Happy Holidays, gang! My early Christmas present to you takes the form of a new recap of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but before I begin, if you’ll humor me, I have an open letter I need to write first.
Dear Jeep Cherokee People:
Come on. Guys. Are you serious?
Why did you choose Kyle Richards as your company’s spokesperson?
You realize that, to promote your car-trucks, you hired the most despised, narcissistic, shallow, phony cast member on the RHOBH series, right? Did your research team show you that your target audience was all monsters? Or did you assume that we would appreciate that commercial ironically? Either way, Jeep Incorporated: You done GOOFED.
The only thing I want to see less than Kyle making “jokes” directly to the camera wearing a necklace that looks like it was purchased at the novelty store of the eighties, Think Big!, is a 30-second spot in which Kyle and her husband pretend to love each other more than any human can possibly regard another as they off-road to Joshua Tree.
Jeep Corporation: Was Casey Anthony unavailable to take her place behind the wheel of one of your gas guzzlers? Did the ghost of Margaret Thatcher pass on the opportunity to don a garishly patterned neck scarf and explain, in voice-over, how much she likes to get dirty in off-road California terrain?
I wish you luck, Jeep people. (Jeeple.) Your efforts to lure flies with vinegar go against the grain of conventional wisdom. But I will also never buy a Jeep for as long as I live, because this gaffe is inexcusable and a travesty. Nelson Mandela died last week, Garth Brooks just announced he’s coming out of retirement to tour — I don’t need this shit.
Julie “D.J. Soft Batch” Klausner
Wow, that felt good! Now I get why Sinead O’Connor likes writing open letters instead of songs these days! Okay, let’s get into it for real now.
So last night’s episode was part one of the Palm Springs retreat organized by Joyce “Jacqueline” Mensa-Smarts, P.R. (P.R. stands for Puerto Rican). After Brandi quizzed her friends — one of whom was black, which is important to know for later, when she references the existence of those like her — about how fun it is to have your nipples handled like screw-off wine caps, and how easy it is to get men to finish just by offering up your neck for chokin’, we were treated to a good, old-fashioned “shopping and packing” montage. Kim and her daughter shopped for vibrating toothbrushes while Joyce shopped in her own closet. And as Joyce’s stylist held up garments she already owned, she ooh’ed and ahh’ed as though she’d never seen those clothes before. We also got some pretty priceless nuggets of self-realization from the smartest woman who ever escaped Puerto Rico by boarding a magic carpet made out of her own hair. Explaining that she has always been “a girly girl,” Joyce expressed her love of traditional femininity by saying, “I like to make makeovers on my friends” and “I’ve always loved clothes.”
We also got some more quotable clowning from Kim in her testimonials than we’ve ever been treated to in a single episode. I think of this as a belated Hanukkah present from Mr. Cohen, and THANK YOU, sir. Kim making noises before and after saying “Om” and then, later, barking the word “JUICE!” is the stuff of sophisticated ring tones.
After Joyce admired her own clothes, Kyle and Carlton shopped for some new ones at the shop of the most obsequious creepy lady I’ve ever seen on this show. This woman, who had large teeth and gums, kept interrupting Kyle’s chat with Carlton to tell Kyle how tiny her butt and stomach looked, and you know that Kyle dips into that boutique frequently just to get an easy compliment from a leech.
While the two shopped, Carlton took the liberty of telling Kyle about everything she’d done to date that had irked her. There was talk of her witch trial, the time Kyle walked away in the middle of one of Carlton’s stories about a bloody bird, a Lisa nipple comment that I don’t completely remember/understand, and … was there anything else? Who knows. Anyway, good for Carlton. And I love how she rarely smiles. She’s the grand empress of shade throwing, and what’s more, I think her “Fuck You” cross tattoo on her inner arm is feminine, fun, and playful.
Soon, the ladies were all traveling in respective limos to get to Palm Springs. Lisa and Carlton were in one car, Brandi and Yolanda were in another, and the brain trust of Kyle, Kim, and Joyce occupied the final limousine. And there was some chatter about “Gee, I hope this trip doesn’t have any drama!” and some residual wonderment about the sanity of a woman who needs to take her own juicer on a two-day trip away from her pitbull. But mostly this scene was about how spellbound and utterly occupied Kim and Joyce were with the scintillating “throw popcorn in each other’s mouths” game.
Once the ladies arrived at a sort of rinky dink house built in 1929, the Housewives chose their rooms so we could all bear witness, as we do each season, to the “who will have to share a bedroom?” suspense-a-thon. And there was no drama about the fact that Yo and Lisa would happily shack up, and only Kim, under her breath, commented on the fact that bicurious “Friendship Kissers” Brandi and Carlton would also sleep in the same room together.
