This week on our favorite show Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women did things in France. They opened up all the Juliet balconies on a château and yelled at each other about who was going to bring heated towels to whom. They attended breakfast in their sunglasses and held tiny cups of coffee to their wan foreheads to help steam away their hangovers. They talked about the thousands of years of history in Europe and then defiled it by taking kicky selfies in random doorways and while walking on a bridge that ends, like so many of their thoughts, absolutely nowhere. Most of all, they ate the truffle cheese.
When the women first arrive in France, we see their dutiful chauffeurs piling all of their luggage on carts and filling up two black cars with it. Of all of the things that we see during every Housewives vacation — the bickering over room assignments, the disastrous boat trips, the well-lit dinners at resorts that no one else seems to be attending — the one thing I will never understand is the luggage. They’re going away for like five days at the most. Do they really need one suitcase of luggage for each day? Even if they have activities as diverse as scuba diving, horse riding, and mountain climbing, there is no need for them to have all of that gear.
When they arrive at the Château Ventoux, they’re all in awe of it like it’s the castle at the end of Beauty and the Beast or something. To me it looks like some place that John Malkovich would have a lot of sex in a really boring period film where there are also horse-shit jokes. Whatever. The place can be yours starting at $5,735 a night. Good thing it comes with a bartender who has, apparently, a very heavy pour.
It’s odd to me that after dragging their hair and makeup people to Dubai and back for the last few years, no one brought their “glam squad” along with them for this vacation. Erika, who seems to have started the trend of traveling with her own coterie of homosexual beauty experts, says they’ll be in the country so it will be nice and relaxed. But do we think this was some sort of group decision? Did Dorit also agree to this? Did the producers, at some point, put their Yeezys down and tell the women that there would no longer be accommodations for the staff? I want more of an explanation.
On the first night in the chateaux, not having a stylist or creative director seems to pay off for all of the women. Despite claiming this trip would be “casual,” Dorit wears the most sumptuous green-velvet suit with two giant tassels. It’s perhaps the nicest thing she has ever worn on the show, and if I were as thin as she is I would try to pull it off myself. Erika’s dressed as a busty Trinity from The Matrix, Kyle is in a gorgeous frilly black dress, and Teddi, the one eye falling off of a stuffed bunny, is wearing some pajamas with a blazer over it. Well, she tried, people.
The next morning, after hearing the awful news that Camille’s house burned down as she was running down the street carrying an Andrew Wyeth painting, the women get ready to go to the market. Kyle emerges wearing a tweed cape with a fur collar, and I said to the little black hole next to me when I’m watching reality television that absorbs all of my secrets, “They are forgiven for all of the luggage.” What Kyle is not forgiven for, however, is shopping for more hats, specifically fedoras. Every time Kyle puts something on her head I get a horrible PTSD flashback to what happened in Lisa Vanderpump’s kitchen and I just want to knock that thing off of her head and feed her to my tiny black-hole friend.
Speaking of Lisa, the only time she appears in this episode is when Erika says she feels more comfortable being vulnerable around the women because now what she says won’t come back as a jab somewhere down the line. However, we still see Lisa in the credits, holding her diamond and delivering her tagline like she’s still a member of the show. They need to erase that shit. Disappear her in the middle of the night like she’s Kevin Spacey in that movie where Michelle Williams only got $19 and a free tote bag to reshoot it with Christopher Plummer.
Unfortunately, we can’t feed Lisa to my tiny black hole because right now it is full of my screams from when Dorit arrives on the screen wearing some hideous Chanel hat that is a cross between a beret, a beanie, and a pile of black jockstraps found in the corner of a dungeon after a gay-sex party during the upcoming World Pride in New York City. Then she puts on a black leather jacket with ring upon ring of purple fur and looks just like a comic book version of a Russian hooker who turns into a spy. That is not meant to be a compliment.
