Brian Moylan, your regular RHOBH recapper, is on hiatus for a week. Please welcome the Moylan-approved Ben Rimalower.
The previews for this week’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills showed Brandi offering Lisa oral sex and much discussion of, namely, “cunnilingus.” Reality-television fans are wise to the ways networks lure us back each week, but this seemed like an awful lot of talk for something that wasn’t really going to happen. Would the franchise finally deliver the girl-on-girl action its name promised long ago when something pornographic might be inferred, before Real Housewives became a brand?
Of course not. And while there was a great deal of pseudo sexually charged grandstanding (beyond dirty talk, there was boob-squeezing, ass-pinching, some light S&M, and even a wet T-shirt contest), actual sex seemed to be the furthest thing from any of the women’s minds. This was all about power — Lisa Vanderpump’s power, mostly. It remains to be seen whether there’s a coup brewing or just some instability while the ranks readjust, incorporating new cast members.
The first half of the episode was devoted to Brandi’s housewarming, which she tried so hard to get Lisa to come to on the last episode. In fact, when Lisa finally did show up, Brandi couldn’t stop obsessively telling Lisa how glad she was that she came and angling for more from the English ice queen who was once her friend.
Brandi worked hard supervising Juan, her florist, and took on the more important task of setting up the bar, proudly displaying an extensive inventory of bottom-shelf booze like some University of Arizona sophomore throwing her first house party.
Brandi enjoyed her role as hostess because “you can excuse yourself from any conversation in order to be a hostess to your other guests.” That mostly meant the chance to go touch the other guests’ body parts or bat eyes at their husbands (and even their very young boyfriends, in the case of Adrienne Maloof’s Jacob, whom Brandi cryptically claimed to have “met before,” adding that she’s been known to get “dickmatized” by younger men).
Regardless, Brandi wouldn’t dream of ditching Lisa, clinging to her with needy pleas for attention and affection that make even Giggy seem withholding. It was particularly sad when Brandi got stuck in a Bermuda Triangle of rejection, while her mom and dad and Lisa traded barbs at her expense. Brandi tried to convince stony-faced Lisa, “You love me,” as a flashback, to that time the same thing happened with Brandi’s dad, provided a painful underscore.
At least at this point, it’s all business for Lisa. She explained her pragmatic decision to attend the party, not wanting to feed the negativity. “I nipped it in the bud.” Like an actress formulating her movement (blocking) in a scene, Lisa planned to “put a bottle of champagne in [Brandi’s] hand,” i.e., the bare minimum token gesture. When Kyle and Yolanda (and even Kim!) toasted the hostess, Lisa sat tight-lipped.
Kyle was the opposite of tight-lipped, repeatedly shooting little digs at her reconciled friend Lisa, to prove she doesn’t need her, to prove that Kyle’s the other superpower among the cast. When Kyle’s tiny daughter Portia was smack-talking Lisa, it was obvious who taught her, despite Kyle’s smirking “No comment.” Kyle also smirked at Brandi’s housewarming, “All the surprise guests — Lisa Vanderpump, Adrienne, who's next, Eddie and LeAnn?” To be fair, there were a lot of randoms at the party. Leeza Gibbons? WTF. One can only assume she wanted to be a housewife and this lousy afternoon cameo was a consolation prize.
And anyway, who knows what Kyle really has said in front of Portia? It wouldn’t have to be very much; the kid is clearly quite precocious, preparing herself an elaborate cold cuts sandwich while her college-age sister can’t even wash a towel. Indeed, while Kyle’s dreams of wresting power from Lisa may just be pie-in-the-sky, young Portia has the potential to one day lord over them all. Quietly fixing her lunch, standing on a stool to reach her Hello, Kitty toaster, she stole focus from her big sister’s college conversation with their parents, effortlessly upstaging in the background.
In the background, but far from upstaging anybody, were Lisa Rinna and that new Eileen person. Lisa Rinna continues to come across as the most real of the Beverly Hills housewives, but perhaps only because, as she keeps reminding us, her whole life is show business. If her vapid observations about staying relevant in Hollywood seemed like a G-rated segment of Entertainment Tonight, she’s downright edgy next to Eileen. Eileen may be the least interesting person I’ve ever seen on TV. Sometimes, she’d rather be eating a doughnut than working out and she has been known to do BOTH AT THE SAME TIME, SHE IS NOT KIDDING! Neither am I.
At Lisa’s women-in-foster-care benefit (a tea party at Pump that the ladies bring their last season’s dresses to), Yolanda (a very special women in “Foster” care, if you know what I mean ... and even less relevant than Eileen on this episode) tried to stir up shit with Lisa for not inviting her to another party, an only slightly more valid complaint than last week when she kvetched about Lisa not inviting her to Palm Springs. And then she started going off on how fabulous it is to be 50 and not give a shit about anything. It’s so bogus, as bogus as Eileen’s stagey gasp of excitement when the waiter offered her tea. “I think I’ll have the Zen tea please!” An obviously pre-planned ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gave Lisa the chance to dump ice on Yolanda and gave Yolanda the chance to brag about having a friend with ALS. You know that. Did you know that? Yolanda will do anything for her girlfriends. That’s why she wore a white shirt for the challenge and brought a change of clothes, just in case anyone suggested it.
Things got weird when Brandi ripped a branch off a tree in some miscalculated grand gesture of reconciliation toward Lisa, who bristled. You can’t blame her, it wasn’t actually an olive branch — and it’s Lisa’s tree! I guess that was the rejection that finally drove Brandi, in desperation, to offer to eat Lisa’s pussy. Clearly not a real offer, but ten minutes of TV time nonetheless. With Lisa too busy to even sit down for five minutes, the rest of the cast dashed off to dish and drink at a nearby watering hole.
Even cute, little, clueless Kim was keyed up over the power of Lisa, affecting the all-time worst ever British accent, “I hope Lisa will be a darling to me … I miss you, darling.” At least she had the class to stay out of the group bitch-about-Lisa session. Eileen played dumb to bait the other women into explaining the Lisa-Brandi rift. Brandi offered some half-baked explanation, which Kyle maliciously corroborated. Lisa Rinna maintained her well-honed Hollywood diplomacy, not that it matters. For a moment, Yolanda mistakenly thought Eileen was asking about her relationship with Lisa, but then went back to disinterested pouting. When Brandi dimly proclaimed (yet again) her love for Lisa, Yolanda muttered, “Love is a strong word.”