The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
In the instant right after I die, when my eyes close for the final time and my consciousness shuts off like a city skyline going dark after an earthquake, I expect that I will hear a disembodied voice say through the existential blackness, “To learn more about the Housewives, visit Bravo TV dot com.” That is because I have enjoyed being the president and founder of the Real Housewives Institute and learning everything I possibly can about the Housewives.
That said, I did not learn anything that I needed to know during this hour. This season of RHOBH did not necessitate a three-part reunion special. I’m sorry, it did not. If it did, then the last season of Real Housewives of Atlanta required a 14-part spinoff show of not only the reunions but also drag queens reenacting the reunion right after the episode aired so that we could watch everything that happened between Kim and NeNe twice right in a row, but once with drag queens so the makeup wouldn’t be as garish or the wigs as big.
During the first episode of this reunion we got to talk about what everyone was wearing. During the last episode we got to talk about the new behind-the-scenes footage of the reunion itself. During this episode what is left to talk about? Kyle’s grandmother’s name? Whether or not Lisar was scared when she was on a runaway horse? Whether or not Dorit will be named Person of the Year by the Bobby Pin and Hair Accessory Manufacturers Association of America? (She will.) There is just so little to discuss and we really got it out over the past 84 minutes (without commercials). This third part was as superfluous as another bottom at Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black’s baby shower.
But, alas, we are here. We are here and there was some talking and bitching and toasts with Champagne in beer steins because Germany. Sigh. Deep sigh.
I think the most interesting realization was that Lisa thinks 90 percent of the conversations she has with Kyle are about Kyle. That seems excessive but after having observed Kyle for these past eight years, that totally tracks. Lisa says it’s because Kyle has anxiety, phobias, and family issues and that she needs to talk about her problems. Lisa is always the one talking her down from the ledge. That also tracks. But if Lisa didn’t enjoy that role, they wouldn’t be nearly as close as they are today.
This dynamic seems to be what was at the root of the fight this season between Kyle and Lisa. After Lisa stormed out of Paley House, Kyle accused Lisa of leaving because it “wasn’t all about her” for a change. That exasperated Lisa because, well, Kyle had been making it all about herself for so long that Lisa just buckled under the ridiculousness of it all. Then Kyle snapped at Lisa for not knowing her grandmother’s name and I crawled underneath my couch cushions and hoped that the final “To learn more about the Housewives …” was only seconds away.
We also learned that Kyle hasn’t talked to her sister Kathy for six months for a variety of reasons. As we all know, it started when her husband Mauricio left Kathy’s husband’s real-estate company to start his own firm. It got worse when Kyle created American Woman, a show “inspired by” (don’t you dare say “based on”) Kyle’s childhood. Kyle says that once Kathy sees the show and sees that it’s not that bad she’ll come around. I don’t disagree with her.
However, Andy really got to the root of the program when he brought up Kyle’s other show, which is about a woman who starts her own real-estate firm to take on her mother-in-law, who has her own real-estate firm. I’m sorry, but that is a little too close to home. While Kyle said it has nothing to do with their actual lives, the similarity between that situation and their real situation is so close it seems like Kyle is thumbing her nose at Kathy. Not only did Mauricio leave, but now Kyle is going to profit off of what Kathy must perceive as a transgression. I feel badly for anyone who is having family difficulties, but I totally understand why Kathy would be pissed about this.
While Kyle was talking about her family troubles, it seemed like Erika wasn’t listening so much as looking around the soundstage and wondering just how they got all of those lights up there. It didn’t read well, but neither did a lot of the things that Erika said at the reunion. Just like Lisa wouldn’t take ownership of how it was rude to cut Dorit’s head off in their jewelry photo shoot, Erika refused to take ownership of her harsh words to Teddi. While I agree that it’s hard to be called a liar (especially with a word as loaded as “amnesia” on this show), Erika did really overreact in that instance. She should claim that and apologize for it so that we can all move on.
I do agree with her that Teddi thinks she is a fawn in a group of sharks; that she acts like she is meek and vulnerable all the time and that everyone is always mauling her with their words. I also agree with her that some of Teddi’s problem isn’t with how Erika treats her, but about how she perceives Erika. But Erika is not blameless in this scenario either. Like she said, by the end of the episode, you can’t treat everyone the same way. Every relationship is different and every personality is different and we all need to realize that how our personality comes across to one person isn’t how it will come across to another. Erika needed to temper herself more with Teddi and it’s on her that she never did.
They also each think that the other is doing this intentionally, when it’s clear that they didn’t. This isn’t so much a fight as just two misaligned perspectives. The fallout from the season didn’t help either, with Erika reacting to mean things about Teddi on Twitter and Teddi hammering Erika in her blogs. This really seemed like couples’ therapy though. They each got their true feelings out, screamed a little bit, and now they’ve reached a new understanding. They definitely seemed like they had worked some things out and have a new realization of what the other is like and how to approach, if not a friendship, at least a détente. If Erika and Dorit can make up after Pantygate, I don’t see why these two can’t move forward. Or Lisa and Kyle, or Kyle and Dorit, or Lisa and Dorit, or Dorit and Teddi, or Lisa and Giggy, or any of us with any other one of us. Lisa asked, at the beginning of the episode, how you win with this group. If there is one thing I have learned about the Housewives, it’s that you never will.