The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Recap: Palm Springs Eternal

By
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Episode Title
Confessions of a Housewife
Season
5
Episode
18
Editor’s Rating
3/5

You know that there are some things you can only talk about so much, like your friends’ babies, your co-worker’s dreams, or just how amazing Robin Wright’s hair is on House of Cards? All right, fine, I can never say enough about the perfection of that blonde masterpiece, but I feel like I have absolutely nothing left to say about either Brandi and her horrible condition or Kim and Kyle and their irreparable sisterly bond. Just nothing left.

Granted, Kim and Kyle are a lot more interesting than stupid Brandi, that’s for sure, but she is the one who takes up most of the episode. First we have to talk about how she met this 22-year-old Andre kid on a trip that is being extensively filmed, yet there seems to exist no footage of him rolling up on a Vespa, grabbing Brandi’s boob, and then saying, “Hi, Mrs. Vanderpump, remember me? Max’s friend?” What fired assistant producer allowed that to go undocumented?

Anyway, on the last night in Amsterdam, Brandi lets this kid take her out, and she’s about three Chardonnays deep at a café that looks like it caters exclusively to tourists, and they have some stilted conversation and she just makes out with him, because apparently she thinks that making out is more intimate than sex, so she’ll just do it right there while German tourists pull Luna Bars out of their fanny packs and nibble on them while a 40-year-old mother of two in a fake-fur vest from BCBG makes out with a recent college graduate. I Amster-damn!

The rest of the ladies were happy that Brandi wasn’t at dinner because they managed to have a meal that didn’t end in an MMA fight for the first time all trip. I blame Yolanda Bananas Foster’s absolutely immaculate peek-a-boob dress. You know she wears that in the dungeon next to her bedroom because it gives off that naughty-secretary vibe that puts wet marks in her husband’s Jockeys. Brandi says that she has the same dress in a different color, and I can see how she would wear it and it would look hood rat, hood rat, hoochie momma on her, but on YBF it’s just the right level of sex kitten. That’s probably because she lets the dress sell her body rather than the other way around.

Speaking of Yolanda, the way that she handles Brandi is absolutely perfect. She sits her down and tells her the truth, which is that every night on the trip there has been a fight and they all seem to be because of Brandi. She tells her that she has had a problem with each woman separately and maybe she should examine herself and see why that is. Yolanda doesn’t just “have her back,” in that blind way that these women want, she is actually trying to help Brandi learn something, even when she sobs through Yolanda’s advice while 14-karat-gold facial serum is being diluted by her tears.

The problem is that Brandi refuses to learn because Brandi refuses to accept culpability for what she does. Or, even if she does accept the blame, she approaches it with a relativity that isn’t really applicable. She says, “Yeah, I went too far, just like Lisa has gone too far with me a million times.” That’s sort of like saying, “I know I embezzled millions but you’ve shoplifted a dozen times, so it’s all right.” No, that’s not the way this works. When it is wrong, it is wrong.

And Brandi is always wrong. Take her slap with Lisa. The next morning she tries to give Lisa flowers and apologize for what she did. She says, “I apologized. I said I was wrong. What else do you want?” and Lisa responds, “For you not to do this kind of stuff.” Yeah, exactly.

Yolanda is right, that Brandi has issued an I'm sorry one too many times. Her apologies have about as much value as confederate money, the hug coupons that kids make for Mother’s Day, or promises made by anyone in Las Vegas (you know who you are). She knows that she goes too far, but instead of keeping herself from going that far, she gets all mad at those who won’t forgive her. That’s why she has to keep switching friends, because she uses up all her allowances with them and can’t make up for them.

Then, after all the arguments are over, she tries to play the victim. “Everyone gets to speak their mind but me. All these women say things about me, but I can’t say anything about them.” The problem is that when Kyle says that she has a problem with something that Brandi did to her specifically, Brandi then goes and says, out of the blue, that her husband is cheating on her. The problem is that when Lisa says Brandi can’t be trusted, Brandi goes and makes up lies about how she’s bankrupt. She doesn’t see that there are varying degrees. Brandi is as free to speak her mind as anyone else. The problem is, when Brandi speaks her mind, she does irreparable harm both to herself and the reputations of others. So, yes, she can speak her mind, but she can’t deal with the consequences. And when she says worse things than anyone else, that’s why the consequences are worse for her than for others. See how that works?

Ugh, I am just completely exhausted by Brandi. She’s just like a skinny bird that keeps flying into the really clean glass door on a Windex commercial. At first it was kind of funny, but when you know that the thud is coming, at some point you just want someone to open the damn door so that she’ll fly out of the house and migrate to Miami and never ever come back (probably because Joanna Krupa is sitting on her balcony with a rifle waiting to shoot her when Brandi flies by her condo).

Before we talk about Kim and Kyle, this is just a friendly reminder that Yolanda Bananas Foster once dated Julio Iglesias and she just drops this bomb in conversation like you wouldn’t even know that it was a big deal. God, is she just the best? I want to come back in my next life as one of YBF’s motorcycle jackets. Is that too much to ask, to be buttery-soft leather covered in a perfume she made at home with the essential oils that she squeezes from the rinds of her organic lemons that grow on the Malibu hillside? Is it really?

