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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Recap: The Vanderpump Gambit

Welcome back, everybody! And happy New Year. Last night, before we were manipulated into unintentionally watching Vanderpump Rules (is this new seamless, non-transitional editing part of Bravo’s new fluid, brilliant, evil spinoff strategy?), we were treated to a new episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. We didn’t learn a whole lot this time around, besides how easy it is now to make poor Brandi cry, and all about the potentially sentimental value of Hermès bags. But it was nice to see OUR favorite leathery bags again after such a long break.

Let’s pick up where we left off, at Kyle’s dinner party. If you remember, Kyle wore a hand-me-down pantsuit from the quinceañera scene of the Selena movie in order to host Brandi, Taylor, Lisa, and a couple of Real Housewife wannabes, which is how I’m referring to Marisa Zanuck and the morally corruptible Faye Resnick. And Bravo executives, if you are reading this — and I do feel like you’re listening, since whenever we talk about what we like to watch or love to hate-watch (Yolanda and her husband being evil about gender roles and keeping their daughter thin) and what we don’t (Adrienne), we tend to get respectively more or less of it — PLEASE DO NOT MAKE MARISA ZANUCK A CAST MEMBER. She looks like Alex McCord and she has the soul hollowness of a cigar store Indian. I also just get creepy vibes from her and her anemic ponytail. Go away, MZ. Nobody wants to see your cheekbones lit like that in a confessional. Nobody wants to think about how your necklace lays while you’re in downward facing dog. Nobody wants to hear you talk.

So last time, Faye Resnick, whose despicable misdeeds and sundry character flaws you can read more about here, had ripped into Brandi for no good reason beyond her own monstrous hunger for attention. This caused Brandi to excuse herself and her cute fur vest and sit on the curb in front of Kyle’s house, crying. Which was Kyle’s cue to summon the “concerned” face she learned in commercial acting class at age 10 and forbid Brandi from leaving her home “like this,” which is to say upset after her bullying mouthpiece cornered her guest and hurt her intentionally. Eventually, Lisa joined Brandi and Kyle on the curb and put her friend in the RHOBH equivalent of a cab, which is a limousine driven by a nameless working-class man.

After this came a Whimsical and Humorous Scene in which a mentally ill woman asked a ghost questions in front of Taylor before ringing a bell and spraying some rose-scented organic Glade around her home. I’ve been thinking lately about the role of the “Crazy Psychic” in the Real Housewives franchise, from e-cigarette puffing medium Alison DuBois to that lady Danielle Staub sic’ed onto RHONJ’s Jacqueline Laurita, only to be ignored by a video-game-playing Laurita, to the batty fellow who blessed Lea Black’s poor dog days before its furry demise on Real Housewives of Miami.

I think psychics are the broad comic relief that break up the telenovelas our lead characters inhabit. Psychics on these shows, even to viewers who believe in paranormal phenomena custom-tailored to their birthdates, are clowns. Look at the silly vaudevillian hucksters who make funny noises and show faith in their faces! Watch as our heroines, who we’ve previously established are mentally unstable, seem Us Weekly–ily Just Like Us as they roll their eyes at those who are flakier than they! Listen to the silly music that scores the foibles of these goofy gusses! What fools are they, compared to you, viewer! Even if you have a hard time marinating in the schadenfreude helpful to the enjoyment of these shows — alternatingly envying and pitying the rich, hubristic, grotesque peacocks of Beverly Hills or Orange County or New York City, etc — everybody can guiltlessly enjoy a giggle-along when a kooky guest star claims that she really knew Princess Diana.

After this came a scene in which two women I despise did yoga by a swimming pool. The joke of the scene was “wouldn’t it be funny if, instead of valuing the time of this expensive, put-upon private exercise coach by staying quiet and doing what he’s paid to tell you do, these garbage people talked about nothing the whole time?” And it wasn’t. It wasn’t funny. It was really canned and dumb. This scene could have lined a trash chute in the kitchen of Sur.

