Holy Cannoli, guys: If the first installation was any proof, these reunions are going to be painful and drawn out, with forced drama mostly about nothing at all scattered throughout. And what a waste, when there are so many significant horrible things that actually happened this season, stuff that’s worth still talking and fighting about! It’s more tragic than anything else that has ever happened in the history of humans.
The first half of last night’s RHOBH reunion special caused me to become insane with rage. Adrienne maintaining that her feelings were hurt when Lisa called her dog “Crackpot” instead of “Jackpot” on Twitter? Truly? Lisa having to defend calling her friend’s shoe “The Maloof Hoof”? I get that they’re going cast member by cast member in terms of putting the ladies on the hot seat, but all Lisa has to answer for this season, as far as I’m concerned, is her crossover to team Taylor post-tea-party. Otherwise, Lisa is clean. Who cares how much money she spent on her kid’s wedding? Who gives a shit about soap on a chicken or tiaras on a perimenopausal woman’s head? Oh, this drove me crazy. I knew it would be bad as soon as I heard Kim wouldn’t be there. And yes, I’m looking forward to her one-on-one with Andy, but I still wish Oprah were alive so she could do it herself. Kim needs to be grilled like a tilapia filet, and I’m not sure if Cohen will remove his kid gloves to do so.
The only thing I’d like to mention before we move on to the meat of the show, which was the Taylor conversation, is how truly offensive I find Kyle in the post-season context of the reunion environment. If you’d had as bad of a season as Kyle, would you really come out swinging — fake, cringey English accent and all — toward Lisa? And say out loud how it hurt your feelings that Vanderfabulous made fun of you for constantly doing the splits, which no non-gymnast ever has had any business doing, ever? And even, as a final hat tip toward officially having no self-awareness whatsoever, would you mention that how dare Lisa imply that you were “desperate for attention”? No. Kyle’s narcissism is suffocating. Her false humility reeks of hubris. And that color looks terrible on her. Kyle: Take a lesson from Queen Camille, who rocked the same red but bowed her head in convincing remorse this entire season, in deference to her poor showing in season one. Whether or not Camille knows how she came across or she needed a humiliating public divorce and an upgrade to better PR people to figure it out, she’s taken this time to reinvent herself and now, viewers worship at her altar. Kyle is too pigheaded, too stubborn, too theatrical, to believe that audiences think of her as anything different than how she sees herself — as an authentic, all-American, funny, self-deprecating goofball. So why would she change? Why would she ever stop doing the splits or the fingernails-on-a-blackboard British accent she likes to use when imitating Lisa, even if a publicist as good as Howard Bragman were to show her quantifiable proof that viewers hate her when she does? She’ll never understand that viewers see her exactly as she claims Lisa inferred her to be: desperate for attention. Actually calling out what you’re guilty of, in the process of accusing somebody of being unfair, is probably the most glaring sign I’ve ever seen of a narcissism so blinding that it prevents you from understanding who you truly are. It’s classic former actress stuff. Blecch. But I guess I’m looking forward to Kyle’s hot seat as much as I’m looking forward to anything in this reunion footage that’s yet to come. She’s got a lot to answer for, and not everything can be blamed on her getting the Bitch Edit.
Let me just interject here that I don’t mean to be a bummer about this! I usually love reunions — the Real Housewives kind, not the high school kind. (Do non–Romy and Michele people actually go to those?) I enjoy the disparity between the women’s episodic personae and their postgame postures. I find it hilarious how much Andy Cohen enjoys flirtatiously introducing each cast member by her full name, then uses viewer questions to rake each woman over the coals. And I usually like the back-and-forths between the wives. Some of Kelly Killoren Bensimon’s most notable quotables of all-time were from reunion shows. And who could forget the Caroline Manzo “You know what you did!” soliloquy about Danielle from the first reunion of RHONJ? They are usually great shows, rife with drama and boiled down to the essence of this series — one-on-one confrontations. But when one of the most contentious and bananas cast members of this particular series is absent, and the other is so pathological that it’s hard to tell when she’s being honest, it’s tough to get to the good stuff. And by good, I mean watchable.
