The moment that Shannon Storms Beador figures out what is good for her is the moment that she stops being one of our greatest practitioners of the reality television arts and sciences. There are queens that know how to make great TV — people like Kenya Moore, Kyle Richards, and Lisa Vanderpump — and are always producing. Then there are people who are so bat shit insane — we’re talking the Sonja Morgans, the Kathy Hiltons, the Mary Cosbys — that they make great television without even trying. Shannon is one of the former types of Housewives, but she does it in a totally different way. By failing to produce good television, Shannon actually produces unbelievable breakdowns that she couldn’t possibly muster if things were going her way.
This whole episode is a case study in that. Other than the delightful golden retriever pool party she throws for Archie in the opening moments, it was a horrible episode for our lemons in a bowl assembler. There’s something in the air the whole episode about her relationship with boyfriend John Jannsen. I might actually care about the fight, but we now know that John dumped Shannon a week after this season finished filming. It starts with Heather Dubrow telling Tamra that she told Emily and Gina that their relationship is bad. Gina also finds out that Shannon has been asking what is going on with her and her boyfriend, Travis, a puddle of bongwater that turned into a real boy and brought you a pizza.
This is all related but also not related. It’s related because when anyone brings up Shannon’s relationship, her ass explodes like it just watched Oppenheimer in IMAX 70mm. She raves about how he’s such a private person and he’s not going to like them bringing up anything whatsoever about their relationship. “No, seriously, producers,” Shannon pleads with the black-shirted people behind the cameras, “If John finds out that I told the women that he loves ketchup, it’s going to be the end of my relationship. It’s over. You don’t understand. He’s very private about his condiment consumption, and he’s worried about being sued by Big Salsa. I mean, air this if you want, but if you do, just know that you ruined my life, assassinated my children, doubled the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and will never find parking in Newport Beach ever again.”
When I talk about Shannon having no idea what is good for her, this is what I mean. First of all, it would be good for her if she had a boyfriend who wanted to be on reality television. Well, you don’t want one who wants to be on so much that he buys a whole new wardrobe that consists of shirts with so many patches and addenda that they end up looking like the over-sponsored hood of a NASCAR vehicle. (Ahem, Ryan, Ahem.) But someone who will be alright with sharing a bit of their life so they can keep their partner employed.
But that’s the thing about Shannon; she doesn’t really want to share anything about her life either. I mean, she does, and tons of it. Remember when she weighed in with a trainer and he looked at the number and just said, “Wow!” Brutal! But when it comes to her relationships and children, Shannon only wants to give off sunshine and unicorns. She only wants them to talk about how great John Jannsen is. Then, when any little rumor, when any little hiccup comes up, she blows her gasket and insists that the women keep all of her secrets in “the vault.”
This is when it all goes haywire. Since Shannon won’t let the women talk about what is really wrong, our minds start doing the dirty work instead. John has been cheating on her with the nanny, maybe. Or maybe John smokes so much pot that he can’t get off the couch and he needs Shannon to bring him bags of Doritos while he watches the latest season of Cobra Kai. Oh, wait, is he doing stuff at the gym? That went really far on RHONJ and also with Jenn and Ryan at CUT Fitness. Could he be a serial killer? Could he be a serial killer who is secretly bald and wears a toupee? Could he be a serial killer with a toupee but also a white refrigerator and bad credit? Could he be, as Kandi Burruss would say, a scrub?
We have no idea because, in this whole episode, we just see Emily, Gina, Heather, and Tamra all saying that Shannon has told them things about her relationship and then won’t let them repeat it. She says that she only bitched about him once in 2020 to Emily and Gina. Then Emily reminds her about a dinner at Javier’s just a few months ago where she spilled the beans about her and John. Shannon is then raging around Jenn’s house, shouting, “It’s not that bad! Our relationship is great, but we get into arguments.” Okay, fine. But I don’t believe that. Why? Because when these topics come up, Shannon treats them like the greatest criminal offense, as if you’re trying to get a half-empty water bottle past a TSA Agent.
