The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
After two seasons of drunken antics, slurring her words, and delivering the sort of monologues that only meerkats on peyote could possibly understand, I was a little bit sad when Kim Richards went to rehab. Well, there goes all the fun out of that one, I thought. We all imagined that she would get out, get sober, and get real boring. However, that’s not what happened. Kim Richards somehow found her strength and her center. She tried to make up for the time she had lost with her children. She fought with her sister but worked on making their relationship whole again after years of abusing each other as they did substances. She developed a strange fixation on turtles and a dog that is possessed by the wayward spirit of Gozer the Gozarian.
That all ended last night. Last night, we watched Kim Richards get into a black SUV after taking some painkillers that her ex-husband who is dying of cancer gave her (she claims). Kim Richards is back on drugs, and it’s not okay.
Guys, I’m really broken up about this. Maybe it’s the interior life that I imagine for Kim (which may or may not be more vivid than the interior life that she actually has), but her slip, while natural and inevitable, seems like a crushing defeat to me. Like I read her wrong all this time and she wasn’t hanging on as well as I thought she was. And that makes me very unhappy.
It’s funny because she seemed to handle herself so well at the wine tasting at the spa. Kyle claims repeatedly that she didn’t know that there was going to be a full-on wine seminar at the spa while they served lunch, and I believe her. Kyle only thinks about herself, but she would never do such a horrible thing to Kim, mostly because of how poorly it would reflect on herself. But, yeah, going to a wine tasting like the one laid out for the ladies at the spa in Santa Barbara has to be like going to a pig roast for a vegan, going to a RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars concert for a straight man, or going to the Peeps factory for anyone who has functional taste-buds.
Kim handled it like a sport, and Brandi and Kyle were both very supportive of her and made sure she was doing alright in what surely must have been a difficult situation. I think these things are harder for Kim than they are for other sober people. Because these women drink wine like politicians spend corporate-interest money, she is constantly the one who has to have a mango smoothie or a sparkling cider laid aside just for her. Kim never wants to stand out. Kim always wants to be shrinking into the background, only noticed when she has a shrill cackle to add to any conversation. Being the exception in any way makes her feel like a girl in high school who is stuck in a scoliosis brace and everyone in the cafeteria throws their Dunkaroos at her.
I was proud of Kim for making it through, fighting with her demons, and coming out stronger and soberer than before. (Is soberer a word? Don’t ask Brandi. She won’t know.) She even has a conversation with Kyle about it, which was great. We are all used to the Kim who used to put booze in a coffee cup and drink it without anyone knowing it. She would even blow on the top of the coffee to pretend to cool it down like there was actual coffee inside! And once Kim got sober, her relationship with Kyle was even worse because Kyle thought things would magically get better — the problem was the drinking, not their relationship. But they’ve worked on being open and honest with each other, and when they sat down to lunch to talk seriously about Kim’s addiction, I thought this was one more of those 12 steps in the right direction.
Then came Eileen’s poker party. Now, I’m going to give Eileen — a Duraflame log that will only burn on one side — a break this week because she wore two tremendous outfits: the hippie maxi-dress to go to the spa, and her sheer-and-black dress that she wore to the poker party. Sure,that sheer top came off kinda wonky on camera, but she looked dead hot. Also, she talked about partying all night and then going in to CBS to work the next morning still wearing her party clothes. Where is that Eileen? I would like to meet her. I think she would be a whole lot less boring than the one that we’ve been given.
However, Eileen does decide to have a game night with the Real Slot Machines of Jackpot Junction, which is about the stupidest thing you could ever do. Did she not hear about when Dana Pam had a game night in an empty house and Kim hid Brandi’s crutches and the corpses of dead Native Americans came out from the pool and attacked everyone because they were playing Pictionary on an ancient burial ground? Does she not remember the carnage? Planning a Housewives game night is sort of like inviting Meryl Streep to a dingo-spotting party.
