At the end of March, just 14 days after “The Real Housewives of Orange County” shut down production due to the coronavirus pandemic, housewife Kelly Dodd hopped on a flight from Southern California to New York City.
Now, please don’t ask whether she wore a mask on the flight — you know the answer to that question — or if she had a good reason for going. She did, though, have a reason.
“There is nothing that is going to separate me from my man,” she announced after arriving to shack up with her fiance, Fox News reporter Rick Leventhal.
Back home, the other housewives had a different take on Kelly’s travels.
“I just can’t understand that risk for a booty call,” sniffs housewife Braunwyn Windham-Burke.
Kelly, unsurprisingly, gets stuck in New York City and can’t get home to pick up daughter Jolie after her week with her dad, Kelly’s ex.
“I got stuck here,” Kelly tells the child. “I didn’t know it was going to be the epicenter (of the pandemic).”
Oh, if only someone — say, the entire world — could have told Kelly of the folly of her flight.
Still, that wasn’t the dumbest thing we saw this week. That dishonor goes to housewife Elizabeth Lyn Vargas, who shocked her castmates by going full Covid-19 conspiracist. Housewives Braunwyn, Emily Simpson, and Shannon Storms Beador rightly roast her for this behind her back.
Later, Elizabeth expounds on that her theories straight to camera.
“I’m not sure if this is a man-made virus so Big Pharma can make a lot of money, or if this is an actual virus that just happened to come from a monkey,” she says (Take a moment here to imagine Dr. Fauci slapping himself repeatedly in the forehead at what she just said). “But having to stay home is making me nuts.”
Of course, the biggest news in “Real Housewives” this past week was Braunwyn’s off-show announcement that she’s coming out as lesbian. But on the show, Braunwyn literally locks herself in the closet, which is part of a separate storyline in which Braunwyn — who’s been sober for three months — is working through some serious stuff.
Her husband Sean has no idea what’s bugging his wife, but she is not happy being stuck at home with him and their seven kids. She yells at him for violating her new rules on when it’s OK to use the kitchen. She snaps at him when he makes a lame joke about avoiding their booze-drinking friends. She locks herself in her closet, which admittedly, is as big as other people’s bedrooms.
And then, after admitting she’s been “rage-y,” she hauls off and strikes him — off-camera because the housewives are self-filming at this point in the production — over an issue with the vacuum cleaner.
“I lost my temper again, Sean belittling me over the vacuum cleaner,” she says. “I lost it, and I smacked him. I haven’t done that since we were in Aspen,” adding that that time, she hit him even harder.
In the closet, she says she feels trapped partly because of the changes she’s experiencing.
“The truth is there are some big things that are happening that are a part of me that we’ve never talked about,” Braunwyn says.
Other bits and pieces this week:
— Braunwyn responds to her white privilege: The show notes the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed, which along with the coronavirus gave this episode more actual reality than the show ever bargained for. Most of the housewives tweet about it — we know, because the show broadcasts their tweets — and Braunwyn and her older kids are seen marching in a protest in Huntington Beach.
“There’s no excuse for the fact that I’ve tuned this out for 42 years,” she says.
— Finally, there is evidence that housewives and househusbands don’t clean their own homes. While Braunwyn apparently knows which devices make the clothes clean, she admits on camera that — with the hired help staying home in lockdown — she hasn’t a clue how the darn things work.
“I’ve never had to use it,” she says of the mysterious “washing machine.” “This is the first time I’ve gone without a housekeeper since I was in high school.”
Over at Emily’s house, she’s shocked to see her husband Shane vacuuming the carpets. “It’s truly the end of the world when Shane Simpson is vacuuming,” she says. “I’ve never seen that in 11 years of marriage.”
He does bathroom sinks, too! And toilets! And…because the toilet seat was dirty he unscrewed it and put it in the shower, which only raises more questions to which I’m sure I don’t want to know the answers.
— Shannon kicks her boyfriend’s son out of the house for violating her coronavirus lockdown rules, and then is mad when the guy leaves to be with his kid. Later, things get serious when Shannon calls Kelly, weeping, from the urgent care clinic where one of her three daughters has just tested positive for Covid-19.