The Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion, Part 3

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.

Andy Cohen, Briana Wolfsmith, Brooks Ayers, Vicki Gunvalson

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.

Alexis Bellino, Heather Dubrow, Lydia McLaughlin, Tamra Barney, Vicki Gunvalson

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”.


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54 Responses to The Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion, Part 3

  1. Laineylainey says:

    Yeah, I caught the CHamps! Haha! Perfect description of Brianna. And yes, Vicky appears to be scared of her lovely sweet daughter.

    • Lainey!!! I just saw the picture of your stunning daughter. You have a ton of reasons to be proud of her, and as I’m what you’d call vertically challenged, I have a ton of reasons to be jealous. 🙂

      • Laineylainey says:

        Thank you, Empress!!!! She is such a good daughter, too. And I have to tell you I am not having to duck in any doorways either!! She gets her height from her daddy.

  2. BB says:

    Once again you nailed it. This is pretty much how I feel about the situation. It’s too bad Vicki has allowed Briana and her husband to intimidate and pretty much blackmail her (access to her grandson). Vicki does not want/cannot stand to be alone and that’s her downfall. She needs to either choose one unhealthy side (Brooks or Briana) or stand alone, get some therapy and fix what’s causing her to be in this situation in the first place. I vote for the latter. She’s always tried to portray herself as the independent business woman when all along she’s been an insecure doormat (at least in her personal life.)

    • Hey BB, Vicki seems to really believe in the notion that the grass is greener. When she broke down during the reunion and said that she just wanted her family back I wondered if she meant Donn, too. She’s a product of her own poor choices and they’re coming back to bite her.

  3. docslr says:

    Listen….I think that its all an act. Vicki is not the innocent victim that everyone on this site portrays her to be. I think she has been in this game of reality TV long enough that she knows when to shut up and look defenseless so that the ratings and public support go her way. It seems very CO-Dependent….. Everyone supporting her behavior looks as if they are screaming crazy…wile she sits quietly and sips on her cocktail. Its ALL a manipulation.

    • Bravo viewers are manipulated all the time and we know it. The one thing that all Bravolebrities have in common is the ability to lie and distort in order to bring the drama. Just below the surface of the manufactured drama, though, is some truth. I don’t think everyone is painting Vicki as the poor innocent victim, but in this instance, with Briana, Ryan and Brooks, she’s become the victim of emotional extortionists, who see her weak side and prey on it like vultures.
      Nobody is giving Vicki a pass, here. She’s been known to dish it out with the best of them and now someone is throwing it back at her. The sad part is that it’s her own family – it looked a lot like the cast of New Jersey.

      • docslr says:

        My point in most of my posts is that Vicki is not even the victim of emotional extortionists. This is the life that she has created. She is reaping what she sewed. I think that Brianna’s feelings have been hurt that her own mother has no regard for her opinion. Best friends…what a joke

    • LaineyLainey says:

      Really? Everyone? No, NOT EVERYONE. your words: “Vicki is not the innocent victim that everyone on this site portrays her to be.” Your opinion, but really? EVERYONE?

  4. ladebra says:

    Isn’t it illegal to tape record someone without their knowledge in CA? I am pretty sure it is, and I’m also sure you can get into big trouble for doing so. Hey Brooks, sue Ryan’s a$$.

    • Hey ladebra, Yes, in CA it’s illegal to record a conversation without the consent of both parties. I don’t know what good it would do Brooks to sue Ryan, given the salary of a Marine – kind of like getting blood from a stone, IMHO. Brooks would also have to claim that he suffered damages and, in light of his less than stellar reputation, I don’t think he’s lost much.

      • ladebra says:

        True, but in Ca recording any conversation that common sense tells you might be “private or confidential” is subject to criminal prosecution for violating CA wiretapping law, .. not just civil damages.

        • Oops, my bad – you said “sue” and I only responded to that.
          Brooks would have to press charges and it really didn’t look like he cared one way or another. In fact, aside from his half-ass apology, he seemed rather nonplussed by the whole thing.

