Since this is the season’s fifth episode, by the power vested in me by the Eileen Davidson Accord of 2014, it is time to judge the newest Housewife, Garcelle. I like Garcelle. She seems fun and charming and stylish and attractive and sufficiently rich, so it’s just about everything you could possibly want in a Housewife. I also love that, when pushed, she will resort to the level of petty of emailing every single agent at her cheating ex-husband’s firm to rat him out. That is some Angela Bassett exploding car GIF ish right there.
What I fear about Garcelle is that she is not going to mesh well with the cast. So far she has been mainly outside of the drama and was quick to opt out of group functions like Teddi’s retreat and Lisa’s daughters’ product launch. At least for the latter she had the legitimate excuse that it was the 12th birthday party for her sons, future male models Jaid and Jax. The problem with the Beverly Hills crew for the past few seasons is that, other than them all coming for Lisa Vanderpump, they don’t like to tussle. They don’t like to get into the bullshit of each other’s lives and call each other out and say nasty things like, say, the ladies of New York, Atlanta, or Potomac, the forgotten gem in Andy Cohen’s Chromatica jock strap. Garcelle is not going to tussle either. She is too cool for that. She is too above it. We don’t need everyone to tussle, but who is it going to be?
Instead of tussling we get the Beverly Hills equivalent, which is petty squabbles about who showed up late to what, who had glam for which event, and whether or not the very specific semantics of what someone said are insulting. It’s all a little bit draining. While the women bicker back and forth, Garcelle just sits at the end of the table watching the ping pong match and interjecting every so often. Instead of seeing her rage in group shots, we see her being charming and unassuming at home, being a good mom and a soothing presence. It is very much the edit that Denise Richards got last year. Since Denise didn’t have any skin in the Lucy Lucy Apple Shoot Me in the Head of it all, she just got to chill at home with her big-dicked husband and win over our hearts.
I say this because, whoo-boy, I can’t think of anyone who is getting a harsher second season edit in the history of the entire franchise than Denise Richards. Erika Jayne, who was stanning over her all last season, in particular seems to be done with her in her confessionals. There certainly seems to be a feud brewing between her and Kyle, which might be exactly the tussle I’ve been hoping for. At dinner at Denise’s house Kyle called her a “ragamuffin” not once, but twice. This is a particular favorite insult of mine, usually lobbied against my teenage nieces and nephew who refuse to wear long pants and/or shoes, but when I deploy it it’s with a huge dollop of affection. Kyle means no such thing. What I don’t understand is that Kyle is both making fun of Denise’s looks and criticizing how she went from “down-to-earth” last season to appearing in makeup and having a diamond ice sculpture this season. What is it, Kyle? You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth, no matter how luxurious your shade of red lipstick. Dorit also likes to point out that when Teddi got her second-season glow up, a common phenomenon for Housewives, Kyle didn’t bat a fake eyelash.
At dinner at Delphine, a Beverly Hills eatery so exclusive it can’t be bothered to repair its neon sign, Denise brings up that when everyone was at dinner at her house the table of teenagers was more mature than them, “and that’s a problem.” As Erika points out, she knew who she was inviting over. That’s sort of like ordering Chipotle on Seamless and then being shocked that you got the shits. Kyle tries to explain herself and when Denise pipes in, Kyle talks over her. “Do you ever let people talk?” Denise counters. “I’ll let you talk when you’re not being an asshole,” Kyle says. “I’m not fucking doing this!” Denise explodes, finally fed up with the Housewifery of it all. This is not the “Ms. Laid Back” we have come to expect. This is someone else. This is someone who is fed up and ready to fight. This is a different Denise, but I like her just as much as lace shorts and flip-flops Denise from last year.
Before this blowup, everyone was on edge from Sutton and Dorit getting into it. Since she’s not technically a Housewife but a “friend of,” I assessed Sutton as being not to my liking. I think I have to revise that a bit. I still don’t like Sutton, but I appreciate the friction that she brings to the group. Still, I don’t know if she is cut out for this line of work. Last week we saw her getting teary before the retreat afraid of what was going to happen since she and Teddi had a little tiff. This week she arrives to Erika’s clubhouse for some pre-event drinks before heading to Lisa’s daughters’ clothing launch. Before leaving, Lisa says something to the effect of, “The girls collaborated with someone we all know and I can’t wait to see what you think about it.”
