Last night’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was another Kim-less episode, but not nearly as tumbleweed-conjuring as last week’s show, thanks to Taylor’s non-electronic cigarette-puffing lunacy and Camille’s friend Dede’s audition for season three. What we also need to keep in mind before I dive into this recap is that as of today Kim Richards has checked into rehab. So good for her for taking care of herself and PLEASE GOD let this IN NO WAY affect her attendance at the reunion. I don’t care if she’s fifteen minutes sober — Kim needs a day pass so that she can lend her devoted viewers her valued insights into the matters of Ken, crystal meth, and how fun it is to bounce on a trampoline.
The other RHOBH news from this week is that Taylor Armstrong, who just announced she is coming out with a tell-all memoir that I’m sure she wrote pro bono, appeared on Watch What Happens Live after the show last night, looking healthy and sounding lucid and repentant. I am dying to get your reactions to that appearance in the comments below.
As for the actual episode, last night’s show began with requisite fluff, a tennis court tour from Kevin the Wedding Planning Stereotype, who showed Lisa a series of silly pink tables that Pandy Vandy-pump can choose from when she ties the knot with her hot piece. Then, we got to see Estella, mother of Mauricio, in Dr. Paul’s office for a final follow-up since her horrifying face-lift. I guess this was an ad for Dr. Paul’s practice, because her “before and after” shots were unfairly juxtaposed, not only with the advantage of makeup, but also with a terrifying reminder of what poor Estella looked like right after the surgery. Remember her “Bandaged-Up Fonzie Look”? Where she looked like the poster for the new Almodóvar movie I think I am going to skip? Please, don’t judge me. I’ve said for years: If I want to see Antonio Banderas, I’ll rent Puss in Boots or stalk Melanie Griffith — as our forefathers did!
During the Dr. Paul and Estella scene, there was also some excessive protesting from Kyle, who seemed convinced throughout this entire episode that her job was to make sure everybody knew she was America’s best friend. She actually contorted her body again in those hideous “leg to the ear” moves in order to make sure women watching knew how fun-loving and “just like us!” she really is. In Dr. Paul’s office, Kyle gave an unconvincing testimonial about how she doesn’t get Botox and just takes care of her skin or some shit. Kyle is persona no thank you to me this whole season, and scenes like this are why. There should be a special part of hell reserved for actresses who try too hard to be liked in social situations.
Shortly after that, Brandi dressed up like a prostitute to meet Adrienne Maloof to eat cut-up pizza like toddlers or pigeons. And Brandi told M’Loofy that she wanted to host a party at her friend’s house in Malibu; there she’d have a belly dancer, since her idea of paying a pornography actress to attend for the purpose of demonstrating the fine art of giving men blow jobs (a mysterious act nobody in our popular culture has ever broached or discussed) was shot down last week by Kyle, who made one of her “funny faces” to drive home her point. “I’m America’s Best Friend!” she squawked like a cockatoo to her pedicurist. Then she made a fishy face and went into the splits and I punched a wall.
So, Brandi’s party was the big event this episode was leading up to — the dog show at the end of Best in Show or the play at the end of Waiting for Guffman or the concert in A Mighty Wind. Not that Christopher Guest directs these episodes; if he did, Dana/Pam would feature way more prominently because Guest is one of the only living humans who realizes what a crime it is to waste Jennifer Coolidge.
But on the way to Brandi’s big Malibu Meet-up, there was a bonus fiesta at Kyle’s, the purpose of which was to show Faye Resnick standing next to Estella’s new face and bleeding internally with jealousy by comparison, and also to make sure viewers knew Mauricio was Mexican. It was a Cinco de Mayo party, and just as our Mexican neighbors celebrate, so did the Richardses/Mauricios — by toasting their ladysitter after enduring Kyle’s painfully unfunny impression of a Beverly Hills Woman who’s had too much plastic surgery. Ha-ha, get it? Because people who live near Kyle are so different and so much more superficial than Kyle! The guacamole was the only thing that seemed less thick than the prevailing hypocrisy in the air.
Then there was a scene of Lisa touring her new restaurant as she and Ken wore ill-fitting, way too tight "business casual” clothes while wielding Giggy and trying to seem professional and serious. But these were all the equivalent of baby carrots, Cheetos, and bagged tortilla chips: graze-able trifles to be snacked on while you remain hungry for the much-ballyhooed main course.
