threw herself a funeral, otherwise known as a 42nd birthday party. Yes, she is just three short years away from the date when the Orange County Woman Control squad hauls her off and buries her in a shallow grave somewhere near Barstow. So might as well whoop it up before some government bureaucrat wearing a tie and some Sears chinos makes the sign of the cross and puts two bullets in the back of her head, desert winds rustling through his combover. Might as well live it up.
All the girls were there! Trixi and Marbella and Ruby Foo and Vandella and Garbage Marge the Garbage Barge. All of Tamra's good friends. They took turns playing Pin the Tail On the Donkey and Marry the Millionaire and they all guzzled shots and Vicki sent her poor little assistant — named Heather or George or Martinique, no one really remembers, but it seemed sad and confused and was murmuring things, whole sentences to itself, and nobody knows for sure, but when Garbage Marge the Garbage Barge leaned in close she swears it was saying "I want to go home, I want to go home" over and over and over again — to deliver a gift and everyone was so horrified that Vicki couldn't even come by, especially because she was just two blocks away. Cut to Vicki, naked and smeared in copy toner, a Staples' employee's severed head stuck on a pike made of staple removers, shrieking "Wooorrrrrrkkkkkkkkkkkkk! The Vicki is worrrrrkkkinggggggg!!!" And we all shuddered and realized that she had thumbtacks stuck in her gums, either she'd placed them there as decoration or she'd been eating thumbtacks again, and we knew that this Work that Vicki speaks of, this is a very important thing. Tamra wasn't buying it.
After the birthday party, Garbage Marge drove everyone home in her garbage barge and dropped Simon and Tamra off at a fancy restaurant for fancy people, which Simon and Tamra are. There they had a lovely romantic conversation about boobs and tits and sacks and funbags and sweater melons and over the shoulder boulder holders and goody lumps and smugglin' Hare Krishnas and chest balls. But mostly they talked of love and breasts and Tamra licked Simon's face, which I imagine tasted like the underside of a shoe that smokes menthol cigarettes, and oh man is their marriage over. Just over over over. So over. It's over next week. It's already over. Time warps and bends around this show. It's like a black hole only less interesting. It's a hole.
Once she and Simon had finished playing a sexy game that Simon affectionately calls Lizard Tongue, Tamra hopped aboard her bejeweled moped and puttered over to the house where Lynne will soon be not living. She knocked on the door and it creaked open, unlocked. She walked into the house. There was an eerie silence. "Hellloooo?" she called out, becoming strangely cold and frightened. "Lynne? Lynne's hubby? Troll monsters?" She walked into the Great Room and stood, looking around. Suddenly she felt a presence. Lynne was in the room. But where? She looked all around. Then she heard a sickening shuffle coming from above her. She looked up to see Lynee skittering around the ceiling, transfixed by the light fixture. "Lynne... Lynne honey?" As soon as Lynne realized she was being watched she plummeted down toward the ground, bounced off the leather sofa and crashed through the coffee table. Lying in a bloody, shardy heap she slurred "Hiiiiiiiiii Tamra. Come on in. I was just... I was just, uh, breaking the table here."
The ladies opened a bottle of wine and got to chatting about men. Tamra thought they were all liars and Lynne remarked at how when sometimes you think you pooped that day but you didn't really poop that day and then at night you have Poop Dreams? Tamra stared at a fixed spot on the wall just to the left of Lynne's eyes and said "Uh huh." And then Lynne said "Oh yeah, Hubby would never cheat on me. He's a germaphobe." Tamra blinked harder, seriously confused. But I got that! That little tidbit of Lynne's actually made sense. He wouldn't stick it in another wicket because who knows what sort of strange disease one could get from that. I get ya Lynne. You're one batty bitch, but I get ya. Tamra shrugged her shoulders and continued on talking, while Lynne crawled up onto the counter and managed to get stuck in the disposal, where she stayed all night, softly purring to herself, having wonderful Poop Dreams.
While she was doing that, her two daughters, Encyclopedia and Britannica, went to have a very serious conversation. As the two Merit Scholars had been studying very hard, they knew just what to say and how to say it. There's a very important education program on television called The Hills, which teaches girls from Carlsbad to Kennebunk how to talk and what to talk about. You takkkk lakkkk thissssss and you barely open your mouth so a burble of word-ideas comes sluicing out of your glossed lips, followed soon after by gallons and gallons of feces and bile and zombie vomit. And, like, they said "like" more times than I have ever heard that word ever, and I grew up in the Valley. (I mean, I certainly watched enough things about the Valley growing up to have vicariously grown up there, right) It's really some entirely new mode of linguistics these California reality show girls have come up with. It's almost tonal and click-based. "Yeahhh" means a very different thing than "Yeahhhhh." Completely different.
