As our season of Summer House draws to a close, I am ready to make a sweeping pronouncement: My favorite person on all of Bravo is Kyle Cooke. There, it’s out there. There’s no taking it back. Don’t @ me. Was he a dick to his fiancée Amanda in the past? Yes. Can he be a thoughtless tool? Absolutely. But still my love for him knows no bounds.
The reason I love Kyle so much is that he reminds me of the fun daffiness of my favorite floozy Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Backyard Go-Go Platform Morgans. Kyle is just in it for the good times. He just wants to put on a highlighter-yellow wig and blast carbon dioxide at people while wearing a Lycra Taco Cat RompHim. There is a guilelessness to Kyle that I find incredibly appealing. This is a man who peed off the side of the porch at least three times this episode and I found it hilarious every single time. Also, he is so incredibly handsome I want to have his granite-carved face tattooed on the back of my right hand so that I can stare at it during “gentleman’s time.” I want Kyle to do things to my body that I usually only imagine Tom Sandoval doing to Tom Schwartz.
Kyle even got me the closest to crying I have been at a Bravo show since Bobby Zarin’s funeral. While the girls go out for a bachelorette night with a male stripper, Carl invites a tarot-card reader over for Kyle. (The look on his face when he thinks the middle-aged psychic is going to take her clothes off was worth the price of cable for an entire year.) The tarot card reader tells Kyle to focus not on what makes him and Amanda different, but how they’re the same and what drew them together in the first place. Great words of wisdom. Even smarter, she tells Carl that he’s “working below his skill set” and when he gets frustrated by life he just goes and has fun, which has been his problem all summer.
That’s not what made me cry, though. What made me cry happens the next day, when Kyle takes Carl aside for a little chat about his behavior as the head of sales for Loverboy, a sparkling hard iced tea, lighter fluid, and combination hookah and coffee maker. He tells Carl that he needs to stop getting wasted at company functions and pay more attention to his job, like the cards said. “All I want is for us to be successful. When you’re firing on all cylinders you’re unstoppable,” he tells Carl out on the balcony. When they go inside and he sees Carl getting emotional, he gives him a bro hug and says, in a tone that is like your mother kissing you good night on the forehead, “You’re going to be fucking fine.” Kyle ends the interaction by saying, “I’m always here for you.” And he means it. Kyle actually means it and that is why I want him to be both my best friend and lover, or at least lifelong fantasy object.
Yes, Kyle has not always been the best (and pestering Amanda to quit her job to work on Loverboy was probably a mistake), but in his defense, he seems to be a much better partner to Amanda this season than he was in the past. He even got her to go along with a three-minute boning session in the closet. Amanda on the other hand. Hoo-boy, did she have a season. Her season was like a burrito fart in the middle of a tornado that set off the volcanic eruption that killed all of those people in New Zealand.
Her irrational hatred of Luke continues apace and continues to sink her. As I said, the girls went off to a bachelorette dinner and then a trip in a party bus that was interrupted by a male stripper dressed up like a cop. He’s handsome, muscular, and tattooed, but when you have Carl, Kyle, and Luke waiting for you at home, why are you messing with this second-rate crotch grinder? When she gets home, she asks everyone how their night was. “It was great,” Luke says. She quickly dismisses him as never adding to the conversation. When she asks why the tarot-card reader made the boys cry he says, “That’s between us.” Amanda gets all mad that Luke “shuts down every conversation” and won’t tell her things like what the tarot-card reader said and exactly what he did in bed with Hannah.
Amanda is obviously very drunk at this point, so it’s a little excusable, but she’s also just being a dick to Luke for no good reason. He might always shut down her conversations, but it’s not like he does that to everyone. He seems to do it exclusively to Amanda, who greets him with nothing but hostility and resentment. Why would he want to talk to someone who treats him so shabbily? Amanda gets so upset at him, she rushes into the kitchen, says, “I hate him so much,” and then picks up what appears to be a pool noodle made out of empty Loverboy cans and smashes it against the sink.
What the hell was that thing? I saw several of them at the rave party too, and I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Is it like a thing where you tape each of your empty cans to the bottom of the others to keep track of home many you’ve had? Is this, like cornhole and closet-case Republicans, some kind of Midwest fraternity culture thing that I missed?
The next day, Amanda apologizes, and Luke accepts it but knows that she barely means it. “She’s too immature to apologize,” he says, which you know Amanda heard at home and screamed, “What!” while jumping up off the couch as Kyle clutched his beer bottle closer to him so as not to spill. My favorite resentments are like the best Bolognese, left to simmer for a very, very long time.
Then it’s time for everyone to dress up for their rave-themed Labor Day party. Everyone has on these iridescent, space-age looks that wouldn’t be out of place at Burning Man. Carl, on the other hand, is wearing a preppy-chic pink terrycloth top with a flamingo and an alligator on it by Tombolo. I love it so much that I bought it last summer and wore it while lounging around various Italian islands. While watching the episode, my husband said, “Hey, that’s your shirt! The pink one!” The next morning, when he opened Instagram, there was a targeted ad for that exact shirt. How did they know? Facebook, get out of my living room and stop listening to me when I watch Bravo shows. (This might be why I get so many ads for Preparation H, because every time I watch Vanderpump Rules, all I say over and over again is, “Ugh, this asshole. Ugh, this asshole.”)
While he’s dressed well at the party, Carl is behaving badly. While Lindsay takes her new boyfriend Stephen up to her bathroom for a quick bang, he’s out in the backyard macking on Danielle, his former girlfriend who keeps insisting she won’t make out with him. Jules, who made out with Carl the previous evening and spent a clothed night in his bed, asks him what is up with Danielle. He basically tells her that what he had with Danielle is the real deal and she’s just a bit of fun. Naturally, Jules doesn’t love hearing this. He tells Danielle something similar and, at the end of the party, tells her she is someone of substance. After everyone else has been kicked out, they’re making out in a chair in front of everyone.
And so, at the end of the summer, everyone has changed but also stayed the same. Hannah may be off to Minnesota to meet Luke’s family, but they still have no clue what their relationship is about. Kyle and Amanda are still volatile, but at least they picked a wedding date. Lindsay continues to be a chaos agent, but now at least is a happy one getting laid on the regular. Danielle is still hanging around and no one knows why. Samesies for Jules. And Carl, oh, he’s just making mistakes all over the place with all sorts of women, and most of his relationships end up as anticlimactic as Everett’s return to the summer house where he and Lindsay don’t even argue.
With everyone out of the house, our crew of dreamy doodads all stripped off their costumes and dove in the pool completely naked, the glitter from their metallic tattoos and face paint sticking in what little of their pubes haven’t been waxed off and curdling in the pool’s drainage system until the end of time. They laughed and celebrated, pretended to get along, and thought about that long drive back to Manhattan, as the summer eked out of the heated pavement and they all slowly crystalized back into their real lives, as their tans faded and they looked forward to nine months from then, when it would all happen again. Because, like the sun rising and herpes flaring up just before a first date, summer always arrives. Even if the houses they will be trapped in will be their own, summer always arrives.