To quote Erika (Girardi, not Jayne, I think): “We’re on this big beautiful bridge…to nowhere.
She’s talking about Pont d’Avignon, a medieval bridge in Provence that stops right in the middle of the Rhône, but she might as well be talking about the end of this Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season. Because if LVP is going to be completely MIA save for her (now particularly apt) “kiss my arse” title card in the opening credits, and if we’re going to experience traumatic event after traumatic event without a real storyline in sight as we crawl toward the Reunion, then I guess the least they could do is give us a fancy French chateau to look at.
Although…was it just me, or were the ladies having a very difficult time with the “concept” of “Provence” “France?” As they’re driving in from the airport, Dorit sort of whispers to Teddi like she doesn’t want Provence to hear her: “This looks like a lot of places in Europe—I mean, we could be in Italy.” And when they pull up to the glamorous chateau they’re staying in, Lisa Rinna says it’s “like Downton Abbey, but in France” which it definitely is not, other than being a large house. And while out exploring the town square, Kyle marvels, “You guys, it’s so much like Amsterdam, it’s crrrAaAaaazy.”
And listen, it doesn’t not look like Amsterdam. But that’s also kind of like going to Dallas and saying, “This looks so much like Indianapolis!” I mean, sure, yes, in that it is a city in America. But mostly it seems that every person on this trip—like every 20-year-old who studies abroad their junior year of college—just super wants their friends to know that they’ve been to Europe before.
After the women arrive at Chateau Ventoux and are greeted by the house outside, they get the grand palatial tour which includes two sitting rooms, a formal dining room, and Kyle continuing to pretend like she’s hosting this trip even though you can’t go from the toilet to the sink without seeing a “Hosted Villas” logo. And good on ’em! This chateau is lovely, the grounds are opulent, and apparently, the in-house bartender makes a mean drink because Erika can’t stop talking about how drunk she is on their first night in the house. The women eat lobster ravioli in designer pajama suits and exchange anecdotes—Teddi’s childhood nickname was “butch,” Dorit stole her parent’s car when she was 13 and left some questionable white chocolate stains in the way-way back—and Kyle gives a toast to how lucky they are, and how grateful she is to be with them…
But nothing good can last (other than her highness Sonja T. Morgan, the Housewives gift that keeps on giving); in the morning, the women find out that Camille’s house in Malibu was burned down by the fires ravaging California. The women really do seem upset for the people affected back home, but they’re also determined to stay positive, so they head out to a local French market where Kyle absolutely sprints toward a table of hats because the woman is a parody of herself. “I’m not going to be in a French market in France and leave without a beret,” she says to the camera, but I can’t imagine Kyle has been to a gas station in Calabasas and left without a hat.
But perhaps it is her new fisherman’s cap that gives Kyle the courage to share something very difficult with the other women over lunch. When Rinna tells them that her daughter Amelia is going to study nutrition and psychology in college because she wants to continue helping other young people struggling with anorexia, Kyle opens up for the first time ever about having an eating disorder when she was a teenager. She says that she was starring in a TV show where they told her she’d need to lose weight to get a cuter wardrobe, so she did, and after receiving so much positive reinforcement for the weight loss, she became obsessed with eating less and less.
Kyle says she never told her daughters about her own struggles because she didn’t want to put that idea in their heads, which is a methodology that I have no idea if it’s correct or not, but everyone else has a lot of opinions about, most especially Teddi, who has never met a person, place, thing, or kitchen sink she didn’t have an opinion about.
The crew heads to dinner looking far more fabulous than they do when they fold three small men in their suitcases to come to another country and construct their high ponytails; they’re having a lovely time at dinner, chatting about their children, and how their husbands all look like their dads (yowza). Eventually, Rinna brings up her Erika Jayne costume from the Halloween party a few weeks ago, which was incredible, but how proud she continues to be of herself takes away a little bit of the cool factor—I don’t make the rules.
Plus, surely Rinna could have realized from all of her passive aggressive side comments that Kyle is not fully cool with her saying, “Kim, you giving Lisa Rinna that bunny was really c—y” to her sister. Kyle calls it “very weird” at the dinner table and Rinna proceeds to explain this narrative she’s come up with where she’s an actor, and so since she was in character as Erika Jayne, she was able to address “the big fat elephant in the room” with Kim in a way she never would have as herself, and ultimately, that served as a catalyst for Kim and Rinna to have a healthy conversation.
And it’s the last bit that’s most important. Everything Rinna is saying is bulls–t—she just got caught up in the moment and said something rude—and it’s completely fair that Kyle wouldn’t look fondly on Rinna being rude to her sister. But Rinna’s rudeness did lead to her more or less making up with Kim, and Kim said she forgave her for the comment, so it’s kind of just…a nonissue.
But not according to Teddi, for whom everything is an issue, whether it has anything to do with her or not. Teddi is caught up on the fact that Rinna is using Erika Jayne as an excuse to have said something that she thinks Erika Jayne/Girardi herself would never actually say. Teddi keeps saying, “If you were playing me, and you said that, I would have my feelings hurt.” But Rinna wasn’t dressed up as the most boring possible costume of Halloween 2k19, Teddi Jo Mellencamp; she was dressed up as Erika Jayne. So there’s only one person who can say if what Lisa Rinna did was offensive to Erika Jayne …
And Erika says whole-heartedly, repeatedly, and with rapidly deteriorating tolerance for this nonsense, that Rinna calling Kim Richards “c—y” while in character as her did not bother her a bit. “Who cares, everyone knows it’s a performance persona,” Erika says.
But Teddi cares—Teddi cares so much. And I think it’s coming from a good place of wanting to sort of stand up for Kyle who won’t just outright say that Rinna shouldn’t have said that about her sister, no matter what the reason. But for Teddi to keep making these declarative statements about how “we need to make it clear” that Erika Jayne wouldn’t say something like that, and for Kyle to say “I’m struggling to believe Erika wasn’t a little bit embarrassed by Rinna’s behavior as Erika Jayne,” when the woman herself is right beside them basically saying that she would and she wasn’t is a Stretch-Armstrong-level reach.
How will this resolve? Hopefully with Kim Richards dressing up as Kyle Richards next Halloween and telling Lisa Rinna that calling Kim “really c—y” was a little c—y.
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