When the five horsewomen of the apocalypse finally bring about their Armageddon on the seven million families that live in gated communities, there will only be one thing left for us to remember them by: their stuff. Let's sift through the Real Housewives rubble.
Hello, and welcome to The Real Housewives Institute. I am Dame Brian Moylan, director of this fine museum that was founded by St. Richard of Lawson (who will be resurrected later this week) in the year two thousand and wonderful. I will also serve as your tour guide through our newest exhibit, "Artifacts and Artifice: The Stuff of the Real Housewives of Orange County." The oldest, wisest, and blondest of the now extinct creatures known as Real Housewives. Their greatest accomplishment—other than creation of mass amounts the renewable, alternative energy known as "drama"—was the amassing of great stuff. It's not wealth, necessarily, but rather things, objects that they use to define themselves and their place in the world. Each item contains a wonderful tale about one of the Real Housewives. Now, if you will step right this way, we'll begin our tour.
Ah, yes. This is a breast implant that at one time belonged to Peggy Tanous. Not much is known about Peggy at this time, but it seems, like many, she was the victim of a botched plastic surgery operation. After having breast implants for more than two decades, one of them had migrated to the side and caused a dent in her bosom. She went to the offices of a Dr. Anton, one of the least renown plastic surgery in Orange County, which is has the highest concentration, per capita, of plastic surgeons anywhere in the world. After a consultation with the doctor, both Peggy and her husband, a lucky rube by the name of Micah, decided that she needed to have her implant removed and replaced with a bigger, better implant. It appears that Micah not only wanted her bosom to feed and suckle his children—all named after distant places the couple would never visit—but to serve as a wine rack as well. There is nothing more important that for a woman to have a secondary function as a piece of furniture.
Next to the breast implant, you will see a business card for Patti Brand, the founder and president of the Brand Modeling agency. We now believe Patti, just like Peggy, got her start working the finest dance emporia of Southern California, establishments known for their reliance on creative platform heels and shiny metallic poles. Patti went on to represent a number of these dancers as "models" for the agency she founded. Peggy eventually retired from her lucrative career as a "model" to marry Micah and have his babies, but once she got her new breasts, she was interested in returning to the fold. Peggy also wanted her children Macedonia and Timbuktu to be models. At their first modeling test, they ran around the Brand agency without any order or discipline, refusing Patti Brand's direction to "walk like a diva" at the ripe age of two. Eventually Patti threw them all out of the modeling agency and told them never to return. That Patti Brand sure turned into one fierce bitch.
Leaving the Peggy section of the exhibit, please gaze into this case, which contains the engagement ring that used to belong to the Max Factor of our time, Gretchen Rossi, founder of top-selling cosmetics line Gretchen and Christine Have Booties. The ring was initially Gretchen's first engagement ring from a mysterious man only known as Chris. Not much is known about him other than that he was a very wise man who left Gretchen shortly after their nuptials. In the year 2011, Gretchen had the jewels reset and gave them to her mother in a celebration of her 40th anniversary to her father. It seems that Gretchen, who was then living with a speaking slug named Slade, needed very desperately to believe in love and that there could be a successful marriage, so she did it by celebrating a marriage the only way a Real Housewife knows: with a renewal of the vows. This is a strange and elaborate ceremony, the mysteries of which are only known by the Real Housewives. It is meant to show the world just how much a married couple loves each other. Strangely enough this ceremony has a tendency to actually break up couples that engage in it, so Gretchen was making a very risky decision in forcing her parents to engage in this strange occult ritual.
Apparently to perform this ritual, the soothsayer needed a garment of clothing owned by the female in the relationship. Here is the black dress owned by Gretchen's mother that was used to conjure her up and link it to the spirit of her father. To procure this dress, Gretchen and her assistant, Wretchen, had to break into her mother's house and confiscate it. We initially intended to display the garment Gretchen wore during this robbery—a T-shirt with oranges emblazoned on the bosoms—but the person who owns the image rights to all fruits and vegetables on earth—a deity by the name of, God—claimed that it was copyright infringement and damaging to the reputation of one of his finer crops. Until the lawsuit with God can be settled, we have removed the offending garment.
Everyone, please step this way and look up at this installation here on the wall. Yes, in big block letters it is the word "Caliente," a Spanish word meaning "hot." It is an expression that white people who didn't know how to speak Spanish appropriated in the late 20th century because they liked the way it sounded and using it made them sound very intelligent and cosmopolitan, even if they didn't even know enough Spanish to communicate with their household help. Such is the case with Vicki Gunvalson, who displayed this large sign in her kitchen. The only mention we have of this sign is from Briana Wolfsmith's memoir The Last Woo-Hoo: Stories from a Childhood on Camera. Here is a passage from the book:
I remember one night specifically, near the end of my mother and Donn's marriage when I returned home for dinner. Michael was still living in the house with mom and Donn, but he didn't see mom very often. No one did, other than her employees. She often stayed at work until one or two in the morning, as if there was going to be some great insurance emergency in the middle of the night that she would have to attend to.
Anyway, on that particular occasion the cameras were around and we were supposed to be acting like a happy little family, at least that's what mom told us before they got there. Naturally, like it was another day at the office, mom was ordering everyone around, telling Mike how to grill the steaks, sending Donn to check on him, supervising me as I made dessert, telling me that I didn't know how to make a cake, get the cake out of the pan, or frost it. She not only criticized my baking skills, but also my appearance, telling me that I should "put my boobs away," or something like that. It made me so angry that I wanted to hit her upside the head with the giant ceramic "Caliente" that was on the kitchen counter.
