The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
This week on our favorite show Rich Women Doing Things the rich women did things. They wore the same pink velvet dress to the same exact party. They talked to their husbands, fresh off of plays with Stephanie Powers in Delaware, about their daughters’ mental wellbeing. They did their makeup while their stoned husbands demolished sandwiches next to them in their palatial bathrooms. But the thing they did the most was get into a fight that I can’t possibly understand. Of all the inscrutable rich women fights that they have ever had, this one is more impenetrable than a vault locked in a fortress covered in two condoms.
The fight is between Kyle and the other women and it is essentially about whether or not Kyle and Teddi act like a couple and are a “package deal.” I would say that the fight is between the rest of the women and Kyle and Teddi, but Teddi is being strangely silent. She’s barely uttered a dozen words this whole season. I am loath to blame this on her pregnancy, but that is the only thing that changed about her between her last outspoken season and this one, so maybe it is? I don’t know.
I say it’s between the rest of the women and Kyle, but really it’s just Erika, Lisa, Dorit, and Denise against Kyle. The new women, as Garcelle points out, are sidelined by Kyle. She says she loves them but she’s freezing them out. Garcelle takes such umbrage in the car on the way home from Erika’s astrology party that she calls Kyle’s outfit hideous, which is a bold move coming from a woman wearing a pink velour suit. (She looked amazing, though.) Garcelle even agrees with Denise that Kyle doesn’t talk to them, she talks over them.
Everything kicks off at Erika’s house in Pasadena, where the ladies haven’t convened for a couple of seasons. It’s all very nice and sophisticated and her husband Tom comes down to tell them stories about having a walk-on role in a John Wayne movie and young Teddi sits on the end of the couch wondering if John Wayne is possibly Lil Wayne’s grandfather. Tom goes upstairs, as if taking shelter from a coming storm, as the ladies retire to Erika’s dining room to get their charts read by Shawn, Erika’s hunky astrologer who could put his Scorpio rising in my Taurus moon any time.
He goes around the table and tells all the women about their personalities based on their star signs. When facing Erika in an argument, it’s best to present the facts. Kyle gets the most worked up when someone is treated unfairly. Lisa Rinna lets everyone know where they stand, even if they sometimes don’t want to hear it. Dorit is hard to reel back in when she gets upset. Garcelle, like a girl in a Cyndi Lauper song, just wants to have fun. Sutton, something something something. I don’t know I wasn’t paying attention. These are all things that we could have guessed just by watching the show.
The most interesting readings belong to Denise and Teddi. For Denise he says that she has a very complicated chart and that she keeps a lot of things hidden. While she looks placid on the surface she’s plotting revenge deep down inside, beyond her placid exterior. I love to see it. For Teddi, and this is what kicks off the fight, he says that, in a group, she will gravitate toward one energy she finds comforting, probably an earth sign. Everyone points out that Kyle is an earth sign.
This conversation then turns into whether or not the two of them had couples therapy together. They did not, they just met with Teddi’s therapist to learn breathing exercises to help them deal with their anxiety. The women think this is weird. It is a little strange, but if I were looking for activities to film myself doing with my friends, I could see how this would end up being a suggestion. They’re also harping about how they shared a room together and how, in the group, they’re always fighting the other person’s battles.
Sutton makes her only good comment of the show and says, “Why do we care?” (This sets off a budding argument between her and Dorit, which Erika shuts down since they are guests in her home.) I echo the sentiment. Why do they care? And why is Kyle so upset about the insinuation? The fight almost doesn’t seem to be that they’re so close, but that Kyle won’t recognize that she has a different friendship with Teddi than with the other rich women. That is only natural. Erika and Lisa are closer to each other than anyone else. Dorit is closer to a set of CHA and NEL bejeweled barrettes than any human on the planet, including those in this room. That’s just what happens. Why won’t Kyle acknowledge it? Why can’t she just say, “Yeah, Teddi and I have a certain bond and we grew really close really quickly. That doesn’t mean I love any of you less.” I think what she’s afraid of is appearing impartial in fights, or the other women not thinking she would have their backs if they have a problem with Teddi for some reason.
The problem then becomes less about their relationship and how Kyle is treating them. As soon as anyone disagrees with her, she calls them an “asshole” and tells them to “shut the fuck up.” At least at this party she doesn’t get up and storm off like she did at the last one. Dorit points this out to a teary Kyle, who can’t handle any criticism. She says that she immediately shuts down any dissent to which Kyle responds, as if on cue, with a curt “Fuck you.”
Kyle Richards always looks best when there is someone else around who is worse than her. It’s as if they are a mirror that can absorb the burning flames of her own meanness. In the first few seasons it was her sister Kim, whose often chemically induced rage made Kyle seem like the softer and more reasonable one. There were a few seasons where Brandi also made Kyle seem sympathetic. In later seasons, as their relationship became more competitive, it was Lisa Vanderpump. If she took the blame for the behind-the-scenes machinations, then Kyle came off scot-free for protecting the group.
Now Kyle is laid bare, her obvious favoritism and outsized reactions on full display for everyone to openly critique, and she obviously does not like the scrutiny. Since she’s not letting Garcelle or Sutton into the inner circle, she is without a shield. The alpha is being challenged by the group. The workers are coming for the queen, and they want an equitable distribution of wealth. Organize the workers! Destroy the wheels of capitalism! Give Lisa Rinna a cardboard sign that says “UNION” and let her stand on the makeup counter of Neiman Marcus and demand fair contracts for everyone! The revolution is now and it will be televised, apparently.
The fight doesn’t so much resolve itself as fizzle out with the end of the episode, possibly to continue next week. Which means it is now time to talk about my favorite part of this season, which is Dorit by Buca Di Beppo Too. I know we talked about it last week, but I have not been this stupefied by something on my television since they announced that Gossip Girl is Dan Humphrey. So Dorit told the women that she’s investing in one Buca in the Valley (which will be the first institution I visit once lockdown is lifted), but it seems like she’s just redecorating one room in the Buca. She has plans to do more, but Robert Earl, the CEO of the company, barely seems to want to do this one, so who knows.
Why is Dorit doing this and why is Earl allowing her to do it, other than the fact that he’s old friends with her husband PK, the fleshy equivalent of a massive PPE shortage? Also, does it take two meetings to plan the redesign of one room, particularly when they didn’t even discuss any designing? Is she using this so she can have a storyline? Is it all an elaborate ruse so that they can all throw shade at Lisa Vanderpump? Is Earl really paying her for design services? Is he paying her so that he can get exposure on the show and fools like me will flock to an underperforming franchise of his TGI Friday’s for meatballs? Is he paying Bravo for product placement and they made up this bullshit about Dorit redesigning the room as product placement? Is Buca di Beppo the new The Hustle?
Back to the design, what is Dorit even going to do? And why is he letting her do only one room? So one room will look like the inside of an Italian grandmother’s knicker drawer and the other room will look like, what, a downmarket boutique hotel lobby in need of a refresh? I can only imagine Dorit’s interior design skills based on her own home, and that would be a look that AD describes as half-empty-rented-furniture chic. If the two rooms are different won’t that be a huge disconnect, and won’t that go against the decoration scheme for every other restaurant in the entire franchise?
I can’t wait for the party with the big unveiling. The suspense is killing me. This is like the best episode of Scooby-Doo ever but when they take the mask off the monster, we’re going to find all of us sitting inside it. We are the monster. We are the fools and the ones being fooled. We will be sent to jail with the succor of chicken parm stuffed into our gobs, smiling as the handcuffs tighten, pinching the tender flesh on the underside of our bony wrists.