Anyway, while I was digging in that ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Laguna last night, I uncovered a sort of Rosetta Stone that translates Shitspeak. In Shitspeak, the girls were apparently talking about moving to LA. Because LA will be their savior. In LA nothing is hard, everything is good and pure and merciful. No one will treat you cruelly, even if you look like one of the bad guys from Labyrinth. (...) It's a city of nice people where you don't need a jawwb. Who wants a jawwwwb. Nobody wants a jawwwwwb. Oh it was so sad and awful and pathetic watching these girls audition for their own show. Shitspeak: Girl Talk premieres this fall on BravoTeen, which is a channel named after Andy Cohen's brain. (But seriously, if anyone over there wants to start BravoTeen, you will have one dedicated viewer.)
We pack up, we move on. Over to Gretchen. Does anyone care about Gretchen anymore? Do you think Gretchen realizes that everyone stopped caring a little while ago? It's sort of sad. She just keeps on showing up and saying things with those coin purse features of hers and she has no idea that nobody's watching anymore. Hey, here's a segment where Gretchen gets her makeup done by her best friend/makeup artist LouMitsy, and if anyone was watching they would get out their little weed dealing scales to try to figure out how many ounces of makeup Gretchen is wearing. But no one's home. Hey, here's a segment where she takes her own makeup line to a trade show and, shocker!, no one shows up. At that point Gretchen must have realized that no one was paying attention, right? I mean, it was manifestly in her face right then, wasn't it? Just staring right at her, unblinking as a bird. I have nothing interesting to say about Gretchen except that Ha Ha Ha no one showed up to her stupid makeup party, because why would they? Time to try to find a job that is actually real, Gretchen. (As if. Who wants a jawwwwwwb. She's gonna move to LA with the Doublets of Belleville and do nothing forever.)
Let's go toot toot tooting back over to Lynne, who managed to finally get out of the disposal and stumble into her Flintsones car and callous-foot her way over to dinner with Hubby. "Hey Hamslacks, how's fritters?" she asked him with determination. He sighed and patted her hand. "Who's on the menu, Jackson?" she asked brightly. He sighed again and a small tear trickled down his face. "The toucan sure sounds like something I'd like to talk to, I'll have that, Dudley" Lynne said to a freckle on her arm. Hubby put his head down on the table. ""Didja ever think about babies that wear hats? I think about that a lot." By now Hubby was curled up under the table, weeping. Though he was secretly glad that he didn't have to answer any questions about his terrible finances, because that would be scary and he doesn't like scary things. Suddenly Lynne's head popped under the table and she said "Your seltzer's ready!" Then there was a gunshot.
Next we take a peek at Alexis, our big-titted funbag of a Jesuswoman, who was doing Christly things like taking her momma to get her face rearranged. Ha ha, no. She wasn't taking her mom to a 1950s school bully. She was taking her to a plastic surgeon! Plastic surgery is listed in the Bible right after that strikethrough part about the body being a temple and not having too much pride and all that. Alexis and Ma Juggs had a nice serious lunchtime chat about wrinkles and aging and the long slow molasses ooze towards death that is living, and her mother frowned and looked like Alice Krige or Piper Laurie and we felt bad for her, because soon she would be disappeared, never the same again, a whole different, lesser person. Alexis smiled in an eerie, glassy way and said "One of us, now. One of us." Alexis also remarked at how her mom's forehead was as smooth as Andy Cohen's "assistant" and yet she had never had any work done, and Alexis is sixty-eight and has had so many surgeries she can't even count them. I mean, she used to be black!
So Alexis pulled a giant mallet out of her purse and whacked her mother over the head and the next thing poor Piper Laurie knew, she was strapped into a chair with the doctor from Brazil sharpening his Defacer. It was just so sad watching her, because she clearly didn't want the surgery, but there was a camera crew there and she did want to do something with her daughter, who seemed further and further away with each passing month, so she did it. She sat there as the doctor scrawled all over her face with a marker and then the doctor's mom came in and said "Oh honey, that's very pretty. You know what? I'm going to put it on the refrigerator," and then took Piper Laurie's face and stuck it onto the fridge with a big magnet. She hung out like that for a while until Alexis ran in and yelled "Now! Do it now!!!! Begin the Defacening!!!"
After Alexis's mom's face was cut off, she was wheeled over to a plastic surgery recovery center (these only exist in Southern California, they're the Newport Creameries of the West) where she would stay until the lizard DNA had fully fused with her own and her face could begin regrowing, a taut new hide. Alexis took some time off from her busy daiquiri and Christoga schedule to spend some time with her mom at the center and she yammered on about many things and shared many memories. One memory was of when they were at lunch before and her mother said "Remember how you wouldn't walk anywhere because you didn't want your hair to smell like air?" At that point all of our faces fell off and the Lizard King cackled and said "You are all mine nowwwwww." Srsly, Alexis? And this is, like, a funny a story we are telling? Not a horribly depressing one about a horrible girl with ugly outsides and hideous insides who was so fucking stupid and vain that she preferred her hair to smell like a bucket of chemicals instead of "air"? Are you sure it's not that kind of story?
