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‘RHOC’ Season 17 Review: There Is No ‘Orange County’ Without Tamra Judge

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The Real Housewives of Orange County are back! RHOC, the first in the franchise, returns with Season 17 tonight and with Tamra Judge’s comeback, things finally seem to be heading in the right direction.

In addition to Tamra, Shannon Beador, Heather Dubrow, Gina Kirschenheiter, and Emily Simpson are also all back for RHOC Season 17, with newbie Jennifer Pedranti joining the cast.

Taylor Armstrong, an official Friend of the Housewives, and Vicki Gunvalson (back for this season as a guest) are not in the premiere episode but the core group carries the drama, with the apparent end of Tamra and Shannon’s friendship kicking things off.

After a more-than-lacklustre Season 15, RHOC finally seemed to be hitting its groove with Heather’s return in Season 16 but things feel genuinely back on track now that Tamra is back in the centre of the group.

Like the recent Real Housewives of Atlanta premiere, the production style has been upgraded for RHOC Season 17 with a new intro and updated graphics leading the charge. The confessional set-up is giving 2023 contemporary and harkens back to the split-screen style first introduced on Peacock’s Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, making for some great comedic moments during the episode.

RHOC Season 17 Review: Tamra’s Back — And She Has Some Big Questions For Shannon

Below, a look at what to expect from each of the Housewives during the RHOC Season 17 premiere.

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Tamra is back to “save the show” — her words, not mine! — and she is working hard to do so, starting with tonight’s premiere. Things have changed for the iconic Housewife, with husband Eddie at home after the closure of CUT Fitness. This won’t be the last time you hear of the gym, however, as the business that was regularly featured on previous seasons comes up quite a bit as the scene of Tamra’s first meeting with new Housewife Jennifer. Tamra is clearly ready to take on Shannon and wastes no time gossiping with the other women about what exactly Shannon has done to betray her and it feels like fans will be taken through a game of tug-of-war before ultimately picking a side.

Whether you end up on Team Tamra or Team Shannon, one thing is for sure: There is no Orange County without Tamra Judge.

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Fancy pants is back! Heather starts off the season by showing us exactly what she brings to RHOC — hello, glam! hello, interior design! hello, castle! — and wants to hash out her issues with Gina, who she bonded with during Season 16. Gina, for her part, seems to be seeing cracks in her friendship with Heather and it will be interesting to watch their dynamic play out during the rest of the season as it surely has an impact on what we saw in the explosive trailer.

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After a few seasons of displaying her messy marriage, things seem to be falling in line for attorney-turned stay-at-home mom Emily and her husband Shane. Finally a practicing attorney, Shane is no longer hanging around the house and filming for RHOC and Emily seems a little stressed out by the change in dynamic. After quickly bonding with Tamra upon her re-entrance to the group, viewers should watch out for a shift in her dynamic with the rest of the women.

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Jennifer (not be confused with Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, one of last season’s one-and-done Housewives) makes her mark during the premiere and seems like an expected but interesting fit. A friend of Tamra through her gym CUT Fitness, Jennifer seems pre-designed for The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Bravo has been teasing that Jenn’s storyline goes all over the place and Gina, who met her a few years ago, describes her as “mysterious.” With a messy ex-husband, a hot boyfriend, and plenty of drama brewing, Jenn will surely be a fan favourite.

Not only does Gina look better than ever but she has a new career direction and is positively co-parenting with her ex, Matt, giving her a clear ability to jump more into the mix with the other Housewives. After bonding with Heather last season, there is a growing rift between the two and with Tamra in the mix, there is no telling which team Gina will end up siding with. For those who have questioned her spot on the show, she comes prepared and willing to do the work this year in what feels like a breakout season.

While Tamra may think she has the upper hand on Shannon, her constant mentioning of their friendship woes almost gives Shannon centre orange energy on RHOC this year. Seemingly more comfortable with herself than ever before, Shannon doesn’t hold back when it comes to telling her side of the story and it is fair to say that she may convince a large portion of viewers — and the other women — to lean her way when the drama really starts to bubble up.

Whether you are a longtime RHOC fan or you are just getting into Orange County, tonight’s Season 17 premiere is the perfect place to dive in with both Tamra and Shannon doing a great job at explaining where exactly they stand with each other. The episode feels like a mini-reboot and a reset of the series after a few less-than-impressive years and with Taylor and Vicki entering the mix later this season, viewers are surely in for a treat.

The Real Housewives of Orange County premieres tonight, Wednesday, June 7 at 8|7c on Bravo.

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