All shows in the Housewives franchise end up on the couch.
The Real Housewives of Dallas cast reunited Sunday night in an extended version of the season-ending ritual. The advance seating chart spoke volumes even before the reunion show aired. Besties LeeAnne Locken and Tiffany Hendra -- who won best dress with a splendid yellow sundress -- were on one side of host Andy Cohen. Brandi Redmond, Cary Deuber and Stephanie Hollman were on the other couch.
There weren't any Earth-shaking revelations from the assembled cast. But there were some eye-opening discoveries for anyone not paying full attention.
And, as has become our custom, we're starting from the beginning. Or, as Cohen said, "Welcome to the first reunion of the Real Housewives of Dallas." He calls them sassy and the first thing he does is address LeeAnne's quite liberal use of blush, noting that she'd toned it down.
Right out of the gate, Andy asks the cast about the criticism they've faced of not being representative of the city.
LeeAnne is quick to answer this one. She always has been: If you think that we're there to represent the city, you might want to look at the politicians. Those are the people that you elect. We're just here to entertain you." Brandi nods. I do, too. Brandi also looks tired of the question. I am, too.
Stephanie dismisses any talk about her chore lists. LeeAnne rolls her eyes, then she gets to roll them again when Andy asks Stephanie about the "$75,000 bracelet," that she happens to be wearing during the reunion. She talks about her ring and mentions a car. LeeAnne is not pleased. Perhaps because Cohen is spending too much time on this stuff we already know?
Well, Stephanie does give some information: Sh says she and Travis own what's possibly the largest wood manufacturing/locker company in the world. Now, I get it. Everybody needs a locker. Heck, I want one right now. Travis has found a need and he's providing a service. He's also making a list and checking it twice and the write-in folks can't seem to quit asking about it. It comes up again.
Stephanie finally says it, "I don't get lists any more." LeeAnne claps. That sister always makes her presence felt. And I ain't mad at her. It turns out that Stephanie and Travis were in therapy the entire time.
Ha! Brandi used to work for Travis, so she's more familiar with the lists than we thought. She said he was "the biggest a-hole." We already knew that, Brandi. Tell us more. She didn't work for him long. Andy wants to know did she get fired. "I quit," says Brandi.
OK, this is a slow start. I can't help thinking that just like the show itself, the reunion is a slow burn leading up to telling us something good. So, for sanity's sake, let's boil this down like so many collard greens.
Brandi's children were asked not to return to their "Christian" school.
"They did not think that my behavior and the things that I was doing on the show were good representation of the school," Brandi said. "Me calling wine Jesus juice, in their eyes I made a mockery of the holy sacrament."
Brandi says her children's school could "no longer do a partnership with their education"
So ... "Jesus juice" made them do it.
Girl, I'm glad it was you. But I'd probably do what Brandi did, though, and that's just move on. North Texas has too many schools for any one person, especially someone with resources, to be tied down. This sounds like regular-people problems, not rich-people problems. Sadly, though, that's not what people came here to see.
Money can't save you from crazy, ill-informed or reactionary, part 1.
Tiffany says "you sign up for a show like this, you better be ready for some skeletons to come out." Tiffany says that what some called a porn past was just a Skinemax series. Andy says that just means a lot of boobies. She agrees and says Aaron Hendra was wonderful and supportive during that time.
LeeAnne says being a housewife is easier than being a carnie. Carnies have to work; as a housewife, "I drank and made an ass of myself."
Is boyfriend Rich Emberlin scared of marrying the carnie? LeeAnne said no, and called him the "carnie whisperer." She says she's not doing divorce: "You can die, or we can die together." Cough, cough, checks around me for what can be used as a weapon.
The other couch says LeeAnne is obsessed with charity. Stephanie: "Charity is inclusive, not exclusive." She agrees that LeeAnne is an egomaniac.
Cary says she thinks "a lot of it is for upward mobility." LeeAnne says she doesn't need that because she talks to those people. And they bicker about the semantics of being present at a society wedding. LeeAnne says she's not a Hunt, or a Cox, or a Simmons, but Deandra is her best friend. And she was maid of honor at the wedding for which Cary only attended the reception.
Stephanie laughs, Cary smiles and they both wonder aloud who cares.
