The ladies of Beverly Hills wear tiny bits of fabric and wage mental warfare on each other in Palm Springs.

By Jodi Walker
Updated December 10, 2013 at 03:36 PM EST
RHOBH 406 Recap
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

You can always count on drunkenness to kick a waning season up a notch. Yes, Monday night’s episode was The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills I know and love/loathe: there are two sides to every story and both of them are 100% wrong. I headed into this episode of Beverly Hills a little timid, as I am not your regular recapper, just filling in for the always on point Karen Valby. I’m just a simple Southern recapper for the Atlanta Housewives, a land where the women are so busy getting re-married to their current husbands and going to mortuary school that they don’t really take the time to get hammered, which is both too bad and, apparently, a relief.

Last night’s drama is the kind I have a hard time comprehending, where you can’t always tell who the good guys and bad guys are. Of course, there are no real good guys here, but the camps have now been so firmly divided between the Popular Girls Who Smoke Cigs in the Bathroom (Brandi, Yolanda, Lisa and, tentatively, Carlton) and the Wannabe Good Girls (Kyle, Joyce and the artist formerly known as Kim), that it feels like you have to be on one side of the other. Because if we’re not rooting for someone, then what exactly are we doing here?

What is Brandi doing here? Well, she’s nabbed herself a second book deal (because a girl’s got to drink), and is working on an outline with her ragtag cast of Sex and the Hills. Nine of twelve chapters will be about sex and for the many, many straight men out there reading, this is a list of acts you need to comply with in order for your wife not to cheat on you: nipple pinching, “the two-finger trick,” “the pressing down thing,” oh and, of course, choking. Don’t ever forget about choking, you guys!

I am immediately concerned that Kyle and Carlton are shopping together, because there couldn’t possibly be a store in all the world that could outfit them both. And because there is nothing in those two women’s personalities, souls or ids that could ever allow them to get along with each other. Carlton rolls her eyes as a shop-woman in a fedora absolutely fawns over Kyle and attempts to compliment her by telling her she has body dysmorphia. Carlton lays down no such accolades, but tells Kyle everything she’s done to annoy her since the day they met, including wandering off for wine while she was talking about auras or something. I agree that it’s good to get things out in the open in a one-on-one setting (while Kyle can shop for a 45th bejeweled tunic for her collection), but I also stand firmly behind not trying to be friends with someone you truly can’t stand. That’s what leads to, as Kyle says (but puts off on the country of Mexico), “looking for tits on ants.”

NEXT: You get in the pool! No, you! No, you!

Road Trip! The ladies head off to Palm Springs in various town cars. In the Former Model-mobile, Yolanda says the first time she was in Palm Springs was the first time she ever did the master cleanse and Brandi jokes (maybe?), “Oh my god, that’s the first time I ever did cocaine.” In my book, that lemon and hot sauce cleanse for 10 days is about as crazy as cocaine one time. Over in the Buggy of the Brits, Lisa tells Carlton the only thing she knows about Joyce is “she’s got a small coochie and her husband’s got a big winkie.” I could only add that she was Miss Puerto Rico and is “b*itchy on her period,” and I watch this show professionally.

Everyone arrives at the villa Joyce has arranged and scrambles for the best bedrooms like this is the damn Real World. But I’ve never heard anyone on The Real World complain about their sheets being ironed. Carlton brings out her Betsyville luggage that I just know she got from TJ Maxx (because it’s where I got mine, obviously) and endears herself to me forever – OK, for the next 10 minutes until she starts terrifying me again – by saying in a Newsies voice, “I haven’t got any Louis Vuittons!”

Finally, it’s time for the War of the Trigger Words, beginning with the Battle of the Pool. Brandi keeps calling Joyce “Jacqueline,” insisting it’s because Joyce is not a Latina name, like white girls aren’t allowed to be named Vanessa and vice versa. Just learn the damn name, Brandi! She demands liquor instead. Everyone squeals about taking their wraps off until Joyce finally does it, causing Kim to say, “Who wants me to take my wrap off now when Bo Derrick is next to me?” I am rapidly becoming Team New Kim, if only because she mostly makes funny noises in her interviews, and really, what other option is there currently?

