12 Things About 'Real Housewives Of Orange County' That New Fans Need To Know
Hello, there. If you’re reading these words, it is presumably because you are a new fan of The Real Housewives of Orange County and would like to know a little bit more about how the show got where it is now. That, or you’ve seen every RHOC episode and just enjoy a refresher every now and again. Whatever the case may be, this list will hopefully give you what you’re looking for on some level. And if it doesn’t? Feel free to break a fondant bow off of a tiered cake at Heather Dubrow’s party and see yourself out.
While reading this list won’t be exactly like watching every RHOC episode ever (try as you might, you will never be able to replicate marathoning the whole series), it may enhance your viewing experience from here on out. If the most recent season of RHOC was a tapestry, this roundup would ideally be like a spool of gold thread that adds a little something extra to the existing art piece.
Over 200 episodes have aired since the first series in the Real Housewives franchise debuted in March 2006. That's a lot of drama, a lot of feuds, a lot of cast vacations, a lot of theme parties, and a lot of uncomfortable moments to unpack. Let us attempt to scratch this beautifully Botoxed surface.
1. Vicki Gunvalson Was One Of The First Real Housewives
There's a good chance you already know this, but when Victoria says she’s “The OG of The O.C.,” she isn’t giving a shoutout to the Santa Ana Olive Garden. Vicki is the only OC Housewife who has been part of the main roster since the series premiered back in 2006, which also means that out of all of the Real Housewives, she’s been around the longest.
2. Slade Smiley Was The Original Tom D'Agostino
For several seasons, a man named Slade Smiley was a fixture of RHOC. He feuded with a lot of the Housewives. He trolled a lot of Housewives. And he dated several Housewives.
Like Tom of The Real Housewives of New York City, Slade has had relationships with three stars of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Before he ended up with his present-day fiancée Gretchen Rossi, Slade was engaged to Jo De La Rosa and had a thing with Lauri Peterson.
And for anyone who doesn't watch RHONY, here's a brief summary of the Tom situation: He dated both Sonja Morgan and Ramona Singer, and then ended up tying the knot with Luann de Lesseps. In August 2017, Lu and Tom announced that they were getting a divorce.
3. There Are Some Truly Important Ex-OC Housewives
Man, did the early seasons of RHOC feature some legitimate icons. Jeana Keough, Lynne Curtin, Alexis Bellino, Heather Dubrow, Lauri Peterson, Gretchen— this list goes on and on and on. The RHOC alumni gave us trampoline parks, diamond-shaped ice cube machines, wine tosses, and so much more.
Whenever you see former Real Housewives like Jeana and Lauri pop up in current seasons, know that they are important. Also? Not to be that guy, but uh, you really missed out.
4. “Family Van”
Before you watch this clip of Vicki hollering at a customer service rep over the phone after a car service mixup, think about what the phrase “family van” means to you. Do pleasant memories of road trips, loose Cheerios, carpooling to basketball practice, and magnetic board games dance in your head?
Well, once you experience “Family Van,” all of that will change. From that moment on, you will associate the phrase “family van” with “I said 12 bags and six people,” “You guys are everywhere, why are you sending a little family van?” and “I was expecting a nice limo, relaxing with a mimosa on our way to the trip!”
5. Tamra & Eddie Judge Had A Robot Baby Named Astro
Back in Season 9, Tamra and Eddie toyed with the idea of having a baby, and this inspired what may be one of the weirdest subplots RHOC has ever seen — and that’s saying a lot. In an effort to show Eddie the joys of parenthood, Tamra ordered a robot baby. Eddie named the robot baby Astro. And then, they competed to see who was the better parent to Astro the robot baby. (Spoiler alert: Eddie and Tamra ultimately decided to not have a baby.)
6. No One Will Ever Do A Bunco Party Like The OC Housewives Did In Season 7
Once upon a time, the RHOC cast dressed up as if they were auditioning to be backup dancers in the “Lucky Star” music video, went to a restaurant, and started to play bunco. But you know what they say about the best laid plans: Those plans all go to pot the second Vicki decides this extremely crimped party is the perfect place to call out Slade and Gretchen.
Try as anyone might, no Real Housewives bunco party will ever live up to this '80s-themed game night-turned-'80s-themed scream storm.
7. Terry Dubrow Is Responsible For The Most Iconic Zinger Of All Time
It’s a moment that will never get old. Back in Season 9, Real Husbands of the OC Terry Dubrow and David Beador got into an argument at a group dinner about something that happened at a hoedown-themed groundbreaking party (it’s a long story). And at one point during their spat, Terry, accomplished plastic surgeon and reality TV personality, hissed, “We have a term in medicine for you. It’s called ‘penis.’”
It was a breathtakingly wild zinger. A heart-stopper of a moment. May it never be forgotten.
8. The Brooks Ayers Saga Was As Messy As Everyone Says
Oof, where to begin with Vicki’s oft-referenced ex-boyfriend? The cancer scandal of Season 10 was one of the grossest things that’s ever happened on a Real Housewives show, and understandably, no one is over it.
Here’s the Reader's Digest version of what happened: Brooks said he had cancer, the other Housewives suspected he was lying, a psychic got involved, some medical documents were faked, Brooks apologized for faking medical documents, and most of the cast stopped talking to Vicki. The whole thing spiraled for months, and Brooks ultimately decided to keep things private. Vicki and Brooks are no longer together, but the series continues to lurk in the cancer scandal’s shadow. (See: The Season 12 scene where Vicki brought her flu test results to a colonic to prove that she really had the flu.)
9. Vicki’s Favorite Place On The Planet Is Andales Restaurant
10. If You Ever Attend A Party At Heather’s House?
You better think long and hard before you dare to pick a bow off of the cake before it is served.
11. The Clip That Inspired This Bone-Chilling Vine...
...is somehow even more intense than the surreal meme?
12. A Bird Attacked Andy Cohen
Nope, that’s not a metaphor. During the RHOC Season 7 reunion, a winged creature swooped down from the rafters and grazed the King of Bravo’s dome. Again, not to shame you for showing up to the RHOC party so late, but uh, you really missed out on a life-changing moment.
So there you have it. That humble list was one RHOC fan’s attempt to capture the essence of an entire series. As a wise woman said more than once: Woo-hoo.