The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
This week on the season finale of our favorite show, Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women did things for the final time. They cowered in their closets with their hair and makeup gays and talked about the fights they were going to get into at a real-estate party. They zoomed around their living room on tiny little bikes that they then parked next to the tiny Corvettes also parked in their living room, as if it was not a living room but a luxury-car garage for monkeys. Mostly they wore wigs.
That and they fought about the two villains of the season: the excommunicated Camille Grammer and Lisa Vanderpump. Let’s start with the former, St. Camille, who knew she was in for a big night because she didn’t show up at Kyle’s party for the 25th office of The Agency with just one random person. She showed up with two, both her friend Kimber and Kimber’s lesbian lover, Stormer.
Camille shows up to the party looking for a fight and she sure gets one. She walks right up to Kyle and tells her that she is no longer sorry for saying something nice about Lisa Vanderpump. According to the narrative Camille is telling, she thought about what happened at dinner, how everyone “attacked” her for being nice to Lisa while talking shit behind her back, and disagreed with it. She got home and “grew some balls” and decided she was no longer going to apologize for liking Lisa Vanderpump.
I think that is well and good. However, that is something she could have calmly explained to everyone rather than coming in and shouting with as much volume as Erika’s hair gay managed to get into her pink wig. It gets really bad when Teddi tries to butt into the conversation and Camille just starts screaming, “Shut it down!” at her. I don’t think that is really what “shut it down” means. “Shut it down” is when you need someone to stop saying something that isn’t true or spreading a malicious rumor. She just wants Teddi to butt out. She should have yelled “Butt out,” and would have been entirely justified.
The problem with Camille’s change of heart is that the fight wasn’t about her liking Lisa Vanderpump, the fight was about the fact that Camille is nice to everyone’s faces and then talks shit behind their backs, something that she has done to everyone in the group, including LVP. They weren’t telling her not to be mad at Lisa; they were telling her to get her story straight. That is how the fight about what she said about Lisa at the wedding morphed into a fight about what she said about Dorit. Those two are only related because Camille was talking shit about both of them.
For her part in saying that Dorit is poor and her husband is bankrupt (which, like, thanks for saying it), Camille apologizes. She decides to do it right at the exact moment that Mauricio is giving his speech about how excellent The Agency is, which, let’s be honest, is the only reason he is allowed it to be on the show in the first place. The whole reason he paid thousands of dollars for two girls dressed in light-up Judy Jetson dresses and some man on stilts dressed up like the red baddie from Tron is so that his agency could make money. Now Camille is trying to ruin it with her lame apology.
Even Dorit, of all people, knows enough to wait until the speech is over. This brings me to something I really regret having to say: I think I like Dorit now. I know. I know. That’s like saying I like the garbage water that festers at the crosswalks during a New York City summer. That’s like saying I want an entire cranium to be overtaken with rhinestone barrettes (which it seems to be in next week’s reunion). But it’s true. The way she rides that little bike around her living room. The way she puts Camille in her place for being an asshole. The way she finally addresses the problems going on in her business. I think I like this new Dorit. Oh, may Jesus strike me down.
What this party really solidified for me is just how amazing Denise Richards is. First of all, she shows up looking like a Delta Kappa dressed for a pimps-and-hos party, in a white faux fur coat and a dress that looks like it was made out of the icicles from Santa’s village in the mall. When she goes into the bathroom to tell Camille that she needs to apologize to Dorit for saying she’s poor, that’s great, but what’s really baller is when she stands up to Camille.
We’ve seen Denise do a lot this season, but she’s usually so agreeable or so lost that she’s sidelined in fights. When Camille really comes for Teddi for some bullshit about Teddi snubbing her daughter at the airport, Denise has a very good stance in the argument. She’s mad at Camille for bringing it up (the snubbing was almost for sure some kind of misunderstanding that easily could have been dealt with by calmer heads), but also mad at Teddi for taking pot shots at Camille. She only turns when Camille starts to attack her and tells her to back off. “You better fucking back off,” she shouts, with that last word getting a Midwestern honk that makes it sound both more normal and more vicious at the same time. Denise points out that she was married to Charlie Sheen, so she knows how to deal with drama, but I never thought she would stand up for herself that way. Oh, I can’t wait until Denise gets deeper into the muck of this tribe than she already has.
Camille leaves the party early and misses all of the women toasting with the wine they got in Provence. (Was it just me or did the editing suggest that the rosé in those loose bottles was the runoff wine that they were pouring into the discard bucket?) But they toast to a great year and you could tell that is where the title cards were supposed to play on this final episode.
But we still have Lisa Vanderpump to deal with. Six months later, Kyle invites everyone over for lunch, but she only should have invited over Erika, looking more stunning than we’ve ever seen her with conservative Slim Aarons jet set hair and a Pucci-print dress that would sell out all over the world if there were more than ten of them made and they weren’t already owned by the chicest women in the world.
This lunch had to be concocted so that we could get some closure on the Lisa story, because otherwise it would have dangled. It appears like Lisa and Camille forged some alliance of the damned when Camille went to the opening of the Vanderpump bar at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Lisa has no contrition for what happened and is holding a hardline stance that she did nothing wrong and the women attacked her. These two women can revel in their victimhood together.
Back at lunch, we find out that Lisa Rinna ran into Lisa Vanderpump as she was scrounging for money in her pocketbook (Lisa Vanderpump definitely has a pocketbook). Rinna offered to give her some cash but LVP said, “I don’t need any money and if I did I wouldn’t take yours.” ZING!
It seems like she and Kyle had a nicer run-in at Neiman Marcus. She told Lisa she was sorry for how things went down and that it didn’t need to be like that. Lisa told her that she called her a liar, which Kyle didn’t really, though she did insinuate that. Kyle says that she felt like they were working things out, but also like Lisa wasn’t going to change and she didn’t feel like making the effort to be Lisa’s friend anymore.
That is the gamble that Lisa lost this season. She always thought everyone needed her and would come back begging to her, but they didn’t and they won’t. She’s left herself alienated, alone, and without a voice either on the show or at the reunion, which she didn’t attend. Her title card at the end says it all: “She hasn’t made amends with her friends.” It’s clear to whoever writes those, the editors, the producers, and the audience that this is Lisa’s problem to fix, for better or worse, and she’s failing to do so. She thought that by not fighting with the women about what went down with poor Lucy Lucy Apple Juicy (doesn’t it feel like a different eon since this whole thing started?), she would save her image. Instead she’s tarnished it, perhaps beyond repair, certainly beyond being invited back next season.
But at the lunch all of the women are smiling. They’re all getting along. They’re all as sunny and pretty as Kyle’s expansive back yard. They grin and clink their glasses as the peals of their laughter float up on the breeze, through the San Fernando Valley and over the Hollywood Hills. The sound cruises like an osprey searching for fish, headed closer and closer to the shore, leaving light and giggles everywhere it goes, until it reaches the burned out shores of Malibu. The laughs trickle over the charred houses and empty lots, over the bulldozers crushing the cinders of people’s memories and clearing away the rubble of so many lives, so much happiness, and they die there, in the black smoke that none of them could possibly avoid.