Then, Brandi and her braless breasts met Lisa at a clothing store named, I think, Anal Bo. Bravo protected the delicate sensibilities of its viewers by blurring out Brandi’s visible gazongas, but did us no such favor when it came to hiding the terrible clothing that surrounded them. During this scene, Lisa told Brandi that it was probably a good idea for her to confront her fellow Vanderpump Rules co-star Schaschachcasheasnea (sp?) about the time she fucked Brandi’s husband before Leann Rimes inherited the gig. “Okay,” Brandi said. “I suppose I will do that to assist you in the terrifyingly seamless transition from the show we are on together into the spinoff show you are doing with this Schenaynay individual.” Brandi is a good friend. She even, in her ambiguity, conferred with Camille about it! Go forward, quoth Mother Cam-esa, and ask that hooker what I never got to ask Kelsey’s new piece. “Okay,” Brandi said, realizing on top, “Whatever happens between me and Schooner-Scham-Wow cannot alienate me from the RHOBH audience, because I have already landed the zinger of the entire series when I called Faye Resnick a chick with a dick. “ Brandi was right. And I think she cried a little bit more. Be strong, Brandi! Nobody likes to see you cry! We want to see you make LIFE YOUR BITCH!

Meanwhile, across town in a suburb that is not technically Beverly Hills, Taylor Armstrong got the news from her lawyer that if she wanted to settle the lawsuit that she and her late husband were named in, she had to sell her wedding ring and two Hermès bags. This made Taylor cry, because parting with those things was hard for her. I can see the romantic value of the wedding ring, but the Hermès bags? I don’t understand people who have — or had — too much money, I guess. Did Martha Stewart shed tears when she parted ways with her Birkin before she left for prison? Probably. Maybe I just don’t get purses.

Then, came a scene in which Adrienne Maloof wore turquoise jewelry that a Santa Fe chiropractor would rather be caught dead without. She and her now ex-husband discussed their skin-care line and how she doesn’t want to hang out with the girls right now, maybe because she forgot she was on a TV show? And that the “girls” she referred to were her colleagues, not her pals? Ugh. One of the good things about scripted shows was that at no point did Tootie decide to avoid Natalie, Jo, and Blair because she just didn’t feel like dealing with them. That would have cost Tootie a pretty penny!

Oh, and before I forget — there was also a scene in last night’s episode during which Yolanda proved once more that she and David Foster are indisputably disgusting weirdos from the Dark Ages. While making pasta that I must admit looked very good, Yolanda made sure her model daughter knew not to eat too many cherry tomatoes and CERTAINLY not to entertain the fool idea of playing volleyball for fun, because volleyball is a man’s sport? Even though it’s played by pantless babes on beaches during the Summer Olympics? Whatever, said Yolanda. Nobody ever heard of a lesbian, volleyball-playing model with enough body fat to ovulate. No daughter of mine, etc, etc. And then her husband, the Geico Lizard, came downstairs after comparing ballsacks on Skype with Neil Sedaka, and he said something progressively minded like, “My bitch wife makes me noodles, like hookers should!” and everybody laughed and laughed as Michael Bublé’s latest record went quadruple platinum. Fine.  

Finally, Shea Butter met Brandi at Sur for Scene 0.5 of Vanderpump Rules. Schnapps-y told Brandi that she thought Eddie Cibrian, with whom she slept while Brandi was married to him and pregnant with his child, was truly in love with her. Oops!

And Schnitzel Express added that when Eddie left one of his mistresses for a new mistress with a pair of wall-eyes and a love of laxatives, it straight-up broke her heart. “Who cares,” said Brandi, or something like it. She was right. Schneikes knitted the two hairy golf umbrellas she uses as eyebrows in consternation, and then, before we knew it, we were watching Vanderpump Rules. It just happened! We didn’t give our consent, because Bravo put something in our drink while we were peeing, but one minute we were watching Real Housewives and the next minute we weren’t. Good one, Bravo. You devilish rascal, you. But, still — if I could just go back to an ancient scripted example of what TV was like before anyone desirable marketing-wise was born — would a network have had the balls to pull that kind of fast one on us by bleeding the final episode of Cheers right into the premiere of Frasier? You wouldn’t! Eddie the cute dog would have been confused.

What did you guys think of the episode? Was it a satisfying return to form after the long break? Or did it fail to slake your thirst for Faye Resnick’s flowing lizard blood? Do you have an emotion for Marisa Zanuck that transcends mine, which is merely “contempt”? And what of Shea Stadium’s eyebrows???

Until next week, fair maidens!

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