RHBH: “I will kill him. Slowly.”

November 1st, 2011

Dead guy on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I repeat: DEAD GUY ON REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS. I’m still a tad surprised that Bravo didn’t edit Russell out of this season completely, but there he was last night. Walking, talking, coldly undermining his wife. He was the Russell that we all remember.

Thankfully, Lisa and that old rich dude threw a party grand enough to distract from the awkwardness of Russell’s appearance, complete with camels and a flopping poolside mermaid and gifts of jewelry valued in the mid-five-figures. If you ever wanted an hour of television to leave you feeling poor and confused, last night was your night.

First up was Lisa, who was tooling around Beverly Hills in a white Bentley and making phone calls, which is exactly what you should do while you’re in the car and a bit of “questionable” driver. She was inviting people to her daughter’s engagement party, an invitation that Kyle immediately accepted. When she called Taylor, though, things were a little bit more spotty. Lisa said that Mohamed, who was throwing the party, had gone through a “falling out” with Russell and that he probably wouldn’t be welcome. She didn’t elaborate on exactly what that meant, but, you know, use your imagination. Whatever you guess probably won’t be all that far off. Taylor agreed to attend by herself.

Speaking of Taylor, we then joined her and Dana-Pam to go cake-tasting. Cake-tasting for a five-year-old’s birthday, so that she and 200 of her closest friends can have another vulgar, enormous party for a kid who couldn’t care less and prove to all of her friends that she’s rich. We know that she’s not actually rich, but let’s waste a bunch of money to keep up the charade anyway! This is why they hate us! For some reason, Taylor thought that this ridiculous party would cut down on the backlash for last year’s ridiculous party, but she didn’t really explain why.

In a slightly (but only slightly) more serious setting, Kyle hauled her mother-in-law in to see Adrienne’s husband for a face-lift. Kyle was understandably nervous about her MIL, who is beautiful in her own right, going under the knife for vanity’s sake, and I completely agree with her. Ladies, listen and listen good. I live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which is sort of like living in the Uncanny Valley. I see cautionary facelifts every single day, and these are rich women. Rich! And still, their faces end up looking all busted. Just age gracefully. Get a little Botox if you want. Don’t starve yourself down to nothing so that you have some meat on your bones to hold your skin up. It goes a long way. Above all, though, DON’T GET A FACELIFT. Just eat a cheeseburger! Once you’re old enough to need a lift, no one cares if you’re skinny anyway.

And then, suddenly, Mauricio’s mom was under the knife. While Paul cut up her face and stitched it back together, he made some phone calls and offered to set up one of the other guys in the operating room with Kim, which the dude seemed to misunderstand as a positive thing. When Mauricio’s mom got to the recovery room, Kyle had a little panic attack seeing her swollen, bruised face. Although it was a tad dramatic, I can understand her reaction and I’d probably react the same way if a loved one was all bandaged and swollen like that.

Once Kyle got herself together, it was time for another traumatic event: Dinner at Taylor’s house! She and Mauricio schlepped over there for a chef-prepared meal, and we all had to take a good, long look at a man who killed himself a few months ago. There’s no easy way to say this, considering what’s happened since the show filmed, so I’m just going to put it out there: I always have, and still do, think that Russell was a shitty person. I know it’s gauche to speak ill of the dead, but it’s also gauche to trot them out on a reality show and force us to discuss him, so let’s just call a spade a spade, ok?

I certainly don’t wish death on anyone, and Taylor isn’t a particularly sympathetic figure as far as battered spouses go, but watching him undermine her while she went to the kitchen to get more food was gross. He took the opportunity to tell Kyle and Mauricio – who are not his friends, but rather friends of his wife – that they had officially separated as of that day, for seemingly no reason other than to set Taylor up for future embarrassment when Kyle eventually tells Taylor that she knows. It struck me as one of the more telling moments that we’ve seen so far this season.

When Taylor returned to the table, talk shifted to an item about their marriage in Us Weekly which they both seemed sure that Lisa had planted, a suspicion for which they apparently had no evidence besides their own magical powers. Kyle, seeming much more reasonably and mature in this episode than in the last two, wasn’t buying Taylor’s accusations and neither was I. Sure, Lisa knows the editor of Us Weekly. Lisa seems to know a lot of well-connected people in Los Angeles, and by necessity, the editors of tabloids are often such people. That’s not anything close to proof.

In fact, if you know the magazine’s editor in chief, you’re probably too far up the social food chain to be bothered with feeding the magazine gossip about marginally famous reality show also-rans anyway. Besides, people have been talking about Russell and Taylor’s marriage since the first season of this show aired, and as Kyle indicated, everyone who knew them was aware that things were terrible. She’s spilled the details in front of the entire cast and production crew. Choosing one person to villainize is a shrewd way for Russell and Taylor to shift the attention off of themselves and onto someone else, though. I bet they were very accomplished grifters in their day.

