What happened to the easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl UGT that I remember? The one from last season or even the first episode of this season? The only Covergirl here is Eva Pigford, looking elo-qwent in her orange one-piece with belly chains on the outside and a fedora like Janelle Monae got stranded on a beach on her way to space. Even Emily Simpson was shooketh by that one-piece. The rest of us are just shooketh by how nasty and thirsty this whole proceeding has gotten, with only Eva and Phaedra keeping easy and breezy.
As the sun rises over the Berkshires and an ill-advised hot-air balloon beefs up in the yard, the first confrontation is between Jill and Dorinda. Jill is upset because Dorinda attacked her the night before when she said she wanted to be on Eva’s radio show or at least lie in her bed and watch her as she works. Dorinda says that Jill is being thirsty and wouldn’t take the hint. Jill tells the other women that it’s not the message, it’s the tone. Yes, that has always been Dorinda’s problem. Jill should have backed off and taken no for an answer, but Dorinda didn’t have to go after her like Jill was soap scum and she was an army of Scrubbing Bubbles.
Even when Dorinda finds out she hurt Jill’s feelings with her delivery, she can’t seem to find a way to apologize for anything. She doubles down on being right and mean, and Jill somehow apologizes multiple times when Dorinda treated her like she was a member of the Weinstein clan. Jill really narrows it down with Dorinda and says, “You didn’t have to be so mean.” Dorinda responds that she doesn’t have that problem with anyone in her life. Ummm, really? You have that problem with everyone in this house. Even Len, her housekeeper, is like, “Yeah, the $50 Starbucks gift card you give me for Christmas does not make up for all of the screeds I have to be on the other side of over the year.”
What it all comes down to, really, is thirst. These women are thirstier than Miley Cyrus coming off the stage at Coachella. They’re thirstier than all the dead plants in your ex’s living room. They’re thirstier than those tiny little pills that turn into full-size T-shirts. Here is a ranking of everyone on the show, from least thirsty to most thirsty:
9. Marco the butler
1. Eight-way tie for first
Still, crazily enough, these women go around and call one of the others thirsty throughout the program. That is not the pot calling the kettle black; it is just blackness descending upon the whole house until they’re captured in some sort of Bravo-themed escape room. (I would pay $50 minimum to be in a Bravo-themed escape room, and I am allergic to all group activities that aren’t orgies.)
Like all fights in late-stage Housewifery, the Jill and Dorinda fight is about the show itself. Dorinda thinks that Jill is mad at her because she wouldn’t film with her as a “friend of,” and Jill is mad at Dorinda because she thinks fame ruined her. I think fame ruined both of them and they hate the least attractive parts of themselves that they see in the other. They’re both fame monsters and they’re both thirsty, but the difference is that Dorinda has acid in her mouth and sprays it on everyone when she gives them a tongue lashing. She’s like one of those frogs you lick that’s supposed to make you trip, but when you lick her she just pees on you, like the frogs in her yard.
There is also a little bit of delusion left in Dorinda that I think Jill has had beaten out of her in the near-decade since her dismissal. When this comes up again at the Red Lion Inn, Dorinda is lording over Jill that she was still on the show after she left. Jill points out that Dorinda is no longer on that show either. “I’m on pause,” Dorinda says. Pause, schmause. Her ass got fired like a fart lit aflame, just like all the other women around the table. She might have been “on pause,” but if this was supposed to be her redemption vehicle, the way that she is being casually cruel to everyone around her and bullying them the way she did Tinsley is not going to make even the strictest Dorinda fans want her back on their televisions.
And while we’re arguing about the show, Jill says that she never invited Bravo to film at Bobby’s funeral. Her evidence is that her assistant emailed Bravo, but they didn’t ever get an email from her directly. Um, who do you think told that assistant to send that email? This is the dog eating her homework-est excuse that I have ever heard in my entire life. This is like, “I did not inhale” or “But her emails” of Housewives excuses.
Jill totally invited them to the funeral, but guess what, thank God she did! Bobby Zarin was an important character to many of us, a mensch who, despite everything that was going on with the women, was even-keeled and had Jill’s back. He would have totally sent her flowers while at Bluestone Manor, just like her boyfriend Gary did. Say what you will about Jill, but she knows how to pick a man, and that two wonderful men have loved her says something about who she is deep down inside. I am happy that we got a send-off to Bobby, who was important in the show’s formative (and perhaps best) years; fans deserved to mourn him. No one should make Jill feel guilty that she did that.
