RHBH: “I kind of used to date her husband.”

January 18th, 2012

By my estimation, last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was one of the only episode of Real Housewives to ever merit the additional 15 minutes that Bravo likes to tack on the end sometimes. Every other time that the network has done that (except for maybe last season’s Beverly Hills finale and the Great Christening Smackdown in Jersey), it’s been totally unnecessary, not to mention easy to pick out 15 minutes worth of footage that could have been tossed with no break in the continuity of the story or quality of the episode.

Last night, though, there was so much madness on so many fronts that we needed it all. In fact, I would have probably sat there and watched for another 15 or 30 minutes, had Bravo decided to extend the episode even more. Kim and Ken started to really unravel, Taylor showed up to the party with her therapist and a black eye, Cedric crashed Lisa’s restaurant opening, one of Brandi’s ex-husband’s mistresses was serving canapés. RuPaul showed up. When RuPaul’s presence is way down the list of interesting things that happened on an episode of a Bravo reality show, you know things were good.

When we started the episode, the whole group had magically returned from Hawaii and we were at Kyle’s house while she prepared for the re-opening of Sur with her oldest daughter. They did some quick recapping about the dissolution of Taylor’s marriage and how horrible the last fight was with Kim in Hawaii, you know, just in case anyone had missed it and needed a quick primer.

Over at Sur, Lisa was supervising the final preparations of the renovation before the evening’s fete and naturally, things were down to the wire. I’ve never known anyone who built or renovated anything that didn’t go down to the wire, and apparently neither has Lisa, but I suppose that doesn’t make it any less stressful. It wasn’t stressful enough to wear flats, though. Or even wedges. Lisa was fairly dressed down in jeans and a white button-down, but she was still rocking sequined (or at least they looked it on my TV) Louboutin platforms.

Somewhere in the outskirts of Beverly Hills, Kim and Ken had rented a cheap hotel room that looked like it had been used to film more than a couple amateur pornos, under the guise of being “closer to the event.” My brain automatically translated that to, “so we could get super wasted and not have to pay a limo driver for the long trek out to our main crack den,” but make of it what you will. While Kim’s “makeup artist” was dolling her up for the event with the last palette of frosted eyeshadow that exists on earth (during this makeup time, it must be noted, Kim sat in front of a wall covered with semi-shiny peach wallpaper that appeared to have last been changed back when frosted eyeshadow was popular), Kim rummaged around in her purse and pulled out…a vibrator.

It was pink and came in a clear tube, so Kim said that she had bought it thinking that it was lipstick. Where, exactly, does one encounter a vibrator where you might also buy makeup? What kind of store is that? And who buys lipstick without at least taking the tester out of the tube and eyeballing it? And isn’t that kind of a giant tube? There are so many questions. I’m so confused. Everything about Kim confuses me.

Back in the land of the living, people had started arriving to the party, drinks were being consumed, appetizers were being passed. Everything was great! Until it wasn’t, that is. As it turns out, Brandi’s ex-husband sort of…got around. And not just with LeAnn Rimes, but also with a waitress at Sur (but probably not just with her either, let’s be real), who Brandi recognized while said waitress was passing around a tray of tiny quiches or something. Helpfully, the camera crew caught her saying to Lisa, “Uh, problem, I kind of used to date her husband.”

Ladies (or gents, really), if you ever find occasion to say those words and mean them, immediately begin rethinking all of your life decisions that got you to that point, particularly if you are a waitress and the woman in question is a model. The waitress asked to leave and Lisa agreed that would be a good solution to the problem after consulting with Brandi. Somehow, the whole thing didn’t devolve into quiche-throwing and hair-pulling, even though Brandi probably would have been totally justified in partaking in a bit of a tantrum. Props to her, to Lisa for being a good hostess and even to the waitress for doing the right thing and asking to be dismissed immediately. In her place appeared RuPaul, as if to reward them for their relatively mature behavior.

Shortly thereafter, Kyle showed up and told Lisa that although Kim was coming, she hadn’t spoken to her since the fight in Hawaii. On cue, the producers then transported us back to Kim’s gross hotel room, where Ken was instructing Kim on what shoes she was allowed to wear and Kim was desperately clawing through a giant suitcase of rumpled clothing (far more than you’d need for just one night) and crawling around on the floor in search of her “medication.” During the spliced-in interviews, Kim finally admitted that things had been rough with Ken and that he wanted to know where she was going and what she was wearing and why she didn’t answer her phone when he called, which is pretty much the textbook definition of a controlling asshole boyfriend. Presumably Kim threw back a few pills and left for the party, but who knows how she actually got out the door.

Speaking of the party, things were similarly dramatic there. Cedric showed up uninvited and unannounced, presumably because he had run out of money and was looking to see if he could make nice with Lisa and leech some more cash and shelter out of her. Lisa indulged the drama for a couple of minutes instead of having him escorted out straight away, but I can’t blame her for taking the chance to yell at him when she had it. Sometimes there are people in your life who you’d just like to yell at for a minute, even if it’s not necessarily the highest road you could take. Cedric was eventually escorted out, with Brandi assuring Lisa the entire way that she didn’t invite him. And I kind of believe her – she does seem to be fairly logical in most situations and doesn’t want to be on anyone’s bad side, and inviting him wouldn’t make any sense based on her actions with the group so far.

