The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
This week on our favorite program, Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women did things but we had no idea what was going on because suddenly the whole format was upended like a model falling down the enormous marble spiral staircase in the middle of the Beverly Hills Barneys. The episode started and all the rich women were in sparkly black outfits like they were at a fundraiser full of Broadway matrons, but then suddenly they were yelling about a car ride. Dorit was yelling, Teddi was yelling, and Erika was yelling even louder than the printed Gucci silk blouses she has been wearing all season.
What is even happening? I thought while watching this. Did I skip an episode? Is this a “previously on” segment from the future? But no, this is just a totally topsy-turvy episode trying to get us to focus on the one lame fight that they’ve had all season. Even when we finally get to the fight, it plays out like watching Memento at the start of a meth binge. Dorit and Teddi are yelling about things that were said in the car, but we hadn’t even seen the car ride yet, so something that happened only an hour previously was being shown in the gray tones this show uses to denote deep memory. Who were the editors on this? Did they just plop some footage down in front of a group of chimpanzees on ADHD medication and ask them to assemble an episode? That’s what it feels like.
We finally get our big fight and it’s between Teddi and, well, everyone. This is such a dumb fight and is totally of Teddi’s own creation. What happens is that Lisa Rinna and Teddi go to get pedicures, and Lisar tells Teddi that things are fine with her and Dorit now. Teddi responds that, when they had dinner after Lisar first “apologized” to Dorit in Las Vegas (which, remember, was way back in episode two), Dorit and PK, a Poland Spring bottle full of “apple juice” left on the side of the road, didn’t have such nice things to say about Lisar. Teddi repeats that they said she was “schizophrenic” and that they didn’t trust her apology.
In the moment, Lisar doesn’t care what they said; she knows all about it — it’s not news to her. Teddi decides that she’s going to call up Dorit and ask for a private audience, which makes Dorit roll her eyes so hard the San Andreas Fault shudders beneath their weight. During their car ride to drinks, Teddi tells Dorit that she was uncomfortable with Dorit talking shit about Lisar behind her back, then acting like everything was cool with Lisar to her face.
If Teddi were in my group of friends, the minute she did that, someone would have shouted at her, “Why you gotta bring up old shit?” There is a statute of limitations on these squabbles. Actual months had passed between Dorit talking shit at dinner and Lisar saying nice things at pedicures. They had resolved their issues. If neither of them has a problem, why the hell does Teddi have a problem? Is it because she’s Lisa Vanderpump’s new favorite? Maybe she has an English-accented Grima Wormtongue in her ear.
I don’t think that Teddi is “stirring shit” in that she’s trying to create drama. I just think that Teddi does not know what she signed up for. She showed up to a game of Texas hold ‘em and she’s playing old maid. She thinks she can impose her values of truth, honesty, and transparency on these women, when their very survival is predicated on destroying all of those values. They need to talk shit about each other, get over their grudges, bury their resentments, and create ever-shifting alliances to remain employed and (somewhat) sane. Teddi has yet to learn that and, honestly, she thinks she’s too good for this.
Teddi isn’t wrong that she’s taking the heat for things that Dorit said against Lisa, Lisar, and Cult Jam. (In this instance, Cult Jam is a line of affordable rose-gold bikinis that no one really wants to buy.) But everyone is over that already and Teddi doesn’t understand. Now, she’s in trouble for rehashing a fight that has already been put to bed. She’s not in trouble for being indecent or a bad person; she’s in trouble for breaking the tentative and unspoken compact that these women have with each other.
The fight then takes an unexpected turn when Teddi accuses Erika of having “pretend amnesia.” Erika’s reaction is immediate and extreme: Her explanation is that if she said she doesn’t remember something, she honestly doesn’t remember it. By calling it “pretend,” Teddi is not only saying that Erika’s a liar, but that she doesn’t have confidence in her opinions. If we know one thing about Erika, it is that neither of those things is true.
Yes, I think that Erika’s reaction to Teddi seems a bit aggressive, but if there is another thing we know about her, it’s that she’s good until she is not. When Erika is done, she is done. This time isn’t as explosive as her shouting at Dorit and Eileen in Hong Kong last year, but I think it’s similar: She has reached her breaking point and it is over.
Teddi reacts poorly to Erika’s rebuke and goes crying to her car with Lisa Vanderpump on her tail. Erika, always having the strength of her convictions no matter what Teddi might imply, says, “I’m not apologizing to Ms. Crybaby.” A little harsh? Yes. But Teddi painted herself into a corner all on her own, and she deserves the reaction she got from everyone. Most of all, I’m just mad at Teddi for making me be on Dorit’s side because, just like in an Aeropostale, that is not someplace I ever want to be.
But I don’t like this show when it’s Rich Women Fighting. I wish the producers would realize that what we really want is our rich women doing things. I want to see Kyle stroll into an $8 million house and decide to buy it because she likes the floor and it has a cross between a gazebo and a car park in the backyard, which will be perfect for the Fatburger truck the next time she decides to have a White Party. I want to focus on noting the inevitable return of The Agency swag when we get Maurice (in honor of Kim) wearing a The Agency hat, a The Agency T-shirt, and drinking a bottle of The Agency water.
I want to see Erika posing expertly on a chrome bar while taking the photos for her book cover, and I definitely want to see her calling up her mother to get specific answers for the questions that her annoying, gay co-writer is peppering her with on the daily. (Thanks again, Erika.) I also want to see Erika host Dorit for lunch, complete with sandwiches and dessert, because if I ever show up at Ms. Jayne’s house and there is no dessert, I will be extremely disappointed.
I even want to see Dorit go to some apparel company to talk about her swimwear line and meet Soozie, the designer you just know is destined for reality television because she already spells her name like a person on reality television. I find this all the more endlessly fascinating than having to police the fights, apologies, and blowups of these women because, honestly, it all seems forced and the rest of their luxurious living just seems natural.
But mostly what I want to see is Eileen Davidson, in a sleeveless turtleneck bodysuit, strolling into lunch in her reflective sunglasses like everything is just the same. I want to see Eileen giving Lisar and Erika the side-eye of disbelief when they say that they’re both friends with Dorit and that everyone is getting along. I want to see Eileen smiling beside a pool in West Hollywood and enjoying her lunch and, when it’s all over, getting up and letting the sound technician take off her mic pack. I want to see her shake her blonde hair out and walk confidently toward her car, right past the producer standing with the camera crew and say, “You’re welcome,” as she struts to her car like a whiff of jasmine that is almost undetectable but you will never forget.