Team Brandi? Team Richards? Pfft. Can we all just agree that Dana is the real Mean Girl? Also: Yay Pandora!

By Karen Valby
Updated October 11, 2011 at 02:34 PM EDT
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Credit: Richard McLaren

First, the good news. The Vanderpumps opened the episode in their kitchen attire, which meant crisp white blouses, Nantucket denim, and Lisa’s hair twirled loosely up into a banana clip. Something tells me Lisa is angling for a cook book deal. Subtitle: How to Make Chicken Salad Taste Expensive. I wish nothing but happiness for you Pumpkin but please try to resist putting Giggy on the cover. In a sweet unscripted moment, her darling Max ended his phone call with his girlfriend by saying “Love you too.” Lisa’s head snapped up, Ken’s ears perked, Giggly piddled on the floor with delight. Later on, Pandora’s Ralph Lauren model of a boyfriend announced that he had, for real this time, proposed marriage. Lisa was moved to tears—”I couldn’t be bloody happier”—and Ken was told to sit down before he got mushy. The smell of roses filled the air and Pandora’s ring took the attention off of Lisa’s lacy black bra.

In a patented Bravo cruel cut of juxtaposition, we moved to Taylor’s spotless kitchen where she was cinching a still-creased apron around her vanishing waist. Her cookies are going to taste of want and low-cal desperation. Dana popped over with her own ridiculous apron and Taylor wondered if she was still cool to host Game Night. No problem! Dana plans high-end events for a living and she has her pick of vendors and she is going to throw a Game Night to put to shame all other Game Nights. This is going to be epic, guys.

Kyle was the first one to arrive, and she looked uptight from the get go. Maybe it was because she had to wait at the door for 45 minutes while Dana clomped down her cement stairs. “This is Valentino,” Dana said, pointing down at her ill-fitting shorts, by way of welcoming Kyle into her home. Brandi was next to arrive, and she seemed eager to mend fences after her dopey comment at the barbecue about Dana’s fiance’s many mistresses. Brandi crutched into the house, teetering nervously up the slippery stairs, while Kyle looked at her with disdain. Come on Kyle, you had us all in the palm of your hand with your Target comment. Now wipe that cold look off your face and lend Brandi a hand already.

Dana’s house is like a really shiny barn without any animals. All there is is wood and a couple of weirdly placed chairs and a pool table peppered with desserts. Hungry? There’s some meringue glops and domino peanut brittle and some bread sticks she stuffed in her purse (Did you know? $39,000, The Row) from Villa Blanca. “For a party planner I just expected a table to sit at and some chairs,” said Camille, who continues to confuse me by being relatively likable.

Next: Ding dong, is the Sleepy Witch on meds?Kim greeted her hostess Pam with a dizzy hello and then sort of fell into her sister’s hovering arms. Off they went to the bathroom so Kyle could help Kim get her face on. After Kim cleaned the bathroom mirror—”doesn’t she have housekeepers!?”—she unloaded on Kyle. She’s having panic attacks, she hasn’t eaten or slept in seven days, she’s losing her balance, she can’t hear, and she can’t be trusted with this liquid eyeliner. “Anyways I cry and cry and cry,” she said as Kyle ran a comb through her eyebrows. This would probably have been a wise time to abort Game Night. Instead poor Kyle maneuvered Kim to the sofa and then snuck a quick sip of her coffee to make sure it wasn’t a decaf Vodkaccino.

The last 15 minutes of the episode were almost unbearable to watch. I kind of ached for Brandi, marooned in unfriendly waters, her crutches tossed overboard by a snickering Kim. When Dana announced a team of Kyle, Kim and Brandi the Sisters flopped back on the couch with exaggerated groans. It’s just that Kim only likes people she knows and it’s taken her a year to get used to these bitches and now she’s expected to play a frickin’ game of Celebrity with the new leggy woman. Ha ha ha ha! Adrienne, why are you not here for your girl?!