Russell made a show of saying that one of “his litigators” would simply serve Us Weekly with a lawsuit, the avoidance of which would compel Us Weekly’s intrepid journalists to reveal their sources. Not only is it now absurdly clear that Russell didn’t have any litigators on staff, but if that’s how things actually happened with tabloids, we’d hear about stars suing them all the time. Instead, those lawsuits are fairly rare and usually well-publicized, mostly because it’s more or less impossible for people like reality TV stars to prove that they’ve been libeled in any actionable way. They’re public figures that have opened their private lives to speculation for financial gain, and people like that are hard to defame. Us Weekly’s lawyers would have chuckled and used the legal papers as a coaster for their afternoon Diet Cokes.

Then, finally, it was time for the party. While Kim made her now-customary call to beg off from the event (during which Lisa accidentally told her just to come and have a drink. Woops.), Lisa and Pandora were getting ready at home, arranging all their diamonds and cleavage just so. After all of that was in its proper order, it was time for the exchanging of gifts! Both Pandora and her fiance received gifts worth well into the five figures, and the only thing it made me realize is that I need to marry rich. Really rich. Not just regular rich, I need to marry Lisa rich. If you know any single, attractive, charming, overwhelmingly wealthy dudes, send them my way. (What? You don’t know any? And even if you did, you wouldn’t introduce them to me? BOO. I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS.)

Once at the party, there were all manner of…decorations? Entertainers? There was a camel? I don’t know, there was all kinds of stuff. Zillions of dollars worth, including belly dancers and a snake that terrified Taylor. And then there was that random mermaid next to the pool, jerking around on the ground like a beached whale and talking to herself. WHAT WAS THAT? Was that Dana-Pam? Did she have to dress up in costume to sneak into the party through the staff entrance? Why didn’t she choose a costume that allowed her to walk?

The party then proceeded to the ballroom, inside of which had been constructed a Moroccan-themed tent. Because, naturally, of course, Mohammed has a ballroom. A ballroom with ceilings so high that another structure can be built within it, and it’s still plenty high for everyone to stand up and have a party. Just, you know, think about that. Definitely think about that instead of thinking about the random partygoer who calls her husband “daddy,” which is a conversational custom that some women have that absolutely turns my stomach. Prostitutes call their pimps “daddy,” never mind all of the squicky weirdness around sexualizing the father-daughter dynamic. JUST STOP DOING IT, LADIES. HE’S NOT YOUR DADDY. And if you’re going to do it, for the love of god, don’t do it in front of your friends or a group of random party acquaintances.

While the rest of our housewives were getting drunk on that old dude’s dime, Kim was having a rather bizarre meeting with her random secret boyfriend. If you had told me a couple of weeks ago that Kim had a man, I would have assumed it was an, “I totally have a boyfriend, but he lives in Canada so you can’t meet him,” type of situation. “What, his name is George Glass? You don’t say!” Then we’d see Kim cradling a picture of him, but it would just be the stock photo that came in the picture frame when she bought it. Sad Kim is sad.

But no, there he was, looking totally sketchy but unexpectedly existent. Apparently Kim’s been dating him for a year but has kept it a total secret from her sister and the tabloid press out of fear that her family would hate him. So, you know, let’s unveil him now, on camera, for the ridicule of millions of people! Because that’s totally easier and less stressful than privately telling your sister that you have a boyfriend. Kim primed him to meet her sister by telling him that no one in her family would like him because they never like anyone, which is always a reassuring thing to hear before meeting your girlfriend’s family on reality TV. She’s been through a couple of baby daddies at this point, but apparently it’s never occurred to Kim that her family doesn’t like anyone that she dates because she picks not-great guys, not just because they’re mean.

Ken the Secret Boyfriend might have been directly from Central Casting, I don’t know. The only background we have on him is his first name, the he’s from the “backroads” and that Kim met him at her mailbox, where he was apparently standing while she was out for a walk. So he’s…her mailman? Did she hit on her mailman? That’s the only person I can think of who it wouldn’t totally scare me to encounter at my mailbox. If that’s indeed what he does, how awkward would it be to break up with your mailman? He would still have to come to your house every day, and sometimes he would have to ring the doorbell and give you a package. He would see everything that was sent to you. Mark your mailman down as another person you can’t date, ladies. He’s right up there with your barista and your favorite bartender.

Back at the party, rich people were doing the stupid things that they do when they all get drunk together. While the professional…contortionists? acrobats? dancers? What were they?…were performing on a table, Kyle decided that she deserved some of the attention too, at which point she hopped up and did a split. For a mother of four in a fancy outfit, that’s kind of impressive on a certain level, I suppose. What was less impressive was Taylor, who sough attention for herself by sticking one of her legs up in the air and showing all of her ladybusiness to everyone standing behind her. Thankfully, the camera was in front.

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