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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Recap: The Most Dangerous Game

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

The concept of empathy was mentioned twice on last night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Once by Taylor, who told Dana that she liked Brandi at first because she could empathize with her marriage struggles, and then again by Camille, who said roughly the same thing. This is important, because none of these women are capable of an emotion that does not originate from self-regard. There is no sympathizing on this show. Only empathizing. And even that, they get wrong.

Speaking of wrong things, like incorrect answers to simple questions, let’s dive into Game Night. On this episode of RHOBH, Dana threw one. A game night, dummy! I rewound my DVR three times to see if I skipped the part in which she mentioned a reason for game night. Turns out there wasn’t one. But complain, me? No. Not when the structure of something like a competitive round of Celebrity exists to structure a scene so perfectly. It is so eerily on point in its ability to showcase the traits of each character (Which one is dumb! Which one is crazy! Which one hoards inside jokes! Which one drops names for a living!), that it may as well be some kind of comedy cheat sheet, or at least a really tight SNL game-show sketch. Not to comedy-nerd out on you guys, but look at this dialogue from Kim and Kyle.

Kim: I worked with him in Tuff Turf
Kyle: James Spader!

Kim: He’s like funny, funny, funny …
Kyle: Robert Downey Jr. !

Kim: We were invited to a party last week with him, and his last name is our niece …
Kyle: Perez Hilton!

And finally, this, in the spirit of knowing that one’s sister is bats.

Kyle: The best rapper in the whole entire world ….
Kim: Brad Pitt!

Ah, the magnificent Richards Sisters of Olde Vaudeville. On your feet! Give them their due! The whole game scene was truly a sweet, comedic symphony of mixed nuts. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Earlier in the episode, Dana told Taylor (over cookie dough they would never eat) that she wanted to have the girls over to her house. Taylor stirred the dough and nodded politely, and then had the audacity to wonder whether “Betty Crocker had great biceps,” as her own upper arms were making a sickening vibration under her taut arm skin, like the massage probes under the leather of a chair in a nail salon.

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Taylor also made a point of saying in testimonial that Dana was a terrific event planner. So when the Housewives came over to Dana’s house (which looks rented) to find a rumpus den bedecked with chintzy, game-night-themed dessert/party favors, it was a funny joke: Dana couldn’t entertain for shit. The girls (sans Vanderpump, who was classily occupied that night with a dinner that became an engagement celebration for her daughter Pandora Limewire Spotify, Ph.D., and Adrienne Maloof, who was busy with being busy) were hungry for something besides meringue shaped like the top hat from Monopoly. But all Dana had at game night were desserts. But at least she tried. Until she didn’t.

You see, it wasn’t until Brandi Glanville and Kim Richards arrived separately at Dana’s stupid game night when we got to see exactly how big of an asshole Dana is. Oh, sure, her bragging about owning sunglasses that cost about as much as a private annual college tuition tipped us off, and answering her guests’ compliments on her dumb shorts with “They’re Valentino” was another asshole flag. But the real mark of Dana’s rotten, true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool assholism was how she treated Brandi. A guest in her home. Brandi may not be the most affable bird in that hen house; in fact, she was edited to look like she had a puss on her face-mask for the duration of the whole evening, which nobody likes during game night. But Dana treated Brandi like a straight-up drifter who wandered into her lameballs domino-cookie-strewn charades-a-thon when she took sides against her in the great Brandi versus the Richards Sisters debacle.

So, the Richardses.

Should we start with the Pam thing? Let’s start with the Pam thing. You see, Kim Richards came to the party late, nursing a huge McDonald’s McMochaFrappey Coffee Fructose Situation with dairylike whipped cream product on top of it, and called Dana “Pam.” “You look like a Pam,” the poor, sick lady justified. But Dana didn’t mind, because she is a status-starved asshole. She’s the kind of asshole who actually would be impressed that Kim knew James Spader from Tuff Turf, the way she thinks you or I would be impressed that her shorts are Valentino shorts. (Dana, dear, in the words of Shania Twain: Your Shorts Don’t Impress Me Much.) So Dana laughed the Pam thing off, until Brandi tried calling her “Pam,” too, and Dana didn’t like that, because Brandi is a low-status newcomer.

