Looking back, they really did cut off the show at the knees by firing both Vicki and Tamra simultaneously, without allowing the remaining cast to gel. Vicki was perfect as a Friend Of as she became more rotted in her soul. Tamra has always been a necessity in the uniquely dark "tone" of OC.
The way the production company were willing to drag Gina and Emily along by the busted hip for FIVE SEASONS while Brown Wind got the boot for...being a messy Housewife? was incredibly short-sighted.
Imagine if we had gotten Heather with Tamra and Braunwyn, along with Vicki as a Friend Of. They could throw in anyone else they wanted and that would be a cast.
Elizabeth Vargas and Dr. Jen were absolutely catastrophic casting decisions. Two of the very worst Housewife hirings we've ever witnessed in a row was just too much for the show to handle.
Seeing Elizabeth come apart in front of a camera about her abuse history was absolutely vicious for them to broadcast. It was a point far lower in terms of exploiting a vulnerable person than Tamra getting Gretchen drunk. I still cannot believe she and that storyline were incorporated into a fucking Bravo show??
OC should always be about a plucky, optimistic and well-meaning ingenue (Gretchen in the beginning, Alexis, Meghan King, Braunwyn during her first season) dealing with a group of vicious, rich women desperately grasping for youth. The conflict of the ingenue wanting to be accepted and validated and the older women wanting to destroy her has always been what has made the tension of the show work.