I hate this Dorit. I hate the Dorit who says, “This could just be Italy,” when France is really nothing like Italy. I hate this Dorit who says, “This makes me feel like I’m in Europe,” when she is in Europe. I hate this false worldly, fashion-obsessed, tryhard Dorit. The Dorit I like is beer-pong Dorit. The Dorit I like is the “I stole the family car when I was 13 and my friends got white chocolate on the back seat and my parents thought it was cum stains” Dorit. Just be real with us for a second. Just stop living this lie and level with us and we’ll all like you, Dorit. Stop being so insecure.
When the women are at lunch in town, Kyle recounts her struggles with eating disorders after Lisa tells them that her daughter Amelia, still seemingly in the throes of hers, is going to study nutrition and psychology to help other affected people. I think that’s great of her and brave of Kyle for sharing. However, the idea of eating V8 warmed up in a bowl, like Kyle used to, is absolutely disgusting. If you ever want to know what it tastes like when a rat is eating someone’s dried sick off the sidewalk on a Sunday morning, know that it tastes like lukewarm V8, which keeps your diet straight.
The only real topic of conversation on this trip so far, which has been fun and breezy, is the conversation about Lisa Rinna, dressed as Erika Jayne, calling Kim Richards “cunty.” Kyle’s peeved by it and brings it up at dinner the first night, and Lisa gives the perfect response. She says that it wasn’t right to do it, but that it led to a conversation with her and Kim and they’re on the road to recovery. Great. Perfect. Case closed.
Kyle isn’t satisfied, though, and brings it up at dinner the second night. She and Teddi are both trying to say that it was weird that she brought it up in the guise of doing it as Erika Jayne. Lisa goes back to her old line about it leading to healing so who cares, but Kyle and Teddi — suddenly with some skin in the game — won’t let it drop. They don’t know why Lisa can’t admit that it was “weird” and why Erika can’t admit that she was offended by it. They even flat out ask Erika if she got offended, and she says no.
The problem with this conversation is that Kyle and Teddi, clearly either annoyed or offended by what Lisa said, can’t imagine that Erika wasn’t and think that she’s lying when she says she wasn’t offended. If Erika says she’s cool with it, just let her be cool with it. What isn’t great for Erika is that when these sorts of discussions make her uncomfortable she just decides not to engage in them. She tries to shut Teddi down and gets a look on her face like she’s one of those porcelain dolls whose eyes close when she lays down, and her lids just keep bobbing back and forth like the single crouton in a bowl of warmed-up tomato juice.
Teddi then wants to talk about the difference between Erika Jayne and Erika Girardi, a conversation that Erika does not seem to want to have at that moment, so she freezes it in its tracks with a curt dismissal and an icy stare. This is not an attractive quality of Erika’s. I understand her frustration, not wanting to go around in circles or reexplain something she sees as obvious, but if she doesn’t want to have these discussions she should get out of the game. That’s what this show is, and trying to dictate the terms is not the best of looks. Eventually she says, “Guys, stop baiting me with these conversations,” as if they’re trying to get her to turn on Rinna. I don’t think they were doing it maliciously, I think that Kyle and Teddi just can’t imagine why Erika wouldn’t care. It’s their lack of imagination that’s damning.
So they all went back to that château and climbed up the creaky steps to their pre-appointed rooms. Erika sat in the little plush chair in front of her vanity and took off her earrings. She laid them on the table with a sigh, as if releasing something ancient into the world. She picked up a brush and smoothed it through her hair a dozen times, staring vacantly into the mirror. She thought she saw something floating in the breeze behind her in the dark, the diaphanous shape of a woman in a big dress going to a ball. She wasn’t scared, though, she wanted to join her. She wanted to paint her face just like this woman’s, with a little heart-shaped beauty mark above her lip. She wanted to escape into the world of limitless expectations, where one night in the company of others could alter her fate in one way or another. She wanted to go some place new, she wanted to misbehave so badly that she was suddenly running home through the dew as the sun came up, chasing her excited dread as the world stirred around her.