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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season premiere recap: Stars talk Russell Armstrong's suicide

Premiere zeroes in on Taylor and (absent) Russell’s journey through couple’s counseling, especially after Ken started a tempest in a teapot

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Lisa Vanderpump Housewive
Adam Olszewski/Bravo

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Reality TV

So let’s get to the elephant in the room: Tonight’s episode, “Back to Beverly Hills,” began with a support group-style discussion between all the housewives (save Taylor) and their husbands about Russell Armstrong’s suicide. They were universally confused, sad, and worried for Taylor. There was a weird fork in the conversation where Lisa basically said, “Taylor set us up to hate him,” and Kyle — who was the most emotional of all the Housewives — became angry at Russell for choosing to end his own life. In an interview, she said, “Life goes on … It has to.” In the wake of reports that Russell partially blamed the show for his downward spiral, do you think the ladies were advised to exculpate themselves? Since Bravo refused to cancel the show or push back the premiere date, I won’t argue against the inclusion of this conversation to at least acknowledge his death. But what, if anything, do you think this segment achieved?

Before we get to the main event, let’s suss out tonight’s theme: Everyone hates the Vanderpumps! Mainly they hate Lisa, but by night’s end, they have equal reason to detest Ken. I’ll go into that in a minute, but first, let’s lay the groundwork. In one corner, we have Adrienne and Paul’s chef, who has had a distaste for Lisa since she insulted his food. In another corner, Taylor viewed Lisa with suspicion based on her gut feeling that Lisa didn’t like her. Kyle hilariously convinced Taylor that Lisa’s bitchery was “a British thing.” And in the final corner, the Maloof-Nassif’s new dog Jackpot, a fluffy little leather daddy with designs on Giggy. Ken explained that Giggy is often disliked by other pooches because of “his clothing and his beautiful face,” though I’m beginning to think it’s because of the company the Gigster keeps.

The primary action tonight occurred as Adrienne and Paul, back to their love-it-or-hate-it banter, hosted a $#*! My Dad Says screening party in honor of Camille’s cameo on the show. For his part, Paul would have preferred to sequester himself to a private viewing of Camille’s star-making turn in 1996’s The Naked Detective. Even before Adrienne and her hubby cracked open the Angel champagne, which they boast is the most expensive in the world, they were at each other’s throats. The quibbling turned into full-scale bickering at the post-screening dinner. What is with these people? Can they not host a dinner party without someone getting publicly flayed? It’s like every day is Thanksgiving — and I mean that in the worst, most dysfunctional-family sense. Oh, but it was just a warm-up.

NEXT: Couples counseling does not pleasant dinner conversation a-make