After that comment, Sutton decides the person that Lisa is talking about is Joey Maalouf (no relation to Adrienne, queen of the Maloofs, a race of mole people who live under the mountain). Joey is Lisa’s hair and makeup guy and a former Bravolebrity back from the Rachel Zoe Project days. Apparently Sutton went into business with Joey on The Glam App, but they had a falling out that nearly ruined the business but certainly ruined the friendship.
When all of the women arrive at the party at Beauty & Essex (the only bar I’ve ever been thrown out of, bee tee the dubs), Sutton is having a meltdown. “I have a bad feeling about something. I’m going to flip out,” Sutton whispers to Dorit. Sutton tells Dorit that “he’s here” and Dorit asks who. “The makeup guy,” Sutton says. “I’m going to flip out.” Dorit tells her calmly, “It’s not the right time to flip out.”
After the women arrive, Sutton learns that Joey isn’t there and the collaboration they were talking about is with The Fat Jewish, who is a friend of Kyle’s who they all met a year or two back at a party at Kyle by Alene Too (RIP). The arrogance and narcissism of Sutton to think that “someone you all know” means someone she knows and someone that she has a problem with. Also, the fragility that he might be there and she might not be able to handle herself is not the mettle that a potential reality star needs in order to survive this cutthroat profession.
Dorit brings up their exchange at dinner and greatly exaggerates Sutton’s claim, saying that she was going to “freak the fuck out” and made it seem like she was about to start throwing chairs and setting the place afire like some sort of pyromaniac on PCP or Jax Taylor on any given Thursday afternoon. Lisa gets upset because if anyone flipped out and ruined her kids’ event she would cut them to shreds and use them as embellishments on a QVC duster.
I get what Dorit is saying. Though Sutton had previously told some of the people about her and Joey’s relationship, how are they supposed to know what she is thinking or who she is talking about? If I was in a party bus and the friend of a friend who I didn’t know that well started mumbling to me about how she was going to freak out because of some paranoid delusion that the “makeup man” may or may not be at this party I would be like, “Um, you need to calm down and also never talk to me again, unfollow me on Instagram, and block me on Grindr.” Sutton was behaving, if not erratically, at least strangely. It wasn’t as threatening as Dorit made it out to be, but Dorit had every reason to be unnerved by what she was saying.
Sutton’s reaction to the criticism also seems outsized. “You’re not being nice,” she yells at Dorit with an accusatory point and weepy eyes, as if Dorit misinterpreting someone’s words is an uncommon occurrence on these shows. “I’m not going to fucking play this game with you. Shut up…I want you to zip it,” Sutton continues. When Dorit won’t stop talking, since Dorit’s words are a renewable energy source that could power whichever medium-sized European country she thinks her accent is from, Sutton says, “You’ve had your fun. Let the mouse go.”
Okay, what does that mean? Is that some sort of Southern slang I don’t understand? Is Sutton saying that she is the mouse and Dorit is torturing her for fun and that she should now let her go? And does she think this level of scrutiny is torture because, oh honey, this is Housewives, honey, and if you think this is bad, honey, wait until someone says Brandi Glanville’s name three times, honey, and she appears, honey, and starts shoving people, honey.
Sutton eventually says, “This is about business. Of all people you should understand,” which seems to be a dig about Dorit’s business and financial dealing and how they are, how can we say this nicely… somewhat suspect. Dorit’s most recent business venture is, and I kid you not, investing in a Buca di Beppo restaurant in the Valley. Apparently, she and her husband PK, a case of trench foot that wished to be a real boy, know the owner, Robert Earl, and they’re investing in one franchise. He’s going to let Dorit redecorate one of the rooms. What is she going to do, cover it in barrettes and put CHA on one wall and NEL on the other wall?
I just find it super ironic that Dorit is dressed in a very classy, future-chic jumpsuit covered in zippers with a phonytail down to the floor wrapped in silk ribbon and she’s going to be doing the interiors for a…mid-tier Italian chain eatery known for its kitschy aesthetic? Good luck, sister. Save me a chicken parm and, whatever you do, make sure you aren’t keeping any mice hostage up in that piece.