The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season Finale Recap: Swinging Richards

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Denise and Desist
Season 10 Episode 16
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Denise and Desist
Season 10 Episode 16
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Bravo

It is now time to talk about an ungodly, multilayered smear on humanity, and I’m not even talking about Melissa or Gertrude or whatever the hell Lisa Rinna is calling the wig that she wore to Dorit’s party. I’m talking about Dorit’s party itself. I haven’t been so terrified by anything since, well, I saw that demonic Annabelle spawn that was sitting in a sleigh outside of Dorit’s house. What was that evil papier-mâché monster and why was he in a sleigh? What about that thing says Christmas? Dorit’s young children are going to be the only tots in the universe that hate Santa Clause because they think it’s an emaciated monster puppet who sits out in front of their house in a poppers-induced haze lying on a pile of presents.

The whole party is something that wouldn’t just make you throw up in your mouth a little bit, it would create enough vomit that the force would blow your head off as a bile fountain erupted from your now-lifeless body. At first I thought it was a sponsored event by L’Astuce, some kind of champagne, because there was a novelty champagne floaty in the pool and a huge logo for the brand behind the bar. No. Incorrect. This “housewarming party” for Dorit was actually a launch party for a new brand of alcohol-free Champagne launched by Dorit’s husband PK, a phlegm, pus, and scabs omelet.

Since this is the final party of the season, production was surely pitching in for the cost, but that means production was also paying for these two to launch a brand. That means production also paid for Rene, the “pyro” who is in charge of making sure that all of the candles stayed lit during the party. Are we sure that Rene is an actual human and not the terror jester from the sleigh come to life? Are we sure he’s not the second coming of Bob from Twin Peaks? Are we sure he’s not one of PK’s children from his first marriage just roaming around the house looking for things to set on fire because he hates Dorit?

I blame this whole awful party on the fact that Dorit has a new hot gay party planner, some dude named Nick. He is not Cory, the old hot gay party planner. Why is Dorit not using Cory anymore? Is it because production couldn’t afford him? Is it because he wouldn’t come to Valley Village, the all-Vanderpump Rules neighborhood where it looks like Dorit lives now? Is it because Dorit and PK have an outstanding bill with Cory and he won’t work with them anymore? At one point, Dorit asks if we want the “real tax returns of Beverly Hills” to prove where her money comes from. I mean, actually, yeah. But the truth about where all of this money comes from when it appears that neither of the heads of household have a job other than “reality star” and “wannabe alcohol free champagne magnate because sparkling cider doesn’t already exist” would also be appreciated.

As the party gets going, Dorit thinks it would be a good idea to bring out a magician for some reason. Out comes Simon Winthrop, who makes Teddi’s ring disappear and calls her “beautiful” while he’s doing it. What we didn’t know is that Simon Winthrop’s stage name is The Great Mansplaini. Then he makes a cigarette levitate and pops it into his mouth, staring at the crowd with a grin that only Andy Serkis as Gollum could make look more nightmarish. When Garcelle arrives to the party late, Dorit drones, “Oh, you missed the magic.” No, sorry. No one missed the magic. There was no magic involved.

The reason Garcelle was late is because she was waiting 30 minutes outside of Denise Richards’ hotel to go to the party with her. Denise, however, did not arrive and her husband Aaron texted the producers that there was a “family emergency.” Apparently she had been texting members of the group, including Rinna and Dorit, that she was coming but decided at the last minute that she wasn’t going to arrive. What really happened is that Brandi Glanville (apparently the magician said her name three times and she appeared) texted Denise that she would be at the party and Denise decided she didn’t want to show up. She later tells Lisa that she didn’t want some “Jerry Fucking Springer moment” when confronting Brandi at the party. You know it was going to go down. You know that Brandi is so desperate and so volatile that she would have pushed Denise right in that pool with that awful fake champagne floatie and then turned to the producers and say, “Was that enough to secure my spot?”

Dorit says later that Denise pretending to come and then not showing up was “tricky and manipulative.” That is a total misread of the situation. I think that Denise had every intention of showing up at the party, but then when she discovered Brandi was going to be there she bailed. I don’t think that’s tricky on Denise’s part, I think that’s tricky on production’s part.

Anyway, we get through the entire party. We see Adrienne, queen of the Maloofs, a race of mole people that live under a mountain. We see all the women throw ice cubes into the pool (enough ?s to wear out the key on my laptop) like it was supposed to be the final shot of the season. We see Sutton’s latest atrocity of a dress. After this season, I’ll be shocked if Dolce and Gabbana don’t send her a cease and desist letter. This dress looked like it was made from the afghan slung over the back of Roseanne’s couch. Oh wait. She’s canceled now. The dress looked like the placemats from the HBO series Lucky Louie starring Louie CK. Oh. Him too. The dress looked like something from the Kevin Spacey movie…. you know what? Fuck it. That dress was ugly. It was just ugly, okay?

After the party, a producer tells Garcelle about the text from Aaron. He also says to Garcelle, “You were the one defending her and now she like bails on you,” trying to sway her sentiment about Denise. Then we get all sorts of producer interference. We see that weeks later the news about her affair with Brandi breaks in the press. Then we see that she sent cease and desist letters to the cast and producers. Then we see that she wants to go over Lisa Rinna’s house to talk.

