The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Recap: One Mean Girl’s Top Is Another’s Bottom

Photo: Bravo
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Episode Title
It’s Just a Scratch
Editor’s Rating

If you missed last week’s cliff-hanger, in which Kim acts drunk and admits to taking a pill and Kyle and Brandi breaking out into a fight because of it, don't worry, because this week started with a triple replay. As if unaware there’d be a “Previously on Real Housewives …” montage, and that this episode itself would pick up three minutes before the end of last week’s, Brandi, Kyle and Kim completed the reduce/reuse/recycle trifecta by rehashing their fight one more time, reenacting the same triangulated argument (this is reality TV’s version of the traditional three-camera-sitcom 180-degree dinner table) outside Eileen Davidson’s traditional three-camera-sitcom house.

It's hard on Kyle, being forced to choose between the roles of concerned sister and victim (when Brandi scratched her). Some say Kyle’s not a good sister, but at least Kyle wants to be seen as a good sister. Still, being on the receiving end of any kind of physical violence is Real Housewives gold. I’ve seen Housewives spin an entire season’s worth of story out of a mild wrist-slap. Beverly Hills, not unlike life, is about choices.

Brandi, too, has a choice to make, between two irresistible options: attack Kyle or play nursemaid to Kim, the one sister-wife too weak to reject her. No wonder it's such a clusterfuck, with Kim squawking like a bird in a cage in the back of a U-Haul. Poor, alcoholic, ostensibly sober, admittedly on-something Kim, who, like all dry drunks, remembers vivid bits and pieces of many nights as the bad guy. Codependent, she keeps asking if Kyle is okay, wondering if she should apologize, even as Kyle speeds away with Lisa Rinna in the SUV hired for Kim.

Brandi had claimed Kyle and Kim hate each other, but Lisa Rinna knows that isn’t true, even if Kyle is unsure how to play this episode. Lisa Rinna saw Harry Hamlin’s brothers die of addiction — one six months after the other, like a shot and a chaser, liquor and beer, never mix, never worry. Addiction is a disease.

Brandi feels bad for Kim. She understands how much Kim has on her plate, with Monty sick and Brooke getting married and her other kids going to college (how many college-age kids does Kim have?) and like three weddings to plan. (Seriously, how many kids? Are Kim Jr. and Kim Richards II not the same person? What about Li’l Kim? Kim Jong-un?) At least Brandi pronounces the T in Monty, which is more than I can say for Kim. If she wants people to believe she’s sober, she might try asking Vanna for a consonant. But maybe Kim did pop a pill from MonTy’s stash, and maybe it wasn’t the first time? Who died and made Brandi Kim’s sponsor, anyway? Brandi loves to talk about Kim’s problem because it’s someone else being a train wreck. She says, “Even when Kim is totally normal, she seems a little bit wack-a-doodle-doo.” It’s like the pot calling the kettle a pot. 

I took some notes on Eileen’s scene alone with her husband, but I don’t think it’s fair to subject you to that. Let's just say that Eileen is still pretending she doesn’t have Hulu Plus and has no idea what happened on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills seasons 1–4.

Even more clueless than Eileen is Yolanda, who can’t figure out why her daughter’s picture on FaceTime turns horizontal when she rotates her iPhone. It’s like the trick we played on my brother with a camcorder when he was 3. He would get so scared seeing himself upside-down on TV that he’d clutch the carpet in his tiny hands. The Yolanda sequence is funny like that, for about a minute. Then it’s just sad. And then it gets funny again, like a Family Guy bit. Then Yolanda’s son comes down for his breakfast of berries and pills and the Real Housewives producers wisely cut Yolanda’s camera, and she’s just a rambling incoherent voice-over accompanying a Throwback Thursday slideshow of her #breasts.

There’s a lame craft-jewelry show at Lisa Rinna’s house, the kind of coral and cheap-gem shit rich ladies throw ten grand at for charity and wear with a sundress a couple of times before giving it to their maid in September. Lisa Rinna wants everyone to like her, but her hot-pink hot pants are quickly upstaged by Brandi in a jean shirt and no bottoms. (She boasts, “This is my proper attire. I’ve got an event at my kids’ school!”)

Speaking of tops and bottoms, Kyle realizes she might look bitchy for not visiting Kim in the hospital (oh, yeah, turns out Kim has an ulcer or something, but it’s not rehab, so ...) and, in a last-ditch effort to pander to her gay audience, Kyle announces she’s throwing a mixer for her gays. “Tops and bottoms, and I don’t mean bikinis,” she adds, gilding the lily for Lisa Rinna, who still doesn’t get it. It’s not really her fault; the lighting was so dim in the sex scenes of Harry Hamlin’s 1982 gay tearjerker/spank-banker Making Love, even I’m not 100% percent sure who was the top or bottom, and I rewatched that scene a lot. 

The jewelry party does at least give Lisa Vanderpump the chance to do something (other than fondle her herds of dogs) by way of a cameo by Denise Richards, whom Lisa asks if she was married to Charlie Sheen. I think that may be a bit of a read, although, truth be told, I pretty much left off at that point in the Denise Richards story myself. Then again, didn’t we all? 

As for Eileen Davidson, the party is an opportunity for her to confront Brandi for saying her house looks American Gothic. Really, Eileen? Do you really think this is going to keep you relevant? And — really? Do you think Brandi meant any harm? Do you think she even knows what American Gothic is? She was probably thinking of Norman Rockwell or, like, America. Eileen says she doesn’t want to belabor it — which is insulting to all of us — and then she and Brandi try to convince each other they don’t want it to be a “Mean Girls thing.” If either of them saw Mean Girls, they have no idea what it’s about. It’s not a “Mean Girls thing” any time a girl is mean. It’s like on The Office when Michael Scott says “hug it out” when he just means “hug.” Mean Girls is about cliquishness and cruelty, and it doesn’t apply when Eileen, who has friends, falsely perceives a slight from Brandi, who has no one.

Lisa Rinna gets her guests’ attention for a moment to introduce a cancer survivor, or possibly just some woman with a phlegmy voice who works in cancer research, but regardless, someone from the organization the jewelry sales are benefitting. It’s kind of a downer, and Kyle and Lisa can’t wait to blow this Popsicle stand for Villa Blanca, where they can sip on some iced rosé and talk shit about Brandi, an activity they’ve been waiting to do together for years. Indeed, the silver lining behind all this commotion is the reunion of these two friends. After all, in war and on Real Housewives, the ex-friend of my ex-friend is my ex-friend.