In case you've ever wondered, the Real Housewives of Orange County don't need a camera crew around to create fireworks. We gathered the original Bravo franchise's feisty quintet — Tamra Barney, Alexis Bellino, Vicki Gunvalson, Gretchen Rossi — and Season 6 newcomer Peggy Tanous for tapas at NYC's Graffit, then watched as the cocktails, conversation and tears started to flow.
TV Guide Magazine: Peggy, was it intimidating being the newbie?
Peggy: I have four sisters, so I grew up fighting for time to talk. I think I got along with everybody.
Gretchen: Don't let her fool you — she's a b----. Just kidding! Write that I'm joking!
Vicki: Shhh! Stop talking over each other.
Alexis: Mama Bear is having a heart attack.
TV Guide Magazine: Reality TV can be a relationship killer. Did that worry you when you signed on, Peggy?
Peggy: [Nods] Especially because Tamra's going through a divorce from Simon...
Tamra: [Feigning shock] I am?
Peggy: ...and Vicki and Donn [are divorcing]. Hopefully we're strong enough to make it through.
Vicki: [Toward a giggling Alexis and Gretchen] I'm gonna open up a can of whoop-ass.
Gretchen: [Lifting the silverware] Look at this spoon. What an interesting spoon.
TV Guide Magazine: Alexis, your husband, Jim, decided to leave the show...
Alexis: Last season, they would show only parts of what he would say, and it made him look like this big ogre. When we came back for filming, he was kind of uptight... like, "Did that come across wrong?" It's not for everybody.
TV Guide Magazine: Gretchen, some of the other ladies have given you a hard time about your boyfriend, Slade. Is he The One?
Gretchen: I don't know if I believe in The One anymore. I thought [late fiancé] Jeff was The One, and then he passed away [of cancer in 2008]. Slade is Mr. Right right now.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you feel like people have the wrong idea about you?
Gretchen: Obviously. When you date an older man, people are going to have misconceptions. There were some really harsh accusations made [by Tamra about Gretchen cheating on Jeff] that have affected me on a lot of levels.
Tamra: I didn't pull the accusations out of my ass. There were things that I know, and I brought them out on TV.
Gretchen: "Things that she knows." She keeps saying that. You really didn't know.
Tamra: I have a hard time believing that my bringing up those things ruined your life.
Gretchen: I didn't say you ruined my life. I said you made some really harsh accusations.
Tamra: If what I said wasn't true, why drag it on?
Gretchen: Because you don't live my life every day. I'm just saying, if you want to sit down and talk about that...
Tamra: I'd love to.
TV Guide Magazine: Tamra, you're head over heels with your new boyfriend, Eddie. How long were you single?
Vicki: A day.
Tamra: It was a month! But it puts a Band-Aid on things and stops you from healing. As happy as I am, I sit there some days and go, "What the f--- am I doing?" [Tears up.]
TV Guide Magazine: Former Housewife Jeana Keough returned this season — and the fur really flew.
Tamra: She was butting in [about my divorce] where she knew zero. The tabloids were involved. I sat down with her very nicely and said, "Why are you doing this?" She apologized — and then she went and did it again. That's when it got physical. I will never talk to that woman again. Ever.
TV Guide Magazine: Vicki, you're the only remaining original cast member!
Vicki: I don't want to look like the know-it-all, but I've been around longer. On every level. This is my second divorce. I lost a man I've been married to for 17 years.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you blame the show?
Vicki: It's a huge contributor. I stretched myself so thin that there was nothing to give to Donn. He got mad that I gave too much to Housewives or travel or my insurance business. And rightfully so. He loved me, he wanted me home, and I was like, "I'll get there when I can."
TV Guide Magazine: How much longer do you think you'll do this?
Gretchen: [Sings] "Money, money, money, money!"
Tamra: As long as they pay me!
Vicki: I'm working on my own show right now for Bravo — it's much different, more work-related. There's going to be a time when Bravo says, "We're done." And we'd better all figure out what we're gonna do.
TV Guide Magazine: How real is reality TV, in your opinions?
Tamra: The show does kind of drive you to say things. They tell you to say things. They really do.
Alexis: Having the cameras there heightens everybody's emotions. This season I definitely wanted to say something to your face, not behind your back.
Tamra: What difference does that make?
[The argument escalates.]
Alexis: We're making a scene, so let's calm down.
Gretchen: We're Housewives. We have to make a scene.
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Sunday at 10/9c on Bravo.