Which was Brandi’s party! So let’s skip over the “Kim unloads blankets from the dryer” scene (because it pains me far too much to think about what would have happened at Brandi’s party had Kim actually made an appearance) and board our respective limos to Malibu! Because apparently you have to be driven in a limo to get to Malibu. There is no shuttle bus, jitney, trolley, or monorail to that destination!
Camille applied lip gloss on top of her lip gloss in front of her friends Dedra “DeeDee” Whitt and Allison “Allison” (NOT THE MEDIUM, Jesus Christ, I wish), and expressed her concerns about seeing Taylor, who had been dodging her calls since Camille said out loud to a group of their peers that her husband was beating her. And since Taylor has appeared on WWHL to clarify and spin the events accordingly, we now know that her official statement is that what she was angry at Camille about had more to do with Camille saying that Russell had abused her on-camera than anything else. And being as the women are not allowed to allude to the fact that they are being filmed throughout the course of the series, it’s a fair point of Taylor’s to have made. She claimed, when talking to Andy Cohen, that when Camille said what she had about Russell she put Taylor in danger, because Taylor feared that her husband would see the footage and beat her up or kill her. And those claims are so terrifying and believable, despite what you may think of Taylor’s pathologies, that her meshugganah antics on last night’s episode actually seemed less despicable and more justifiable than her prior lashings-out. Let’s hear it for Watch What Happens Live and its ability to shed current information on hindsight events! And congrats on expanding the show to five nights a week. Please have Phaedra on all the time.
Back to the pre-party events! Kyle picked up Taylor in a limo, natch, and made sure her already-quivering, hysterical, bony friend knew that she had her back by saying “I’ve got your back” in some weird Cher impression? If I had to hang out with Kyle socially, I’d put all of my energies toward getting her cast in something, for fear that her “acting performative” and actressy in day-to-day settings would cause me to become schizophrenic with rage. I know I keep talking about this, but I simply cannot handle women like Kyle. I avert my eyes from her actressy antics even from the safety of my living room. When she made a cat noise after saying “Easy on the husband talk!” in her testimonial about Brandi’s Mauricio compliment, I almost passed out with empathetic shame on her behalf.
And finally, Taylor and Kyle showed up to the party, and Taylor and Camille exchanged an epically awkward, wordless hug.
And then Dede said, “That was nice!” in her first hat tip to the subplot that maybe Dede was sort of gay for Camille? I don’t mean to usher in such slanderous speculations about the true nature of Debra’s deep and unspecified love for her friend Camille, to whose face she’s applied all sorts of spackles and gels and serums and lip stuffs during many intimate moments in her recent, lonely, man-free past. And whether or not the two of them have a thing, I just want to go on the record that I am so in favor of gay sex it’s basically revolutionary. Hooray for it! You heard me! Stop looking shocked.
Soon after the horrible hug, the belly dancer friend Brandi hired began teaching the girls to shake it, except for Kyle, who was gesticulating with a tree branch on her shoulders like a snake and I could barely watch. And a couple of other things became surreal and bizarrely apparent, moments into the party. First of all, we learned that Brandi was wearing a see-through white dress and no bra, because she seeks sexual attention the way Kyle seeks performative validation — and it should be clear by now which of those two traits I find more offensive. I love sluts! Sluts and gay sex are both not only A-Okay in my book, but I consider them the New and Old Testaments, respectively! Oh yeah, and apparently my book is the Bible. Look, I don’t have an ego problem — you’re the one with the *drunken, incomprehensible muttering*
And then we realized that this was going to be a boozy rager, since the producers made sure to get some serious close-ups of the wine and also interviewed the sommelier, who wore one of those Jew-Bu Kato Kaelin cord necklaces that I assume are only sold to blonde men at String Cheese Incident concerts.
Finally, we met the other cast of characters at Brandi’s soiree, and they were a motley crew of intriguing beauties. There was Jennifer Gimenez of Sober House fame! Here is a very unflattering photo of her! And in addition to Camille’s entourage and the belly dancer Brandi hired, plus all of the cast members sans Dana/Pam, Kim, and Lisa, there was the gorgeous, Brody Jenner–spawning Linda Thompson. Linda was previously married to the Olympian catch Bruce Jenner and is responsible for barking the most Kim Richards–esque quotes of the night, including, “Look at this big wide ocean. This ocean’s going to be here long after we’re all gone“ and “We are an evolved species!” I really enjoyed her appearance on this show and would like to see more of her.
