There are no great novels about peace. Just think about it: All of our great works of art are about conflict in one way or another. There are no great films about people driving around in the sunshine and getting along and having little laughs while they think about buying jewelry that most people would never be able to afford. That’s not really newsworthy, that’s not very exciting. It might be a little bit exciting to watch, like it can be exciting to watch someone else win at a game of computer solitaire, but it’s not going to change your life. Though it may put you in a good mood and give you a craving for a croissant from that really good bakery across town, not the shitty one near your house where the girl who works behind the counter always looks like her thong and her butthole are in a bitch fight.
That’s what this episode of Real Housewives was. It was just everyone getting along. It was sunshine and Master Cleanse ingredients. It was the five pounds you lose after a colonic. It was the second-best hamburger you had in your life. It was making out without getting oral. That’s what this episode was. It was just fine. It was our favorite people doing very unremarkable things, and, well, I don’t have that much to say about it.
The thing that seemed like it was going to be the most like drama was Brandi’s meeting for Adrienne at a café called Rive Gauche, which is pretty appropriately named for two ladies who couldn’t find class if they were on University of Phoenix dot com backslash enroll now. Brandi called Adrienne, the queen of the Maloofs, a race of mole people that live under the mountain, from her craggy throne so that she could finally apologize for telling the world that Adrienne used a surrogate to birth her children. It was the first adult thing that Brandi has ever done. Adrienne squinted through her lizard-eyes, besotted as they were by really creepy contacts, and accepted Brandi’s apology.
While it was good to see her do something sincere and mature, Brandi still had to say, “Lisa was my best friend at the time and she had some issues with you, and that’s why I did it.” Oh, please, Lisa didn’t make her say those things, and until Brandi can finally take ownership of her own actions she will never be exonerated for them. I’m not saying Lisa had nothing to do with them, just that Lisa wasn’t even in attendance for some of Brandi’s worst moments with Adrienne, so let’s ease off on that Lisa hate for a little bit.
Speaking of Lisa, what did she do this episode? She ordered some tacky custom shirts with rhinestones all over the cuffs. Then she talked about her maids. Then she went jewelry shopping with Shiva, a woman who is so pretty that she seems to be a stock photo come to life. If you Google Image search “pretty woman eating breakfast,” you will probably find like 18 pictures of Shiva staring glumly into a bowl of Grape Nuts with one leg perched on a chair and her bony knee pointing toward her forehead.
What did Kyle do? Oh, she took a private jet to Lake Taco with her whole family, her daughter’s boyfriend, two dogs, a nanny, and Mauricio’s chief of staff. (I made up that last bit, but doesn’t Mauricio seem like the kind of guy who would have a personal assistant he calls a chief of staff?) Now, like every other lifetime member of the Real Housewives Institute, I used to have a big old crush on Mauricio, but what the hell happened to him? He used to be all soccer jerseys and European suits and shiny shoes. Now he’s wearing cargo shorts and baseball caps and a pair of Oakleys backward over the baseball cap. What is this, lacrosse practice? It’s like he’s getting less refined the richer he gets. It’s like he went from a smooth Italian gigolo to being the Situation after his chain of tanning outlets went bankrupt.
What did Yolanda Bananas Foster do this episode? Oh, she bitched about having Lyme disease and wore some incredibly tasteful lingerie for her skeevy husband, David Foster Wallace. I can’t say anything bad about YBF. She’s like the best page of a Chico’s catalogue and has great hair. That’s all I want out of life.
Is that everyone? Did we cover everything because now we have to talk about Kim Richards, the light of my life, the dream of my heart, the lubrication at the tip of my condom. I love Kim so much and we barely saw her in the premiere, but this time around Kim Richards did not disappoint at all.
First Kim went over to Brandi’s new house to help her move and to help Brandi inspect the tight abdominal muscles of the college kids who were hired to schlep her white leather sofa. It seemed a little tacky and exploitative at first, but the company is called Meathead Movers and it employs only college athletes and, well, I would pay them money just to show up and move my apples from the counter to the refrigerator. (That is a euphemism for blowing me.) Naturally, Brandi ends up having an adult sleepover with one named Jake Ryan (who probably doesn’t even get that his name is a Sixteen Candles reference) who is not currently a Sean Cody model, but, well, he’s missing a good chance. Anyway, Kim is there because she is an expert at moving because she used it as an excuse for all sorts of behavior for about three seasons.
Then Brandi goes to Kim’s Sad Valley Ranch and they put on wigs and hats and go stalk Brandi’s boyfriend JR because Kim thinks if Brandi sees him with his new girlfriend that it will snap her out of her love for him. This is the most YA-novel-teenage-girl idea I have ever heard in my whole life, and I love it. Kim literally climbs in the bushes to try to spot him out in front of his favorite club. This is the first time that Kim Richards has ever climbed into the bushes and not ended up vomiting. But, also, if they’re trying to be discreet, isn’t there a better way to do it than making a scene crouching in the shrubbery and ruining Brandi’s already tattered Louboutins? Still, this was a great caper. It was like Cagney & Lacey if the parts were played by two public-school girls who just got fired from Claire’s for spending too much time texting behind the register.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. No, I want to talk about Kim Richards going riding with Yolanda. No, not because Kim Richards making fart jokes combines two of my all-time-favorite things in one sentence (sort of like a sentence mentioning both poppers and He-Man/Skeletor slash fiction). I need to talk about this because Kim Richards retold my favorite story that has ever been told on any Real Housewives franchise ever. The first time she told this was at the Widow Armstrong’s birthday party for her daughter Kennedy in season two and then Kim was still in the throes of addiction and it was just so much sadder. This time around it was just as sad, but wasn’t as tinged with darkness.
The story goes something like this: When Kim Richards was a child star she worked on all these movies with trained horses and they were led around by trainers on the Disney lot, and Kim believed that she knew how to ride a horse. Then, as an adult, she got on a horse and it wasn’t as trained, and it took off and she bobbed around on the saddle like Kirstie Alley’s boobs when she gets on the treadmill without a sports bra. Kim then realized that she didn’t know how to ride at all. Then she had to learn how to ride all over again at 30, correcting all those fame-laden assumptions that she grew up with, that she held close to her heart like secrets about herself. This, right here, is why I love Kim Richards. That is her tragic Tennessee Williams–heroine life summed up in one little anecdote. If only this story about her existed it would be enough for me.
And it was enough for Kim. After a stinky afternoon following around Yolanda’s farting horse and talking about their children leaving the nest, she rode the horse back to his handlers and dismounted. She got into her rented Bentley and drove home. At the first stop light she came to, she could still feel it in her legs, that power of the horse, the rhythm of the galloping. It would take a few hours to go away, to melt out of her legs, down past her knees and out of her feet and back into the earth the steeds had thundered with their hooves just a few hours ago.
She loved this feeling because it was real. It reminded her of when she was 30 and she fell off the horse again and again trying to master riding. She was going to learn, not because she expected to be cast in some Jane Austen costume epic, but she wanted to lay claim to it. It was like finishing all those novels you were supposed to read in college. She wanted to make those fantasies of her childhood a reality. That’s why she loved this feeling so much, because it reminded her of learning, it reminded her of mastery, it reminded her that she could overcome everything that came before, rewriting her history one day at a time. She loved this feeling. It was better than love-making and better than childbearing. It was better than bone-hollowing anxiety and the limb-numbing liquor. It was the best feeling on Earth, and as it filled up her legs with its warm ache, Kim Richards vowed to never forget when she learned to ride, both the first time and the second. The light turned green. Kim put her car in gear and she drove home.