Yolanda is wearing what appears to be a tank top and jorts, but reveals itself to be a sensible one piece in a sea of Virgin Mary-illustrated string bikinis. Her fashion sense is simply delightful to try and figure out. Brandi and Carlton are in the pool discussing the merits of lady kissing when they all inexplicably starts hounding Joyce to get in the pool, including Yolanda, who is not actually in it herself.

Look, I get that Joyce is annoying and it’s easy to want to try to crack the façade of someone who seems like they’re faking it, but Kyle is right (it just started snowing in Hell) in encouraging them to lay off the *double word score* peer pressure. Carlton hisses, “please don’t say peer pressure, this is not peer pressure” about what is the definition of Joyce’s peers pressuring her to do something she doesn’t want to do. Joyce attempts to laugh it off and tells them she really doesn’t know how to swim. Brandi slurs, “you’re a black person.” Oh my gosh, but don’t worry you guys, it’s not racist or inappropriate, because Brandi’s black friends would have totally thought her joke was HI-larious! Because, apparently, Brandi only has really terrible friends who won’t tell her when she’s acting like a jackass.

NEXT: Dinner for yucks…

It’s time for a signature dinner where everyone is annoyed with each other and the name of the game (for the third episode in a row) is *triple word score* bullying! Joyce, getting frustrated at not only being called the wrong name over and over, but also having the validity of her actual name called into question by a drunken butthead (I said it), tells the table that she was bullied for her name growing up. Brandi, somehow even seeming intoxicated in her interview, spews “calling someone the wrong name isn’t bullying; it’s teasing, it’s being bitchy,” and manages to exactly describe bullying. Especially as she just admitted, half the time she’s saying the wrong name just to annoy Joyce. Picking on someone simply because you don’t like them may or may not be bullying, I don’t know, but it could certainly be construed as a few other b-words.

Kim tries half-heartedly to mediate the dinner from hell, saying she feels like she can be everyone’s friend. Oh sweet, newly innocent Kim: you can’t be anyone’s friend here, not even your own. Joyce attempts to ease the tension by “sharing” that she’s just gotten the lead in a new TV show and she wants all of her closest gal pals to watch. Man, that one really cannot catch a clue. Yolanda ignores the announcement and picks at Brandi’s hair like a monkey looking for lice. Then, deciding this moment is not nearly awkward enough, starts hashing out her reunion drama with Kyle from what feels like two years ago, across the table. Oh, it is a delight!

Finally, the moment we’ve known is coming, Brandi, 17 glasses of pinot grigio deep, calls Joyce “Jacqueline” yet again and explains it’s because “Joyce is [the name of?] a big, fat pig.” She couldn’t just go with “big” or “fat” or “pig,” could she? And just in case she was still on anyone’s Christmas card list, Brandi turns her unfocused eyes to Kyle and says, “You seem so sweet and then you become this crazy asshole.” I believe the saying goes, “pot…kettle…look who’s acting like a crazy asshole, now,” or something like that.

I’m so confused because I’m naturally predisposed to enjoy Lisa and Yolanda (and keep my eyes in a permanent roll at the hint of Kyle or Joyce), but their complete acceptance of Brandi’s drunkenness-turned-truly-meanness is gross. No one comes off well here. For women who are so concerned with using the right words, they certainly don’t give much credence to the importance of a human’s actual name, a word that follows them their whole life.

Some Qs for you: Do you find Joyce so intolerable that she warrants Brandi’s drunken taunts? Should we expect an apology out of Brandi for her behavior next week, pre-meltdown? Why, oh why, will Kyle not stop wearing that prism the size of an infant around her neck? And am I just pulling a Voldemort here by latching on to the only living, breathing thing in this cast, or is Kim much more enjoyable these days?

Episode Recaps

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Bravo’s guilty-pleasure franchise meets California luxe

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