The end result is we think that her relationship with John is absolutely about to disintegrate. We’re all psychic. But she did the same thing with David. Yes, we found out he was cheating, and it literally killed her. Then, when they reconciled, she went around telling everyone how good it is. They’re fixed. They’re so over it. Everyone is happy. Um, yeah. Tell that to your divorce.
Meanwhile, Heather Dubrow gives us a masterclass on what to do with rumors about your shitty relationship. When Heather is going off the rails, she asks if Heather will address the rumors that her husband, a midlife crisis that never ends, is cheating on her. Heather just goes, “Pish,” and swats them away as if they are a million silent but deadlies. She says in confessional that those are silly rumors by stupid internet sources, so why give them any weight? See, Heather made me successfully forget them by acting as if they don’t matter. (But then again, Heather Paige Kent is an actress, so maybe she’s actually so good that she convinced us they aren’t true and they are, which just proves my point even further.) By turning the allegations into absolutely nothing, Heather can make them go away. Shannon, on the other hand, is making a meal out of them, and we are eating, we are snacking, we are grubbing, we are saving some for leftovers for lunch tomorrow, we are microwaving, and we are eating them again at our desks while surreptitiously reading reality TV recaps on company time.
There’s another fight with Emily that also illustrates why the women are frustrated with her. Emily says that everyone is always talking all sorts of shit about her husband, Shane, a man who bears a shocking resemblance to the star of Problem Child. Meanwhile, if any of the women bring up Shannon’s BF, she shouts at them until they go cry in their SUVs and FaceTime Kelly Dodd to talk shit with her about Shannon. Basically, what Emily is saying is that Shannon is getting a bigger paycheck than her without doing nearly as much emotional labor. Or, say it with me, kids: all fights on the show are about the show.
All of this fighting and arguing goes down at a party that Jenn and Tamra throw where each of the women has to dress up as someone else on the cast, which is a hilarious concept and I would pay three years’ salary to see Melissa Gorga and Teresa Giudice dress up as each other. The concept is better than the execution, but Gina managed to nail her bestie Emily and Tamra as Heather Dubr-Hoe is possibly the best thing that happened in the entire episode. No, wait. I take it back. Jenn dressing up as Taylor Armstrong, complete with the white cat from her meme, is the funniest, most self-referential costume we’ve seen since Lisa Rinna did Erika Jayne and then got into a fight with Kim Richards about it.
The one person at the party who didn’t dress up as anyone was Victoria Denise Gunvalson Junior, who is back from Ultimate Girls Trip: Shady Pines and is somehow back on our television screens. Her appearances so far this season haven’t reminded me so much of RHOC in its prime, but more like the old commercials for ABBA Gold, where you would hear little snippets of their hit songs as the titles of all the other tracks streamed on the screen. That’s all Vicki does now. She arrives and goes, “OG of the OC! Whoop it up! Fill my love tank! Is this a FAMILY VAN? Let’s do keg stands like when I surprised my son Michael at college. I have never had sex with multiple partners! WHOO-HOO!! See you at Andele’s.” I don’t mind being reminded of the old hits, but Vicki isn’t a Best Of collection; she is a living, non-breathing poltergeist of catchphrases and viral moments that wants to be whole again. Please, producers, give her an orange so that she can hold it for one more time, finish the business she has on the plane, and then disappear into the ether for eternity.
I did love Vicki’s list of the 18 things a man must have in order to date her. They were all very practical, though, like being rich, making her laugh, and being good with family. You would love to see my list:
- No Android phones.
- No waiters.
- Somewhere north of four but somewhere shy of nine (IYKYK).
- No Tree huggers.
- Will eat a whole Domino’s pizza with me in bed naked.
- Will giggle every time I say the word “bussy.”
Okay, fine, there are only six of them. But who really even needs a man? Not Vicki. Just kidding. Vicki always needs a man. So does Shannon; that’s why she’s holding onto John like he’s the last pair of Louboutins at a sample sale. I wish they would see how much better they are than these dudes. I wish they would see how they diminish themselves just to hold onto these assholes. At the end of the day, it is Emily Simpson, Esq, who is absolutely right. She says, “At the end of the day, who is going to be there? Is it going to be John, or is it going to be us? I would put money on us.”
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