As winter thaws to spring and life begins anew, so ends another season of Kyle pretending to love her sister, Brandi pretending she’s too tough to care about anyone, and Lisa pretending she couldn’t buy and sell everyone on this show many times over, cancel it, and be done. This season was part exercise in futility, part whiplash-inducing high school dramatics, and 100 percent what I want to see when I turn on my television.
As we flashback through Lisa’s season, it’s easy to see how the group ganged up on her, even though they spend a healthy portion of the reunion denying it. Brandi finally had the balls to reveal what has been at the root of her campaign of terror against Mistress Vanderpump: She doesn’t want Lisa to be friends with Scheana. That’s what this is alllll about. Perpetually dumped Brandi wanted a fancy friend all her own; she hates that Scheana is in Lisa’s orbit and feels that Lisa “cheated” on her. Lisa stands to gain nothing by tricking Brandi into constantly being around her arch nemesis; that Brandi thinks Lisa is cruel enough to watch people squirm for her own amusement says more about her than it does about Lisa.
Kyle made sure her eyes were extra bulge-y when she took Lisa to task for only being a real friend to her when she was well-received by the public. Kyle is a lying liar who lies — most people would line up days in advance to watch her suffer even the tiniest amount of humiliation, and the last time she was well-received was at a party she paid for herself. It didn’t take long for the true colors to come sailing out of her like a toddler with explosive diarrhea; Kyle shouted “I have been upset! I am validated here!” as if the only thing that matters is her own contrived notion of what she is owed. She ranted about Lisa never apologizing, which promptly blew up in her face when Lisa said, “Yeah, sure, I’m sorry that I said something about the tabloid in front of your kid.” FACED!
In the end, Lisa was right to feel like she was ganged up on, because no one had a leg to stand on when it comes to accusing her of anything illicit or intentionally cruel. Kyle kept trying to bring up fights from three years ago, and Brandi had an emotional breakdown when Lisa didn’t answer her hypothetical question about who she would save from a burning building first — her or Scheana? Lisa hilariously shouted, “I wouldn’t let any of my waitresses burn to death!” and it became clear that there is nothing that would appease Brandi quicker than having her own mother and father show her some much needed attention. Her adoption of Lisa and Ken as surrogate parents happened when she was going through some actual strife with her own, and she seems to have imprinted on them like a baby duck.
Andy tried to moderate a truce; the most he got out of Lisa was “I need some distance but I can’t cut her out entirely,” and Brandi apologized for the way she acted in Puerto Rico. Unable to stop herself from ruining a good thing, she immediately said, “I can apologize when I’m wrong, though, and you can’t,” to which Lisa replied, “Then why do you want to be my friend?” You hit the nail on the head, sister. Lisa wants to believe they can still be friends even though she is quite hurt, but I think she should cut and run.
The husbands file in with the exception of the Davids; Yo’s David is busy shouting down a young musical hopeful, and Carlton’s David is trapped under an avalanche of bustiers at Frederick’s of Hollywood. Michael, who lost some weight because being on television really brought out the slick sheen of his ever-present flop sweat, wasted no time on launching into Carlton about that time she hexed him with the shits. He thinks Wicca can be a beautiful religion, but boldly claimed Carlton was just doing it for shock value. Michael, I wish you well, but your mouth just wrote a check that your ass can’t cash. No number of priests or rabbis can save you from the thunder hex Carlton is about to lay on you. I don’t think Carlton claims to be a witch just for shock value — she makes out with her nanny and hires pole-dancing waitresses for that.
When Brandi insisted that the whole hex thing was a joke, Joyce piped up like startled Pomeranian and sniped, “It’s always joking! Everything is a joke with this group!” She has a point—the ladies do deflect a lot by insisting their bad behaviors are just misunderstood shenanigans, but it makes me sad that she thinks anyone actually cares what she has to say, when everyone has dismissed her so thoroughly. Ken picked up the “it was just a joke” mantle when Maurice brought up the tabloid rumor incident again, and Maurice incredulously asked, “A joke in front of a 5-year old?!” Their tiny minds can’t comprehend jokes, you monster!
Ken also addressed his statement that “Rocio is privileged” with a joke about how privileged she is to take care of Giggy. How is it possible that Ken, who won’t even cross a room to give a hug because his hips hurt, is the most jovial wisecracker in the group? He apologized to Kim and Yolanda, which they accepted, but when he told Andy he wasn’t sure if he could let Brandi back into his life, she broke down crying and said she didn’t want back in. Brandi, someone should make sure your face gets that message.
