‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ Review: Producers Shameless Exploitation of Brooks Ayers’ Cancer
The eleventh episode of season 10 of Real Housewives of Orange County involved a shameless effort on producers part to exploit Vicki Gunvalson’s boyfriend Brooks Ayers’ experience with cancer.
Real Housewives Of Orange County Recap
The episode begins with Shanon Beador and husband David scolding their 10-year-old twin daughters for TP-ing a neighbors house. As they try and lay down consequences, the girls fire back with typical ‘tween ‘tude, calling out Shanon for drinking too much with her friends. The girls then leave the room without consequence. “We just screwed that one up royally,” says Shanon.
We then move to a lunch scene where Meghan King Edmonds and husband Jim Edmonds discuss how they need to spend more time with each other. Jim, who is competing with his wife for the worst portrayal of any season 10 cast member, doesn’t look Meghan in the eye and doesn’t seem to care about anything but himself, let alone his upset wife.
Meghan leaves lunch and meets up with Heather Dubrow and Tamra Judge for a bite to eat and some afternoon champagne. The three chat as they wait to meet Tamra’s psychic, Scott Cruz, who she has never met in person.
Enter Scott: the man who is about to deliver a message from Real Housewives producers that illustrates that most pathetic construction of drama I’ve ever witnessed throughout over 50 seasons of the franchise. Out of nowhere, Scott pauses and looks into the distance, where he has a That’s so Raven-esque vision about Brooks’ Stage-3 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. “I have a wishy washy perspective on the cancer,” he says. “I just don’t see it.”
Whether or not producers fully staged this scene is irrelevant. But the fact that this slanderous statement made the final edit is ridiculous. What’s further baffling is that the rest of the OC cast reacted to the statement, giving it validity and in turn the most dramatic arc of season 10.
As lunch wraps up, we move to Tamra and Eddie Judge’s fitness studio, where Tamra leads the ladies through a “booty class.” The ladies, especially Meghan, seem to appreciate Tamra’s instruction: “My booty is the one thing I can’t grow and I can’t get implants in it. You have to go to Brazil or something and it’s really dangerous, so I guess Tamra’s booty class will have to suffice.”
After class, Tamra gives Brooks a cake for his birthday, and the ladies play with Tamra’s granddaughter Ava.
After Vicki leaves, Meghan reveals to the rest of the ladies what the psychic said. Shanon is in disbelief and upset that Meghan said anything: “How could anyone question something like that?”
The final scene of the episode is a double date with Vicki and Brooks and Shanon and David. Brooks irresponsibly orders two tequila, and Shanon is baffled as to why he’d take “a bunch of stuff to fuel the cancer.”
Shanon then tactlessly pulls Vicki into the restroom, where she tries to tell her about what Meghan had said. Vicki explains that she doesn’t want to hear it and leaves Shanon crying in the ladies room.
Once Shanon returns, Vicki goes from zero to 100. The OG of the OC calls out Shanon for bringing up anything about the cancer, “especially on his birthday”. “F*ck this bull sh*t,” she says. “The last thing I want is for him to go through any more negativity because he’s dating me.” The episode ends with Vicki storming out of the restaurant with Brooks trailing behind.
Overall, this episode illustrates the Real Housewives franchise at its worst. When there is no drama, producers (and cast members) will latch on to anything to create a storyline. But to purposely edit in a narrative that questions someone’s experience with a life threatening disease is taking it too far. It’s desperate and it’s inhuman and it’s obvious to the audience.