By Jodi Walker
March 13, 2019 at 01:15 AM EDT
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When you play the game of [Housewives], you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

Season 9 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is in an all-out war, and just like with a little series on HBO, it’s unclear just yet who’s going to win it. But after Tuesday’s episode, a certain Teddi of the House Mellencamp is not seeming long for this world.

Listen, I don’t know what the overlap is on RHOBH fans and Game of Thrones fans, but I don’t care; the comparison is simply too perfect this season. For most of the women in the RHOBH cast, this show is their livelihood. Whether that be financially, socially, or more often than not, egotistically, they have no desire to lose their spot in the court. And generally, keeping your spot in a Housewives cast means staying in the fray—not above it. Everyone is wilding out to stay relevant; everyone is manipulating and exaggerating and picking fights; most especially, everyone is lying.

And we, the Housewives audience, watch a lot of commercials and online ads so that Bravo can pay these particular liars a lot of money to lie in extravagant and entertaining ways.

https://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-beverly-hills/season-9/episode-5/videos/dorit-kemsley-learns-about-teddiDorit Kemsley Learns About Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave's Text MessageBravo
Bravo

So, I’ll admit, watching the women attempt to fold back the curtain on self-producing their power plays while also trying to maintain the illusion of dignity has been both riveting and tedious. It’s riveting because I really cannot tell how it’s going to play out. And it’s tedious because instead of dragons and ice walls and Emmy-winning performances, the Great War of Lucy Lucy Apple Juice circles around a puppy, a series of #textseses, and a frightened yet thirsty man inexplicably named John Blizzard. But the bottom line is that everyone is playing the game (except probably Denise, who should maybe be shipped off to Queer Eye, or Great British Bakeoff, or some sweeter reality show before she gets hurt)…

There’s Lisa Vanderpump as Cersei, of course—occasionally transparent, but good at what she does and always down for a décolletage statement piece—except, instead of an ever-present wine goblet in her hand, it’s a tiny dog with alopecia dressed in a pilgrim blouse. And in direct opposition to her, there’s Teddi, flashing her morality blade around like Ned Stark, then showing up after wartime with a bastard son and being like, Hey, what if we just called an oops-a-daisy on this one? Even if Ned was really just doing his sister a solid there, and even if Teddi didn’t go through with her plan to throw Dorit under the bus willfully and purposefully—if you’re going to loudly proclaim that you never lie, then you better not lie. And if you’re going to come for LVP…

You best come correct.

(Just to finish this extended analogy off, my instincts say that Erika is Varys and Rinna is Little Finger in this situation, but that’s getting a little inside baseball and I’m afraid I may have annoyed most of you with this about five paragraphs ago. So let’s get into the actual housewives and their actual drama about an actual dog…)

The episode opens with Kyle and Mauricio taking their daughter Sophia to college in Washington, DC, and even though it is an unnecessary distraction from the game afoot, it really is sweet to watch how loving and comfortable their family is with each other. It’s especially fun to compare them to Dorit and PK who have staged an elaborate call and response where she comes out on the balcony and just happens upon him drinking wine and “doing work” on the patio. She goes down to see what he’s working on and he has the nerve to say, “Just what you call ‘management.'” Listen, Dorit is a monster in her own right, but please do not condescend to her about your fake ass job managing one musician while you play Candy Crush on your phone.

NEXT…

These two are particularly un-stomach-able in this episode, barely able to keep their fangs inside their mouths as they slobber all over the opportunity to play victim to LVP, all the while knowing that they stone cold booted Lucy Lucy Apple Juice from their “home” and almost got her killed. Dorit says she hasn’t spoken to Lisa since the Bahamas and PK says, “LVP is a genius at manipulation and control. She’s the best in the world at it and I respect her for it, but it gets a little bit difficult for me when it’s my wife.”

Can he…hear himself? Probably not over the clashing of his droopy v-neck under a billowing black dress shirt, but it sounds like he’s saying he’s perfectly fine with lying and manipulating unless it’s done against him. Dorit says she just wants Lisa to be honest with her and then they could work through this. Which is…absurd. The suggestion on the table is that Lisa Vanderpump got her employees to feed Teddi information about Dorit so that Teddi could spread the doggy dirt while LVP quibbled in the background about not wanting to talk about it and blamed it all on Teddi…

That’s a big accusation. And Dorit is suggesting that if Lisa just admits to it and apologizes, she’ll be fiiiine with Lisa trying to secretly badmouth her. And that’s because it’s not the apology she wants. What Dorit really wants is for Lisa Vanderpump to humble herself so she can usurp her power. (Yes, I did say usurp, and I meant it—this is high drama!)

So, what does Teddi want? Because it doesn’t seem to be power. She says she wants the truth, but she spends the majority of this episode detailing all the ways in which she tried to lie, found out that Lisa was planning to lie more than her, and then got mad about it. She goes to Erika’s house, where they ignore Erika’s ever-present Panera Bread platter in favor of drinking iced tea in the chapel—natch.

