The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Far be it from me to tell other websites how they should run themselves, but we are desperately in need of a BuzzFeed “Which Reaction to Lisa Rinna Realizing She Talked All That Trash About Kim Richards Are You?” quiz. You could answer a few questions about your favorite disgusting word (mine is squirt), your favorite shade of rosé (Miraval rouge), and your favorite Erika Jayne dance single (“Painkillr,” duh!), and it tells you which outsize reaction to this stunning revelation you are.
Would you be Harry Hamlin talking on speakerphone and issuing stern support? You might be Erika Jayne sitting in the back of the limo giving a rueful and perfect, “Oh!” before saying, “Kim is going to kill her. I would.” Are you Kyle Richards, staring at Lisar with her mouth agape like she’s Meryl Streep watching La La Land lose its Oscar to Moonlight? Are you Eden Sassoon, sitting there with a face that would register, “Ah, vindication,” if her unblinking rictus could actually register anything other than blankness?
Maybe you are Lisa Vanderpump, licking her lips at the taste of blood in the water and turning the knife over and over again like it’s a baton and she’s in the talent competition for Miss Baltimore Crab 1962. I think a lot of people would actually be Carnie Wilson, who is just sitting idly on the couch with crumbs on her shirt, thinking that all of this screeching just ruined what was otherwise a very nice cheesecake party.
Those are all very good choices. I took the quiz and I am officially Eileen Davidson. I heard Lisa finally recall that she said Kim Richards wasn’t really sober and was close to death and I just threw my hands up in the air. I just couldn’t anymore. Not even for one second. I could not believe that she was saying this and that we went through all of this stupid drama for nothing. “Well, that changes a lot,” Eileen Davidson says in a fit of beautiful understatement that perfectly accessorizes the slate-blue jumpsuit with the open back that she’s wearing. (Eileen Davidson should be an official spokesperson for the American Jumpsuit Manufacturers Association, because no one does things for a jumpsuit like Eileen Davidson.)
While those are all the Real Housewives’ reactions to Lisa Rinna telling the world about her unearthed memory, my actual reaction was a little bit different. I loved when Lisar told Erika in the limo. As Lisar says, she came to the realization that she said those things because Eden couldn’t be totally lying, like she initially thought. Lisar does an inventory of that Aqua Net–soaked sponge she calls gray matter and realizes that she did, in fact, talk all of that shit. All that’s left for her is to “own it.”
We need to pause for a moment to discuss the Real Housewives’ hierarchy of needs, which is much like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but totally different. The first one, obviously, is attention. Much like oxygen and Swarovski-encrusted iPhone 7 cases, the Real Housewives cannot survive without many people paying attention to them at any given time. The second is a sense of righteousness, which not only applies to everyone around them, but also to their own correctness in any situation. Below that we have drive, which is the hustle they needs to keep rich husbands happy, launch a fashion label and/or alcohol brand and/or cookbook, plan a vow renewal, and/or rejuvenate their vaginas on camera. Below that, finally, is “owning it,” the beloved Real Housewives custom that if bad behavior is acknowledged (and possibly apologized for) then it has to be forgiven no matter how bad the behavior.
When Lisar began her journey of owning in the limo with Erika, I enjoyed the strength it must take to face that firing squad and correct the injustice against Kim and Eden that she perpetrated. I felt the same way when she told Eileen in the living room at Kyle’s. I felt the same way when she tried to tell Kyle in the living room, but then Carnie Wilson came and ruined a moment by being all, “It’s my cheesecake party and we are eating orange creamsicle healing cheesecakes that keep me sober and if you don’t come and eat them now, I am going to hit the bottle!” I thought that was all good of Lisar, to slowly come clean. (Poor, amateur Carnie Wilson. Never confront two or more Housewives in their natural habitat when they are talking to each other. It is always a confrontation you don’t want to be a part of.)
What I hated was that Lisar then decided to address the issue in front of the whole cheesecake party. This is a group of about a dozen women, including all of the Housewives, Carnie Wilson, some random friend of Kyle’s, and Claire, Kim’s sponsor who looks like she is still in disguise because she fled after stealing money from an Australian crime lord. In front of all of them, Lisar says, “Kim, I have to tell you something.” I freaked out, of course. I had to pause the tape and curl up on my couch like a pill bug and rock myself into a state of self-soothing because I could not take the embarrassment of what Lisar was about to do to herself. It was too much. I wish I could have been like perfect angel Erika, who said, “Girl, you gonna get it. HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!” and then FaceTimed her No. 1 gay Mikey so that he could watch the drama at home. I could not do that. After three walks around the block and two dozen frozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, I finally was able to watch through my fingers.