But the important takeaway here is that Dana is an asshole, and that Kim, the comedic lead of this series, showed up to game night blitzed out of her tiny head. Ballroom blitzed. Pills and booze, I’d guess, but maybe something more? She did mention to Kyle that she’d been having panic attacks and hadn’t slept or eaten for a while. And Kyle laughed it off the way she laughed off Taylor being hungry a few weeks ago. We’re at a party! Let’s just pull it together. Oh, you’re so funny. That kind of thing. Dear Kyle: When you’re laughing at something that isn’t a joke, or making a joke out of something horrible that’s happening to a person talking to you, you’re not being fun-loving, you are being enabling! I know both words end with “ing,” so it’s confuse-ish. But you used the word asinine last week, so let’s pretend this is all keep-up-able.

After Kim’s Pamfusion, Kyle went into the bathroom with her sister for the first of many game night loo visits and helped her sister fix her makeup the way a dog owner might wipe the tear stains off the face of her patient Maltese. Kim stood, helpless, twitchy, and obviously under the influence of at least a nervous breakdown (do you guys like my Almodóvar/Cassevetes mash-up idea?) and let her high-status ape of a sister groom her. Kim also complained about “Pam’s” mirror being dirty. Oh, senile, rude, grandma! She says what you’re not supposed to, even though she’s right!

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So, after Kim refilled her Iced McFrappy cup a few more times with the help of a hired bartender worth every penny, she made sure Brandi knew that she doesn’t like meeting new people. I guess “Pam” was an exception? Or maybe there was a Pam in Kim’s mind. Anyway, soon after that, they were off to the races. Kim and Kyle were “randomly” grouped into a team with Brandi by Dana-Pam, who cowered in the corner like a COWERING COWARD, even — nay especially — when she witnessed the crippled, borderline-deformed-with-Juvaderm Brandi being bullied at the hands of the Sisters Richards. Kim straight-out said, “I don’t like her,” and, as referenced above, the Richardses gave very insidery clues to one another about people who were, in some cases, not even celebrities. “He’s my ex-boyfriend!” Kyle (whom Ashton Kutcher probably masturbates to when he’s feeling lazy) bleated out to her sister Kim. And Kim screamed back, “C. Thomas Howell!” because that is the name of a person whom, at one point, Kyle used to frolic with around Van Nuys, while Kim comforted herself with travel-size vodka bottles and bed-crying — which is the best kind of crying, right ahead of floor crying, which gets you on your back but isn’t as soft.

So, mid-game, Brandi, who may not be the brightest bulb, was still smart enough to take the social temperature of the room. This is a nice way of saying that she basically asked the other women around her, “WHAT THE FUCK, GUYS? THESE TWO BITCHES ARE ASSHOLES, RIGHT? AND ONE IS DRUNK AND MAYBE ON SOME CRYSTAL, AND I DON’T MEAN CRYSTAL LIGHT OR CRYSTAL GAYLE, THOUGH SHE IS VERY TALENTED.” At this point, Kim and Kyle were in the bathroom again, together, and Brandi made a point of saying to the rest of the room that she felt her teammates didn’t like her … and that at least one of them wasn’t lucid. It was a surprisingly, well, lucid observation from somebody who had, moments before, reminded America in her well-lit testimonial that because she was “a model in Europe in the nineties”, she knew what it was like to be around people high on drugs. Hey, you don’t have to tell me! I’ve seen George Michael’s "Freedom" video! Brandi Glanville can’t expound upon anything that Linda Evangelista hasn’t conveyed emotionally via lip-synching.

But it turned out that, sadly, Brandi’s digging went unrewarded. Nobody at the GAME OF DRONES (Ha! That thing I just said sounds like another thing that is real!) validated Ms. Glanville’s VERY REASONABLE assertion that, yes, Kim is wacked out on goofballs, and certainly, she and her sister were being tremendously unkind. In fact, they argued with Brandi to the contrary!

“I don’t think she’s trying to hide anything,” Camille said to Brandi about Kim, who kept taking her huge pink purse into the bathroom with her. Then, Camille added, as what I’m sure was meant to be a comforting postscript, that she had had a similar experience with Kim and Kyle at one point. They were cruel to her once, you see. And … ? That’s it. Camille offered Brandi no advice on how to cope, no sympathy. Just empty “empathy.” As in, “Yes, I hear you. Because, I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY TOO ABOUT MY OWN LIFE!” But Camille was wrong about Kim. Because Kim did have something to hide. Namely, Brandi’s crutches! What a fucking asshole. I don’t care if she was meth’ed out on Blue, or if there were shots after shots of distilled horse picker-uppers in her McCoffee snack. You don’t hide a person’s crutches. It’s not a cute prank. No pranks are cute pranks, besides maybe pretending to throw a treat at your cat, and then not throwing it. But even then, you give the treat to the cat RIGHT AFTER, unless you are a sadist. Then, we put you on a list right alongside the weirdos who saw Human Centipede 2 (Final Sequence) in the theaters this weekend. Yeah, I run conservative in some ways!