And speaking of Kim surrogates, my friend Jessica recently wondered to me whether Kyle is using Taylor to get her caretaker needs fulfilled now that Kim is busy moving in with Ken. And I think there’s something to that. Given that child actors generally maintain the level of maturity they’ve achieved around the time it was when they stopped working regularly, and given that there’s a tendency in one’s twenties to separate from your family while, at the same time, assembling a different dysfunctional family made out of weird or damaged friends, it makes sense that Kyle is now clinging to Taylor. Do you know what I mean? I remember hanging out with all kinds of goofy wackadoos in my twenties, and part of it was that I felt like I had to, in a way. I think it’s part of the guilt of growing up and moving on from your familial relations, something at which Kyle has never been successful. So when Kim took the step of moving in with her troll beau, naturally Kyle moved in closer to the most damaged, frail lunatic she could feel like she was taking care of while also feeling superior to. Taylor’s friendship is a win-win for Ky-Ky, who gets to act out at parties and play the part of the Samaritan, even when she claims frustration about not fully getting the dirt about Russell’s abuse of her skinny stray puppy.
Brandi’s party turned dark as soon as Taylor went outside to brood while all of the other ladies were stumbling around in a Chardonnay haze, pretending to belly dance and ignoring Kyle’s splits. So Kyle beckoned Taylor, and Adrienne engaged her once she was inside, and then Taylor stared talking about how Camille had betrayed her loud enough for Ms. Grammer to overhear but without the balls to confront her one-on-one about what she felt was a betrayal of her trust. So naturally, DeDe approached Taylor and aggressively defended her best friend/possible object of unrequited or requited Sapphic affection, Camille. And that was maybe a bad idea, but to be frank, so is Chardonnay. Fuck Chardonnay! I’d have apple juice over Chardonnay — with or without its allegedly high arsenic content. I’m a little dangerous, you guys.
So Dede — who looks good on-camera and isn’t afraid of confrontation, Andy Cohen (should she try it from the top, and with a slate? “This is Dedra auditioning for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season three, take two”) — got intense with an already intense Taylor. She defended Camille and when Camille finally came over, Taylor snapped and pointed and said “Outside!” like she was a strict schoolmarm, which caused Dede’s feathers to ruffle. So Dede naturally followed the girls to the patio/sulking area, which quickly became the patio/Chardonnay rage-fueled pile-on area. And Linda Thompson crinkled up her big moon face into a bemused expression, and that was fun to look at, even as Taylor “joked” about jumping off the ledge. The only one who wasn’t losing any of her vitriolic momentum was Dede, who began crying before Taylor did. “I’m sick of it!” Dede screamed. “I’ve watched my friend go through so much in the last year and a half!” And that was all it took for Taylor to get on a table and bawl to the stars and to the big, wide ocean, “You have no idea what I’ve been through!” and “It’s not fair!” and other histrionic sentiments not worth transcribing. It was just a fuck-mess, and that’s when Brandi asked Taylor to leave. That was cold, but it was also kind of a sexy move. I laughed, I admit it. So then Kyle got in Brandi’s face, because she picked the lame horse over the nipply filly, and soon they loaded back into the limo for some cigarette time, while Dede bawled to a heavily medicated, prominently lidded Camille that her poor friend had been through enough hell. “I know. I know. I know. Thank you.” Camille said. “I love you, and you have to fucking know that I love you!” Dede continued, Notes on a Scandal–like. “I know, baby. I know that you love me.” Camille said back. And that’s when I launched Final Draft on my laptop and typed “Heavenly Creatures 2: Housewife Boogaloo” on the title page of the document.
And that’s what I’ve been working on since. I think Emma Stone will play Dede and I’d like to see Amanda Seyfried take a stab at Camille. It will be very sexy and erotic and compelling, and it will make Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher impression look like a cheap Rich Little nightclub act. Thank you in advance for your box office dollars. Until next week, my loves.