Well, that was uncomfortable. It wasn’t like a reunion show – more like watching a family plucking each others’ eyes out in front of their castmates and a television audience. Vicki Gunvalson appeared to come apart at the seams while her daughter, Briana, looked as if she was getting some sort of smug satisfaction from it all.
The relationship between Briana and Vicki, the one we thought we knew, doesn’t exist, if it ever did. Briana has become a very different woman from the one we watched grow up, go to college and become a nurse. This woman is angry, defensive, judgmental and more than a little full of herself. Lydia made the first mistake, by asking for some sort of explanation of Ryan’s behavior the night of the Winter Wonderland party. Briana made it clear that any discussion about her husband was off-limits – he was about to be deployed, he was stressed out and, besides, it was all Vicki’s fault anyway – he gets a pass, if she has anything to say about it. She would have us believe that Ryan only learned that behavior by living with Vicki for a couple of months. According to Briana, Ryan was protecting and defending the honor of Vicki, her home and her couch in the only way he knew how – by cursing and hollering at a 64-year-old woman who carries fairy dust in her purse. In Ryan’s world you don’t earn respect, you demand it at the top of your lungs.
It doesn’t seem to bother Briana, or her mother for that matter, that Ryan has shown signs of bad behavior around other women in the past. Social media and blogs have run stories with links to at least one restraining order against Ryan, with claims of stalking and threats. His new wife, though, is content to live in her own dream world and pretend that his actions are some anomaly, brought on only because of his mother-in-law. We know that Vicki can be a screaming disaster at times, but her daughter’s story is just a load of crap. What the viewers heard out of Ryan’s mouth at the party didn’t come about because Vicki Gunvalson’s OCD and screaming rubbed off on him. This young man has been building to this point for a long time and it’s a shame that his wife isn’t willing to address it in a meaningful and honest way.
It wasn’t enough for Briana to make her mother the scapegoat for Ryan’s actions. She, with the help of the darlings at BravoTV, came up with a new Brooks-bashing routine and it involves an audiotape – made by Ryan – of a conversation between Brooks and Ryan where Brooks suggests that Ryan should hit his wife once in a while to keep her in line. I listened to it – you can too if you visit Radar Online – and Brooks does sound like a drunken jerk. Yes, he does tell Ryan that hitting a woman is a good way to control her and I won’t even try to defend that line of thinking. What it did do was make me wonder how this secret tape even came to be. Why are Ryan and Brooks out together? From all that we’ve seen and heard, these two are about as simpatico as oil and water and yet, there they are, sharing drinks and dinner out on the town. Does anybody else smell a set up? Right after the Winter Wonderland episode aired, Ryan claimed that he had secret tapes of what really happened and what he actually said to Lydia’s mother, Judy. It hasn’t surfaced yet but I have to question anyone who makes tapes of every encounter he has with someone he’s at odds with. If I were Vicki, I’d be tearing out all of those security cameras and devices he installed before he gets back from Afghanistan. Heaven knows what he’s been recording – it just reeks of paranoia and control.
Briana offered no explanation as to how or why her husband and Brooks happened to be together, which also looks and sounds as if she played some part in it. Was she looking for some evidence that Brooks is the worst man to ever come into Vicki’s life? Maybe, or maybe it was her way of showing that her own husband isn’t the biggest asshole in the world of the Gunvalsons/Culbersons – that Brooks holds the title. Andy brought Brooks in to tell his side of the story and things went from bad to worse. Brooks tried a little duck and cover when asked about the recording, but Briana wasn’t budging. Vicki said that she couldn’t listen to it, but she probably should. What he said isn’t right no matter how drunk he was at the time, and if he thinks it’s okay to even joke about that type of behavior, Vicki really has to leave this guy for good.
The other women looked stunned, I know I was, and Lydia even left the couch in tears as she just couldn’t listen to it anymore. Tamra weighed in with her own threats of what she would do to Brooks if he ever laid a finger on Vicki, but I’m not buying her tough-guy front. She should have said nothing other than to offer her support for Vicki as she was obviously struggling with the whole disturbing scene. Heather was the one who have the best handle on it and came right over to Vicki. What struck me through most of the conversation was the fact that Vicki had very little to say. The woman who can take a sound crew out with her screeching, just sat there, looking a little stunned, confused and even scared – of her daughter. Brooks said that he loved Vicki enough to let her go if that would make her happy. He told her that he didn’t want to get between a mother and a daughter, gave Vicki a kiss, told her he loved her and walked off the set.
If this is going on in the lives of Vicki, Ryan and Briana, then there’s a lot more to it than we’ve seen. Nothing made any sense. Vicki says that she gets up every night to rock her grandson, Troy, yet after the Ryan/Judy brouhaha, she tweeted that Briana and Ryan had already moved into their own place. Briana further confused the matter by saying that she would be moving before Ryan returned from Afghanistan. So, which is it? Are they in or are they out? It’s still unclear as to whether Brooks and Vicki are still together. They may have parted ways during the reunion, but as recently as this past week, Vicki has told two different gossip sites that they’re still dating. I’m beginning to understand why Vicki’s son Michael doesn’t want anyone to know where he lives and I’m not so sure that even Uncle Billy can fix this bunch. Andy couldn’t wait to break out the “champs”.