          • ladebra says:

            Yep, I was just coming back to say it didn’t look like Brooks was interested in holding Ryan accountable. But then you never know, maybe he got a cut of the ROL money. Don’t mind me, I have a headache, and while not a fan of Brooks, I really didn’t like the way Ryan treated his wife, his MIL, Lydia’s mother. I will take an Advil and hopefully everything will be right with the world! 😀

    • Kaereste says:

      Ryan is in the service … don’t they frown on breaking civilian law? I’ve heard of soldiers being disciplined for stiffing their creditors.
      Brooks could possibly get Ryan in some deep trouble.

  5. Ok, I didn’t read this yet.. Lets see if you thought what most of us thought..

    1. Brianna got on my f’n nerves
    2. Brianna claims she was abused as a child, hmm.. Vicki admitted to spanking her kids a few seasons ago, wonder if she was referring to Vicki.

    • docslr says:

      could be a legitimate claim, maybe by Vicki’s first husband , her Dad. Considering no one really knows the truth, its nice to make light of a kid abused

      • I’m not making nice of abuse.. Many adult children around Brianna’s age make the claims these days since in some states and some CpS agencies claims spanking is “abuse”
        To me:
        spanking is spanking
        Abuse is Abuse

        • docslr says:

          Abuse is abuse which I don’t not think spanking is included….. having said that, it IS within the realm of possibility that she is NOT referring to anything VICKI did to her, I did not get that impression at all. I think that she was referring to abuse from a man figure.

      • Also, IN MY OPINION — seeing how Brianna and Ryan put their spin on crap like saying, “I stayed up all night scrubbing her Mom’s couch”.
        After Vicki said they moved out.. , I can see in the future Brianna saying her mother abused her since Vicki admitted two seasons ago to spanking her kids.. Brianna has been behaving like a twat lately. When I say twat:
        Urban Dictionary: twats
        1. Defined as a plural noun for a group of imbeciles, cretins, idiots, fucktards, morons, Bedfordians etc.

  6. Okay, I hope this comment posts right.. I am using HTML tags.

    To be fair: Anytime someone files for a restraining order, they get one granted temporally automatically.
    In the affidavit the ex GF did say that Ryan broke up with her, not she broke up with him.. She did drop the restraining order.
    However, it does not take away from the FACT that Ryan is a disrespectful – lying – Hot headed – prick.
    Also, Mrs. Aiken, you were the only blogger that pointed out on the finale that he almost said he “owned” the house.
    Lets not forget the exclusive he gave SH and the Marine Times.
    He told the Marine Times:

    “There was so much more.. that led up to that incident which they fail to include to make me look like the crazy Marine, Culberson told Marine Corps Times via email. It definitely was a crazy night and I cannot get over how the producers edited it.
    Culberson said he went as far as to get the family lawyers involved in order to persuade Bravo into showing a more realistic version of what went down.

    But due to the contract, anything we say or do can be cut a represented they way they want,” he said.

    “I said somethings in the heat of the moment that I wish I hadn’t, he said. “But if the true story had of been painted it would be a lot more justified.

    Vicki Gunvalson told Marine Corps Times:

    What Ryan did tell me when the cameras were off is she was very rude and disrespectful to him when he asked her several times to remove her feet off my sofa and the red wine she was holding, she said. Although I can’t defend or condone how he acted because I wasn’t there at the time, I do know Ryan is a very kind man but obviously was pushed to his limit with her.

    From SH:

    “Will anyone ever know what REALLY happened to Vicki’s sofa? Probably not…

    However, Ryan has told SH on July 31, 2013 that what was shown was producer-induced and the result of some of Bravo’s famous editing skills:

    “Clearly I wouldn’t get this mad over just the couch. There’s a ton of other factors that happened that night that won’t make television because with editing drama sells! I have the whole night recorded on my phone and under the real situation I handled myself fine due to the circumstances but that is not what you will see on this episode.”

    “Regardless obviously I’m not cut out to deal with pretentious self-absorbed people that frequent these “parties”, besides there’s a lot more important things going on in the world then these fake-ass “reality” shows!”

