The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
This week on the season finale of our favorite show, Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women do their final things. They show their friends around their $53 million spec houses while wearing a hat that looks like something BenDeLaCreme would have made in a RuPaul’s Drag Race challenge where they had to make an outfit with supplies from a Home Depot and she decided to use a lampshade as a Little Bo Peep bonnet. They listen to their sassy 4-year-olds tell them their Louis Vuitton does not look good with their Gucci as if those are words they actually know and they’re not just parroting the ridiculous patterns they’ve seen around them. They go on dates with rich hunks with social-anxiety disorder and then never call him again without even telling the rest of us his Instagram handle so we can drool over his shirtless pictures while we stuff an entire package of E.L. Fudge cookies into our sticky gobs.
But mostly what they do is go to a Chinese New Year party Crystal is throwing at an Asian restaurant that either she rented out for the occasion or L.A. is still in lockdown so it was lying fallow anyway and Crystal just got in there while she knew she could score a deal. In any case, she throws quite the shindig, with a gorgeously decorated room, a traditional Chinese candymaker, and even two (2) dancing dragons. She explains a lot about her culture and why this day is important to Chinese people in general and to her personally. She has all the dishes printed out on a menu with more explanation of their significance for those who are interested, and we see a rather stoned Mauricio (can we even tell the difference?) reading out one of the passages. The whole thing seems fun, organic, gorgeous, and informative.
Lots of things happen at this big party, and by that, I mean nothing really happens and no one says anything and that silence is not only deafening but it will also pull out your ass-crack hairs with rusty pliers and make you ask for more. The smallest of the beefs is the ongoing one between Rinna and Garcelle, which is more like the Cold War if both sides looked equally smashing in a fur-trimmed hat. (They would certainly look better than Rinna did in that awful wig.) Rinna and Garcelle reiterate that they’re still repairing their friendship, and Garcelle says Lisa should reach out and talk to Denise at some point in the same way someone should reach out to the assassin who has been paid to kill them by a homicidal loan shark. Lisa gives platitudes about how she’ll do it in time, but she really has no interest in healing with either Denise or Garcelle.
I’m of two minds about this. Being a human (and what has that ever gotten me but opposable thumbs and student debt), I think Rinna should try to repair things with her friend of 20 years because she really did her dirty last season. Lisa sacrificed a long-standing friendship for the sake of a reality-television program, and that is lower than my subscriber count on TikTok. But understanding Lisa as mainly a robot that practices the reality-television arts and sciences, I know she doesn’t care about her relationship with Denise now that Denise is off the show. We don’t either. If this confrontation happens off-camera, it might as well be happening at the North Pole between Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and a top that texts you back. So yes, it is the right thing to do, but since when is the right thing to do good television? Just ask Touched by an Angel.
The main event, of course, is the ongoing saga of Erika Jayne. It starts a few nights earlier at a dinner with just the Get-Along Gang — Erika, Lisa, Kyle, and Dorit — where almost all the conversation we see is directed at Erika’s tiny little side braid. She talks about how she’s not interested in getting along with Sutton and doesn’t like being called a liar. She says, “My story is true, and it will always stay the same.” She then retells the story of Tom’s accident with all new details. Yeah, she has told this story like ten times now, and each time it’s different. It’s like trying to thread a needle using a kaleidoscope. That doesn’t mean it’s not true; it just means that it keeps changing, that details keep getting added. Kyle is right; just tell us the whole damn story all at once and get it out there.
It was nice to see Kyle being a good friend to Erika, though, and telling her that some of her social-media posts aren’t helping her in the court of public opinion. Erika says she is trolling the trolls, and her BFF Lisa backs her up and says she knows that’s wrong but it feels so good. The problem is that if you take those posts out of context, if you don’t know about the trolls, it just sounds awful. The thing about trolls is that they are completely untrollable. They will stay fat and hairy with one big growth on their bulbous noses and live under a bridge forever, whether you talk directly to them or not. When you try to troll the trolls, the only person you end up trolling is yourself. (Put that on a T-shirt and get Trisha Paytas to sell it.)
