Praise Andy Cohen on high for Mrs. Denise Richards. What a breath of fresh air…
I think I’ve enjoyed exploring the layers of fiction, reality, and fictional reality in the fourth wall break that is purportedly about a dog but is actually about power (okay, and a dog which Dorit landed in a kill shelter #neverforget) more than most viewers this season. So I had no idea how much I needed the break in drama that was this episode, spent almost entirely on watching our very favorite wearer of Old Navy sleepwear camis—one Denise Richards—plan and execute a wedding in less than a week because her boyfriend (there was no time to even become her fiancé!) believes in the power of sideways-8s.
A break from the Lucy Lucy Apple Juice talk also meant more screen time for the women who have been lurking around in the background, just ever so occasionally jutting their head out from the end of a group dinner to scream, “YOU WERE HER FRIEND, LISA.” Rinna is out here making an ungodly amount of money schilling dusters on QVC, Erika is spending an ungodly amount of money on a national tour that doesn’t require her to put on a latex catsuit next to a mop bucket full of lube anymore, and most importantly, Denise Richards is showing an ungodly amount of chill while throwing together an elaborate garden wedding—in! two! days!
A wedding afoot also meant we got to see most of the other castmate’s wedding photos which was a good reminder that, weirdly, Beverly Hills is the only Housewives city where they’re all actually, y’know, wives. This isn’t a slight to any of the singledom in other cities; I enjoy seeing what kind of 40-somethings Ramona is trotting around the Upper East Side, or what snake oil salesman Vicki is letting wreak havoc on her life with each new season. Everyone being married is just another interesting tick that makes Beverly Hills its weird (uptight, polished, produced) thing. And this week, Denise makes six!
But the thing about Denise is…she’s not uptight, polished, or produced like the rest of her RHOBH sistren. I’ve come to love Denise so much over the last few episodes that I’m suddenly very fearful of losing her—because there’s just no way she could last in this environment. If anyone ever accused her of not wearing panties, I think she’d just be like: Yeah, and I’m not wearing a bra either! I’m not even wearing pants because these are technically jean shorts! And my shoes are actually just the little flipflops they give you after a pedicure! Now, barkeep, please procure me your finest Yeti cup full of tequila!
So, yes, Denise’s drama-bringing potential seems so low. But look at all she’s brought us this episode; mainly a close-up on a ball cap so bold in its statement, I fear no amount of words could do it justice, and yet in a just a few paragraphs, I’ll do my damndest.
The episode opens with all the other women doubting that Denise can pull off this wedding, but being excited to watch the train wreck should it come (that is, until their under-boobs start sweating in the Malibu sun, but we’ll get there later). But my favorite thing about the spontaneity of this wedding though is that it also seems to throw production into chaos. Half of the scenes look like they’re shot on an iPhone, and the editors ultimately make unexpected but perfect use of the PowerPoint swiping effect every time Denise casually lists off the very minor details of her wedding she has yet to plan: “We need, first of all, a place to get married <swish> we need catering <swish> flowers <swish> music <swish> and a couple other things.”
Luckily, Denise and Aaron jump on that first task pretty quickly (y’know, if you count two days before as quickly), reserving a lovely location on a cliff overlooking the water—a cliff that the venue’s manager looks like he wants to fling himself off of when they tell him the event will be in two days. Later, we see in a flashback that while Denise and Aaron were roaming around their recently acquired venue, they called some lady up on speaker phone and were like, Hey could you cater our whole ass wedding? She asks if they’re thinking buffet or seated meal, and Denise drawls, “Prolly buffet’s prolly easier.”
I love her.
Not even on the wedding to-do list was “finding an officiant,” but I guess that’s because Aaron already had that part covered with his good pal Justin. We learn absolutely nothing about Justin from either of the people he’ll be marrying in 24 hours, but we don’t need to hear anything from them—you see, Justin has a ball cap that says it all. When the camera enters Denise’s home, it finds her in a Gap shelf-cami, talking to Justin who has a hat lying beside him that reads, at first glance: “FBI JESUS.” In smaller writing just below FBI and just above JESUS, the hat provides some clarity on the acronym: “Firm Believer In.” And down on the bill, just in case there’s any lingering confusion: “I LOVE JESUS.”
Eat your heart out, “Female Body Inspector.”
Justin asks if they want to do anything special in the ceremony with the girls, and Denise admits that the rushed nature of this wedding might not have taken them into consideration as much as it should have. “I waited to tell the girls until two days before the wedding because I was afraid of my teenage daughters judging me.” Fair! “In hindsight, we should have told them a while ago we were planning to get married, I really regret that part.”
And I guess that would seem like a bigger deal if Denise’s daughters were upset, but like their mother, they seem pretty chill. Denise says that Sammi and Lola finding out their mom is getting married in two days is kind of their family’s normal, along with a lot of comments to camera about how her wedding to their father Charlie Sheen was planned out to the tee, and…
Well, I haven’t looked it up, but my guess is there were no “8s” in the wedding date. It also helps that Aaron seems incredibly sweet with Denise’s daughters and gives them each a necklace for the wedding while Denise tells us how in awe she is of the way he’s embraced her whole family, and reader, I got weepy. Listen, I know peaceful domesticity does not a Bravo franchise make, but can I just have this one episode?! For goodness sake, I see an actual pot on an actual turned-on stove in the background, like Denise is actually cooking something in her kitchen.