    NOTE TO RYAN: Let’s see or hear the entire recorded scenario! ”

    I couldn’t agree more. Lets hear your “recording”

    • Miss Fab, I saw his comments and there’s probably some truth to the bad editing claim, but, again, no one put those words in his mouth.
      I really love this part: “Regardless obviously I’m not cut out to deal with pretentious self-absorbed people that frequent these “parties”, besides there’s a lot more important things going on in the world then these fake-ass “reality” shows!”
      Does that include his mother in law and his wife? He could have refused to be on camera if this was all beneath him. Yep, there’s plenty going on in the world more important than reality TV, but Vicki and Briana didn’t sign up for “60 Minutes”.

  7. Nope didn’t post right.. So you know, my comment above is mostly quotes.. Ugh HTML..
    Can anyone tell me the code to: quote, bold and indent?

  8. That’s another thing.. Ryan claims to have the real footage of what happened that night.
    Why is Ryan secretly taping everyone? Does he not know what the Smiley’s are going through w/ Leann Rimes?
    Also, why is Radar on Line playing it?

  9. On second thought..
    When ever production films, won’t they know if someone else is filming or recording b/c a sound or something will go off?

  10. plainviewsue says:

    So happy to read your side of this. I happen to agree with every single word.

    Not defending Brooks (ew!), but Briana truly turned my stomach. She sat there with a smirking look the whole time, almost with glee. She should have just said to Lydia that was wrong of my husband to do. But I think she and Vicki are both scared of Ryan. When Vicki had her arm around Judy, Ryan snapped Why are you hugging her and she dropped her arm. Vicki’s brother Billy has said that Ryan has episodes and enough is enough.

    I respect the guy for serving his country, but there is something very wrong here. I also think Ryan recording Brooks was a set up.

    • Hey Sue, I don’t know who’s creepier – Brooks or Ryan. Both of them strike me as players. Ryan can protest all he wants about being above all of the pretentious rich women and the silly Housewives but he had no qualms about beating feet to Radar Online to sell his recording. Ryan came close to saying he owned Vicki’s house and now she says that he’s interested in selling insurance when he leaves the Marines. I’d be really worried about which one of these men is after her money.
      Now, about Briana – I couldn’t stand that smirk on her face. This is the second reunion where she’s gotten pleasure from revealing her mother’s dirty little secrets, along with Donn’s and Brooks’. She got her pound of flesh, Brooks left and she was the only one who didn’t get up to give her Mom a hug or a kind word. If she keeps this up, she’s going to become more Housewife-y than the rest of them on that couch.
      Yes, she owed Lydia and Judi an apology. I’ve always believed that part of being a spouse is taking responsibility for your partner – the good, the bad and the ugly. Isn’t that what being a partner in a marriage is about? I wouldn’t expect her to trash him, especially on TV and since he can’t be there, but it would have been nice if she’d offered some sort of mea culpa on his behalf. It’s a shame he couldn’t have manned up and done it himself before he was deployed.

  11. Buttercream says:

    Agree Empress, the reunion No 3 show was most uncomfortable to watch. More so than any other I’ve witnessed since day 1. Not between the housewives who were filmed all season. It was between a mother, daughter, and the mother’s boyfriend and deplorable actions of daughter’s husband. Vicki was blindsided right into a revealed stressful relationship brought on by her daughter. VIcki’s daughter was not the one being filmed all season, nor was Brooks, nor was Rat Ryan. However, Bravo had the chess pieces in play to bring out the final two supporting cast players to fight each other and battle for Vicki’s love and attention.
    Ryan should have apologized with flowers in hand, knocking on Judi’s door the next day the show aired with him behaving less than an officer and a gentleman. That man has control, anger management and entitlement issues. Briana will rue the day she married him! I know that man will be passed over for promotion of his CO’s wife has any! What a jerk -who would want that man as a son in law? Brooks may have danced and shimmied to escape Briana’s wrath, she came off haughty and obnoxious.
    I did notice Gretchen had to get her last two cents in about Slimey Slade vs Brooks the Crook .. ugh, Hush UP! No one wants to listen to your lies dressed as Aladdin’s Girlfriend! Those two do not have a story line for next season, Bravo needs to send her a pink slip PLEASE! She’s never been married on the show and has zero children .. go away with your Botoxed infused face!
    Lydia was a breath of fresh air and fun!
    Heather weathered the storms of the season, good for her!
    Tamara, what a transformation in one season after watching the mud piles she squealed in for the last 4!
    Alexis, nice to see her call out Gretchen and was the first to comfort Vicki.
    Great re-cap Empress!