Erika doesn’t listen to Kyle, and she doesn’t listen to the other person in this episode who tries to be a friend. That person is, inexplicably, Paul Kemsley, a dog turd who … know what? We’re going to let PK off the hook this week for this nice gesture. I know, I know. I don’t like it either, but he earns it. It all starts at dinner, where Kyle brings up sweeping things under the rug because she is not even a character at this point. Just give her an earpiece and a clipboard because Kyle Richards is working harder than anyone on that set other than whoever has to get all the clearances for the logos Dorit has emblazoned on every outfit. Once Kyle brings that up, Sutton gives a nice speech saying she doesn’t want any ill will between her and Erika in the New Year.
Erika doesn’t say anything. There aren’t even crickets. Even the crickets are like, “Be quiet, this lady is going to say something?” She just doesn’t respond at all. She doesn’t say thank you. She doesn’t pretend that she will have lunch with her knowing the date will never be arranged. Gone is the Erika from the trip who wanted to pretend to get along so everyone else would be comfortable. She just wants all of these people to sit in this silence like it’s a shitty diaper. Once Garcelle prompts her to say something, she responds, “I have nothing to say.”
Sutton tries again. “That was from the heart,” she says. “I know I speak for us all when I say we all want to see you come out of this shining bright.” Again, Erika says, “I said thank you.” This is Erika being withholding at its worst. She needs to give us something. She needs to play the game a little bit. As Kyle points out, she is going through a lot, but she still needs to apologize to people. And I think she needs to give Sutton a sincere apology and at least the courtesy of hearing each other out. She doesn’t have to do it now, and she doesn’t have to do it for long — heck, she can still think she’s stupid afterward — but stonewalling Sutton is only making Erika look bad and uncaring.
As everyone gets up to go to the bar for dessert, PK tries to commiserate with Erika about how awkward the silence was. She tells him, “I have bigger fish to fry.” He says to her, “Well, they’re all fish.” He’s right. They are all fish. Yes, there are bigger fish than Sutton, but just because she’s a tiny little mackerel (probably wearing a dress that doesn’t fit her), she still needs to talk to it, I mean her. Ugh, you know what I mean. Fry this fish up because ignoring it is not good for anyone and is certainly not good for someone who needs as much public goodwill as she can muster.
Erika tells him she’s not going to sugarcoat how she feels, and PK says, “Yeah, but sometimes you can …” and he hits the back of one hand into the palm of the other. I don’t think he means she should backhand Sutton, though it looks like she does based on the look on her face. I think he means that you can take care of these things and put them behind you. Get rid of all these little fish so you’re only facing down the sharks. He doesn’t belabor the point; he doesn’t try to force her into anything. He just nudges her in the right direction, much as Kyle does at their earlier dinner, and tells her something she needs to hear. That is as much being a friend to her as blind support. It’s better.
I’ll be curious to see what Erika says about it at the reunion. It’s clear she doesn’t like Sutton, but if everyone on this show were just friends and never did anything to piss one another off, there wouldn’t be a show. We’d just be standing out in front of this restaurant staring at footage of koi swimming in drunken circles for 42 minutes plus commercials. Erika tells everyone she needs time before she can deal with Sutton, but it’s clear that time will never come.
After her speeches at that dinner, it was clear to me that Sutton really has come around. When we see her using her face-roller just to have a conversation with Crystal a few months prior, it’s clear how much she has grown. I don’t know if she got rid of her anxiety, if she’s just feeling more comfortable, or if having her own Bentley has just changed her soul so much, but Sutton’s heart grew three sizes one day when the rest of us were focused on these other Grinches. I initially said Sutton is not of this world, but she has proved that she is. And as she meets her date, Michael, after dessert and they walk out of the elaborate entrance of this Asian temple that turned into a restaurant, she stops close to the curb and turns her head around. She gazes over her shoulder and sees all of the women laughing over their tangerine granita with their hair piled on top of their heads in a million buns. She can feel the conversation and the night air and the starshine and the million gigawatts of lights beaming up toward the heavens from this irrigated death gully they call Beverly Hills, and for a moment no longer than the blinking of a turtle, she can’t shake the feeling that she had found something.