Anyway, Kim gets in the car with Lisar, whose bush is so big that she doesn’t need a cushioned seat when she does SoulCycle, and she immediately knows that Kim is fucked up. We all do. We can all hear it. It’s those half-lidded sentences that ramble on like a Mississippi afternoon. It’s that tone, detached but manic, as if a monster is trying to claw its way out of quicksand. That’s what Kim sounds like when she’s high. She talks all crazy, too: What was that thing she was doing in the backseat, where Lisar pretends to be mysterious and Kim tells her how filthy she is and how much she hates her? That was some creepy nonsense. That is like the wolf coming up to you in the woods and asking what is in your basket. (Don’t worry, Lisar’s basket is protected by a thick woods of its own.)
At the party, Kim continues to act all bizarre, and everyone seems to notice, though most are too polite to ask about it. Finally, Brandi, who is as familiar with polite as she is with Viennese balls, asks Kim if she is “okay.” If anyone asks Kim if she’s “okay,” it always means, “Are you messed up on something?” That is what “okay” means to a sober person. Kim says she is, but she and Kyle have some kind of dust-up and Kyle heads to the bathroom. Kim goes in there and confesses to Kyle that she’s on some kind of pain pill given to her by her ex Monty, who is dying of cancer and living at her house.
Kim and Kyle’s relationship is so messed up that Kyle is just happy that Kim is talking to her about her drug abuse. “Well, if my sister’s going to be messed up, at least she’ll tell me about it and we can be open about it.” Man, addiction does some really screwy things to us.
However, Kyle does really have Kim’s best interests at heart — well, I don’t know if that’s true. Kyle has Kyle’s best interests at heart, which usually include keeping Kim sober enough so that she doesn’t embarrass herself or Kyle, the byproduct of which being that it’s in Kim’s best interest, too. Brandi, for her part, also wants to get Kim in the car and home before she can make any more of a scene. It’s not that either of thems want Kim home and sober; they both want to be the savior, and that’s why they get into a shoving match (with pizza flying!) trying to get Kim into her Uber.
We have to talk about Brandi because, man, she is becoming insufferable. First of all, someone needs to tell Brandi that she is not funny. Her string of obvious sex jokes on every occasion is not clever or unexpected, it’s just the sort of humor that you would overhear in some of the duller locker rooms in America’s middle schools. Then when she tells Kyle she’s not acting stupid, she just is stupid — well, that is not a joke. That is just an insult. Just because Brandi laughs at the end of it does not make it comedy. And even if it were, Don Rickles would roll over in his grave [Googles to see if Don Rickles is still alive] — Don Rickles would be seriously pissed if he knew that Brandi was passing off these crappy insults insults as humor. They are not.
I will say that Brandi is a better friend to Kim than any of the other women. She appears to be the only one (other than Yolanda Bananas Foster) to invite Kim to something. She does recognize that Kim is messed up and wants to do her part to get Kim home, where she’ll be safe. But it was stupid to get between Kim and Kyle. No one should ever get in between a pair of sisters who are about to have an argument. It’s sort of like putting your hand into the garbage disposal to retrieve an errant fork. Especially these sisters. There is so much history and tension between these two that Brandi can’t do anything to dissipate it. She just needs to stand back and let that fusion bomb blow them all to sequined little bits.
Kim just isn’t sure how this all is happening, how it got so far. Just a few hours ago, she was at home and the sun was setting and she was thinking about this game night, the tightness screwing up in her chest like someone trying to put the sun in a mason jar. She’s fine during the day, when she can take care of Monty, bring him to his appointments, rub his feet, remind him to take his medicine. But at night? You don’t know what she goes through at night.
Monty is passed out on the sofa once again, his slight form barely grazing the couch, his head tilted back against the pillow, his mouth open and his breath passing silently through it. She can see his left arm resting on the arm of the sofa, the soft canoe of the inside of his elbow pointed at the ceiling and cradling a chunk of gauze held in place by some flimsy tape. He looks like a junkie, dead to the world, sitting next to a TV tray full of orange bottles in all different sizes and heights. Kim rattles through them, looking at their names, long and foreign like the names of cities she’ll never visit. She can’t pronounce them, but she knows what they mean; she knows what those names do. They will crack the mason jar. They will release the sun. They will make everything okay. No, no they won’t. Not tonight. Well, maybe. Don’t let this be another night. This will make it better. This will make it easier. Just this night. Only tonight. Just one. Just one. Just one.