Photo: Nicole Weingart/Bravo
Hello, my name is Dame Brian Moylan. Welcome to the Real Housewives Institute. Sadly, we have been closed for some months because the ongoing responsibilities of the Teresa Giudice Legal Defense Fund were much more involved than we originally anticipated. But now that the Real Forehead Wrinkles of the Sherman Oaks Mall have returned to us, we have flung open our doors — and our hearts — to once again bear witness to their foibles and triumphs.
This premiere episode was exactly what I wanted, a nice little catch-up episode with all of our returning champions before we suffer the indignities of meeting the new girls. God, I hate the new girls. They are always so awful and boring at first, and I have to say mean things about them and compare them to the security tag that the shopkeeper forgot to take off your scarf and now you’re stuck trying to hide an ugly beige plastic box every time the temperature dips below 45 degrees.
Just look at Eileen Davidson, who was a new girl last season. I said a whole collection of awful things about how boring she is. I was so wrong about her. This season she is … I don’t know. She’s working on her soap opera, like always, and mourning the loss of her father-in-law, Hollywood Squares fixture Dick Van Patten. Okay, fine. That’s not too exciting. She wants to redecorate her house because we all made so much fun of it and said that it looked like a saloon in Frontierland where you can buy $13 root-beer floats. Who said that cyberbullying never leads to anything positive? Hashtag Blessed.
Speaking of Hashtag Blessed and new girls and people that I love, I might need to enumerate the reasons why I love Lisar (which, as a reminder, is what we call Lisa Rinna here at the Institute because “Lisa” is Lisa Vanderpump and typing out “Lisa Rinna” or “Lisa R.” is too much work for me):
- She is on OWN’s Where Are They Now because, as she admits, she will say yes to absolutely anything even if it is something that highlights her own irrelevance.
- She takes her daughters shopping at a store called Dungarees.
- She probably uses “dungarees” in casual conversation.
- Her daughter, a child of a Hollywood super couple, works in a deli.
- She says that women who marry rich husbands have all the handbags in the world, but they hate their lives. Then, she decides that having all the handbags in the world might not be the worst thing.
- She does not want her obituary to start with the line, “She wore diapers.”
- She is almost never embarrassed, but draws the line at doing a diarrhea commercial.
- If someone offered her enough money, she would do the diarrhea commercial and probably take a dump in public like that guy in the Jackass movie.
- She has 15 people in her life she calls more than her husband.
- Imagine what Lisar’s text messages must look like. The emojis alone!
- When she finally dies in about 40 years, her hair will be enshrined in the Smithsonian.
I also have no shortage of love for Lisa Vanderpump, mostly because of the extended double entendre of her playing with L.A. Dodger player A.J. Ellis’s balls. Lisa is right: A.J. Ellis is hotter than the inside of a station wagon in the Shreveport Target parking lot with the windows rolled up in August. Yes, gentlemen, he’s a catcher. And he’s really invested in LGBT night at Dodger Stadium. Mmhhmm. Sign me up! Lisa throws out the first pitch. If you have seen the bowlegged way that Ken Todd walks, you never doubted even for a second that Lisa was a pitcher.
Now, I love Lisa and I would certainly shell out $40 or whatever it costs to watch her throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. Did we really need to get her for LGBT night at Dodger Stadium, though? How about, you know, an actual gay person? What about her bestie Lance Bass? Or one of the trillion homosexuals that stoke the star-making machinery of the popular song? Why not Billy Bean, the Oakland A’s player who came out after his career ended because he couldn’t be gay when he played? Or this (hot) gay farm-league player or one of the dozens of out college-baseball players? Lisa is great for the gays and a great choice to throw a pitch, but how about on a regular Thursday instead of LGBT night?
The other thing I hated about Lisa’s little segment was that it had to bring up Brandi Glanville. I feel like she’s the Candyman: if you say her name three times she’ll show up in your bathroom and make you choke on a fistful of bees. Can’t we just forget all about her, like a fart in a confined space that eventually dissipates? Please? Can we? And I thought it was a little déclassé of Lisa to say, “I gave her all these opportunities by supporting her and bringing her into this group.” Oh god, seriously? Lisa, just don’t even comment. You said her name once. Twice more and you’ll be chowing down on yellow jackets.
What I am grateful for is that Lisa and Kyle are getting along and having fun together again. Jill and Bethenny got ripped asunder as did NeNe and Kim, and I was afraid the same would be true of this dynamic duo. I’m glad they’ve let bygones go by or whatever. I hope the fun continues for seasons to come, even if they’re comparing $55,000 pink-diamond and rose-gold sunglasses (take that, Dana Pam!), which are genuinely ugly and atrocious and make me want to find all the Birkins in the universe, take a dump in each one of them, and set them all on fire like some sort of stupid Clint Eastwood brood-art project.
