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JennyPop's Dirty Secret: The Real Housewives of Orange County

Thursday, 08 June 2017 10:33 Jennifer Devore TV Reviews
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"I am so surprised you watch that. It just doesn't seem like you."

Yes, I do; and, no it doesn't. Allow me to share my Pop secret with you, kittens.

The Real Housewives of Orange County, S12 (L to R) Lydia McLaughlin, Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador, Meghan King Edmonds, Vicki Gunvalson, Peggy Sulahian, Kelly Dodd. Official Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo (Granted via permission of NBC/Uni Media Village)

This gape-jaw surprise, that I watch The Real Housewives of Orange County, amongst other RH franchises, is an alarm I have heard more than once. It's true, it does not fit my modus operandus for TV viewing. My druthers lean toward Arrested Development, TURN, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Versailles, Anne With an 'E', Flaked, The Durrells in Corfu and Absolutely Fabulous. Well, shame be damned, in fact, I do watch RHOC, RHONJ, RHOA and RHOBH. If it pleases the court ... my argument for the defense.

  • It's the hair. It's so preternaturally, perfectly shiny. The ladies are like Anne Rice characters, their hair is so lustrous. I have good hair - don't hate me because I'm beautiful - yet, even with my Aveda products and healthy eating habits, I can't get that level of luxe.
  • It's the wardrobes. I am an unapologetic clotheshorse and totally besotted with everything sartorial, from thrift store-finds to true vintage, from couture to cosplay.
  • It's the parties. To quote Panic at the Disco, "Don't threaten me with a good time!" I am always available for a gathering: theme parties, costume extravaganza, cocktail soirées, fouffy dinners, wine lunches, posh teas, pool bashes and beach bonfires. (Anything except a BBQ in an inland park or a day on the Colorado River.)
  • It's the mise-en-scène. Like Gwen Stefani, "I'm just an Orange County girl living in an extraordinary world." The establishing shots of the O.C. (Psst, don't call it that.) form a character all her own.

I know Orange County as well as I do a fake Prada bag. I even strayed from my usual genre of 18thC. historical-fiction (Savannah of Williamsburg Series) and penned a bikini-and-martini, contempo novel titled The Darlings of Orange County: a scathing, satirical, love-hate letter to Orange County, currently being adapted to a screenplay. Yours Truly has lived up and down the Orange County coast: Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, Irvine, South Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente. Summers not spent in Hawai'i were spent on the sand at 52nd in Newport Beach. In college I worked at Disneyland, Neiman-Marcus at Fashion Island and Ruby's Auto Diner in Laguna Beach. Whilst my husband (known to many as The Viking) was in grad school at Chapman University's Dodge School of Film and Media Arts, I worked at Diedrich's Coffee in Dana Point's Ocean Ranch and taught French, Etiquette and Shakespeare at Broderick Montessori School in Dana Point.

Both Mum and Dear Old Dad count Chapman University amongst their alma maters, undergrad and grad school; for a time, Dear Old Dad was a Freshman-psych prof at Chapman. My fave little cousin, Bex Boo, is currently a BioSci major at UCIrvine. Natch, I, also, attended UCi and Chapman.

So, big whoop bully for you, JennyPop. Now, why do you patronize such sub-mental pablum and waste such precious time? (Including writing this post?)

Fair nudge, fair reader. Moving on ...

Here's the crux, the psychological explanation from a shrink's kid ... It's the LOTR-style, epic quests for friendship, oft abysmally failed, these ladies pursue. It's the quest that truly draws me, season over season, city after city. Like Siggy Flicker (my fave Housewife) of The Real Housewives of New Jersey I want everyone to be friends and love each other, cheesy as that reads. Perchance it's projection. I find my friendships, although scant in number, sacrosanct. There are lines one does not cross, rules and ethics inherent and sans exception. When a guy or gal finally crosses my threshold from "that _______ " to "my friend ______", I am loyal to the end. When I say I would take a bullet for them, I mean it. (Although, I likely will not loan my new Charles David over-the-knee boots, my Waterman pen or any of my Von Zipper sunglasses.)

Ergo, I marvel at what these ladies will not only perpetrate, but endure, and still come out of their catty battles as "friends" ... until the next season. What some folks call friendship, fascinates me. (Advisement: Do not get me started on what Zuckerberg and Facebook have done to dilute the word "friend".) In short, The Real Housewives is a Chaucerian cautionary tale draped in Chanel, a Medeival, morality play shrouded in Moschino. It is fabulously, terrifyingly didactic.

The Real Housewives of Orange County, S12, The Newest Housewife, Peggy Sulahian. Official Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo (Granted via permission of NBC/Uni Media Village)

Note: This season might proffer a bit more gravity, in Peggy Sulahian. Housewife #100 was born to Armenian parents in Kuwait and has been in the U.S. since the twee age of one. Whilst Lady Fortuna has largely spun her Wheel fortuitously for Peggy - an oceanview home in Crystal Cove, a loving husband and three healthy, beautiful children - the Wheel has had its bad spins. At the age of fifty-one, Peggy's mother passed away from breast cancer. Recently, after finding a lump, Peggy opted for a radical double-mastectomy, to be extra cautious. RHOC S12 finds Peggy on the eve of her reconstructive surgery. From all accounts, like so many other victims and survivors of this dreaded thief in the night, Peggy has a confidence and inner power that poises her perfectly to melée with The Real Housewives. I mean, really. After the early death of a mother, the threat of the C-word and a voluntary, double-mastectomy,  what on Earth could Vicki Gunvalson and Kelly Dodd do to this lovely lady? Bring it on, S12.

 

The Real Housewives of Orange County S12 premieres on BRAVO, July 10, 2017 @ 9/8c.

@JennyPopNet (Insta and Twitter) #RHOC #RealHousewives #PeggySulahian

Last Updated on Monday, 27 November 2017 13:01

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Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland.  JennyPop.net is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

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