Game on! Kyle dated C. Thomas Howell? He goes by Tommy? There are only two famous black men? And one of them is Winston Churchill? Brad Pitt raps? “Okay,” said Kim, eyes only for her sister, “we were invited to a party at his house last weekend, it was his birthday.” At this point Brandi decided she might as well try going balls to the wall so she piped up “Oh my God, I know that one!” At this point Taylor got a frozen look about her and stopped making eye contact with anyone. Camille allowed her mouth to crack ever so slightly with a smug look of righteousness, even as she tried to gently steer Brandi away from stoking the fire. Meanwhile Dana wanted to brush Kyle’s pretty hair and have Kim sign her yearbook and maybe the three of them could be best friends forever and they could toilet paper that nasty poor girl Brandi’s house?

Bathroom break! “I’m kind of worried about my team,” Brandi tried confiding in Camille, “because #1 They don’t like me and #2 They’re not lucid.” All good points. But she’s crazy if she thinks Camille was going to go against a Richards Sister again. “I think she’s just been through a lot, um…” Camille said, all cool diplomacy. Alright, folks, it’ IQ Test time. “You’re first,” Kyle said aggressively to Brandi. But she didn’t realize that Brandi could be 10 times the bitch. “Bring it, bitch,” Brandi said calmly, with just a hint of terror in her voice. Now name-calling her BFF was something Dana could just not abide. “Did you really call my friend Kyle a bitch because she’s not a bitch?” she whined idiotically. “Kyle, she’s mean, I don’t like it. Make it stop.” Shut your face, woman! “Kyle, she keeps calling me Pam and I’m the hostess.”

Brandi went to some weird places when she finally decided to stand up for herself. At one point she agreed that she was pathetic and then self-identified yet again as a slut. Kyle rightly, if meanly, pointed out that this was a recurring worry of hers. “Color me slut,” said Brandi. “It’s very clear by the way,” said Kyle. “So is everything else tonight,” said Brandi, as the Sisters stiffened on the sofa. “Your sister is wasted out of her f^%ing mind.” And so the Sisters launched into the air in tandem, their index fingers stabbing in the air as if they were performing a synchronized swimming routine. Threats and obscenities followed, until Kim seemed to forget her nemesis’ name and wandered off to the bathroom to fish the stray eyelash out of her coffee drink.

NEXT: Kyle, make Dana stop.Here’s why it’s easier for me to give the Sisters a pass for their bad behavior: Kim is forever squirrelly-whirly, which means it’s often impossible to hold her accountable for her bad behavior. The poor little duck needs to go to a nice place for a long rest, where she takes naps and eats meals with a meat, starch and vegetable and the power never goes out and life doesn’t make her cry and cry and cry. Get thee to such a safe haven, child! And Kyle, whose hot temper can be intimidating, struck me as so well-intentioned and out of sorts as she tried all night to hold her sister together. She combed the woman’s eyebrows for God’s sake! Maybe I’m going too easy on her and making too many excuses. Wait, am I a helicopter recapper? Their tag team attack at the end was out of line but I imagine in some way it felt like an exercise in solidarity after last season’s horrific limo ride.

But Dana, blech, I really can’t stand her. She’s so cloying, so desperate to please, so nakedly obvious in her attempt to position herself on what she considers the winning team. You kicked a girl when she was down with no other motivation than wanting to impress. Not cool.Listen hon, Camille is never going to invite you to Hawaii. Kyle is never going to take you shopping. Adrienne is not going to share with your her interior designer. You’re a chaser, and not in the goofy, charming way of the McCords. And for the love of, can someone out there make it a rule that every time Dana name or price-tag drops she has to give $1000 to a charity. Valentino (2x) + Fendi = $3000 for the Lollipop Theater Charity.

Next week: Martin Short and Michael Jackson had a baby and he’s planning Pandora’s wedding. Money bag gift favors!

Talk to me gamers: Anyone else out there similarly grossed out by Dana? Did you feel a little sorry for Kyle even as if you groaned over her poor form? Are you too surprised by Camille’s genuine inoffensiveness so far season? Wasn’t it a relief seeing Taylor enjoy a little saucer of food? Wouldn’t you have given anything to have a place at Lisa’s happy, rose-festooned family table than stuck at Dana’s barren house picking miserably at a meringue?

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