Although, perhaps Denise isn’t the only one who cooks around here because we’re also treated to a scene where Lisa Vanderpump and Ken go to a kitchen store because Lisa wants to redo her kitchen. It’s too dark in there, she says, and I briefly relate to her, because I too am trying to brighten up my kitchen with some fake marble tiles I got at Home Depot. Then the kitchen man tells LVP that her new kitchen will be “a bit up from” $200,000, and I remember why we all came to RHOBH in the first place: to marvel at what the money we don’t have can do.
And what can the money we don’t have do? Well, it can get you a bright ass kitchen with real marble—and if you throw enough of it at enough people, it can build you a wedding in two days with a giant infinity sign made out of roses, a bevy of signature cocktails, and “prolly a buffet” somewhere on this picturesque Malibu property.
Denise is at her house getting ready with her family on the day of her wedding, so she has no idea if anything is coming together at the venue. It is—but she is not. The wedding is supposed to start at 2:00, and at 1:58, Denise is walking around in a Hanes for Her cami with the straps pulled down after just getting her makeup done. Her dress doesn’t arrive until 2:30 when we’re told Aaron is in the shower. We’re also told by Denise that she had a wedding dress custom made when she, in fact, had a wedding romper custom made. But the woman loves a short and she looks amazing so she can do whatever she wants…
Including showing up an hour and a half late to her wedding ceremony! Everyone in the cast attends (except Kyle because she’s hosting a party for Mauricio’s business at their house that I guess they planned more than two days ago), and everyone is doing just fine…at first. Teddi says she’s going to be cordial when she sees LVP because she’s down to ruin a 50th birthday party, but not a wedding—which is actually pretty funny for Teddi. LVP also plays nice, giving everyone double-cheek-kisses when she arrives. Erika surprised Lisa Rinna by wearing one of the jumpsuits from her QVC line, which I thought was really sweet even with Erika saying that it’s basically because you can’t wear anything cool to a wedding or you’ll look like you’re trying to upstage the bride. Indeed, everyone looks very nice and civilized…
Until they’ve been standing in the afternoon sun for an hour, and that QVC polyester starts to show its breathability. But finally, Denise and her whole crew arrive and walk down the aisle together—her daughters in sneakers because they were more comfortable than heels, and she and Aaron to a heavy metal song that I’m not fully confident wasn’t just some preset on a keyboard. Denise’s dad lights a candle in honor of her mother who’s passed; Justin doesn’t wear his FBI Jesus hat. It’s perfect.
And that’s when I realize that the wedding is over and there are still four minutes left in the episode, and it’s like in a horror movie where the babysitter gets a phone call from a killer outside the window and realizes the door isn’t locked…
No matter what I did, I couldn’t avoid the coming Dorit and PK scene. It opens on Dorit lounging on an actual chaise lounge, telling PK that she needs an hour of his time today to “go over some really important payables,” which is hilarious enough, but that’s before Dorit gives her greatest performance yet: pretending to read a Radar Online article and becoming shocked in five seconds flat. Everything about how staged this little scene was delighted me to no end: Dorit’s early morning no-makeup look to make her appear especially caught off guard; the text message chime to indicate…the arrival of a Radar Online article to her phone; that PK has just lumbered off “in search of his phone” so Dorit can dramatically call him back in. “Oh my god, PK. OH MY GOD.”
Watching Dorit pretend to be shocked as she reads this article for what is surely the hundredth time is so gratifying that I hesitate to tell you what it even contained. It was, of course, about Dorit abandoning Lucy Lucy Apple Juice, and its summarization in the episode involves a lot of Dorit reading lines off her phone and then Jim-from-The-Office-staring into the camera like, Can you believe this is happening? Yes, Dorit, I can! I can believe there’s a Radar Online article about you landing a dog in a kill shelter because it’s the truth, and also because I’m currently watching a whole season of television about it. So the news was, uh, going to get out there.
But Dorit’s main issue with the article is that she’s sure it could have only come from Lisa Vanderpumo because, as Nancy Drew in a $6,000 robe tells us: only the people at Vandepump Dogs could have known LLAJ was a Chihuahua mix. And as Hardee’s Boy PK deduces, the phrasing about the dog “nipping” at one of the children is “an English word.” Which is—not true? Unless the article said that Lucy Lucy Apple Juice nipped away for some fish ‘n chips before Dorit gave her away to an unscreened stranger…
I mean, I’m sure Lisa Vanderpump fed that story to the press, don’t get me wrong. I just think we don’t see any reason to butcher vocabulary facts in order to prove it. Oh well, meet you jolly ol’ chaps back here next week to see how this load of tosh goes all to pot, leaving LVP gutted, Kyle gobsmacked, and Ken still a right ol’ buggar…innit???