All right, Kim and Kyle. They know they have problems, we know they have problems, but no matter what they do to try to fix them, it always ends up in bloodshed and heartbreak. They’re like Israel and Palestine but without any actual consequences. Actually, they’re more like Itchy and Scratchy, if one of them were wearing Grecian sleeves and the other one has been nibbling on the world’s last remaining quaalude for about a decade.

They start talking about their problems with others, Kyle turning to Lisar, who says that she and Brandi want to give Kim an intervention, which is about as good of an idea as getting mired into a decades-long war in Afghanistan. (What is it with me today and the geopolitical metaphors? I need to stop watching Anderson Cooper for spank-bank material.) Lisar also tells Kyle that Brandi is concerned about Kim’s sobriety, which Kyle thinks makes Brandi a bad friend or something.

Oh God, I’m also sick of everyone tip-toeing around Kim’s sobriety and saying who is allowed and who is not allowed to say what about it. This problem all originates with Kim. The problem is that Kim will not talk about her own sobriety, like it’s some kind of secret. It’s like that girl in college who everyone knew was a stripper so everyone whispered about it behind her back, but if she would have just been like, “Yeah, I know I’m a stripper, so what?” everyone would have been like, “Do you know Amber the stripper? She’s pretty cool.” It’s the same with Kim. The reason they’re all whispering about it behind her back is because she won’t talk to them about it out loud. So, sorry, Kim, there is an easy solution to all of this and you just won’t take it.

Then Kim is talking about her problems with Kyle with Adrienne, Queen of the Maloofs, a race of mole people that live under the mountain. Why is she back, and how is it that every time she appears her hair gets blonder and her face gets sharper? I guess she’s around to set up the fact that she’s having some party next week that we’re supposed to care about. The only reason I care is because I heard Saint Camille is going to be there, so I’ll pretend like their conversation was of consequence.

Kyle and Kim both know they have problems and want to get together alone to talk about them, so Kyle invites Kim down to her new Palm Springs McMansion, which looks like the after picture in every episode of Property Brothers, except Kyle has money, so it’s all real instead of knockoffs. This is a bad move. First of all, it puts Kyle in a place of dominance and just reminds Kim that she thinks that Kyle stole their mother’s house from her.

Also, the real big problem here, is that Kim is jealous of Kyle’s success. Kim used to be the pretty one and the famous one who supported the family and she turned into an alcoholic who couldn’t take care of anything. Kyle married a super-rich real-estate-seller guy and now she is the one who is rich and famous and has it all together. Deep down, I have a feeling that this has a lot to do with Kim’s insecurities about their relationship.

Because what real charges does Kim level against Kyle? There aren’t many. She claims that Kyle doesn’t support her, but, as Kyle points out, she has supported her through thick and thin for decades. When she was acting crazy at Eileen’s house, Kyle told everyone she hadn’t seen Kim like that in years. That is all the support Kim could possibly expect. And then, when she disagrees with Kyle, she just accuses her of lying.

What is at the root of their contention? The first is Kim’s jealousy and the second is that Kim doesn’t want to be treated like the messy alcoholic she used to be. But Kim is still behaving like that person. Kim needs to do more growing on her own, accepting herself and her sobriety, before she can ask others to accept it, especially Kyle, who has saved her from being at her worst for years.

Seeping underneath all that tension is some misguided feeling that they should just effortlessly get along. That’s just crazy. At one point Kim says, “I know we have our stuff,” but these two are always going to have their “stuff.” There is always going to be a push and pull between the two, even if they settle things about the house or Brandi or Kim’s sobriety, there is always going to be “stuff” and until they can figure out how to talk about this stuff honestly and without it devolving into shouting, accusations, and calling each other liars, then the stuff is just going to pile up endlessly like the Wet Wipes in the New York City sewer system until it is glutting up the pipes of their relationship with so much soggy cotton material coated with a fine layer of fecal matter.

But nothing got resolved that night. They ate a butternut-squash soup and Kyle burned some chicken breasts and they stared out at the pool, which was lit from underneath like some kind of secret lagoon and burbled with the constant stream of progress (which was really just the water feature). Kim eventually went upstairs, settling uneasily into Farrah’s bed, and Kyle said she would shut the lights out and come up in a minute. She walked around the house, her flats echoing in the still night as the house got dimmer and dimmer. But she couldn’t find the switch for the pool light. Well, she could, but it was on a timer or something and she couldn’t figure out how to shut it off. Mauricio and his damn electronics. She stood there in the dark looking out over that illuminated tub of water sunk into the ground. She crossed her arms, which were getting cold, her fingers gently tripping on the goose bumps like she could read some sort of message in them, some secret code that her body was trying to impart. Finally, she decided just to turn in and leave the light on until the morning. She walked upstairs and could still see the pool light up from the window in her room, grinning up at her like some sort of benign failure. And just as she turned around to pull off her dress, the light went off with a silent pop.