The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: Politics at the dinner table
I’ve got a pretty short memory when it comes to Housewives. I can forgive these women any number of past sins as long as they show up the next season with a few good testimonial looks and no apparent plans for animal abuse.
Take for example tonight: I’ve spent all season annoyed with Teddi for being a self-righteous goody-two-shoes who doesn’t even have the decency to be good at lying—but she says one encouraging remark in the direction of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and I’m completely over it. Same goes for Dorit. I regularly attack her for wearing the entire Claire’s Bargain Bin on her one tiny head, but I gained an ounce of respect for her when she pointed out that sexual assault and believing victims should not merely be deemed a “political” issue to sweep under the rug because it makes people uncomfortable.
Or, look at Kim Richards. I watched her mix pasta salad with her bare hands and be a one-woman chaos factory for season after season, and yet when I caught a glimpse of her tonight, I simply thought: Aw, Kim, both of your eyes seem to be firmly in their sockets, you look good girl! I roll my eyes at Lisa Rinna when she takes her teenage daughters to get IVs of “vitamins” and cryogenic treatments—then I clap my hands at her when she resolutely stands up for the necessity of believing accusers. When Erika first showed up in all her latex and glam squad regalia, I was obsessed with her, and now I’m like, Okay yes, hello, I see that you are here. Not even her feather duster wig, nor omnipresent finger-smudged champagne glass seem to faze me.
Indeed, I am flippant and fair-weather and petty, and these are things I readily admit when it comes to consuming reality television…
But let me tell you one thing: I shan’t soon forget Camille Grammar crying about what poor Brett Kavanaugh was going through without so much as a sniff for the woman whom he was accused of sexually assaulting. Oh no, I SHAN’T. And if I start talking about it now, I’ll never tell you how Kyle spent $30,000 on a go-kart, or how I’m pretty sure a medical doctor offered to tighten Lisa Rinna’s 90-year-old mother’s…pelican? So let’s do that real quick, k?
The episode starts with Dorit going to Denise’s house for drinks (double vodka sodas while the sun is still firmly in the sky because Denise Richards will get you drunk!). Denise says she knew she liked Dorit from the moment she met her, and woof, that is hard to stomach from my very favorite-and-only Housewife who is happy to wear a racerback tank top with a traditional-strapped bra. But the editors flash to the first time they met when Dorit was all “I’m a hugger!” and toothy smiles, and I get it—Dorit’s thing is not that she’s mean. It’s that there’s not a genuine bone in her body, and I would not be at all surprised to learn that she is made entirely of cartilage that she had medically dyed Tiffany-blue or some nonsense.
They talk about Lisa Vanderpump allegedly planting the dog story about Dorit in RadarOnline, and how badly Dorit wants to be able to trust LVP again. And you can very much see Denise thinking: why? Why would you want to be friends again with someone who you not only think betrayed you but think is lying about betraying you? Denise talks about being written about constantly in the press because of her divorce from Charlie Sheen, and how she would sometimes tell friends specific pieces of information, and when those things ended up in tabloids—she knew which friendship should be over. However, it seems like there might be a small discrepancy between what these two find valuable in friendship.
Denise shows Dorit around her new house, saying that she just wanted something “more simple and Zen and peaceful.” And I kid you not, Dorit, a woman who owns $18,000 Hermes place settings, responds: “I fully know what you mean.”
Lisa Rinna at least admits when she’s being disingenuous. Her amazing 90-year-old mother Lois is in town, so she submits her to her very favorite past time: showing Lois all the weird, useless L.A. things she likes to do, even while knowing it’s weird and useless. Along with Amelia and Delilah, they all go to some future hellscape spa where there’s an “IV Lounge” and Cryogenic rooms and Infrared beds. A man claiming to be a doctor tells Lois, “I’d love to get you in the infrared bed to activate those mitochondria,” and Lois’ appropriate response is: “What did he say?”
But while she’s asking for clarification, the doctor continues his pitch in the background, and I swear I heard the phrase: “It tightens your pelican.” Now, I know what you’re thinking—he probably said pelvis. Y’all, I want to be clear that it would still be a hard no for trying to put this elderly woman in a fire bed to tighten her pelvis… but he also super didn’t say pelvis.
