RHBH: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to propose…because I already have.”

October 12th, 2011

A very large part of me wishes that I could entirely ignore the Kim debacle on last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and instead just talk about Lisa. Lisa is lovely! She’s wonderful. Lisa is made of sunshine and puppies and rainbows, and I would like to move in with her. You know, just in case any of you know her and could potentially make that happen.

Anyway, I suppose we have to talk about Sad Kim, even though her sister insists that she’s fine, just fine, and she’s acted like this since she was a kid. If that’s true, what proportion of her life has she spent having fits in bathrooms? Like 30%? How Bravo even sees fit to exploit her on television is beyond me. They should be ashamed of themselves, but I’m not sure anyone at Bravo has the capacity for shame. On to the recap!

We started at the Vanderpump household, where Lisa and Ken were preparing dinner for their daughter Pandora, her soon-to-be fiance and his parents. During the preparations, Lisa’s younger son Max said “I love you” to his girlfriend on the phone, and Lisa got a little nervous that her little boy was all grown up and telling a girl that he loved her. She had never heard him say it to anyone but her! The little bit of nervousness was adorable. It would be so tough to be dating the son of a woman like Lisa. She’s gorgeous, successful, hilarious, loving…how do you top that? Can you tell that I have a little bit of a ladycrush on Lisa?

In stark contrast to the loveliness of Lisa’s household, Taylor and Dana were wandering around Taylor’s kitchen, trying to correctly identify the microwave and clutching their metaphorical pearls over the fact that Brandi said “cock” last week. Look, I know that Brandi is likely the most annoyingly crass woman on the face of the planet, but “cock” isn’t that shocking of the word. It’s not like she dropped the real C-bomb. She probably will before the end of the season, though. Will that be the first C-bomb in the history of Real Housewives? Maybe. I sort of feel like the honor of the first C-bomb should belong to Kim from Atlanta, though. She seems like the type. Anyway, they also talked about some party that Dana was going to have, but I kind of spaced out during that part. “Inevitable future party exposition” is my least favorite part of Real Housewives.

Meanwhile, Kyle and Adrienne got together, also to discuss Brandi’s innate ability to get herself to the bottom of a hole and continue to dig. Instead of “cock,” they focused on Brandi’s weird preemptive insistence that she’s not a slut and her lack of surprise that her son whipped his penis out and peed all over the yard, which are far more worthy subjects in my humble opinion. Adrienne, having been chosen by producers to introduce Brandi to the group, tried to be diplomatic about Brandi’s behavior. “She just has no filter, that’s all!” Ladies, if people describe you that way, it means you’re a jackass and they’re trying to be nice about it.

The topic of conversation then shifted to Kim’s maybe-drunken antics before Adrienne’s basketball game, and Kyle was predictably moderate because she’d like to repair her relationship with her sister. (Also, because Kyle’s embarrassed by Kim and she was trying to save face. More on that later.) She insisted that Kim has always been something of a flakey, slurry free-spirit, and that’s just how she is and not necessarily the result of chemical interference. I might have believed that if it had been said prior to Kyle screaming at Kim about being an alcoholic last season and then Kim checking herself into and then out of rehab after a week, but as things stand now, that seems like an unlikely explanation. I wish I believed it.

In further lunch dates, Brandi then sat down with Adrienne to have milkshakes and talk about how sometimes, people just get jealous. Truthfully, I don’t doubt that there is some cattiness that comes out because Brandi is a beautiful ex-model who has maintained her figure despite two kids and a divorce, but she also did kind of make an ass of herself at the barbecue. I still can’t even wrap my head around the whole “You guys think I’m a Super Slut, I know it,” thing. Even a week later, it makes no sense.

Suddenly it was time for a get-together at Dana’s house, wherein she told everyone who came through the door that her outfit was Valentino and then complained about her “Fendis” while trying to make it to the bar to get crippled Brandi her drink. Apparently with all the money she spent on questionably tasteful clothes or accessories to try and impress other people, she couldn’t afford a door guy, cater waiters for her party or furniture for the “game room.” Let that be a lesson, ladies. Good help is hard to find, and it’s even harder to find if you’ve already spent all your money on ugly sunglasses.

The uncomfortably long shot of Brandi crutching her way to a club chair was a little bit of subtly hilarious editing brilliance, as was the long silence and uncomfortably large space between Brandi and Kyle’s chairs while they waited for someone else to arrive and provide a little bit of conversational relief. Finally, Taylor showed up wearing a shiny negligee and broke the awkwardness, at least until Kim showed up. Then a whole new level of awkwardness descended on the party, and it stuck around for good.

Oh, Kim. She looked like she had just rolled out of bed and admitted doing her makeup in the car. When Kim got to the front door, she called Dana by the wrong name, but I do have to agree with her that Dana looks like a Pam. Kyle pulled her into the bathroom to clean her up a little bit while she hollered about Dana-Pam’s house being dirty and how she hadn’t eaten in a week, but Kyle ensured her (And us. That was for our benefit.) it was just anxiety. Outside, things were no less awkward because Dana-Pam was trying to beg a free trip to Hawaii out of Camille, who was doing her best to be diplomatic and civil about the brand new wannabe freeloader.