    • Buttercream, OMG! Aladdin’s girlfriend! (wiping Dr. Pepper off my monitor) . I think I’ve found the perfect dress for Gretchen to wear at next years reunion – some feathers, a little bolero…perfect.
      Glad you enjoyed the post! 😀

      • Buttercream says:

        Perfect Dress for Gretchen with the feathers on the bottom, too! Where did you ever find it? I like to rant and rave on your blog because no one tosses me out for my views! Just try to call em like I see em…. I gotta tell ya, that Gretchen seems as plastic as a china doll and as insincere as a second place gymnast standing at the podium during the medal award ceremony at the Olympics!
        Do you really think Aladdin’s GF will be on this show next year? With the fake story line of her wedding (date plz??) With Tamballs, NehNeh, JoHANNA, Adriana’s wedding … isn’t that a wee bit overkill with Gretchen and Shady Slade? Save me if they wheel in his sick son for the ceremony! They seem like a forced desperate for a dollar couple of con artists!
        LaineyLainey – you said it right: We only have one mom and we are commanded to honor them. I would add,until death do us part! Because once your Mom goes, there goes your life’s rudder … until you are blessed enough to grow up to become one for your daughter’s/son’s …or like Mel … your nephew’s children!

        • Buttercream, I Googled gowns similar to what we were wearing to proms – circa 1972 – and found that sweet, pink, frothy number for Gretchen.
          Oh, I’m pretty sure that Gretchen and Slade – emphasis on Slade – will do everything in their power to carry on their wedding storyline and are hoping like hell that they’ll get the wedding spin-off treatment. I’m with you regarding Slade’s son Grayson, though. What really frosted my a** was when Gretchen said that he owed so much money to his son that they decided he’d never be able to pay, so WTF, fuhgeddaboutit. Pretty cavalier attitude for a woman who claims that she wants to be a Mom herself. Then again, she’s about as bright as a small appliance bulb, so I really shouldn’t be surprised.
          Ranting and raving are welcome and encouraged here – which is why most of my so-called recaps become more like opinion pieces than anything else.
          Oh, and yes – LaineyLainey has offered some pretty sage advice on several occasions.

          • Buttercream says:

            Empress! Prom Gowns and Formal Ball Gowns circa 1972 thru 76 are alright with me!
            That Gretchen wants to have a baby with this clown? She’s clueless to what it takes to raise a baby …think she’s trying to be Brianna Part 2? Gretchen is the rainmaker in that couple and when she’s sidelined with a baby, brings in new stresses without enough money, time, attention to the unemployed less than eager to pull his own financial weight, SLADE … however their future takes them, I for one am not interested. Looks like trouble just brewing in the embers, waiting for the fuel to be flamed and their lives will implode like a fire storm!

          • Laineylainey says:

            Thanks, guys!!! 😍

    • docslr says:

      I am starting to believe that people of Vicki’s age group see this show in one format and people that could be the child of Vicki see it differently. Vicki is part of the problem as a whole. She is not mother Teresa and Briana looked upset at times but maybe is not a crier. Everyone comments as if they know….funny

  12. docslr says:

    Everyone may be an undeserved sweeping generalization. So for that I apologize. There appears to be a hierarchy of fault with Vicki being the least at fault, and I disagree. I think her hands are just as bloody as the rest of them on the show.

    That was the extent of my point.

  13. docslr says:

    As mush as people have to say about Brianna, Ryan and Brooks. Is it nice for Vicki to be having an extra marital affair and letting her daughter see the emails. That has an effect on a kid too.