So at this point, Dana was in full pro-Richards swing and Taylor was melting invisibly into the carpet because a fight was about to start and when daddy’s angry, it’s best to hide. And that’s when Brandi sort of called Kyle a bitch. Not really, though? She said “Bring it, bitch!” after Kyle said she was up first in the IQ test part of game night in a way that seemed sarcastic. But then, Kyle asked Brandi if she was in fact calling her a bitch for making fun of Brandi’s intelligence, and Brandi (who, admittedly, thought Winston Churchill was black) stood by her original statement. And then, I was like, FUCKING FINALLY. “Fight, you jerks!” I shouted at my TV. And sure, Team Brandi. At least Brandi had the balls and the clarity to point out what was going on: Mean Girls shit on top of some seriously unacceptable kissass-ery, and finally, the plain fact that Kim Richards, star of Tuff Turf, was loaded and acting batshit and HID HER CRUTCHES. So damn right, Kyle, you are a bitch. And Dana is a straight up C, and Taylor is a conniving, spineless blubberfish, and Camille is a sleepy, self-centered enabler, and, honestly, if Lisa and Adrienne had been in attendance, it would have detracted from my very satisfying fantasy of a meteor hitting Dana’s house at that very moment. It would have started a fire in her closet first, so she’d have to watch all her stupid designer shorts burn once she’d broken her leg on her heels running up to the “clothes wing” of her house. And then the fire would work its way down her staircase and into her rumpus room, where its flames would hungrily lick the tassels on the trim of her comfy couch, then move their way over to the bits of paper that had the girls’ names on them. And finally, the flames would devour the ladies themselves, leaving only what filler and implants and tweaks and adds and tucks that doctors had shoved beneath their skin, to decompose on the schedule of each compound’s respective shelf life.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Brandi called Kyle a bitch, which caused a ganging-up-on from Kyle, Kim, and Dana (according to Emily Post, a hostess should always take sides with former child stars over models who have been jilted for pop singers). And then Brandi, who didn’t really know how to deal with the “slut” remarks that were sort of lazily lobbed over by Kyle and then Kim, finally made a point of saying what everybody had been thinking, and what everybody is always thinking whenever Kim stumbles, Edina Monsoon–style, into a room: that Kim is goofy on the sauce and has been making frequent trips to the ladies’ room — and not for poopin’!

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Brandi’s assertion sparked a concerto of protestations from the double-headed Richards monster. They screeched, in what would become an episode cliff-hanger, that Brandi should shut her mouth; that she didn’t know what she was talking about. They flailed and pointed in unison and did everything but say outright, “You’re totally correct, but because you’re an uninitiated outsider, you have no right to chime in on what we’ve already established and accepted. Kim is a sad shell of a person who self-medicates; Taylor is an abuse victim who doesn’t eat and was possibly compliant in the millions she and her late ex-husband laundered; Dana is a huge asshole who fills the soul-shaped hole inside of her with overpriced accessories and clothing that isn’t even flattering; Camille is a benzo-soaked hoverer, who has to observe reality instead of experience it in its painful immediacy — unless she’s in Hawaii; and Kyle?

Well, Kyle goes where the wind blows, and she thinks she makes the wind. She thinks she is the Earth that the sun revolves around, when, in fact, that’s not the way it works. And she is wrong, and maybe one day she’ll find that out, and maybe she won’t. But whether or not you find Kyle Richards repellent, her qualities of benign charm, lukewarm wit, middle-of-the-road mischievousness, and mainstream visual appeal make her who she is, which is no one. And what I’ve just described — what makes Kyle Kyle, is also, in grade school, what makes a popular girl popular: knowing how to make casual, peer-induced sadism look like the good times of a fun-loving girl with shiny, long hair; looking concerned with perfect eyebrows when in fact you’re just waiting to turn the conversation around to yourself; disguising bullying as loyalty. So many other things. So, congratulations, everybody. I wish I could say it gets better. Sometimes it doesn’t. But I’ll see you here next week for more of the same.

Photo: Bravo