- Real Housewives of Orange County -An Honest Review Of Heather Dubrow's Debut 'RHOC' Season In 2012
When it was announced that Heather Dubrow was returning to the Real Housewives of Orange County, I was so excited that I started Googling “diamond encrusted cowboy hats” to wear in commemoration of her Season 9 hoedown. Full disclosure: after seeing the price of a blinged hat, I decided to honor her with a glass of champs and by rewatching her original Season 7 debut from 2012 instead.
After revisiting her freshman season I was wildly impressed all over again with how quickly Heather integrated into the cast, demanded and received respect from the other ladies, and fit in perfectly with the classic Housewives tropes. From Episode 1 she was intriguing with her elegance and “real money” (as Tamra described it), and by a few episodes in, she felt like an integral part of the crew.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane of Heather’s most Housewives-esque moments from her original debut season, that absolutely prove she was born to be an iconic Bravoleb all-star.
She Called Out Alexis… Multiple Times
Heather only picked battles she could win that season, and most happened to have Alexis Bellino on the other end of the conflict. Despite there being many examples (calling Alexis out for renting not buying, accusing Alexis of treating the crew poorly), calling her phony was my absolute favorite.
After Alexis caught word that Terry called her “phony”, rather than denying it or saying she doesn’t speak for her husband, Heather leaned into the sentiment. The entire controversy came to a head in Costa Rica when the whole cast went around the table telling Alexis how “pretentious” and “materialistic” she was (their words, not mine). This all ended with the biggest power move of all: Heather went to Alexis the next day, and explained to her that the ladies hosting this “intervention” was all in an effort to help Alexis become a better person… Wow, spinning a story like that deserves applause!
She Pulled The OG Dorit
While glamping and sitting around a campfire, Heather made note that the ladies were drinking red wine out of white wine glasses. And yes, she took this one step further and actually scoured around to see if their cabin in the woods had any proper red vino glassware… and to no one's surprise, she couldn’t find any.
So although Dorit put glasswaregate on the map, Heather actually pulled the stunt first. And, if I may add, Heather navigated it better in the sense that she let it be a small, fun, quirky moment and moved on… whereas Dorit made it part of her storyline (yawn).
She Told Vicki And Tamra What Slade Said About Them
Heather played the integral Housewives role of messenger, doing the Lord’s work by passing on the message to Tamra that she and Vicki were the butt of Slade’s jokes during his debut comedy routine. Not only did Heather seamlessly play this role, but she also helped forward a season-long storyline that gifted viewers everything from a Vicki/Slade yelling match to a scenario that furthered the rift between Vicki and Tamra’s friendship. Also key to note is that Heather clearly had the foresight to know when to share info and when to fade into the background and let other cast members deal with the blowout — a gift not every Housewife is blessed to have.
She Introduced Fans To The Dubrow’s (First) House Mansion
Up until that point, Heather’s house was definitely the nicest piece of property we’d seen on RHOC since Alexis Bellino’s cubic zirconia ring. And sure, RHOBH had Villa Rosa, etc., but the Dubrow’s mansion elevated the OC ladies from *just* gated patrons to this new level of elegance and wealth.
Beyond just giving the cast a new spot to “ooo” and “ahh” over while being hosted at, the Dubrow’s mansion was also their intro storyline that bridged Heather into the cast. Introduced as Tamra’s potential real estate client, Heather’s opening scene was her scouting a new piece of land for her family to build on… because apparently their current 14,300+ sq. ft home wasn’t big enough for their four children. Needless to say, it’s a toss up between Terry and the house as to who was Heather’s #1 supporting cast member that season.
She Hosted A Champagne & Bowling Party
Before high & low fashion became a widespread trend, Heather invented the principle by planning a Champagne (high) & bowling (arguably low) party — which she ultimately used as a vehicle to bring together a feuding Vicki and Gretchen. Similar to how Heather played the role of messenger so well that season, she also played a seamless middlewomen in a way that resulted in zero flack for her (which is virtually unheard of in the Bravoleb world). Heather gets points for allowing the night to be about her fellow castmates instead of her, the host, while still conveying her personality to viewers with an iconic and very-Heather themed party.
She Also Hosted The Season Finale
The season finale was essentially a celebration of Heather on a season well done. She and Terry threw a party to commemorate her finally changing her last name from “Kent” to “Dubrow”, and the party featured all the things we love: their monstrously elegant house, stanchions blocking off hallways, and mega conflict.
Gretchen and Alexis’ friend Sarah (who’d made cameos all season) showed up at the party. Claiming she needed something sugary to eat, Sarah ripped off a piece of fondant from the cake and ate it… before the cake was officially served. Enter Heather, who scolds Sarah for “defiling” her cake and accuses her of being “classless” and “disgusting”. Ouch.
Despite the action itself being somewhat trivial (and something I’m sure we’d slide if it was Sonja Morgan), Heather was able to a) turn a tiny moment into an entertaining scene; and b) command enough respect from Tamra and Vicki that they backed Heather up and acted like her lackeys in the moment.
So all in all, with the finale came a realization: this was Fancy Pants’ party and she’ll scold Sarah if she wants to… and more importantly, it was quickly becoming evident that RHOC was where Heather Dubrow truly belonged.