The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
I started calling her St. Camille of Grammer because she was, up until this episode, the only Real Housewife to successfully rehabilitate her image from a goat to a savior. Remember season-one Camille, with her shoulder shrugs and coy smiles as she made fun of the other women for not having as much money? She would surround herself with these silent sycophants (remember Dede?!) and trash the women in her hot tub. She was the worst.
After she was brought low by both public opinion and a very public divorce, season-two Camille was quite different. She was a bit sad and humbled and turned into a no-nonsense truth teller who finally brought Taylor Armstrong’s abuse allegations onscreen for everyone to talk about. With her rehab complete she then faded into the background (either by choice or Bravo’s design — I have no idea), where she showed up occasionally to host a toothless lunch, tell the women they look fabulous, and blend into the scenery.
It’s safe to say that Camille’s sainthood — a bit tarnished by her defense of Brett Kavanaugh earlier this season — is officially gone. It starts at the dinner the women have after they get back from France. (Oh, we wrapped up that trip this episode: Teddi and Kyle were hungover. They apologized to Erika. She said her feelings were hurt. Lisar is bad at archery, blah, blah, blah.) This is the first time the rest of the gang has seen Camille and Denise since their houses were involved in the wildfire. Lisa Rinna, bless her heart, shows up with a bag full of her QVC clothes for Camille since everything she owns burned up. Like Camille is ever going to let a polyblend that close to her skin.
Everything Camille has to say is almost as disturbing as Erika’s rhinestone barrette that says “DAMN.” (I do not like the influence that getting along with Dorit is having on Erika.) Yes, Camille has been through a lot, but she is completely tone-deaf to how some of her complaining sounds. It’s awful that her house burned down with all of her possessions. It’s awful that her longtime assistant and friend passed away. And yet still it’s hard to feel bad for Camille.
First of all, she says that she has nowhere to stay because her beach house is under construction. “I’m not a homeless person because I have other properties, but I feel homeless,” she says. This reminds me of Bethenny breaking down in the back of her chauffeured car because she was living out of various hotels. I’m not saying what either woman went through isn’t traumatic, but their way of expressing it is bad. It’s an insult to, you know, actual homeless people or those who lost their only home and all of their possessions in the fire. You know, the people who can’t afford to go buy new ski boots and secondhand Burberry coats because they lost everything and it’s going to take months for the insurance money to kick in.
Denise’s house was ruined by smoke and soot, so her damage isn’t nearly as bad as Camille’s, but she tries to get her friend in fire to see the bright side of things. “At least we have the means to rebuild,” says Denise, a good midwestern girl who rode a Harley into her wedding. “I don’t think Denise fully understands,” Camille says in her confessional. “She’s very lucky her rented house didn’t burn down.” And with that, her transformation back to season-one Camille is complete. She takes an indefensible position — that this rich woman with millions of dollars at her disposal is going to have a hard time rebuilding her life — and defends it by insulting someone who has a much saner stance on the same issue. That skittering sound you hear is Camille’s halo shattering into a million pieces and a legion of tiny little Maloofs burrowing out of the wall to collect the pieces and take them back to the dark witch that owns all of their souls.
The rest of it goes down at the party for Dorit’s Beverly Beach window at Kitson. First of all, ugh, Kitson. Having the window at Kitson is sort of like getting to be the new spokesmodel for Guess jeans. It’s like starring in the new made-for-TV adaptation of a Danielle Steel novel. It’s like being the most popular person on Myspace. The edit of Dorit melting down about how her window is all wrong and then redoing it by just switching the male and female mannequins is absolutely savage. It’s about as awful as Dorit’s rhinestone “DRIPPIN” barrette and her sheer lace duster that she wears to the garbage-bag “unveiling” of the display.
