The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
This week on our favorite show, Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women did things. They rode mutant bicycles on old train tracks while wearing sunglasses they got out of an old episode of the short-lived Max Headroom live-action show. They talked about their dead fathers in the back of a van while another rich lady slumbered through an entire conversation and woke up unaware in the middle of melancholy. They wore $2,000 slippers made by a French fashion label whose name they couldn’t pronounce, though they would tell everyone how cultured and sophisticated and not racist they really are. But mostly the rich women dealt with Sutton.
When I initially judged Sutton, I decided that she is not for this world — by which I mean professional reality television — and I think that still holds true. She’s more fragile than a million porcelain figures of the Christ child, more fragile than Donald Trump’s ego, more fragile than the Gaza cease-fire. When thinking about Sutton, you cannot ask, “If you prick her, does she not bleed?”; you ask, “If you lightly blow on her, will she not crumble like a statue of Dua Lipa made out of Wheat Chex?”
The episode starts with her continuing her conversation with Kyle and Crystal about race that was brought up by Kyle reevaluating what she said about Garcelle. Crystal asks her, “Are you that girl? The girl who says, ‘I don’t see race.’” Sutton says that she is, that she doesn’t see color, and she treats everyone equally. Sutton also says that the word “racist” is a virus, probably worse than COVID. Um, sorry no. We’ve come a lot farther in fighting COVID in the last year than we have in fighting racism. We’ve done more for a year against COVID than we have in a century against racism, so sorry, Sutton. Also, she is not the aggrieved party here; people of color are.
Crystal does her best to explain to Sutton why “I don’t see color” is a bad thing. Crystal says, in confessional, that this is what comes of people sweeping racism under the rug. She says to Sutton’s face that it’s old-fashioned. I agree with her. Yes, it’s right to treat all people as equals, but we can’t pretend that they are all equals when we still live in a world where there is systemic racism. Sutton saying she doesn’t see color minimizes the struggles that people of color in this country endure, like when Crystal tells us how her father was once harassed at a gas station in California for no particular reason.
Finally, Crystal is like, “It’s late, let’s go to bed.” No! That is the worst idea. It is just as awful as when your boss says, “I need to see you later.” It’s just going to be Sutton lying in bed all night blinking off her fake eyelashes wondering what the hell went wrong and just what she’s going to say to Crystal to make her think that she’s not the worst thing imaginable: a racist.
Speaking of people up all night, can we talk about Kathy Hilton, the new Magic Fingers of the Real Housewives franchise? Just put a quarter in her and let her make you tingle for, if not an hour, at least a few minutes. Kathy crawls into Kyle’s bed at 12:30 and then keeps her up all night because she’s drinking Red Bull. Red Bull! She thinks it’s just a soft drink. She needs to talk to PK, a bunion with a fedora collection, about Red Bull, since he drinks them with vodka at home. She needs to talk to her daughter, Paris, about Red Bull, since she probably sipped on more than a few while fiddling with her phone because she’s so damn shy. Then, the next morning when she sleeps until 11, she wakes up and puts what is either glue or ear drops into her eyes, and it is shocking that this woman with a fan and 18 pillows has managed to raise three children and usher them into successful adulthoods.
Sutton and Crystal have a little consultation about what happened the night before, and Sutton apologizes but also wants an apology from Crystal for maybe insinuating that she would say something racist. Yes, Crystal might have been a little harsh in what she said to Sutton (that is what we call tone policing, which is not a New Jersey cover band that does the combined songbooks of Tone Loc and the Police), but maybe Sutton needs something harsh to wrench her out of the way she thinks. Maybe Crystal is that. Crystal tries to show how thinking all people are equal holds society back, but I don’t know that Sutton takes it in.
Everyone goes out to dinner in their finest outfits. Kyle is wearing a felt fedora, Garcelle is wearing layered vests, Dorit is wearing, I don’t know, something obnoxious and covered with labels. However, the award goes to Crystal, wearing a camel sweater covered in what looks like the feathers of a flock of young birds coming out of it in strips. It is one of the most expensive things in this episode, and they are staying in an $8,000-a-night Airbnb.
At dinner the women have to sit at three tables close together, two tables of three at either end and one table of two — Crystal and Dorit — in the center. I assume this is for COVID restrictions, but come on. This is sort of like when they used to have a smoking section on airplanes. Then a weird thing happens where Kathy, who apparently loves a prank like she’s a member of a TikTok house that terrorizes its neighbors, decides that she and Dorit are going to “bottoms up” a whole martini. What the table doesn’t know is that Kathy told the server to bring two glasses of water in martini glasses with olives in them and the women would pretend to chug five shots at once like they’re about to enter a wet-T-shirt contest at Joe Francis’s house.
What Kathy doesn’t realize is that Dorit then texted Erika and Rinna and said she’d do another round and they would all bottoms up, but Kathy thinks they’re drinking actual martinis, so this is some kind of “prank the prankster” situation. This brings us to where Sutton is way too fragile: Not only will she not “bottoms up” a martini, she also wouldn’t go fast in the train bike, nor can she handle that there is something going on at the table without her.
It really kicks off on the bus on the way home when Crystal, who figured out the prank, kicks Sutton and doesn’t let her tell Kathy about it because she doesn’t want to spoil Dorit’s prank. This whole thing is more complicated than trying to read the all-emoji edition of War and Peace. I mean, really. But the takeaway is that Crystal gave Sutton a “love tap” and it broke Sutton’s shin in 12 places and she’s still walking in a leg cast that says NEL on it, because it was her left leg and the CHA cast only fits on the right side for victims of double leg kicks.
Sutton says she doesn’t like being left out of a joke and feels like the women were texting about her at the dinner table. Her friend, Garcelle, asks the other women if they were and they say no. That is when Sutton really cracks. We’ve seen this before with the “Let the mouse go”: Sutton is not ready to be part of an ensemble where she might be on the outs or where other people might be talking about her. As I said up top, she is not of this world. If you can’t even handle this level of conflict, then you need to get out of the game. It’s just like if you can’t handle smelling like fried food, you shouldn’t work at Popeye’s.
As she’s sulking around the house in a wide-eyed strop, Sutton says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Well, she’s the one who brought it up. She also said that she’s a grown woman and she’s not doing this, but she is the one making the women sit down and have a sincere conversation about something that is a joke. Crystal, a woman who is clearly strong enough to take a joke, even one that is at her expense, thinks that Sutton is completely insane, because she is. Sutton is acting like she is sleeping on the lower level and one of the bears let itself into her room and ate all of her ill-fitting couture. I just can’t with Sutton. Of all the Real Housewives traits, fragility (white or otherwise) is something I can’t handle. Real Housewives, like old age in the Betty Davis adage, is not for sissies and Sutton is more of a sissy than me at 6 years old going as Truman Capote for Halloween. Maybe she should go out of her door, walk into Lake Taco, unburden herself of all of her fears, all of her hang-ups, all of her Dolce & Gabbana jewelry, and let it sink to the bottom of that spectacular body of water like regrets.