The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Do we still have to talk about the fight at Kyle Richard’s “my gays” mixer and speed-dating event? I feel like we got that all out last week, didn’t we? But you know the Real Housewives: They’ve never had a wound that they’re not happy to reopen, a scab they’re not willing to pick. Here we are, right back where we left off last week, with the Sisters Richards yelling at each other and Brandi doing that thing she always does where she is super aggressive without even raising her voice, which is just as creepy as the Latin teacher I had for homeroom in high school who used to sleep at her desk with her eyes open during morning announcements.
I really have nothing left to say about this fight, especially because I can’t tell what Kim is so upset about and why Brandi is there in the first place. But a few notes on this fight. I did enjoy when Kyle was crying to Lisa about how mean Brandi is and Lisa says, “Now you know how I felt last year,” and Kyle screams, “This isn’t about you, Lisa!” I don’t know which is richer, Kyle getting mad at someone else for making a moment about themselves, or Kyle making sure that everyone around her know that through and through, this moment is about her.
But Lisa is right — Brandi attacked her for no real reason and got all the women against her, and Kyle bought right into it. It took Kyle getting personally attacked to know that Brandi is bad news, but now she’s mad at Kim because she doesn’t see how dangerous Brandi can be.
I finally figured out what Brandi is like: She’s just like Scientology. She gets all close to these women and earns their confidence and hears their secrets, and then, if the women get too far away from her, she throws all those secrets back in their faces and burns them. She did the same thing to Adrienne — the queen of the Maloofs, a race of mole people that live under the mountain — that Scientology has been doing to John Travolta all these years except, you know, Scientology is really keeping his “secret.”
This episode really just chronicles the rest of the aftermath from that big drama. Brandi goes over to Yolanda Bananas Foster’s house so that they can leech on Keith, the yoga instructor that populates every moment of my fantasies during gentleman’s time. In fact, as soon as I’m done writing this, I am going to go and think about Keith. I’m going to think about him a real lot and I might even twist myself into Warrior One just in his honor.
After yoga, Yolanda talks to Brandi and says that maybe she should cool it with the drinking, because everyone sees her in this awful state when she does horrible things. Brandi says she’s not a drunk and doesn’t know why these women think that she’s drunk all the time. They should see her with her kids and on her podcast and at the manicurist’s when she’s totally sober. The problem is, they don’t. The only time any of these women see Brandi, she’s totally blotto and behaving like a sorority girl who forgot to take her lithium. No wonder they think she’s a drunk.
Now, I don’t think Brandi’s an alcoholic either, and neither does Yolanda. Brandi certainly does not think she is one. However, what both Yolanda and I know that Brandi does not is that Brandi is just a bad drunk. She’s one of those people who always gets sloppy and confrontational and misunderstood. Just look what happened when she threw wine on Eileen! That is the sign of a bad drunk. And Yolanda isn’t telling her she needs rehab or needs to quit drinking. She’s saying, “You have a bad reputation for being a messy drunk, so maybe don’t get so damn drunk all the time.” That is very sound advice, and if Brandi doesn’t follow it, she is stupid.
The real awkward moment came when Brandi said something like, Well, all these people say I’m an alcoholic, and they are saying that about Bella, too. First of all, no one was saying that Yolanda’s daughter is an alcoholic because she got arrested for having a DUI. Brandi made that up to win an argument, which is a shitty thing to do to a friend and is a bad arguing tactic. I would tell Brandi that it is a straw man, but she would think that’s the guy at the bar who gives you something to help you drink your $5 frozen margarita without ruining your lipstick. Yolanda immediately calls Brandi out on attacking her personally, which is totally what Brandi does every time she needs to win an argument, and Brandi denies it. She actually either thinks that she is not personally attacking her one and only friend on the show, which is delusional, or she’s a very good actress. I have to bank on the former.
