This week on our favorite show, Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women did things. They greeted the first man to ever lend them a dress like Scipio Africanus returning in victory from the Second Punic War with a face smoothed with the miracles of modern science. During the middle of a fight, they leaned back on a banquette to horizontally reapply lipstick with the help of a light-up compact. They called their second daughters on FaceTime to tell them that they got a modeling job and the daughters, rather than reacting, confessed to accepting the call while emptying their bladders. And for a second, just one brief flashing instant, they were proud of the young ladies they had spawned.
The rich ladies, of course, are still in New York and Erika once again meets up with her writer gay to go to Simon & Schuster, which is publishing her book, Pretty Mess (preorder on Amazon now). It’s a delightful meeting where Erika looks at all of the photos of great writers on the wall and doesn’t feel worthy to be telling her story and the editors all fawn over her in their best, selected-for-TV outfits. Then, at the end, the writer gay — who definitely seems like the sort who stays up until 4 a.m. having phone sex with guys who text him on Grindr — says, “Now I have to write a book.” Excuse me? Like you’re doing all the hard work? Erika had to live her life. That’s a lot harder than cobbling together a bunch of words about it. Give the woman some damn credit!
Aside from that meeting, things are really unraveling in New York in a way that is not typical for the ladies of Beverly Hills. It starts when Dorit takes Lisa Vanderpump out for a walk in the intermittently raining Union Square Park, where I once saw a hungover NYU student puke on a pigeon and then that pigeon washed itself off in the run-off from a nearby trash can. In this scenario, Dorit is the college student, the puke is her words, and the pigeon is Lisa Vanderpump, who is generally confused by whatever loquacious nonsense Dorit is spewing from her kale hole. (The rich ladies do not eat pie.)
I seriously have no idea what Dorit is trying to say, but I think it’s something along the lines of warning Lisa that she and Kyle were saying that she was needy when they got in that fight and Lisa stormed off. Lisa doesn’t want to talk about it again and says she’s over it. “I know it’s no big deal,” Dorit says, “But in that moment it was so shocking.” Okay, so is it a big deal worth talking about or is it not a big deal? Is it shocking or is it absolutely nothing. Did you talk shit or didn’t you? Make up your damn mind, Dorit.
Meanwhile, Kyle is having lunch with Teddi and St. Camille, who looks like a perfect petit four in a Chanel-inspired pantsuit. They’re telling Kyle that at the dinner the night before, Dorit not only blabbed about how Lisa is needy, selfish, and can’t stand when the two of them are friends, but also that Kyle was the one talking about how weird it was that Erika left Teddi’s beach house because she wasn’t feeling well.
The problem, as it was last year, is that Dorit can’t just shut the hell up. Just like Erika said at the start of Pantygate, “The more you talk about shit, the worse it gets.” Neither of these things were issues anymore. If Dorit had just dropped them, they would have evaporated into thin air, like Dana Wilkey’s fortune. Instead, Dorit keeps re-litigating these seemingly minute arguments and churning up more dreck and animosity each time she does.
This all comes to a head at the party for Bella magazine, a printout of old GOOP newsletters you can find littering most dentist’s offices in Upper Manhattan. A couple of things before we get back to the fight: First of all, what the hell is that wide-tie look that Dorit has on for her “big night” at her cover reveal? She looks like Hugh Jackman in that circus musical that no one liked but apparently everyone went to go see anyway. Couldn’t her glam twins, Carlene and Justine, give her a bit of warning? Meanwhile, Erika is in her “baby doll Gooch” outfit and it is amazing. She looks both incredibly conservative and wildly avant-garde at the same time, something only Erika can pull off. Dorit tries to do fashion and fails; Erika just shows up and says, “This old thing,” and it’s perfect.
