RHBH: “I’m not wildly crazy about my husband 90% of the time, so welcome aboard.”

November 16th, 2011

To say that last night’e episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was dramatic would probably be a bit of an understatement. Even in this always-melodramatic series, knowing that the entire hour was leading up to Taylor being confronted about the violence in her marriage was enough to set my teeth on edge. I’m going to send Bravo my dental bill.

It happened almost exactly as you’d expect it, with Taylor trying to divert all the negative attention to Lisa and another member of the group having to step in and refocus the attention on what was really happening. Taylor, even if she’s a grifter or a liar or a fraudster, is flailing around wildly for a very good reason. But first, before we get to that, we need to talk about the other 55 minutes of the show.

We started right where we left off last week, with Kim slowly goading Kyle inside to meet her boyfriend and his, err…handyman? The first thing that Kyle discussed was why in the world Ken had a ring on his finger, and as it turns out…Kim gave it to him? But they’re not married. No, definitely not married, it’s just a promise ring. A promise ring that she gave him because they’re too old for Kim to wear his letter jacket anymore.

Kyle excused herself to pull herself together, and while she was doing that, we found out that Kim’s kids have apparently told her that Ken is controlling, which is why she’s so suspicious. On Watch What Happens Live, Adrienne seemed similarly unwilling to say positive things about him, although she did come up with a few niceties when pressed by Andy. Controlling people do generally look for the slow, sickly gazelle at the back of the pack to pick off, and, well, it’s hard to imagine a better woman to fit that description than Kim Richards. Ken also gives off a total creepster vibe and may or may not look a little bit like a troll, so I suppose we’ll see…

We next visited a couple with a completely different dynamic – Adrienne and Paul. Paul kept trying to convince Adrienne that she wanted to have crab for dinner because it was his birthday, despite the fact that she pretty clearly wasn’t interested in the crab at all, and she sat there and tried to choke him with her mind. Just another dinner as usual in the Maloof-Nassif household! After dinner-ordering detente was reached, Adrienne and Paul discussed whether or not Taylor is a battered woman until something large and possibly on fire arrived at the table, at which point they were understandably distracted.

Back in the whole Kim-Kyle saga, Kyle had gone home to discuss Kim’s new boyfriend and living arrangement with Mauricio, who was sadly wearing a shirt for the entire scene. He was very supportive of Kyle while she yammered on about needing to let Kim make her own mistakes and whatever, and really, that’s all I need in a man. A guy who’s willing to stand around and nod while I talk to myself, preferably one who looks like Mauricio. That’s why I’m still single.

Speaking of relationship dysfunction, we next followed Taylor to an awards ceremony for some kind of work that she does on a beauty website that I’ve never heard of. Russell was there too, as were Kyle, Adrienne and Camille. (And maybe Dana-Pam was there too, but only to continue to pump Camille for a free trip to Hawaii.) Immediately before the ceremony, Lisa called Kyle to make a tea date (so adorably British!), and Kyle made the mistake of telling her that they were all at Taylor’s awards ceremony, to which Lisa hadn’t been invited. OOPS. That’s ok, though, because Taylor didn’t end up winning the award after all. DOUBLE OOPS.

The next day, we visited Lisa for her tea date while she ordered around her pink-aproned maid while wearing a pink cocktail dress and hovering over a tray of pink petit fours, creating a scene that was the most Lisa thing to ever Lisa. Pretty soon, Camille, Adrienne and Kyle showed up and they all read some weird email from either Russell or Taylor (I was unclear who it came from) about Taylor taking diet pills to lose a few pounds before an event. I can’t imagine any situation in which Taylor would need to lose any weight for anything, can you? She already looks so frail and her clothes look so loose to begin with.

Pretty soon, Taylor showed up so they all had to put away the iPad and make the customary call to Kim to ensure that she was indeed not coming. Once that was out of the way, though, Lisa went ahead and asked Taylor why she hadn’t been invited to the previous day’s awards party with the others. The group then debated whether or not Lisa had talked behind Taylor’s back about how she doesn’t have any friends. And, I mean…maybe? The others in the room seemed to kind of hedge their answers and wait for someone else to be definitive or the issue to evaporate into thin air, whichever came first.

It certainly didn’t evaporate into thin air, though. At this point, I’ll say the same thing I did last week – Taylor hasn’t accused Lisa of saying anything more mean-spirited or damaging that the things we’ve seen Taylor say about Lisa behind her back. All of these women talk behind each others’ backs, that’s the whole point of the show to begin with, and it’s not Lisa’s fault that she’s the most articulate one of the group. Effective mean girls aren’t any worse, as people, than the woefully ineffective ones; they’re just better at what they do. And for the record, Lisa never told Taylor that they weren’t friend, period. Instead, she acknowledged that although they weren’t best friends, she’d still like to help if she could. Personally, I think there’s a real difference between those two things, and not just because I like Lisa. What she said is just a colloquial way of saying “although we’re not particularly close.” Not only is that not mean, but it’s the objective truth.

Taylor got extremely upset and started ranting about her self-esteem and her responsibilities and her child and all sorts of things that have very much nothing to do with Lisa. And then things got really middle school and Taylor decided to have a “moment of honesty,” which was actually a moment of making fun of Lisa’s iPad background. For the record, it is a glamour shot of Lisa and Giggy, and it is awesome. Inarguably awesome. And even if you disagree (you’re wrong), who cares what anyone’s iPad background is? It’s not definitive proof of any more megalomania than anyone has to already have in order to go on reality TV in the first place, and it’s certainly not proof of more megalomania than is necessary to throw your four-year-old a $50,000 birthday party.

Taylor went wailing from the room, naturally, and for some reason she struck up a conversation with Paul through a giant fence outside. Apparently he had been locked out by Adrienne and forced to watch everything from the street? I’m not sure, but they seemed to talk for a while. Back inside, everyone else except for Kyle was talking about all the strange, perhaps half-true things that Taylor tells them about her marriage that don’t seem to add up. When you’re telling all that stuff to multiple people who know each other, you have to expect them to compare notes at some point. Kyle, for her part, refused to believe that anything weird was going on if it didn’t happen right in front of her face. Denial is not just a river in Egypt, ladies.

Meanwhile, Taylor was having Paul examine her face through Lisa’s front gate, which doesn’t really require any jokes on my part because it was weird enough on its own. His diagnosis? She’s still too hollow. Oh, how right he was. On, like, four different levels.

Once Taylor came back inside the house, the impromptu intervention was on. Taylor seemed shocked that no one else was willing to twist events to match her Tale of the Lisa Monster, and on Watch What Happens Live last night (Right before Marilyn Manson called in. WTF.), Adrienne said that none of the other women were aware that Taylor wanted to use the tea to confront Lisa. During the conversation, Taylor tried to pressure everyone else to “back her up,” but then she yelled at Lisa for having the temerity to do the same thing because Lisa wouldn’t need that if she were telling the truth. Very little of that rant made any sense to me.

Unfortunately for Taylor, her plan backfired, and the other housewives, lead by Camille, confronted her about all the conflicting stories she’s told and outed Russell as abusive in front of the cameras. While they were asking for her to publicly acknowledge the truth (which an abuse victim has to be able to do before any progress can be made), Taylor sat nearly expressionless, staring right back at Camille. It seemed as though she instinctually thought that if she made herself as still and non-expressive as possible, no one would be able to see her and they’d all move on to talking about Botox or something.

They didn’t, though, but that’s where the episode ended. Gotta love Bravo, creating a cliffhanger out of domestic abuse!

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