A 'Real Housewives' fight reveals some ugly stuff

It's a good thing this season has finally -- or almost finally, considering next week's "Secrets Revealed" and the spin-off miniseries Tamra's OC Wedding -- come to an end, because they're really stretched at this point for stories to dredge up. At one point tonight there was so little to discuss that producers actually dedicated a segment to previewing that wedding special, with the housewives looking on in rapt attention. And I guess that's Real Housewives of OC in a nutshell: mirrors into mirrors, the watched endlessly cycling into watchers and back again. You thought this show was about shallow plastic surgery monsters?! Hahaha it's a performance art piece we'll one day be gazing at on the top floor of MoMA.

But it wouldn't be Bravo if there weren't something at least resembling a dramatic moment, and tonight's came in the form of a long-awaited (I think?) confrontation between Vicki's daughter, Briana, and Vicki's on-again-off-again (but now definitely off-again) boyfriend, Brooks. Let's break down the contenders:

Briana: The Daughter

  • Early 20s
  • Less plastic surgery than her mom or mom's friends, which gives her a wider arsenal of facial expressions to choose from (see picture)
  • Hardy
  • Wants you to know that yes, she and her son are living in her mom's home, but it's only temporary and she'll be out as soon as her husband gets back from Afghanistan
  • Hates Brooks for the stuff he said and the texts he sent, all of which is cataloged in a list she keeps with her at all times in her wallet. "This is normal," she screams at you with her eyes
  • Reads her mom's text messages but hey, she is her "mother's daughter"
  • Loves her mom
  • Would appreciate you not talking about her husband who is, do I have to remind you again, IN AFGHANISTAN

Brooks: The Boyfriend

  • 40-60 y.o., roughly
  • Currently not Vicki's boyfriend
  • Jeans/blazer combo might limit range of motion, putting him at a disadvantage if attacked from the sides or behind
  • Nods a whole bunch in an effort to let you know he hears what you're saying
  • "The only source of ick" in Briana's life
  • Based on the recently leaked recordings of him threatening to beat Vicki, really sort of a shitheel
  • Ready to defend any/all wild accusations about him which...well, I won't deny they happened, I just want us all to move on. Can we do that, ladies? For ol' Brooks? (Nope, you're a shitheel)

The he-said-she-said of two people who aren't even full cast members is the definition of "who gives a shit" even on a show that weekly redefines the phrase, but because we've come this far: FIGHT!

Briana threw the first verbal punch as Brooks sauntered down the stairs. It was actually about punching, and it was a doozy. "YOU TOLD MY HUSBAND TO START HITTING ME?!?" Reacting normally for the first time all season, the Housewives were flabbergasted Brooks could have said that. Lydia left the room. In a cringeworthy moment, Vicki stepped in to defend her man, sort of. "He's never laid a hand on me. He's never touched me." Missing the point and reinforcing the wildly antiquated notion that so long as a man doesn't physically hit you, he's doing no harm? Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes.

Brooks countered by...admitting that sure, he said that. But, you know, guys get drunk sometimes and say stuff. Alcohol!

Sensing she had her opponent on the ropes, Briana opened up another line of attack, this one about Brooks' off-color boasts. "You called your penis 'Girth Brooks'," she leveled at him, as his faux-shocked look suggested that absolutely, he said that to her. (Again, COOL GUY.) Briana continued onto texts he may or may not have sent her mom negging her about her looks, weight. "You always say how pretty I look!?" Vicki cried out, in an exclamation that ended as a question. "You--you love the shape of my body!?" No one answered. I want to cry, too.

Andy, ever the mediator, summed it up for Vicki. "On one side is the love of your family. And the other is the love of your life." Vicki naturally broke down in tears at this horrifying assessment. Luckily, she also had the love (TM) of everyone in the room, who gathered around to console her. Brooks and Briana, not yet cooled down from their clash of titans, neglected to offer their support. I mean Vicki just knows, you know?

In the end, as had already been discussed with Vicki's "taking a break" comment earlier in the episode, it was Briana who won the smackdown. Surveying the wreckage as her opponent left, up the living room fake stairs and out into the blistering light of the studio lot, Briana smiled. Nearby her mother rocked like a baby as her Real Housewife friends moved to hug her. "I just want my family back."

"I just want my family back."

Black. Someone please destroy this whole franchise.