Secondly, I could watch an entire episode of this show that only consisted of the women getting from a party to their car in the rain. It really shows each one’s personality so well. Lisa and Kyle are huddled under one holey sweater, hobbling themselves toward their destination while elbowing each other for control. Teddi is like, “Fuck it, who cares?” and just trudges through it and gets in the car. Dorit makes a big stink about getting wet as if she is the only one that has ever been in the rain before. St. Camille goes out into the street and says, “I love the rain!” twirling with her arms outstretched. Lisa says, “Oh, it’s raining! I didn’t even notice,” and lets out a guttural laugh that seems both genuine and rehearsed at the same time. Some random gay walking down the street volunteers to shield Erika with his coat as she walks to the car and she says, “Thank you baby,” and then hops in and yells, “Sugar melts, motherfuckers,” and it is absolutely perfect.
After the party, when everyone is tipsier than usual — which doesn’t usually happen with the crowd — Kyle just can’t help but bring up to Dorit all the shit she has been talking. I was like Lisa during this fight: a little delirious and screaming, “What’s the issue here? What’s the issue? Camille! What’s the issue? It seems complicated!” Because honestly, I have no idea.
Here is what I can distill from the whole argument. Kyle is mad that Dorit blamed her for talking about Erika. She is also mad on Lisa’s behalf that Dorit brought up that stuff from the Paley House dinner. Dorit, with her pathological need to always be right, can’t address any of this because she doesn’t think she did anything wrong. She doesn’t think that Kyle might actually have a point, just that she’s had too much tequila and is a little too drunk to be talking about this.
Meanwhile, Lisa doesn’t want to talk about it again because she doesn’t want to rehash how she’s emotionally needy. She knows that “there are no winners” in this scenario. Then Kyle gets mad at Lisa for not having her back and defending her when she brings it up. Then Lisa gets mad at Kyle for getting mad at her for not saying something when she didn’t want to say something. Then the fight is between Kyle and Lisa.
Dorit threatens to take a cab home on her own. “A cab?” Kyle says, as if it is a disease-ridden buggy about to plunge off a cliff. Then they’re all fighting about how they’re going to get home, even though there is a Mercedes bus parked about 15 feet away. Teddi is trying to soothe everyone’s frayed nerves, Erika is trying to force them all together so they don’t have any regrets in the morning, Kyle is crying, Lisa is uncharacteristically shouting at her, and Dorit runs off to join the circus.
This, right here, is why the ladies of Beverly Hills don’t get wasted. If this was Orange County, the women would be hoarse from shrieking at each other by now. If it was RHONY, they would have shouted, made up, and started flashing people on Fifth Avenue at this point. With this group, it is all just a shambles. The center cannot hold.
The whole thing ends in the lobby of the hotel with Kyle crying because Lisa is being mean to her and holding her to a different standard than she holds Dorit, which is true. Lisa tries to comfort her, but ultimately gets upset with Kyle for being irrational, which she is. Finally, in a rare show of intense emotion, Lisa gets frustrated that she doesn’t want to rehash how chilly and emotionally needy she is and barges off, seemingly with tears in her eyes. Teddi chases after her, like the dog on the Coppertone bottle trying to pull Lisa’s panties off and expose her incredibly white bum. Lisa is not having it and the night crystallizes in dried tears and cried-off lashes as the drops on the window coalesce into bigger and bigger masses of moisture before finally letting go, rolling down the surface leaving a trail of regret against the glass.
Meanwhile, up at the Bella magazine party, Courtenay, the editor-in-chief with a percentage of vowels in her name which should be illegal, is saying good-bye to the young woman working the guest list at the door as a woman walks up wearing a sequined ball gown and a feather boa. “I should be on the list,” she says, more of a question than a statement. “Eileen Davidson.”
The woman gamely pages through the sheets on her clipboard, even though the crew is packing up the step and repeat. “I’m sorry. I don’t see you,” the woman says to Eileen before lowering her clipboard to her side. “Sorry,” she says. Eileen, ever defeated, turns around and looks down as she stomps the sidewalk, seeing red and yellow neon lights reflected in the sequins, like fields of poppies blooming and bursting in quick succession. She realizes she’s outside a Gray’s Papaya, and she would do anything for a four-dollar hot dog. Anything … including murder.