Anyway, Alexis is awful and stupid and we all know that. That's no surprise. Eventually Jim will finish digesting Quinn ("wah-lah!") and he will probably devour Alexis, so we don't need to worry about her too much longer. What we SHOULD worry about is his atomic poops. Talk about a Poop Nightmare. Poop. Breaking: 26-Year-Old College-Educated Man Can't Stop Making Poop Jokes.
Our last stop on this freight train of horrors is Vicki. Oh Vicki. Vicki who was an electric pencil eraser accident some years ago and has never been the same. If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times: You have to wait until the gecko DNA has fully fused with your own before you take the bandages off, Vicki. Otherwise you come out looking like cold pizza. Here's the straight honest good news: Briana doesn't have thyroid cancer. So good for that. Good things. Sincere good things.
BUT THE BIG NEWS was this: Vicki was making Housewife water, which we folks out here in Stinktown call margaritas, and she walked out to her patio and it was verryyyy sneaky the way they didn't show us who she was making the drink for and then...!!!! It was Jeana. Big fat bellowing Jeana, come from down the block to forage for crullers. It was so nice to see two old lizard friends hang out again. They spoke of old times and new times, fun times and sad times. Vicki was interviewed and she said "I think we're going to always be friends." Immediately Jeana was interviewed and she said "I hate that bitch." So, yay! Sweet times.
Vicki spent most of her time with Jeana bitching about all the other "bitches" calling them bitches and saying that they are so bitchy, those bitchy bitches. Jeana rolled her eyes so hard they popped out of their sockets and rolled into the pool, and while Vicki had Andy Cohen's "assistant" fish it out with the pool skimmer, she continued to harp on Alexis and Tamra and Gretchen and Garbage Marge the Garbage Barge and alla them. Will this be Vicki's last season? I think it might be! But who knows. We will have to wait until next week to find out. Next week is the finale. We've one episode to go.
In the meantime, Tamra will stare hard at her husband as he sits and watches the TV, she'll think about back when the marriage was young and the kids were babies and how she used to pray for moments of silence, for a quiet night like this one. But now all she wants to do is scream and shake the walls, yell something profane and shocking in Simon's ear, to break dishes and windows, to set off the burglar alarm and let it go forever. Then people will know, everyone will know. There's a fire inside her, a hot churning core. Something is happening to Tamra Barney. She just thought you should know.
And Gretchen will spit and stutter and fart and worry, because nobody likes Gretchen Rossi and she's wondering if maybe anyone ever did. She'll get drunk on sangria and take her stubby fingers and dial her phone and a sleeping Andy Cohen will answer and he'll say "Gretchen? What is it?" And Gretchen will laugh sadly and sneer at the phone and slur "You're such a fake and a liar and nobody likes you. Why doesn't anybody like Gretchen?" And Andy will be confused and then he'll hear the phone drop to the floor and a glass door sliding open and then a faint splash and then just the night, just the crickets, just the connection softly buzzing, the sound of distance.
Alexis will be bashing in her mother's chest with a hammer to convince her to get a boob job and Jim will watch her from the doorway, his beautiful blood-spattered Christian bride, smashing through bone and muscle, her mother's eyes wide with terror, Alexis weeping and screaming "You'll look so beautiful, mother!! Just like me!! Just like me!!" and then with one final thud the room goes quiet and her mother lies frozen on the bed and Jim looks at Alexis and undoes the sash on his dressing gown and says "God you're sexy," and they make love on her mother's pulverized body.
And Lynne will wander into the fifth dimension, or the fourth and a half, she can never quite tell. And in that place, up won't be down, it'll be sideways or hat. And everyone will speak Lynnelanguage and everyone won't even be there, there won't be an everyone or a no one, just one, just Lynne, just everything twisting and shifting, never staying still, and Lynne will be so happy, so warm and content until there is a loud slamming noise and she hears Hubby yelling "Jesus Christ, honey. How the hell did you get in the drier again?"
And Jeana and Vicki will just sit on the patio, drinking their juice, and they will laugh at it all. These too old broads, been around the word together, to hell and back, leathery bats flapping their wings toward the sky. "I love you," Vicki will murmur. And Jeana will chortle and say "Oh fuck you." And VIcki will smile and lean back in her chair and close her eyes and say "Yeah, fuck me."
And somewhere Andy Cohen will awake with a start, not from a phone call not from an alarm not from anything but a feeling, a strange and urging thought. "I've done something wrong," he will whisper in the dark apartment, New York droning along outside. "I've done something terribly wrong." And his "assistant" will stir and pat his back and lazily say, halfway between dreams and the world, "No baby, it was just right."