So, halfway through the filler — and I don’t mean Restalyne! [High fives everyone in heaven, including Jesus Christ] — Andy finally landed on Taylor. Armstrong predictably used the reunion to plug her new book and detail the abuse she endured when Russell was still alive. Which, again, would that Oprah were still on this planet; I’d love her to ask Taylor the tough questions. And we’ve gone over this so many times in the past, so I’m not going to speculate about whether she was or wasn’t hurt physically in her marriage, but I will say it was weird when she said she loved and missed Russell. That was just a new sound bite from that famous double-earthworm mouth. And otherwise, when Camille called her out on jumping down her saintly throat during Lisa’s tea party, all Taylor had to do in order to be sympathetic was to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” But she didn’t, and that was ghastly, because Camille did nothing wrong, and I knew that false reconciliation at Lisa’s Sexy Unique Restaurant opening would last as long as the high from a popper. Or a whip-it, right, Demi Moore? BTW, how many of you think Kyle forced her agent to get on the phone and try and get her a read for every role Demi had to give up when she checked into rehab? All of you? You are stars.
And then there was that moment when the girls admitted they hadn’t seen Russell hit Taylor, but Lisa had seen a text. And there was some twisted reasoning from Taylor about how she agreed to go on a reality show in order to protect herself from dying at Russell’s hand. And that was tied into being angry at Camille somehow? It was all convoluted and I can’t even begin wrapping my head around the logic of her case. I have a feeling that Taylor has some sociopathic tendencies and she’s definitely lied in certain instances — but I don’t completely not-believe her when it comes to Russell, either. We’ve covered this ground. It’s a mess, and I don’t want to touch it with a ten-inch heel on a Maloof Hoof. The chat about whether or not the show should have aired was interesting, however, and Camille saying she didn’t think it should have was a classy statement, even though I respectfully disagree with St. Donatacci.
After that, the gang got into it with Lisa about selling stories to Radar Online, and honestly, who cares. I’ve been freelancing with online magazines for years, and I can tell you authoritatively — no offense, Vulture! — they pay shit. As my friend Kate Aurthur, who wrote this great appreciation of this season of RHOBH, pointed out, if Adrienne thinks Radar Online would ever pay Lisa $25K for a story that isn’t Mel Gibson–footage-related, she is on whatever Kim Richards was looking for on her bathroom floor.
Finally, they brought out Brandi for dessert, and everybody laughed about how easy it is for straight people to get married, even when they don’t really mean it. And she had a funny bit about how Eddie Cibrian isn’t famous, and her breasts looked great, and then it was over.
Oh, I wish Kim had been there. I wish these women weren’t paid by the fake fight. And I wish I could eat my own weight in butterscotch fudge and saltwater taffy this afternoon, but it ain’t gonna happen. I really should reconsider my “not living in a candy store on a boardwalk in a vacation town” life policy. I know.
As we sign off this week, here are some moments from the first part of the RHOBH reunion that you can comment on below. You can also comment on other moments I forgot to mention! Plus, outfits. See you guys next week!
— The clarification of Dr. Sophy’s medical qualifications. The MD versus DO stuff is really a fascinating distinction. Agree/Disagree?
— Camille saying, “You don’t go on a reality show if that kind of thing is happening in your private life” to Taylor, in defense of her calling out her abuse on-camera. I’m not a sports person, but that’s the equivalent of what, in the Puppy Bowl, is called a touchdown.
— Adrienne’s beautiful asymmetrical Sorcerer’s robe mini. What’s hiding beneath that bell sleeve? An army of ominous mops and buckets, ready to gang up on poor Mickey Mouse?
— Brandi, saying about her New Year’s Eve impulse-husband, “I don’t really think about him in my thoughts.” Poetry!
— The stupid thing where Lisa didn’t know who Adrienne’s chef was. Who cares? There is a trail of pill dust and suicide blood splattered around the chalk outline of this season’s corpse, and we’re really going into whether or not Lisa knows Bernie’s name? Bah, pooh. [Shoos away imaginary flies.]
Follow Julie Klausner on Twitter @julieklausner.