Teddi tells Erika that up until a month ago there was still tension between her and Dorit. About that time, she “got a call from Vanderpump Dogs,” and they told her what happened with Lucy Lucy Apple Juice, and said, “Lisa wanted you to know.” Teddi says she had a very dramatic response to this news: “Texting with them, being catty and being like, alright, give me more deets, show me the tea.” It is as embarrassing to hear her use those phrases as it is to read it, I assure you. In an extremely roundabout way, Teddi says that Lisa fed her the information, then invited her and Kyle to Vanderpump Dogs where Teddi knew they wanted her to talk about Dorit’s dog—but she “couldn’t go through with it” once she saw how LVP was trying to keep her own hands clean, crying that she didn’t want to talk about Dorit over and over again when the others brought it up.

My hang-up here isn’t that Dorit was ready to help spread some damaging info about a woman that she never liked in the first place. And it’s not even that she didn’t do that only because she realized she was being set up while actively trying to set someone else up. My thing is that big Taylor-Swift-winning-a-Grammy/VMA/Billboard-Award/AMA/BoJangles-Artist-of-the-Month shocked face she put on when Lisa Rinna sat her and Kyle down in the Bahamas and told them LVP was trying to use them. But here she’s telling Erika that she knew from the moment she stepped into Vanderpump Dogs that Lisa was trying to set her up. And then, what? Waited for someone else to make the accusation so that she could do her, Whaaaaat, why would she dooooo that?! thing?

Teddi lost her credibility as some saint-among-Housewives the moment she texted John Blizzard that she would come to Vanderpump Dogs and recognize Lucy Lucy Apple Juice as Dorit’s dog. Teddi is playing the game.

And she seems to be Big Mad at LVP simply for playing it better. It’s frustrating because I’m not eager to defend Lisa Vanderpump for manipulating her co-workers—but she is the only one who seems to understand that if you’re going to lie and manipulate, you have to commit to it. Saying, I TRIED to get in on the manipulatin’ but I was bad at it, so now I deserve an apology!!! is so much more annoying than someone who is just good at playing the game and doesn’t apologize for it. And Lisa Vanderpump is good at playing the game…

NEXT…

Lisa Vanderpump has invited John Blizzard over to Villa Rosa for a sit-down. Did they plan this conversation in detail before it happened? I don’t know. Is this all a set-up for a Vanderpump Dogs spinoff? Who cares. This conversation is gold.

Ken makes a couple of passive aggressive jokes as he walks Blizzard in, which the young man laughs at nervously until he looks at Lisa who says, “I’m not laughing.” She establishes once more that they don’t know each other very well (sure, sure, sure), but that somehow things have gotten misconstrued with Blizzard’s good friend Teddi. Lisa tells a detailed, thorough story about how when Vanderpump Dogs found out that Dorit and PK’s dog was at a kill shelter, everyone blew up, somehow resulting in John Sessa and Ken getting in an argument about how to handle it, which Lisa says she defused by saying, “I don’t care if you tell Donald Trump, I don’t give a shit!” Sure, sure, sure…

Blizzard gulps, confirms that Sessa told him, “Lisa says it doesn’t matter, tell whoever,” and that he relayed that to Teddi as some variation of “Lisa wants you to know.” There’s a flashback to Teddi in the Bahamas saying sternly (I swear, they make her look even more clench-jawed in these flashbacks), “You gave direct instructions for them to tell me.” And that’s when Blizzard says the line that this all hinges on: “I put words in your mouth that were not true, and I will own that, and I’m sorry.”

So what will the story be now? That Blizzard is lying for LVP? It really doesn’t matter. Because when you play the game of Housewives, you win or you die. And a great way not to die is to put two men named John who are willing to fall on the sword first in front of you. If Blizzard is telling the truth, then Lisa did nothing wrong. If Blizzard is lying, then Lisa did everything right to keep her hands clean. But the problem at the center of this isn’t that LVP lied, or that she tried to spread (true) dirt about Dorit…

It’s that everyone simply seems to tire of LVP’s manipulative ways, and that becomes crystal clear when LVP presents the John Blizzard #textseses as proof to Dorit and Kyle that Teddi was in on the plan to expose Dorit all along and they’re like, Okay, but you told Dorit that Teddi knew, so how did you KNOW Teddi knew? Lisa waves the large font texts around not understanding what they’re not understanding. But it’s clear to anyone who’s watching: this time the others aren’t backing down until the queen has lost her head…

I might recommend swapping Teddi out as their champion though—she seems to have made the classic mistake of bringing a false sense of moral superiority to a sword fight. There were a few other things we didn’t cover tonight because it’s hard to focus on anything else while sorting through this neon pink mind labyrinth. But if anyone wants to make a blinking.gif of Denise’s face when her boyfriend Aaron tries to explain the numerological significance of them getting married in 10 days for me, I would be eternally grateful!

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