This week on our favorite show Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women, oh girl. They did things. Their husbands did some things, too. Well, one rich woman’s husband did some things and, as Fiona Apple says, fetch the bolt cutters ’cause someone’s nut sack is certainly not safe.
However, Denise’s husband Aaron is the only person in this whole mess who is entirely wrong. The best plays are ones where every character is both right and wrong at the same time, and that is exactly what is happening on this season of RWDT. I agree that Denise should be allowed to ask the women to not shout about three-ways in front of her kids. I also agree that Denise was passive-aggressively calling them bad moms by bringing that up repeatedly and also not bringing her kids to Kyle’s “family barbecue.” But I also agree with Kyle and Lisa and Teddi and Garcelle. At the same time, I also want to individually throw them off of a cliff and have their falls broken only by Sutton standing at the bottom in another of her ill-fitting lemon-printed dresses.
The episode starts with all of the women attending a charity event where Garcelle is receiving an award for the Los Angeles Mission. In her acceptance speech, which Erika missed because she was wriggling back into an obscenely gorgeous low-cut dress in the bathroom, Garcelle says she would like to thank the women who are her new best friends — “Well, some of them…not so much.” Teddi says when she said this she looked right at Kyle.
At the event as everyone is sitting down, Kyle brings it up again and it is made clear she was talking about her. Kyle’s surprised because she thought they always had a good time on the few occasions they’d hung out. Garcelle says that she feels like Kyle is more interested in talking about herself than learning about Garcelle. See, that’s why Kyle had such a great time! She got to talk about her favorite subject. Garcelle also told Lisa Rinna on the ride to the event that Denise feels overlooked by Kyle as well, which is why she was talking so much shit about her. I mean, of course this is true. Are any of us surprised by this?
This is just a warm up, though. This is the undercard to the main event, which is Kyle’s “family BBQ,” which she swears isn’t a dig at Denise, who just told them the previous week in Santa Barbara that she didn’t feel safe bringing her kids around the group if they were going to talk about dirty stuff. There are a few things we need to discuss about Kyle’s BBQ. First of all, where is Glen, her party planner? We haven’t seen him in a few seasons and I need someone to check on him and make sure he’s thriving, and if we can’t find him I need a 10-part podcast series about how he won’t leave the house because he’s now married to Richard Simmons.
Secondly, the idea of this thing was that Kyle and Mauricio love to have barbecues where everyone can bring all of their kids. But you know who’s nowhere to be seen at Kyle’s family barbecue? Kyle’s family! Even Mauricio went to a football game instead. (He probably got stoned and forgot he was supposed to have a party at his house.) But why aren’t any of Kyle’s kids there, including the two daughters who live in the house, one of whom is under the age of 16? They’re all uptight about Denise’s girls not coming and meanwhile the girls who live in the damn house can’t be bothered to come downstairs for a quesadilla, which is not BBQ food. See! Glen would have known that!
However, Kyle’s backyard does look cute, with a table on the ground surrounded by Pier 1 tuffets, a bouncy house for the kids, and an all-white teepee-style tent that looks like something that would be on Mariah Careys’ rider if she performed at Coachella. Speaking of which, the last time a hunky musclebound dude offered me crystal was at Coachella, and Kyle knows exactly what that feels like now that Aaron showed up and gave her one as well.
Things really kick off when everyone sits down at the table and Garcelle asks Denise why her kids aren’t there. When she showed up, Denise told Kyle that two were at a sleepover and one was on a playdate. But now, Denise says, “I’m not going to bring them around, not after what happened.” That gets us right back into the fight about the threesomes at the last barbecue. Luckily for us, this time Aaron is here. Oh, thank the Catholic Jesus for that.
Of all the mansplaining, manspreading, manboobing I have ever seen a husband or significant other of a Housewife do on these shows, nothing’s been as condescending, angry, and borderline threatening as what Aaron unleashed in Kyle’s backyard. This was already presaged by a dinner with Denise and Aaron where they talked about how dumb this all is, and Aaron in the car on the way to the party discussing how he didn’t want to go because “all they do is fight.” Yeah, bro. That’s kind of the whole point. If you don’t want to get wet, don’t go to Sea World. (But really, don’t go to Sea World. That shit is bad.)