    • LaineyLainey says:

      That’s true, but Briana (Brianna?) is a grown woman with a family of her own. Time to grow up fully, it is time to forgive her mother as she (Brianna) will (most assuredly) hope for mercy one day from her own children. Most of us imperfect mothers eventually (no matter how hard we try to do a perfect job) hope for mercy from our own children. I don’t think people are saying Vicki’s completely innocent, some of us feel that she doesn’t deserve getting beat up either. She is truly a big part of the problem in her family, docslr, you are so correct in that, but she doesn’t deserve to be beat up like this by her own. You have compassion for Briana and I admire that; and I would have more compassion, if she was not publicly seething with anger and disdain toward her mother. She might be masking a lot of pain, I don’t know. We only have one mom and we are commanded to honor them. That’s where I’m coming from. A little old fashioned, but it works for me!! 🙂

      • docslr says:

        I have compassion for both of them, but I also agree with everything that you said. I believe in forgiveness and not perfection. Being a mom is difficult at times, but the most rewarding of occupations! I actually feel badly for the family unit as a whole….we all have dysfunction and heart break, unfolding on bravo wouldn’t be my choice of venues.

        • LaineyLainey says:

          ita with your last sentence!!! Having it unfold on Bravo, ugh…it was stressful!! (for us to watch!!!)

  14. Kaereste says:

    My Dear Empress,
    Surely you did not permit your royal eyes to personally gaze at this muck. Please tell me your court jester scribbled notes from which you blogged.

    • Oh K, You’re adorable. I wish I could say that I passed the task on to my minions – a.k.a. the royal hounds – but apparently there are some things that even they’ll refuse to do, no matter how much I bribe them. The viewing and the note taking fell on me. 😀

  15. Vicki raised Brianna. So I was not surprised by Brianna’s behavior at the reunion. Their relationship seems to be based on money and control. Vicki has always wanted to control her children (and Don to an extent) to behave as she dictated to show the world the “family portrait” she wanted all to see. The fact that she has not finalized the divorce with Donn comes down to the importance of her money – she doesn’t want to pay him spousal support.( I have to wonder, with all those into the wee hours of the mourning that she was “working”, just who was providing stability on the homefront for her children?) So Brianna is fighting back and now has a teammate in her husband, plus she has Vicki’s grandson to use in her attempt to wrestle back the control she likely felt she never had of her own life. Vicki wants what she wants when she wants it. So does her daughter. They are no fun to watch.

    • Laineylainey says:

      Great comment, windy. So true that Vicki is sowing what she reaped. You didn’t say it quite like that, but Briana is a reflection of how she was raised, with control being the crux of the family. Money was the commodity in the family…now the control item is access to the baby. I suppose, it’s perhaps odd that we would expect more from Briana if this is all learned behavior. Doesn’t make it right, but it does make it understandable. Reading your comment helps me to also understand why some feel compassion for Bri in her position and attitude toward her mom. I do get and understand her better now, but it’s hard to watch a daughter talking like that to her mother.

    • Perhaps, after watching the reunion and seeing viewers’ comments, Briana will take steps to break the cycle – you can grow up a certain way because of your parents or in spite of them.

      • During the reunion, Brianna did say “break the cycle” more than once – so I can hope she will take the steps necessary to turn the world she knew into one she can feel proud of creating for her son.

    • docslr says:

      Thank you for your comment, I agree whole heartedly. I was doing a poor job of expressing myself earlier, appearing like I was on “Brianna’s Side” when really I do see Brianna as a reflection of Vicki’s home. Now….a child cannot use their up bringing as an excuse, but sometime the rationale behind WHY we do things in life is helpful if change is ever to happen

      • LaineyLainey says:

        PATTERNS are so hard to break. We have to replace them or interrupt them when we see we’re following our old patterns. it takes first, awareness and a lot of work.

    • windy, Lainey and docslr – Nicely done ladies. I love when common ground can be found, especially without any intervention on my end. 🙂

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