"Don't start it if you can't effin' finish it," LeeAnne says to Cary. She actually, truly said "effin."
"I don't cut on titties," LeeAnne says. "I go and raise money for people who need help." Why do her responses always have to include a put-down?
LeeAnne tells about the fiance who tried to kill her. He chased her down. She says because he was well-connected in Austin, he didn't even spend the night in jail.
"If you come for me, kill me and bury me six feet under," LeeAnne says."Because if you just bruise me and leave me two feet, I will dig my way out and finish the job."
Cary is asking, nay, demanding that LeeAnne cop to spreading rumors about her marriage with Dr. Mark. Gatsby, er Mark, is now on the couch. (Of course, he approved Cary's shoes and met with "my guy at Cavalli in town" for the dress.)
Cary said she didn't mean to come off wrong about Mark's weight loss: "I actually love my husband for who he is. I would love him no matter what he looked like. It was meant in fun and it was meant to be funny."
Cary, who is normally above it all, cries a good bit during the reunion. Even the from-home question intimates that perhaps she didn't marry Mark for himself.
Did Cary steal another woman's husband? "It's not at all what happened," said Cary.
LeeAnne still won't say she spread the rumor, even though there's video proof, social media proof and hundreds of thousands of witnesses. She even winks at Cohen as she says, "That's proof you shouldn't drink and tweet."
Even Tiffany doesn't have her back on this one; she looks uncomfortable as Cary talk-cries. Mark just wants LeeAnne to admit it, and admit it hurt Cary.
The clip with Heidi Dillon plays in which Dillon says what she knows of Cary. Brandi: "Why wouldn't you go straight to Cary?" Tiffany says "I did." Someone hand her a cookie.
Mark says, "Admit it."
LeeAnne doesn't quite go back to high school, but she's in the parking lot: "Oh my God, are you all right, honey? Do you need a tampon?"
The crowd groans. I groan, and several generations of women just took a couple of steps back. Andy, for the win: "Why would it even bother you if they were having an affair?"
LeeAnne says she wasn't spreading anything. She was just saying what she knew of them. "It's just what I've heard is the truth." Oh, she so needs an English as a second language class.
Then it turns into a sorority gripe session. Cary walks off, saying "I just can't take it." Mark follows her, and so do the cameras.
Tiffany isn't even here for this, LeeAnne. Just apologize. And now, we get to it. It turns out that Heidi's son goes to school with Cary's stepson. Huh.
LeeAnne gives a non-apology apology that I won't even dignify with repetition. It was kind of like, "I'm sorry, you did it." She tells Cary that she'd love to give her a hug to eye rolls all around and, of course, can't resist saying something to Stephanie as she does it.
Andy points out that Tiffany got a lot of comments from viewers that she looks like actress Lindsay Price. She agrees.
"And then of course," Andy begins.
"Keith Suburban," Tiffany finishes. Score one for the home team. Look, honey, they're talking about me on TV.
"Aaron has been coined Keith Suburban on Twitter," Andy says.
I'm so proud of this accomplishment! I'd like to thank God; my significant other, Mars; the light of my life, my daughter Faith; and GuideLive.com, without which none of this would be possible.
Woot! Co-sign: "He does look a lot like Keith Urban," Andy says. Tiffany says they've tried different hairstyles on him but this is the best one for him. She smiles.
Plano doesn't even get a non-apology apology from LeeAnne. A question from the home team says, "Just admit you were being snarky ... and apologize to the rest of us."
LeeAnne says, "It was a long day and I hadn't had enough 'Jesus juice'."
Brandi and Bryan
Bryan walked off during dinner that night on the show because he "doesn't like confrontation." He didn't want to have that conversation in front of the cameras.
Poor Brandi went through. He told her he wanted a divorce. But all is well: He's not traveling as much for business and sometimes the family will go with him. The couple renewed their vows in September.
Fallout from the killer weekend in Austin
And when the commercial break ends, Marie is brought over to the couch already inhabited by LeeAnne and Tiffany. She should have brought over a bar stool. Tiffany thinks so, too, and tries to go sit with Stephanie, Brandy and Cary.
Andy: "I don't think there's room." You sly silver fox, you.