Denise is once again explaining her point. This time Garcelle is there to defend her, thankfully. They’re both sounding sane and rational and handling it well. Then Lisa Rinna asks how Sammi, Denise’s 15-year-old daughter, went about bringing it up to her. Much as Lisa suspected, Sammi thought it was funny and no big deal and Denise is mischaracterizing their conversation to the women. Denise says she won’t tell them what she and Sammi talked about, a move that I would usually defend, except the whole conversation happened on camera.
Denise’s stance on her privacy seems a little bit odd this whole season. She wants to talk about some things and not others, and at some times but not others, and seems to think that things that are talked about on camera are in the cone of silence. It’s like she doesn’t want to be part of this experiment at all anymore. Also, if we’re talking about things that are cruel, the savagery, the absolute evisceration, of the edit of Denise dropping F-bombs literally inches away from Dorit’s toddler while lecturing the women about their comportment around children. Oh lordy. Give those editors a raise and give that camera crew a year’s membership to the dildo of the month club.
When things aren’t progressing Lisa Rinna gets up and leaves, and Denise tries to subtly point out to Kyle that she wasn’t mad at the other women the night in Santa Barbara, she was mad at Lisa Rinna. This is a point she brought up at dinner with Aaron, too. She wasn’t mad that the rest of the women wouldn’t let it go, she was mad that Lisa started bringing up all of this stuff about her film roles and talking about Charlie Sheen’s prostitutes with her kids. She says something to the effect that she has been friends with Rinna for 20 years, why would she choose to talk about these things now in this setting? The answer is that now they’re on the show. It seems like she is not-so-subtly accusing Lisa of putting her dirty panties on the clothesline for all to see for the sake of some good television. I mean, she’s not entirely wrong.
Aaron tries to shut this whole thing down and it ends about as well as one of Kim Jong Un’s haircuts. He says that the one thing they asked the women was to know that there were teenagers around and to respect their surroundings. When Teddi says, “Yeah, but…” Aaron says, “You’re making an issue out of nothing and it’s ridiculous.” As the women continue to try to hack through this Gordian Knot, Aaron says, with a tone dripping in disrespect, “okay, so there’s no issue ladies? Okay moving on. Let’s talk about something else. Thank you.”
Here is the problem: This show is a female space. When the cameras are on and things are rolling, the women are in charge. They are driving the story, they are driving the conversation, they are driving the order of business. That is why the dudes sit at the end of the table, so they don’t get involved. No one cares what they say and when they try to step in it spells disaster, as a delightful little clip of PK, an infected toenail that hates mail-in ballots, reminds us.
Kyle is totally right, women and men handle things differently and these women, in particular, need to talk simple arguments through at great and someone lobotomizing length in order to get through them. Of all the things the rich women do, that is the thing they do the most. However, it is their prerogative. This is their space and they are in charge. Aaron can’t come in and tell them what to talk about or how to talk about it, just like he can’t walk into The Wing and take off the vintage Tori Amos they have playing and replace it with the Joe Rogan fucking Experience. I know this is a sensation that you are unfamiliar with, Aaron, but take a seat and let them do their jobs. The women are working!
He says at one point, “What does [this argument] do for all of you? How does it make you feel? Not very great.” He assumes to know how these women feel, or is telling them how to feel, which is the oldest trick in the patriarchy’s tired playbook. How can he be so naïve as to not know what this does for them? It keeps them on the show. It keeps this whole enterprise — the one putting protein powder on his table — going. The seasoned pros like Mauricio and Edwin have learned the trick, stay out of the frame or away from it entirely. Showing up is a no-win situation.
I get it, this guy is trying to defend his wife. His intentions are noble, but for him to tell them all to just drop it and put their hands together in the middle of the table and say “hoo-rah” because they’re being “ridiculous” is just gross. Don’t tell them how to feel or how to process their emotions. Don’t hold them in contempt, particularly because, at that moment, he’s the thing that is making it worse. Eventually Denise decides it’s time to leave and they get up in a huff and make their way out of a party that they didn’t want to be at in the first place. It’s sad he had to act that way, because I think I was on Denise’s side until he created sympathy for the other women’s argument.