This isn’t going to be an actual recap. I haven’t written a Houswewives’ recap in months and I’m a little rusty. The only reason I’m writing this is because Vicki Gunvalson’s son-in-law, Ryan Culberson, just scared the crap out of me. This epsiode was the season finale and like all finales in the OC, it took place during a party. Vicki had her house decked out in a Winter Wonderland theme, with fake snow and Christmas-like decorations all over her house. She was promoting her Vodka by Vicki line and things were going as well as any Housewives’ party can go. Then there arose such a clatter that I thought I’d sat on the volume button of my remote control.
Ryan was hollering and cursing at Lydia’s Mom Judy for putting her feet up on a couch. We heard the conversation – it’s there for all of us to rewind and rewatch – and it didn’t go exactly as Ryan said it did. Calling what he said to Judy a conversation is probably understating the viciousness of his attack and the words he used to make his point. He dropped the “F-bomb” repeatedly, while ordering to get her feet off the sofa. Judy, a little surprised at first, tried to respond, telling him that her feet hurt and she just wanted to rest them for a few minutes. She asked him who he was and he told her that he “owned”, then caught himself and said that he lived there. Ryan continued to berate her and said that she should leave if she couldn’t treat him and the house with respect. He didn’t want to hear what she had to say, and he let her know it in no uncertain terms. Then, when she went out to find her daughter and Vicki to explain what had happened, he followed her outside and lied – in a big way. I don’t care who Ryan thinks he is or what his role is in the family, but he was being disrespectful to a 64 year old woman whose worst flaws are smoking pot and sprinkling everyone with pixie dust, and made up an awful story, putting awful words in her mouth, to make her look and sound like someone she isn’t.
How everyone reacted to this encounter was very telling. Vicki began to apologize to Judy and Ryan started in on her, telling her that Judy had disrespected Vicki’s house and him. Briana seemed to be a bit bemused at first, then tried to calm her husband down but he wasn’t backing down. Vicki’s brother Billy, got involved and also tried to intervene but Ryan told him to stay out of it. The couple went upstairs and Vicki followed them, trying to make sense out of what had just occurred. Ryan started on Vicki, with Briana looking as if she was between the rock and the hard place. Ryan told his mother-in-law that he was getting really pissed, as if what we’d just seen wasn’t bad enough, and stormed off.
Then Briana brought up Brooks, her favorite argument against her mother when she really has nothing else to work with. It was the same threat she’d made before – if Vicki brings Brooks to the house, she and Ryan will move out. What she didn’t say, but what I heard and think was implied is that Vicki would have limited access to her beloved grandson, Troy. As a grandparent, there’s no worse threat, and I’ve always thought that Briana and Ryan have hung this over Vicki’s head in their effort to keep her Brooks-free. I hope I’m wrong, but if that’s what they’re doing, then they’re even more controlling than Vicki herself.
Vicki’s brother Billy let us in on something we’ve only gotten hints about – that this type of behavior by Ryan is nothing new. From his comments, it sounds as if Ryan has a pattern of trying to control everything that happens in Vicki’s house, with her relationship with Brooks being the easiest button to push. Ryan thinks he’s the man of the house and has no idea what that even means. He looked like a bully and his wife didn’t look much better.
Vicki has her issues, for sure, but she’s always put herself out there as an independent woman who takes no prisoners and never wanted to be subservient to any man. And yet, here she was, taking a ton of abuse from her son-in-law. I don’t really care for Brooks and I don’t think he’s the most forthcoming guy to come down the pike, but Vicki has the right to make a fool of herself if she chooses. Hearing that their relationship is on again, then off again, hints that she can see at least some of the writing on the wall.
Vicki went after Slade, just as she said she would, and let him know how hurtful he’d been. He countered with how awful she’d been. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but both of them were right and both of them have been very, very wrong. What I don’t understand is how Vicki could scream at Slade but lost her spine when she confronted her daughter and son-in-law. It seemed sad and desperate – not the way Vicki wants to be perceived by her friends or the viewers.
It’s too bad that we didn’t get to see more of these scenes from the Gunvalson/Culberson house – let’s blame Bravo. It might have made Vicki’s situation a little easier to understand, but only a little. Vicki and Briana can make all the excuses they want about Ryan’s deployments, but that isn’t going to cut it. Lots of people have stress inducing jobs, even dangerous ones, but they check those stressors at the door and deal with family issues like rational human beings. I don’t know how these three are getting along now, but I’m happy to see that Brianna and Ryan are moving into their own place, that Vicki can have her house back, and I really hope she has all the time she wants with her grandson.
Oh, and Ryan, get a grip and get some help. No Marine lies or treats women with disrespect.