It goes about as well as could be expected. Kyle freaks out and Kim makes some very valid points about how Lisar always says these things, apologizes, and doesn’t have to deal with any repercussions. Kim, however, does the same thing by refusing to admit that she ever said anything about Harry Hamlin, even though she indicted him through some vague accusation. I liked when Lisa Vanderpump stood up for Harry and told Kim that wasn’t fair, but I also liked that Kyle told Lisa to “pick a lane.” Lisa’s body, you could tell, was being racked with waves of pleasure as this whole thing unfolded around her and she tried to make sure the ignominy stuck to Lisar like a T-shirt after you’ve gone swimming in it.
Kyle also has a point when Lisar is all, “I just want to be able to approach you from a place of love.” Yeah, love is asking a lot. Getting the two of them to a place of “love” is like Jonah Hill waking up one morning and deciding that he’s going to get Chris Hemsworth’s body. Why not work your way up to Seth Rogen before you go full god of thunder? The same is true of Lisar and Kim. Just get to the point of being able to tolerate each other first. Let’s set reasonable goals and expectations for ourselves.
At the end of the argument, Lisa Vanderpump really overplays her hand and says that Lisar’s actions need to support what she’s saying to Kim. I don’t disagree with her. Lisar’s future behavior will determine what really comes of this. But in the present, she can’t do anything except make pledges because definitive action will take time. We just have to see how she acts and hold her accountable for her bad behavior in the future. For Lisa to insist that a pledge isn’t enough at this very moment, at Carnie Wilson’s Cheesecake Party of Love, is asking too much.
As Erika points out, Lisar really does have nine lives and she seems to survive this kerfuffle by keeping a calm head, taking responsibility for her actions, and being willing to work toward a solution. Honestly, all we want is for everyone to stay out of it so that we never have to hear about Kim and her damn sobriety ever again. I think people finally got to a place of acknowledging that.
Eden also helps Lisar weather this storm. She give Lisar a huge gift, a gift as big as the $1.8 million dildo that David Beckham (allegedly) gave the artist formerly known as Posh Spice: Eden has managed to involve herself so much in this scandal and she’s been so generally unappealing to everyone around her that everyone continues to criminalize her. Lisar’s admission should have exonerated Eden, because she only said those things about Kim to Lisa Vanderpump because she was repeating what Lisar told her and was genuinely concerned with Kim’s sobriety.
However, she beat on the dead horse of Kim’s sobriety one too many times and she’s far too new to the group. No one really wants to forgive her, so when given the opportunity, Kim Richards turns to tell her, “You know what? Me and Kyle are not you and your sister.” Here is the problem with Kim Richards: She is not a nice person. She is right about everything in this whole argument, but she can be so snide and nasty that even when she’s right, she still comes across like a jerk. For Eden to project her own sibling relationship on them is unfair and unjust. Still, there had to be a nicer way to approach this than by shouting Eden down in a large group.
Of course, by the end of the night, Carnie Wilson was the only one speaking any sense, proving that she is the best party guest since Allison DuBois in season one. “We all drank for a reason,” she said. “We’re never going to be normal. There’s no such thing as perfect, you know?” She looked around at the circle of nodding heads around her, at the pool and the table with its carcasses of passed hor d’oeuvres waiting for someone else to clean them up. She looked at Erika with her perfectly pitched glass of Chardonnay and Kyle perched on a stool surveying everyone. She saw Lisar, still stock-straight and waiting for all of her muscle fibers to snap like the cables on a collapsing bridge, and Eileen, stately and graceful and always looking like she was about to burst into tears.
But mostly she looked at Kim, whose makeup was a little too pale and whose features were starting to blend together. She looked at Kim and remembered where she herself had been, those nights alone with the bottle and those darkened afternoons when she’d wake up wanting to drown herself in the void of food and booze and whatever else she could jam into herself. She’d fought her way out of that quicksand like survival experts told you, by releasing your body like you’re floating. She wanted to tell Kim that. She wanted to see Kim through the other side of this black hole that she had navigated herself. She wanted to let her know that it wasn’t about being hard, like a brick, but light, like a lily pad, slowly jostled by the waves. The lily pad lets itself bob there with nothing but its roots, reaching deep, deep down into the chilly dark, as anchors. And finally, on one sudden day, it blooms.