Camille shows up to the party with some random woman no one has ever seen before who doesn’t even warrant getting her name splashed at the bottom of the screen. Why is Camille always showing up with these random plus-ones to Housewives parties? The only people we need to see her socializing with are contractually obligated to show up. She doesn’t need a buffer in case she doesn’t know anyone. Anyway, she shows up to the unveiling and says to Dorit, “The more time I spend with you, the worse I feel about everything I said in the past.” Little does she know that is all going to come up at dinner.
After the big unveiling, all of the women are sitting around the table with Camille’s rando at one end and Edwin and Aaron at the other. They are just slurping their soup and talking about Deadliest Catch or whatever it is that straight guys talk about at these parties. At one point Aaron picks his head up and asks Denise what is happening. “Oh, nothing. Just keep eating,” she says, continuing to be perfect.
What they’re talking about is Camille defending Lisa Vanderpump in the press after her wedding. Of course Lisa Rinna, who loves stirring a pot even more than she loves cashing a paycheck, brings it up and won’t let Camille off the hook for talking shit about Lisa to them but then gushing about her in People magazine. Lisa says she’s trying to be gentle with Camille because of all of her recent tragedies, but Camille makes the mistake of asking her to bring it on and get all of their grievances out in the open.
After that, Dorit feels like it’s the right time to bring up that Lisar told her that Camille had been saying some shady things about her, but that she didn’t say what they were. Dorit wants to know. Camille, strangely enough, doesn’t back down and says, “I don’t know where you’re getting all of this money from.” Here is where things get complicated for me. Like Camille, I don’t know where Dorit is getting all of this money from, either. We’ve seen the press accounts that Dorit and her husband, P.K., a shit-stained Hunter boot full of vodka and Red Bull, owe their business partners money. We aren’t entirely sure what P.K.’s job is, but we see Dorit wearing $6,000 dresses, spending $20,000 on Hermès china, driving a Bentley, and paying God knows how much for their house, Surely Rented Manor. There is no way Beverly Beach is making that much coin.
Camille also says that Dorit comes across as a person who is trying to be something she’s not. I also agree with that, and the Dorit that we’ve seen this season, the one who plays beer pong and forgets Teddi’s name when she’s drunk, seems like the real Dorit, and I love her. It’s the other Dorit, with the faux accent and feigned worldliness, whom I want to seal in the world’s largest Mason jar and set out to sea.
So, yeah, I agree with Camille, but the way she goes about it is all wrong. “People want to know what I know,” Camille says, which, again, Yes, girl, we do! “I’m trying to protect you [by not saying it],” she continues. But we all know that insinuation is worse than accusation. Just ask Lisa Rinna, who freaked out when Kim Richards said, “Should we talk about your husband?”
Dorit acquits herself well during this whole confrontation, telling Camille she can handle anything she has to say. Camille says that P.K., a sous-vide baboon-ass steak with smog-flavored foam, owes friends of hers $1 million and that lawyers are involved. This sounds like it might be the Bellagio Hotel lawsuit that was recently resolved. But, knowing the Kemsleys, this could be something else entirely. Their finances have always seemed shakier than Katharine Hepburn’s charm bracelet. (#TooSoon)
At the dinner, Dorit says this is bullshit and all of the women tell Camille that she’s gone over the line and to ease up. Even Lisa Rinna, standing there with the world’s largest ladle, tells her to chill. Denise, especially, tells her that it’s time to stop talking about Dorit’s husband. I love Denise and I don’t disagree, but please keep talking and never stop.
Like always with Camille, it’s not the message, it’s the delivery. It’s the smugness with which she brings this up. It’s then saying she only said that because everyone was attacking her. The other women did bring up that Camille talks mad shit behind everyone’s backs, but that is because Camille talks mad shit behind everyone’s backs. That’s not an attack; that’s the truth. Camille might have been a saint, but she has always made herself out to be a martyr, and those are my least favorite canonizations.
Season after season there were always people saying, “Bring back St. Camille.” Well, she’s finally risen from the dead, but unlike a creature from Pet Sematary, she’s the same old monster she’s been all along.