Eventually Kyle let Kim out of the bathroom to join the gathering of blonde women sitting awkwardly on a hodgepodge of chairs, stools and beanbag chairs. They were eating carrot sticks and sipping vodka sodas and pretending like they were at an actual party instead of sitting in an unfurnished room of some weird chick’s house and quietly speculating inside of their own minds about what exactly Kim was on.

Elsewhere, at a much more awesome and less awkward party, Lisa was hosting her daughter’s boyfriend and his parents for dinner. They arrived with an orange-bagged hostess gift in hand, and although I didn’t get a good look at it, I’m going to pretend it was an Hermes bag because that makes me happy. They all sat down to a beautiful meal in Lisa’s beautiful home, and Pandora’s boyfriend got up to make a toast, but he assured everyone that he wouldn’t propose…because he already had.

He had proposed n New York! They had just arrived home from a New York vacation during which they got engaged, and everyone was teary and overjoyed at the news even though I kind of figured that that’s what had happened from the beginning. Lisa made a very sweet toast to them, and then, as if to remind us that she was human, she rudely cut off Ken from doing the same. Moment of bitchiness aside, I would have much rather spent the evening at Lisa’s party than Dana-Pam’s.

Back at the crappy party, Dana-Pam decided to move the girls into a room with matching (although ugly) furniture in it, and somehow, that seemed to be the trigger that sent the party from awkward to hostile. Kim excused herself to the bathroom during the switch and Kyle went after her, which would seem to indicate that Kim’s behavior was indeed cause for concern and not par for the course, as Kyle wanted us to believe.

That quickly lead to a game of charades that made things even more awkward, which I hadn’t previously thought possible. You see, no one wanted to play with Brandi. This is still middle school, after all, and the girl with the cast can’t play dodgeball. In reality, though, trying to avoid Brandi during a game that requires significant and broad knowledge of society and pop culture is probably the right choice, since she apparently thought that Winston Churchill was a black dude.

At some point, Kim excused herself to the bathroom again, which gave the rest of the group an opportunity to make awkward conversation about what Brandi should or should not do in order to ingratiate herself into the group and make Kyle (and possibly Kim, if Kim is still having cogent thoughts and forming opinions) like her. The answer to that, of course, is not what Brandi did next.

When the sisters returned from the bathroom, Kyle announced that they were going to do an IQ test and Brandi would go first. Was that a pointed jab at Brandi’s meager intelligence? Almost definitely. Is it smart to get passive-aggressive with someone who’s almost surely looking to start some kind of conflict for camera time? Absolutely not. But that’s what Kyle did, because Brandi has longer legs than she does and that makes her act like she’s 12 again, and that caused Brandi’s brain-wheels to creak into action slowly, eventually leading her to realize that Kyle was being a little snotty.

Brandi called Kyle a bitch (in the context of “Bring it, bitch!” which is really not all that bad in a competition), which meant that both of the sisters sprung into action, hollering and pointing fingers and generally acting horrified, or maybe just surprised, that Brandi was quick enough to pick up on Kyle’s mean joke. She was also quick enough to pick up on the fact that Kim and Kyle had been in and out of the bathroom infinity times since Kim arrived, and when she threw that into the argument, things really escalated. Apparently we’ll see the rest of the confrontation next week.

For now, though, I’m a little conflicted over how I feel about this. On the one hand, it’s crass to call people out in that manner for what might be (and, let’s face it, probably is) a very serious substance problem. On the other hand, I’m not sure how obviously messed up you can be at a filming for a reality TV show and still reasonably expect everyone to pretend like nothing’s happening. The scene Kim (and Kyle, her dutiful enabler) was making was too obvious to ignore. Kim was late and disheveled, she was confused, she seemed to have trouble focusing her eyes. Once inside the bathroom with Kyle, Kim wailed that she hadn’t eaten or slept in a week.

Perhaps most telling was the fact that she took her handbag with her every time she went to the bathroom, which is classic addict behavior if I’ve ever seen it. None of the other ladies had their bags with them; why would you cart yours around like it was your lifeline when in the home of a wealthy friend where no one would be able to touch it or its contents without being filmed by a professional camera crew? If it has something inside it to which you want constant access, that’s why. I’m certainly no expert, but from the few friends I’ve had who dealt with addiction, that stuck out to me.

Kyle’s insistence on rushing to the bathroom with Kim was in stark contrast to her repeated assurances that Kim has acted like a total flake since they were kids, and her willingness to lie to everyone about the fact that her sister is spiraling downward doesn’t help anyone, let alone help Kim, the person who needs it the most. Propping Kim up on reality TV and the refusing to admit that her behavior is anything short of normal while Bravo plays her deteriorating mental state for cheap laughs is not the way to put an addict (which Kim most certainly is) in the position to save herself. So maybe Brandi didn’t bring up the subject in the right way, but eventually, someone had to mention the giant, jittery elephant in the room. Kyle’s an enabler, and the pay-no-attention-to-the-wasted-person-behind-the-curtain approach isn’t anything but a lame attempt to save face while paying no heed to what might actually help get Kim on the right track.

Apologies for the seriousness, but there are only so many jokes that can be made at the expense of someone who’s obviously in a rather dire situation. See you guys back here next week, ok?

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