It’s strange that we don’t get as much analysis of what fame has done to change these women’s lives like we did last season, and I think that’s because we’re seeing how the loss of fame damaged all of these women and some are still grappling with the effects.
We also see that none of them have grown, changed, or evolved. We see this mostly with Brandi and Dorinda. At dinner, Taylor decides it is a bad idea to bring up old shit. Anyone who has ever had to empty an Airstream septic system knows that bringing up old shit is perhaps the worst and most dangerous thing a person can do outside of attending an improv-class graduation show. Taylor wants to know if Brandi is upset that she revealed that Adrienne, the queen of the Maloofs, a race of mole people that live under the mountain, used a surrogate to give birth to her children. As everyone said, this old shit is so old that it has decomposed to the point that it has ceased to be shit. It is now, I don’t know, chocolate milk. No one cares, but Taylor is trying to score righteousness points or something.
She then turns that into animosity that Brandi came on the show as a “cinnamon stick” in their “already successful boiling water” or some nonsense. Why is Taylor bringing spices into this? What does she have against Sri Lanka, which produces 90 percent of the world’s cinnamon and is a lovely holiday destination? Taylor, a woman who ate cotton candy like she was the CEO of Brazzers, is harping on Brandi for stinking up the joint? Come on. When Taylor finally brings up how many Critics’ Choice Awards she has won, we have ripped a hole in our reality and emerged into some pink-clouded version of the Upside Down that exists only in Valerie Cherish’s mind.
Finally, Brandi says, “You were successful because your husband killed himself.” Yup, there it is. The nuke that Brandi brought to this knife fight. It’s all the same. All of these women are the same, from Vicki not wanting to talk about how much she loves Brooks to Tamra excusing all of Vicki’s horrible behavior. It’s Jill being thirsty, it’s Dorinda being mean, it’s Eva striving for relevance, and it’s Phaedra happy to be funny and watching everyone else’s ridiculousness. It’s the wheel of time turning and turning with the crackling of the bones that it crushes with each revolution.
Everyone is disgusted, and Brandi says she did it because Taylor was coming after her. Still, it has never been an excuse, and Brandi could never fight fair. But then Dorinda asks Brandi, “What if your son died?” Oh no, sister. No no no no no no no. That is not like when Jackie said, “What if someone said Gia was doing coke in the bathroom?” We all knew that was an analogy without having to announce it. What Dorinda said was like a curse. It was a hex that she powered with a pentagram she drew on the floor with homemade blue cheese dressing and clam chowder.
While Brandi walks away to try to calm the situation, Dorinda follows her to the bar to keep digging in. Sister! Let Brandi cool off because she has another nuke hidden under her dress and it’s your alcoholism and she is going to let it off right here in this restaurant where you used to marry ketchup bottles. “You’re making a mockery of death,” she shouts at Brandi before someone can usher everyone out the door.
Taylor was already out there by herself, waiting for the vans to come to pick her up. She was standing by the wicker furniture and rocking chairs on the Red Stone Inn’s front porch when she heard a strange sound come from the far railing. “Psst,” she heard. “I have something for you.” She looked over and someone was in the bushes, pushing a cone of cotton candy through the bulbous slats in the railing. “Want it?”
She was confused but excited. Cotton candy was her weakness, but she hadn’t eaten it in years due to mean GIFs and cat memes about her. She slowly walked over, step by tentative step. Her shaking hand gradually closed the distance between her and the sticky treat until she quickly snatched the cone away from the woman in the bushes. She wadded the pink web into a small ball and popped it into her mouth all at once, feeling it melt like a cloud or a dissipating hangover. So good. So sweet. But then she felt it, her body convulsing, and next thing she knew, she was on the floor, the poison causing foam to collect around the corners of her mouth as her twitching among the rocking chairs slowed and her limp wrist hit the pre-Revolution deck with a definitive thud. The sounds of maniacal laughter drifted through the night like fading radio music or the back and forth of rocking chair legs on an old porch as Taylor’s overly pink tongue lolled out of her mouth onto her cheek.