There is lots of chatter back and forth about what the others think about that weird "friendship" over there. Brandi's still angry about LeeAnne inviting her friends out to talk about her. LeeAnne: "You are who you walk into a charity event with, it's true." She's clapping to punctuate her words. Stephanie, who definitely won best hair Sunday night, shows some fire: "Don't clap at me."
If you clapped back a little harder, I bet she'd stop or just move on. LeeAnne seems to treat all of them as her inferiors. Or as if they're children. During this season, it seems as if Brandi's the one who had to deal with the most grown-up problems. Just sayin'. And if she finds solace in poop jokes, well, that should be OK. Everyone needs to mind their own business.
LeeAnne seems to be everyone's problem. And I've always said that if everyone's having the same problem with you, then it's time to look in the mirror. Or just not care what they think and divest yourself of the company of men.
And, here's Andy, obviously thinking the same thing: "It started with Brandi. And one by one, LeeAnne clashed with each and every one of her friends. Was she the problem? Or were they? You be the judge." And then he rolls footage of different confrontations.
LeeAnne: "It's easier for me to be a bitch than be soft."
Hmmmm, maybe they don't watch as much Snapped as I do. There are usually signs that you might be about to die.
Tiffany and Marie start yelling at each other. Marie says she was texting Tiffany about LeeAnne out of concern for her then-friend. She confirms that they are no longer that most wispy of designations. Tiffany says she asked her to stop. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Marie says she didn't tell LeeAnne about what Brandi said about her because LeeAnne had just gone through something and out of "civility," she didn't divulge the information. You still lied, but I feel you. If you had just walked around a straight yes or no, you might have more believers. Just saying. But your face looks good girl.
Cary says it for me, "I'm all about efficiency here. Which one of told the story, get it over with and maybe you can make up and move on?" Preach, honey. Preach. For all they know, they're all guilty. If you get drunk enough to do some of the things they say they have done, then perhaps you were drunk enough to joke about this in earshot of Taylor, who had no problems spreading it. It's like two women fighting over a man; how come he gets off clean?
LeeAnne says that the poop incident that led to the confrontation in Austin was not in a bag, it was in a basket. She doesn't mind copping to it, just like she did on the previous episode. It's the "lie" she's upset about; she just wants Marie to come clean. Number one: If, and it's a big if, Marie spilled the beans, she knew what kind of hell that could unleash.
Just because you've been playing with the bear for a while and nothing's happened, it's still a bear and prone to doing bear-like things.
Number two: LeeAnne needs to check herself . But folks prone to anger issues usually don't have that part of them under the best of controls. She should carry Rich around in her pocket.
Anyhoo ... there are no innocents here.
"In a galaxy of ridiculous conversations across hundreds and hundreds of hours," Andy said ... and LeeAnne helped him finish by saying that this one is the most ridiculous. LeeAnne says she's held Marie's confidence on many things that would scare everyone. Tiffany tells Marie that she's "kept girl code, and you know it ... to protect you and your daughter."
Marie has seen LeeAnne be crazy before, but not in a long time. Marie: "She threw the crystal bowl at me." LeeAnne says she just knocked it over.
The threats didn't end in Austin, according to Marie. LeeAnne texted her and said, "Stop talking about me or else."
Andy: "Or else what?"
LeeAnne: "Or else."
Oh, Marie. She just lost one. She has hired a social media team to trash Tiffany and LeeAnne and even performed a nursery rhyme about LeeAnne pooping her pants.
"Not over 40, Andy," said Marie when Andy asks her about the social media. "Come on, I don't do Twitter." She just pays someone to do it for her. Sigh. I'm backing out of this fight. I apologize to all concerned.
LeeAnne says she was scared that night, too. I get that, too. When we come back, LeeAnne and Tiffany are holding hands. Awww.
What did they learn?
Brandi: "I feel like I've grown more in a year than I have my entire life." As Andy puts it, "your brother, your husband, your grandfather ..."
Tiffany's anger surprised and scared her and "I have Christian counseling."
Cary has learned that "maybe Mark and I seem weird to people." You think?
LeeAnne is in anger management and "there's still a lot of hurt."
I feel it. And I'm all out of words. Andy thanks the cast, saying that "this was a great season."
My prediction? Like a Terminator, they'll be back.