Here is what is annoying me about this season. I love when the fourth wall breaks, and the way it was edited at the start of the season was masterful. But we’re seeing production only when it can advance the story that production wants us to buy: that Denise Richards is at fault and has something to hide. All of these women have an agenda, but the show as a whole — as a massive money-making deep state that involves both the producers at Evolution Media and the suits at Bravo and maybe a slight dash of Andy Cohen even though he’s mostly just talent these days — has an agenda too. That agenda is to make us believe the women over Denise Richards because Denise makes the show look bad.

I also don’t like that we see a producer manipulating Garcelle, and by extension us, the audience, but then we don’t see a producer saying to Denise while she was filming her confessional interviews that she needs to go talk to Lisa Rinna so that the season can have some closure. I have no doubt that conversation happened. If the show is now going to be transparent, then it needs to be transparent. Show us that filming was supposed to have wrapped but then producers made Dorit, Lisa, and Garcelle have a drink together to discuss what happened with Denise. They did not just “need to have a Christmas cocktail.” They were fulfilling a contractual obligation. Don’t just show us the bits where it is convenient for the producers and the narrative they’re trying to push. Show us all the strings that are hoisting these Botoxed puppets along so that we can make some decisions for ourselves.

What is for sure is that the show’s attempts to make us blame Denise are not working. Sure, at the drinks with Dorit and Garcelle we hear Lisa talking about how Denise manipulates the press, a skill she learned dealing with Charlie Sheen all of these years. Is what she’s saying true? Probably. I would believe that Denise is more devious than we have been led to believe. “She’s going to make us look like a bunch of mean girls, just watch,” Lisa says. First of all, she knew that because Denise literally called them mean girls in Italy. Also, Denise doesn’t need to make them look like mean girls, they’re doing a pretty good job of it themselves.

Was Denise lying about having sex with Brandi and being friends with her? Probably. Was she lying about talking shit about the women to Brandi? Probably. Was she manipulating the press? Um, does a Lisa Vanderpump shit in the woods and a Radar Online article come out? All of these things can be true and it can also be true that the show did Denise Richards dirty. Just imagine if they had to actually leave everything about her and Brandi out of the season, what would there even be left to talk about? They needed to ignore the cease and desist and they needed to make it look like Denise was being unreasonable and not playing by the rules when it seems like, at every turn, it was the show betraying her. How did Brandi show up to talk about Denise and her relationship? Why was that even necessary? How did Brandi get invited to Teddi’s shower and Dorit’s party, because I don’t believe she just sauntered in as Kim Richards’ (being played by Ricky from Ricky and the Flash) plus one. As I said before, everything that happened with Denise and Brandi should be off the show. It doesn’t concern this group of women, even if she did talk shit about them.

What I really don’t understand, also, is just what Lisa Rinna is so mad about. When she and Denise finally talk, Rinna homes in on the fact that Denise “lied” about her family emergency. Oh, come on. That excuse was flimsier than a vermicelli noodle in a vat of acid. They all knew that was a lie, and it was one Denise “owned” after the fact. Lisa’s anger at that is totally put on for the camera. Is Lisa mad that Denise is lying? But what are they upset that she’s lying about? It seems that they’re really upset that she’s lying about being good friends with Brandi, which is the only thing they think they have the receipts to prove. However, as Denise says, she could only have hung out with Brandi four times but have strings of text messages. That doesn’t seem that unlikely. But they all want to believe Brandi so bad. Why?

I think it’s because Lisa Rinna is being outplayed by Denise Richards and she’s pissed about it. Rinna didn’t unseat Lisa Vanderpump only to have her crown taken by someone who can’t even bother to put on something other than Doc Martens to film a scene. I totally understand why Denise wouldn’t want the info about her and Brandi out in the world, true or not. It could be because she doesn’t want to have uncomfortable discussions with her kids, it could have legal implications with her custody of them, it could be something as vain as worrying about her public image. But what we don’t really understand is why the women are so mad at her and what they should even care about something that happened in Denise’s private life that really has no effect on them.

That can’t be the last scene of the season, though, so Sutton has to rent a private plane for everyone to go see Erika in Chicago, though all they really do is hug in Times Square. Then the final messages from each of the women are about what they have been doing during quarantine. Erika’s musical got cancelled and she returned home to Tom, Garcelle has been protesting with her sons for Black Lives Matter, Lisa has been grinding on Harry Hamlin on Instagram, Teddi had a baby which she of course named Dove, and Dorit has given her 3-year-old an Instagram cooking show because the branding can never start soon enough.

Denise, however, wasn’t doing any of this. She wasn’t on Instagram. She wasn’t protesting or dancing. She was in the back of her Malibu rental staring out into the silent hillsides wondering when this whole thing was going to end. She could hear the sounds of the demonstrations, she could feel the fear of going out into public, she could see the smoke buffeting down from the catastrophic fires up north, and all she could do was stand there and pray, hoping that this time her house could escape the fire.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Finale: Swinging Richards