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Catching up with the 'Real Housewives of Orange County' [Video]

March 4, 2011 | 10:06 am

Gym, tan and laundry -- eh, maybe shopping before laundry -- are heading to the O.C. via “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

The original ladies in the expanding “Housewives” franchise -- well, that title might really only apply to Vicki Gunvalson -- return for a sixth season on Sunday. And things have changed since we last saw their bronzed faces. Lynne Curtin and her bejeweled cuffwear are no longer part of the cast. Tamra Barney has ditched Simon and has a new man in her life. Vicki’s own marriage unravels during the season. Alexis Bellino is starting a new business endeavor. Gretchen Rossi is now designing handbags. And newbie Peggy Tanous joins the bunch. 

ShowTracker caught up with the ladies -- all except Vicki, who was in Kansas -- recently over lunch, during their trip to the Grove in Los Angeles as part of their media blitz. And nothing was off-limits for the spunky women. Here’s a Cliff’s Notes version of what was discussed. (Omitted is the part during which they talk endlessly about the height of their fellow "Housewives." But note: Beverly Hills Housewife Kyle Richards is "super short" in person.)

On their Miami counterparts

Tamra: I don't know ... it will be interesting to see how they do. I think it's great that there are some Latina women in the mix. I'm sure they'll be huge. Every city brings something different. I think they're the Latin version of us.

Gretchen: Marysol's mom is a hoot.

Peggy: She's interesting.

Tamra: What is that? Is she the lion lady?

Gretchen: I met Marysol [Patton] and even she was like 'I've never gone near plastic surgery because my mom scares the crap out of me.'

Tamra: Oh, come on. She's had plastic surgery, I'm sorry. She's a younger version of her mom. They both look ridiculous.

Gretchen: But she's very entertaining.

On Allison DuBouis

Alexis: I wanted to jump through the screen for Kyle.

Gretchen: She was creepy.

Tamra versus Jeana

If you’ve seen previews of the upcoming season, it’s clear things aren’t exactly peachy between Tamra and Jeana Keough (who “left” the show in Season 5 -- though, she still manages to make the occasional appearance). When commenting on their rift, Tamra had this to say: " don’t want to say too much about it. We’ve never been the best of friends, but things just really got bad. She’s been off the show for two seasons, but they did bring her back earlier this season because she did do some things and she does apologize to me for what she’s doing and then turns around and does the exact same thing even worse two weeks later. I don’t really want to say what it was, but it was about my children and I’m very protective about my kids. She shouldn’t have gone there -- that’s all I’ll say.

Other cat fights

Alexis: I'm good with Vicki ... I think. Peggy and I get into a couple of tiffs but none other than that.

Tamra: Uh, hello!

Alexis: You and I? Oh, yeah! Tamra and I do too. Oh my gosh. That was like eight or seven months ago and it was so fast that I forgot about it.

Gretchen: I didn't know about this. What was it about?

Tamra: It was about mase.

Alexis: Oh, yeah. It was about the mase at my party. You'll have to watch.

Gretchen: Well, with Tamra and I, it's odd. Every time we're out -- without cameras, especially, we get along fine. And we have a good time. But with the dynamic of the show, we butt heads.

Tv Tamra: But we're pretty good this year ... it starts rough.

On Vicki’s divorce
Tamra: I don’t know if ‘surprise’ is a good word. I think I’ve known them long enough to know what they’ve gone through. I did think they were back on track, though. I was a little shocked, not surprised.

Peggy: I was sad. Obviously, I’m new, but I saw them on the show.
Alexis: Last year they were renewing their vows!
Tamra: You try, you know. And they tried. I’m in the middle of writing a book
right now about divorce. I tried everything from getting a boob job to keeping a
sex calendar …
Gretchen: A sex calendar?
Tamra: Yes. I wanted to do everything I can to keep things alive. A lot of guys
want to say ‘Oh, we never have sex.’ I had proof that we did! I did everything.
We did therapy. It just doesn’t always work out. I always felt like I was never
good enough for Simon. I kept journals and calendar and all that stuff. I wanted
to prove that I was good enough.

On learning about marriage from watching the show
Alexis: I guess I just feel like my husband and I work so good together. I don’t
know the future. I don’t know. Through a reality show, it’s really hard to keep
your marriage No. 1 because I have children, I have another career I’m
starting, there are all these opportunities that come up. My marriage is in tact ...
right now.
On the mushrooming “Housewives” franchise (there are now seven versions) 

 Peggy: It seems like there’s a new city that pops up every week.
Alexis: I do want it to stop -- though, I do wish there was a Vegas one. But I
think there’s too many now. I don’t have enough hours in my day to watch TV and
keep up with them all!

Tamra: It’s obviously working so why would they stop now?
Gretchen: I think they want it to be like McDonald’s -- have it everywhere.  

Tamra: I think the original girls sort of paved the way. And now the new women are coming in and they’re instant stars. The original O.C. women really had to work it when it was just starting out. I’m curious to see where it will go; if Orange County will continue.

Gretchen: And the drama has increased with each one. I feel like I'm going to have to pull out a gun at some point.

On Vicki's infamous freak-out about the (non)girl's trip

Tamra: Maybe in Season 7, when she has a boyfriend, she’ll change her tune. She’ll be with him the whole time.

But ShowTracker wasn't the only one dishing out the questions. The ladies took some time to ask their own. Here's what resulted: 

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Top photo: Gretchen Rossi, left, Tamra Barney, Vicki Ginvalson, Alexis Bellino, and Peggy Tanous. Credit: Bravo:

Bottom photo: Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Barney. Credit: Bravo

Video: Yvonne Villarreal