When we sat down to eat, mom was very disappointed that one of the steaks appeared to be overdone. Donn didn't just let it roll off his back, like usual, he told her to calm down. That just seemed to upset her, and she tried to make us all feel guilty that we didn't all sit down to dinner more often. 'I come home all the time, but no one is ever here, so I just leave,' I said. 'Yeah mom,' Mike said, 'You're always at work.' Like always, my mother tried to defend herself, but Donn said, 'No, Vicki. You're never home. You're never home.'
He kept stabbing at his plate, the sawing of his slightly overdone meat piercing the silence at the dinner table. 'Dinner is good,' I finally said to break the ice. 'Yes, everything is good,' Mom said, with a hint of sadness in her voice. 'Everything is good,' she repeated as if trying to convince herself it was true, as if saying it would make all the decisions up until that point better and worth it, as if, with everything, she could order her life around and make it do exactly what she wanted.
Alright, enough of that depressing nonsense. Let us step over here to the Tamra Barney Judge Reinholt Kurtzbaum Smith Ewing Barney wing of the exhibit where we have several things to display. First are the two champagne flutes that Tamra used in her first wedding to Simon Barney. These were found by a collector of Real Housewives memorabilia abandoned in a dumpster outside of the apartment Tamra lived in after her split with Simon. Apparently she was going through her things with her second husband, Eddie Judge, before the two got married and he was upset that Tamra was keeping various mementos from her first wedding, including her wedding dress, wedding candle, and these glasses. Tamra had let go of the relationship long ago, but like any good Real Housewife, she needed to hold onto the things. These were the things that reminded her of the good times. She could erase all the memories of abuse and dominance by Simon if she could keep this beautiful clutter around her. Then her marriage wasn't ruined, her children fatherless, her future bleak. But at Eddie's instance, she knew it was time to part with them, to cut all her ties from Simon. When she threw the glasses away it was done. And she cried. She cried for all she had lost, she cried for the mistake of her first marriage, but she cried, most of all, for her stuff.
Speaking of stuff, here is a photograph taken of Tamra and her lesbian buddy Fernanda Rocha taken by Adam Bouska for his No H8 campaign. Not much is known about his campaign now, but it seems to have been very popular with reality television stars and minor celebrities. We're unclear what the symbolism of the pieces of tape on the mouth has to do with ending hatred (or supporting gay marriage), but that seems to be a theme running through the other portraits he created. Naturally, Tamra got naked with her friend Fernanda and confessed that she has, as the Real Housewives like to say "swum in the lady pond." How very egalitarian of Tamra.
We heard that shortly after the picture was taken Fernanda had a party to celebrate her citizenship in the United States. Tamra did not attend because she was moving. When Fernanda mentioned that she was disappointed that her friend couldn't make it, Tamra launched into a tirade that Fernanda just doesn't understand what Tamra is going through right now. She had to part with stuff and that is very traumatic for a Real Housewife. Fernanda barely responded, because she clearly wants to have a sexual relationship with Tamra, a prize that Tamra dangles in front of her like a little bit of catnap. Sadly, for Fernanda, she will not be one of Tamra's seven spouses.
Finally we head into the Chapel dedicated to the Prophet Alexis Bellino. Here we house the Sacred Scripture of Earth Jesus, a book left behind by Alexis' husband, Earth Jesus. Just like the Book of Kells, each day we turn a page so that the world can see all the wonderful things the book has to offer. Let's take a look at what today's page says.
And on the seventh day, he rested. But not only did he rest, but he relaxed and rejuvenated. This was accomplished by going to a spa with all of his apostles and drinking of bubbly wine. He took the wine and said, 'This is my blood, you should drink of it.' Then he had a plague injected into his forehead to prevent wrinkling. He took the botulism and said, 'This is in my body, you should eat of it.' And then all was right with the universe and everyone rejoiced.
After reading this passage, Alexis became a bit of Botox proselytizer. Just like Earth Jesus, she held a ceremony for everyone to get together and drink champagne and get Botox. She tried to push the Botox on the other women, so that they would be good and holy like her, but she was the only one who wanted the Botox. No one else would take communion, at least in the way she practiced it. She was ahead of her time, the great Prophet Alexis.
There was also a small altercation at the Earth Jesus Summoning Party, thanks to Tamra. Because she and Gretchen had some confrontations in the past, Tamra brought mace with her to the party. When everyone got along, Tamra reached into her purse and took out the bottle of mace and jokingly said, "I didn't even have to use my mace!"
This was quite a funny joke, but if there is one thing that Real Housewives don't understand, it is humor. Tamra didn't get Gretchen's (unfunny) joke about an evil eye hat, and Alexis doesn't understand Tamra's joke about the mace and thinks it's inappropriate. It was just a silly way to diffuse the tension, but Alexis, great companion of Earth Jesus, thinks it is an attack, like Tamra is some sort of religious terrorist.
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is that can of mace that caused so much havoc in the Real Housewives universe. Please, do not take any flash photography of this old relic, because it is still armed and might go off at any moment.
That concludes our tour of "Artifacts and Artifice: The Stuff of the Real Housewives of Orange County." If you would please exit this way through the Jill Zarin memorial gift shop and be sure to purchase something on your way out. It doesn't matter what—it's all just stuff.