So who won this season?
Joyce is more annoying than a wedgie right up the ol’ ass crack , and I will never forget that her first big act was to pick a ridiculous fight with Lisa about hair flipping. I like her spirit, but she’s dumber than a box of rocks. Joyce is not the winner, now or ever.
Did Kyle win? How dare you, and don’t you ever speak to me like that again.
Kim gets an honorable mention for her first fully sober season. She seems grateful for the life she’s living, and is baby stepping her way towards emotional stability. I was genuinely moved by her struggle for sobriety more than I expected to be, and I wish her nothing but the best in her recovery, and in her life. But facts are facts, and Kim is a twinkly-eyed lunatic, a turtle-loving weirdo who talks to framed photos and remains in strict denial that her dog will one day kill her and eat her thighs for dinner. Kim does not need the distraction of a title like this — she needs a Bane-style muzzle and a little more time with people she’s not related to.
Is it possible that Brandi won? Her manipulation went a little too far off the rails this season, leaving behind the brash, fun girl who said what everyone was thinking and replacing her with a drunken, mean mess of a human being. I don’t think she realizes how crucial Lisa’s friendship has been to normalizing her abrasiveness; without anyone to explain away her actions, she becomes a polarizing force in the group. Brandy just seems sad this season, you know? She did more to dismantle friendships than build them, so she’s not our girl this year.
What about Carlton? It was fun to watch her jangle her bones all over creation and she was my favorite new addition to the cast simply for the abject friction she caused by existing. I will never forget her patent refusal of Kyle’s friendship after talking to a crystal in her kitchen (BRILLIANT), but she spent too much time trying to distance herself from everyone else. She stuck to her guns all season, but I wish she would have put a few of those guns away. My biggest pet peeve with Carlton is that she gave up. She could have been a brilliant foil to their asshattery, but she pulled herself away instead showing up to fewer and fewer events, avoiding vacations, and only seeing individually the people she could tolerate. Plus, her fauxmosexuality was a bit much, and that party felt like she was poisoning my eyeballs from afar. If she comes back next season, I hope she relentlessly inserts herself in every situation, but this year I just cannot honor her for checking out.
Which brings us to Yolanda Hadid Foster. This is why Yolanda won the season.
Style: From her monochromatic casual outfits to her slay ’em where they stand tight-fitting dresses, Yolanda always carries herself with grace, and looks good doing it.
Class: Are you a real friend or a Hollywood friend? You’re still invited to paint a picture for her daughter and she will be inclusive of everyone, but Yolanda has boundaries. By holding herself to a higher standard, Yolanda turns a mirror on the bad behavior of everyone in the group and invites them to be better by leading by example.
Fear inducing: I’ve been afraid of her physically since we all watched her gleefully choke a man half to death.
No Chumps Allowed: She won’t let you twist in the wind — you know where you stand with her, and when you piss her off she gives you an out — but her bullshit tolerance level is zero.
Humor: Yolanda is the funniest. When she does that trademark squint and says things like, “Joyce keeps talking into the back of my head,” or “What means goad?” I die.
Friendship: Yolanda truly values her friendships, which is why she is so intense about realness. She’s loyal, but she will not join a fight she doesn’t believe in just to appease you.
Priorities Intact: Yolanda cares about her family and herself first and foremost. She’s open about the way her Lyme’s disease limits her, and how her health scare has shifted her focus back to the things that really matter to her. She stays above the fray by remembering what really matters to her, and it makes her a better friend, wife, mother, and person.
Congratulations, Yolanda! The season four crown is well deserved.
Thank you all, truly, for allowing me to pick up recapping duties for our beloved DJ Soft Batch. I was petrified, as she left huge shoes to fill, but you welcomed me with open arms. I bow to the community you’ve created, and look forward to reading your hilarious and thoughtful take on the episodes from week to week.
You can still find me at my regular recapping gigs on Vulture; I try to figure out when Porsha will learn to read on the Real Housewives of Atlanta here, rile people up with my disdain for Fitz and Olivia’s relationship on Scandal here, and consider the plight of the female convict in my Orange Is the New Black recaps here. You can follow me on Twitter here, because the next season is miles away and we have a lot of speculating to do.
Thank you for everything.