Speaking of interventions, Lisar is convinced that Kim needs to get some kind of help. Now, I agree with Lisar that Kim is an addict and she’s not getting the help she needs. Let’s assume that Kim is dry (I know most of you don’t think so, but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt because the fictional version of Kim Richards that I have in my brain needs to be sober to continue to exist). Even if Kim is dry, she still has some serious problems and lots of stuff to get over. She also still behaves like an addict, seeking affirmation and approval from others, seeking out enablers, being passive-aggressive about confrontation — and then there’s all the sneaking and lying. She is a dry drunk at the very best. Lisar is correct; she needs to get lots of help from family and friends and professionals to get better.
However, it is not Lisar’s job to make sure she gets those things. She can make sure that she is authentic with Kim in their interactions together, but she can’t talk about Kim’s sobriety, or lack thereof. It just seems, I don’t know, kind of shady. If you had a friend with a rash on her face and you know she has gotten the cream for it but the rash is still there, you don’t go up to her and say, “Girl, you still got that damn rash.” She knows she has the rash. She knows you know she has the rash. You just have to wait for her to figure out how to get rid of it for good and be there to support her to do the things she can so that she can look like an actual human again and not some munching set decoration from The Walking Dead.
It’s Eileen, however, who is the MVP of this episode. Ugh, fine, I will admit it, I actually like Eileen and think that she is a cool, fun, smart, and funny lady. However, she is normal, and normal people really have no place being on The Real Lunch-Ruiners of Five-Dollar Footlong Stadium. If we wanted to watch normal people, we’d go to the Rainforest Café in the mall or look in the mirror or some shit. We get enough of normal.
Since Eileen has four sisters, two of whom have died in the last five years, she thinks that sisters should always get along. She decides to host a détente brunch between the Sisters Richards, which is actually a good idea. Eileen interprets what real, actual people would think about their fight to the other one, and it could have been very helpful if they had listened. Eileen is like the Narcissist Whisperer. However, neither Kim nor Kyle knows what it is like to think, act, or feel like a real person and not some quivering mass of need and raw emotion, so it’s of course lost on them, and Eileen just sits there like the line judge when Venus squared off against Serena. But, in case Brandi needs to know, this is how to try to get between two sisters and have it be productive. It’s not really Eileen’s fault that neither of them are ready for it.
My real favorite part of the episode, though, is when Eileen takes everyone to the Burbank Film Festival, which is a fake event held at an AMC in a mall somewhere north of Tarzana. First of all, don’t think all film festivals are all that glamorous. The premieres at Sundance are literally held in a high-school auditorium with the debate club selling trail mix in the lobby. Compared to that, the multiplex where they were having the Burbank Film Festival is the flarking Ritz.
What I love most of all is that Eileen could have been Red Sonja and she could have Brigitte Nielsen’s life right now, complete with appearances on The Surreal Life and a love affair with Flava Flav. Second, I love that Eileen made this movie for a friend of hers. She put on a unitard and filmed some ridiculous dialogue and she did the best she could with the material knowing that it would never really get out there too much and it would make her friend really happy. And then, instead of being all shady about it, she flat-ironed her hair, got all her fancy lady-friends into a limo, walked the “red carpet,” and didn’t complain once.
Eileen is not only a pro — she is a class act. Granted, she’s a class act with a house that looks like it was decorated by the lady who designed the Ye Olde-Timey Photographs stall on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore, but she is a class act nonetheless.
And the girls are good sports about it. They make some faces about Eileen’s performance and some grumbles about the quality of the venue, but Eileen is confident about her participation and keeps her head high, which keeps all of them from being able to point out just how budget the whole damn affair is. She elevates herself, she elevates the “Burbank Film Festival,” and she elevates these women who have been rolling around in the gutter of our culture for the better part of a decade. You have to hand it to Eileen.
Afterward, she drops them off in the limo one by one and they retreat back into their multi-million-dollar homes, behind their reinforced gates and ponds filled with swans. They go back to their rich and famous husbands and take off their heels and pour themselves glasses of wine. When the family asks if they had a good time, they say, “Yeah, it was really fun. The movie was bad, but we had a good time.” Finally, Eileen is alone in the limo, headed home to Vince. She pulls the Champagne out of its cooler and pours the last two sips into her flute. “Damn, that movie was awful,” she says to herself with a laugh, tossing back her drink in one overwhelming gulp.