Erika rehearses for her national tour that begins in a few days and gets a dancer’s knee to the temple while she’s humping the ground (if I had a nickel…), but other than that, the rest of the episode is mostly seated meals that heavily feature Lisa Vanderpump and Camille, even though only one of those women is actually present for said meals. The only plot that LVP currently seems willing to participate in is the renovation of her kitchen, which is as exciting as it sounds. She does manage to use it as an opportunity to tell a bunch of construction men what a “bitch” her ex-friend Kyle is, which doesn’t exactly paint her in the best to light to us, or I imagine, them.
LVP is invited to the bridal shower Kyle is throwing for Camille (the Housewives also have short memories), but never shows up. Camille is hurt that LVP wouldn’t come to her shower just because she’s mad at the other women, and Kyle tells Camille she should text her, “You were missed” to see why she didn’t come. Rinna isn’t having it: “That’s fucking passive aggressive.”
But it doesn’t really matter, because LVP’s ultimate response back, as Camille reveals at a later dinner Rinna is hosting for Lois, is that she wasn’t invited to the shower. Specifically, she texted: “I wasn’t invited its ok tho hope you had fun.” Camille responded back that she didn’t know LVP wasn’t invited, which Kyle does not take kindly to at all since Camille knew that she was invited, and Kyle shows her own texts to LVP as proof she was invited…
I’m exhausted, how about you? Shall we discuss the completely awful Brett Kavanaugh trial and painful testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as a diffuser then? Cool, cool, cool.
Rinna has already mentioned earlier in the episode that the Kavanagh trial is happening because Harry Hamlin has been glued to the news (while she has her daughters asking if it’s okay to wear their nipple rings in ice chambers, but at least she talks to them about it). When the trial comes up at the dinner table, Rinna says, “The fact that this doctor comes out, she’s changing everything with her courage,” and everyone voices their agreement…
Except for Camille, who says, “I just have a different point of view on this one.” And she doesn’t start in soft, she comes right in saying she doesn’t believe Dr. Ford because, “If you were 15, would you not tell your best friend or your parents?” It is…jaw-dropping. In this day and age, with all the research done, with all the testimonies heard, who could really still think that a child would immediately tell other people about their assault?
Camille seems to hold this specific belief very tightly even when one of Lisa Rinna’s friends speaks up from down the table, saying she was attacked when she was 7, and she never told anyone until recently because of the Me Too movement. One might think this would make Camille register that everyone’s experiences are different, but no, she doubles down saying that she is also a victim, which is awful, but uses the fact that she immediately told a number of people as proof that we can’t necessarily believe Dr. Ford. Rinna points out that Dr. Ford did tell her husband and her therapist just like Camille, but Camille says nope: wasn’t quick enough!
Teddi asks her if she doesn’t believe women should be heard, and she says defensively, “Women should be heard!” Just not this woman…because she didn’t do it in a way that Camille liked. “This woman has some serious allegations, and I feel bad for what he and his family are going through,” Camille says. It seems that in this situation, she empathizes not with Dr. Ford, but with Brett Kavanaugh because “I’ve also been accused of things that I’ve never done.” Camille has this look in her eye the whole time like she’s doing something righteous by telling this table full of women—many of whom, statistically, have likely been assaulted or harassed in some way—that unless they told someone about it right away, they should not be believed, and that the wellbeing of their assaulter is more important than their own.
Enter Rinna: “Camille comparing herself to Brett Kavanaugh is f—ing weird, I’m sorry. I mean, I know she has this f—– up sense of herself, but this isn’t about you Camille.” And I truly can’t believe Rinna didn’t lose her mind on Camille for pulling this scene at her sweet mom’s dinner, especially given what we learn about Lois in the final scene of this episode.
Back at Rinna’s house, mother and daughter tell the story of Lois surviving a brutal attack as a young woman: “I shouldn’t even be here, you shouldn’t even be here,” Lois says. A few years before Lisa was born, a man Lois worked with offered to give her a ride while she was waiting at a bus stop. Instead, he took her down an abandoned road and tried to rape and murder her, only not succeeding because an off duty police officer saw his car turn down the road and knew no one should be down there. The attacker was given seven years in prison—and when he was let out, he went on a killing spree, taking the lives of 18 women before he was stopped and put in prison for life.
Rinna says that her mom didn’t tell her about her assault for a long time, and she understands the importance of this moment for encouraging women to tell their stories and not be silenced any longer: “Seeing Dr. Ford get run through the ringer touched me in a very deep way. It takes so much courage to come forward. I think the least we can do is show these victims compassion.” For once, I won’t even try to say it better myself.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Bravo’s guilty-pleasure franchise meets California luxe