After a brief, depressing visit with Taylor and her skeezy therapist (making a house call!), we joined Kim and Ken in the limo, where Kim was playing with trash she found tucked away in the back seat, after which she suddenly decided, mid-drive, that she needed to take her bra off because it was dirty. In my opinion, she needed to take it off because it was one of those gross bras with clear plastic straps, but I also don’t doubt that its cleanliness was an issue. I mean, you saw the hotel room. It looked like they had been living in it for a month when supposedly they had only been there for the evening.

Supposedly.

In other trainwreck news, Taylor had been invited to Lisa’s party now that she was newly free of Russell. And…her therapist was her escort to the party? He wasn’t just there for a little pre-event pep talk? Exactly how hard is he bucking to get his own Dr. Drew style show? I’ve said it every time we’ve seen him and I’ll say it again – if your therapist allows stuff like this to be filmed, you need a new therapist. It’s completely irresponsible and inappropriate, particularly considering Taylor’s extreme situation.

Before they got to the party, Kim and Ken showed up and everyone tried to awkwardly make nice with them, even Kyle. By the time they got to the party, Kim seemed even more wild-eyed and disoriented than normal, and even the sight of her made Kyle a bit sad and panicky. Both Lisa and Adrienne tried to talk to Kim one-on-one, and Adrienne was successful in getting her to admit that Ken treats her poorly and tries to monitor her phone conversations. Adrienne, naturally, sent Kyle in to deal with the situation.

Surprisingly, Kim opened up to Kyle immediately. She told her that Ken puts her down and she’s sad all the time and she wants to leave, so much so that she has all her stuff packed to go. Kyle seemed dubious as to whether Kim was telling the truth, which probably only makes sense if you’ve ever known an addict. When they’re not in treatment, junkies lie. About everything. About things that don’t matter. So Kyle’s probably used to having to play detective and figure out what’s true and what’s not, but everything Kim was saying about Ken struck me as accurate. He hass displayed a lot of behavior on-camera that creeped people out, and I highly doubt we’re all wrong and Kim’s lying and Ken’s just a super awesome, misunderstood, gay bullmastiff.

Like any emotional conversation between two people with an entire lifetime of history between them, though, everything collapsed into tears and a nonsensical back-and-forth about which of them needs to apologize and who apologizes more and whether or not Kim ever apologizes for anything. Again, classic junkie behavior: Acknowledging that your behavior might have hurt someone else unjustly requires the realization that you might have done something objectively wrong, and drugs don’t leave a whole lot of room for self-awareness. Get Kim dried out and in some extensive therapy, and maybe then that line of conversation will go somewhere.

While Brandi was outside admitting to Ken’s face that she called him a gay bullmastiff (her total lack of an attempt to deny she said it or explain it away made me love her even more than I already do), Kyle and Kim were still in the back room, discussing why Kim’s period was three months late and how she’d like to have another baby because she’s currently out of things that are forced to love her unconditionally. (Ok, I tacked on that last part myself.) Kyle accurately guessed that instead of being pregnant, Kim was probably menopausal (is this a new Real Housewives thing? Didn’t we just have this conversation with Ramona in New York?), and the conversation ended quickly when Mauricio (trailed by Ken, who had likely not been invited into the room at all) entered to find the sisters knowingly sharing a swack of lipgloss.

Out in the main room, Taylor had arrived with her therapist and an obviously black eye. I know some of you guys think it was because of Botox or fillers or whatever (Wouldn’t the other eye also be black? Wouldn’t these women be easily able to identify that sort of bruising, having all had it themselves?), but Taylor’s medical records are out there and she took a punch to the face. Them’s the facts. You can pretend that’s not the case because you don’t like Taylor all you want, and Taylor is definitely not a particularly sympathetic victim, but even people like Taylor don’t deserve to be punched in the face. By her husband, by anyone. I simply can’t understand how the wealth of evidence to support the idea that Taylor was abused can be explained away, but disliking someone on a reality TV show can go a long way toward how someone interprets facts, I suppose.

The sad thing is that the same sort of “explaining away” happens to lots of women, most of them who are also imperfect victims but without the resources that Taylor had to remove herself from the situation, and it merely feeds the insidious nature of domestic violence. It’s disgraceful, and it makes me feel really sad for women in bad situations who haven’t lived angelic lives, and as a result, feel like they can’t get any help because no one will believe them.

That being said, when Taylor explained this all to the group, Adrienne and Camille rightfully piped up to say that the way Camille had been treated in this situation had been inappropriate and she was owed an apology. Surprisingly, Taylor offered her one straight away, and it wasn’t the average non-apology that we usually get during a unpleasant confrontation on this show. Taylor said exactly what she should have and seemed to understand why the things she did were wrong and why that put Camille in a bad situation, which was like a bright, gleaming ray of self-awareness from a person who has completely lacked it so far. Maybe her skeezy, fame-grubbing therapist is actually doing her a bit of good here and there, in between camera ops.

Elsewhere, as an ending act to the episode, Kim finally emerged from a bathroom, peppy and bright, after having been inside of it for a period of time that concerned approximately a half dozen people outside. Maybe the famewhoring therapist should give Kim one of his cards.

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