I am so mad at Kyle Richards because she makes me feel bad for her, thanks to everything she’s going through with her sister Kim. It’s no secret that I used to love Kim — and I still do somewhere deep down — and Kyle has been a really good sister to her. Sure, she’s an attention-sucking soul demon who only cares about herself, but she does seem genuinely broken up about how their relationship has unraveled. This is mostly due to Kim’s problems with addiction, something that has affected Kyle for decades. Not to make this all about Kyle, but it must be hard to watch your sister make such awful and public mistakes and be completely powerless. I sympathize with that. God, Kyle. Stop making me like you.
Alright, I’ve saved the worst for last because I’m genuinely sad about Yolanda Bananas Foster and just how awful she looks and what will go down this season.
I miss Yolanda’s house in Malibu something fierce. When we would see her at home, her wicker basket in the crook of her elbow collecting lemons, she seemed so vital. Everything around her looked splendid, like that giant glass-fronted refrigerator in her kitchen. Her new condo, which is probably worth more money that I’ll make in the next three decades, just doesn’t have the same feel. We keep seeing her with IVs plugged into her arms, sitting in front of a giant wall of ugly horizontal blinds. It reminds me of when I visited my grandmother in the nursing home. It’s like she went from living in a palace to taking up room in a White Castle at a rest stop in rural Pennsylvania. It is just so institutional and cold, like plunging a stainless-steel dildo into your eye sockets.
As we all know, Yolanda is suffering from Lyme Disease. Though she says she was diagnosed with it in 2013, it seems to be getting progressively worse since she’s been on the show. It might have even been a catalyst for her divorce from her husband David Foster, which was announced just hours before the season’s premiere. Let’s preface the rest of this discussion with the disclaimer that I am neither a doctor or a psychologist. I am just some dude who makes fun of middle-aged women’s décor on the internet until they do something about it. I know nothing about Lyme Disease or whatever, so what do I really know.
I wish Lisa would make the same disclaimer. She already kicks off the speculation about Yolanda’s illness and I don’t really want to hear any of it. Whether Yolanda is “faking” her disease or not, she is clearly sick. It’s either physical or psychological, but no matter what the explanation, she is very, very ill and not getting the help she needs. I don’t want to doubt that. I don’t want to think that a person would concoct this suffering for some selfish end.
But, man, can this show manipulate me into thinking that might be true. As soon as Lisa is like, “Something fishing is going on,” I’m like, “Maybe it is!” and I’m devising scenarios in my head about how and why Yolanda could make this all up. After all, Brooks just faked cancer. A grown man with an indiscernibly bad accent pretended he had cancer on a reality-television program so a screeching soul tornado of a woman would not break up with him. This is the world we live in: An awful, cynical hellscape that smells like Matt Damon’s grundle.
Does that mean Yolanda is faking it too? After all, she went to Lisar’s birthday dinner without wearing a stitch of makeup, possibly to draw attention to her sickness. I mean, is it that hard to put on some concealer and lipgloss? No! Wait. This is exactly what I don’t want to do. Yolanda is sick. Period. I’m sticking with it and I hope that she gets better. If this is going to be the “Is Yolanda sick or not” season, then it’s going to be a long several months here at the Institute. (Luckily for us, Teresa gets out in a few weeks.)
So, who to end with? Yolanda, rasping weak coughs in her fluorescent beige apartment that looks like the inside of the ship in Alien? Kim Richards, staring out of the window in rehab, wondering when her sister will visit and secretly hoping she never does so she can pick at that wound for the rest of her life? Jill Zarin, inviting them all to her Hamptons house so she can steal their DNA and hypnotize Eileen into doing her dirty work?
No, let’s end with the new girls whose names we don’t even know yet. We’ve only seen their forms and blonde hair in the opening, and already we hate them — but they’re just about to start filming. They’re both at home in their large, white bathrooms with the exposed bulbs lining the top of a long mirror that travels over his-and-her sinks. They use their Clarisonics before bed and think about what they’ll wear to the reunion. They guess how many Twitter followers they’ll amass in six months after the premiere. They imagine sitting next to Kristen Bell on Watch What Happens Live and telling her how much they loved her in the Charlie Brown Christmas anniversary special.
While they’re mouthing their taglines, writing and rewriting the delicate haiku that will never leave them, their husbands, who we don’t even hate yet, call out: “Come to bed.” They want to, but they can’t. The excitement is too great. They’re thinking about what will happen, calculating the litany of ways that their lives will improve. They’re looking at their reflections, without really considering what they see. They’re not looking inward either, but forward toward the events that are sure to unfold, the events that have been promised but not yet attained.
I wish I could tell them to forget about the future. Forget about it and focus on this moment now. Cut it out with an X-ACTO knife and put it in a shadowbox over the mantle. This is the real gift, the moment where everything lays before you, long and broad, just like the canyons outside of your bathroom windows where the scrub brush continues to grow, twig by snappily twig toward the bright, scorching sun even through this drought that never seems to end.