It's no secret that I hate writing about the reunion specials, especially because I feel that it is my sovereign duty to remind you of that fact every time I write one of these recaps. To make my job easier this week, we're going to break it down to winners and losers, because that is what these reunions are really about — establishing the pecking order for the next season.
Yolanda Bananas Hadid: In my book, the real winner is Yolanda, aside from that nude-illusion dress she's wearing. Yolanda seems to be feeling a lot better because she's back to her usual role of telling the truth, speaking sanely, and not worrying about what other people say about her. At the end of last week's episode, the conversation turned (as it always must) to whether or not Yolanda had Munchausen syndrome. The best part was how Lisa and Lisar voiced their opposing views of who said what about the M-word and Andy asked Yolanda (and by proxy, all of us at home) if Yolanda believes either of them. Her response is perfect: "I'm really confused." You're not the only one, sister.
Her explanation after that is perfect. She points out that Lisa has previously manipulated things to make a great show, and no one really blames her for that. It happens on every reality show. But as Yolanda says, "You can't run over dead bodies for a great show. You need to have compassion for someone before making a great show." That is an excellent point.
She makes other excellent points, too. As the other women argue about who said what, she points out that it doesn't matter who said it — the only thing that matters is that it was said. For that, they all need to apologize to Yolanda. The conversation ends with Lisar coming over to telling Yolanda she hopes they can move on. Finally. Can we lay this to rest now, please?
Kim Richards: She appeared on television and did not look like she was on any sort of controlled substance. That, in and of itself, is a victory. Kim finally admitted that she had a bad year and that her low point was when she started drinking. She has also decided not to talk about her recovery in public, which might be what she needs to finally get better — but it might just also be an expert way to sweep the stories about her being arrested and fleeing rehab and everything else under the rug.
She also talks about how she feels like she's unlovable. That just breaks my damn heart every time and I want to take her back to Witch Mountain and let her live her childhood all over again, but this time, it wouldn't be a giant mess ruined by her mother's ambition for fame. Kim makes Lisar look like a jerk for attacking her and her sobriety rather than the other way around, which is a shocking victory that has more to do with Lisar's deflating stock than any basis in reality.
Her only bad moment is when she tries to go after Eileen for something that didn't make any sense and hits her with the low blow: "This is real life, not a soap opera." Kim may be on the road to recovery, but she's still as mean as a rattlesnake underneath all of that glitter eye shadow.
Kyle Richards: Kyle mostly lays low, but she expresses herself clearly and doesn't bother to stick up for the awful dress that she is wearing. She addresses her and Kim's issues honestly and directly while admitting that they still have a lot to work on. It was the most honest I've seen Kyle act in a very long time.
Erika Jane: She admits that she looks like a hooker half the time, said that her husband doesn't care about the hot pieces of ass she has twerking around her pool, and thinks it's funny that Lisar called her a "pussy" and a "liar." Erika continues to acquit herself nicely. I love her and please never take her away.
Lisa Rinna: When even Andy Cohen calls you out for sticking to your talking points, you know your shit is busted. Lisar comes off looking shrill, crazy, and totally insincere. Like Andy points out, we can either believe Lisar or Lisa about the "there goes the story line" nonsense, but I'm more likely to side with Lisa just because Lisar came off as so calculated and inauthentic. Her whole "there goes the story line" argument never seems to get off the ground. Also, walking around and shouting at Lisa to "own it" is a bit of annoying grandstanding.
And can we just can it with "own it" forever? First of all, if Lisa hasn't already admitted to manipulating things behind the scenes, why is she suddenly going to do it now? Also, if she finally confessed and said, "Yes, I own it. I did make you say that. I control everything," it wouldn't change a thing. Owning it will not make people forgive her.
Lisar also admits her own weakness by saying she only brought up Munchausen because Lisa told her to. What kind of grown woman falls into peer pressure like that?
Finally, she does not come off well by trying to dismiss her calling Kim "gross" or by talking about how her lunch with Yolanda "enraged" her. Everyone points out that she should be a bit more sympathetic to addiction and they are right. I don't mind Lisar so much, but this was not a good night for her.
Kathryn Whoosiwhatsit: How fake does she look crying over Kim Richards, a woman she has never met before? Real fake. She's a one-season wonder, right?
Andy's Easter Tie: Seriously, that is what he picked to wear onscreen for three hours of television?
Lisa Vanderpump: It's clear that, yes, Lisa does manipulate things behind the scenes, but do any of us care? I don't think so. I don't. I don't even mind if she doesn't own it. That should be a loss for Lisa, but the calm and rational way that she took Lisar's screeching makes her look like the bigger person, which makes it a victory. Like Andy said, it comes down to who people believe. Lisa is acting much more believably.
However, Lisa does lose to Eileen. Lisa comes off as insincere in her apology and her hypocrisy seems a little bit bald. She doesn't think it was a big deal for Eileen to talk about her affair, but she would barely open up about her own abusive relationship. If Lisa expects this sort of radical transparency from everyone on the cast, that's fine, but she needs to exhibit it herself. I'm still a huge Lisa fan, don't get me wrong, but the constant attacks are starting to tarnish her a little bit.
Eileen Davidson: I think Eileen finally proved her point. It wasn't that she needed an apology from Lisa, she wanted Lisa to understand her feelings and take them seriously. It is now clear to me that Lisa did not do that. She repeatedly dismissed Eileen and then got exasperated, like it was Eileen's fault. It seems like Lisa has finally learned her lesson. (Sidenote: There is nothing worse than the Standard Housewives Apology of "I'm sorry that you're upset, but I'm not sorry for what I said." God, that's the worst.)
Still, Eileen lost by trying to say that Lisa was being manipulative by mentioning the affair. I think that's a strong word. Did Lisa think it would make it onto the show? Maybe, but I think she likes those sort of boundary-pushing conversations in general. It's not like she was some master schemer who thought talk of the affair would get them boffo ratings or something.
Also, I don't like how Eileen stuck up for Lisar, especially because she's on the losing end of this fight with Lisa. In the end, it's a wash.
It's all a wash, really. We seek out these reunions looking for resolution, but we get none. All we get are more reasons to argue, more excuses to fight, and more fodder for why Kim Richards needs to hire a professional makeup artist. We think that a reunion special will build us a fortress of certitude, but it only rips down the foundations of what we knew or thought we knew. The reunions are a promise never fulfilled.