Soon, the ladies convened at the pool, where Brandi continued to personally torture me with her bikini body, seemingly unaffected by the effects of many, many Holiday Hershey miniatures consumed at my office yesterday alone. And Joyce stripped down to the two-piece we ogled in the opening credits, so Kim Richards could compare her to Bo Derek and we could all wonder if those bumps on her chest were natural, or stress-ball-size implants. NO SHADE: If you are Joyce, you don’t want to go up to a croquet ball in a teardrop shape when you’re sporting a 98-pound frame. That’s a recipe for a Carlton-esque divot between breast (or, if you ask Kyle, “ant tit”) one and two.
And Yolanda, who looked ABSOLUTELY PERFECT in her white one-piece (when it comes to style achievement, I’m giving her the episode, hands down), started razzing Joyce about going into the water. She said that Joyce was the hostess, which meant she was supposed to go swimming. I haven’t heard of this dictum, but Yo is better versed in etiquette than I am. And as Brandi called Joyce “Jacqueline” over and over again, Joyce insisted that she didn’t want to take a dip in the pool. Kyle, taking her simple friend’s side, called Carlton, Brandi, and Yolanda’s ribbing “peer pressure,” then had the nerve to flip it around and say something like “We’re not in high school.” And, come on, Kyle. You can’t call something peer pressure, then accuse the OTHER party of taking it to a teenage place.
Finally, we learned that Joyce-lyn couldn’t swim. “I CAN’T SWIM, OKAY?” she cried, like she was a kid on an after-school special who couldn’t read. And even though the water was barely ribs-deep, Joyce’s protests seemed to put the “peer pressure” issue to bed. There was also talk of “Friendship Kissing,” what pentagrams mean, and whether Joyce’s God is a more powerful God than Carlton’s witchcraft-fueled notion of mother nature and spirituality. But mostly this scene was about the rising tension between Team YoBranLisCarl and the evil axis of KyKiJoyce-lyn. Oh, and also, Brandi called Joyce “a black person” after Joyce exclaimed that she couldn’t swim. Which was … well, classic Brandi. I don’t know what else to say about that — please feel free to weigh in below, or just shake your head along with me — but I will say that Joyce’s take on that comment was ridiculous. Joyce took “black person-gate” very literally, and mused on the origin of Puerto Rico, when, in fact, what Brandi said was really more hypothetically offensive to African-American peoples not present in that moment. Remember her black friends? Well, according to Brandi, they would have loved that one-liner.
Later that night, dinner was served, and Brandi seemed to ARRIVE drunk. Our Friendship Kiss–loving blonde pal seemed to go from lit to wrecked between the soup course and the surf and turf. Oh, and good one, Kyle — your remark on the cold soup served in shot glass: “Is this food or alcohol?” was somehow more of a perfect instance of a “thing to say just to fill the air with the sound of your own voice when you are actually saying nothing at all” than, somehow, the time by the pool when she remarked how quiet it was, and how strange it was that it was quiet. Not anymore now that you’re running your yap with nothing at all to say, Ky-Ky!
Over the course of dinner, Brandi went from calling Joyce “Jaqueline” to calling Joyce “Yoyce,” which was admittedly funny, but also kind of nasty in an unprovoked way (of course Joyce is annoying, but Brandi totally started it) and at least a tick racially insensitive. And Joyce told the table that she hated being called Yoyce when she was growing up, because that’s a term for horse, and also she was bullied. And Lisa tried to ask “Um, were you really BULLIED?” and attempted to point out to Joyce, “Brandi isn’t exactly bullying you like those people hypothetically did in high school,” but Kim wouldn’t even let Lisa finish her sentence. Also in this scene, Brandi had kind of sweated off all her makeup just by drinking too much, and Carlton looked like a Mob Wife.
And across the table, Yolanda and Kyle had words about the time Kyle called Yolo a liar at the reunion, and instead of discussing what had actually happened, Kyle suggested that they, as adults, should “agree to disagree” so they could all move on. And Yolanda was like “actually, no.” And Yoyce-lyn chimed in about how adults agree to disagree, that’s what adults actually do, and Lisa sort of stared into space when Brandi shrieked in an inevitable name game climax that the reason why she will not call Joyce, “Joyce” is because she considers the name “Joyce” to be that belonging to — quote — a “big, fat pig.” And that is not a thing a human should ever say out loud to another human being, no matter how many cocktails she has put away in her perfect, insane, unfair body.
What do you guys think? Was Brandi out of hand? I mean, I know she was — but do you still like her? Are you still on her side, as the lesser, or at least different, of two evils? Is it sort of perversely funny to watch Joyce get picked on, or am I a huge jerk? And how badly did you want to scream at the TV, when Kyle asked Brandi to name an example in which she was bullying to her, “OH, I DON’T KNOW, THE TIME YOU HID HER FUCKING CRUTCHES?”
Oh, ladies. Oh, life. Ah, me.
See you guys next week! And please tell me in the comments below what I may have missed. For example, last week I thought Kyle and Portia watched the movie Bambi. It turns out that had actually WASHED their DOG, Bambi. Oops! Podoby’s Nerfect!