By Jodi Walker
February 12, 2019 at 10:00 PM EST
Nicole Weingart/Bravo
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The tagline for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills‘ ninth season is written in big cerulean letters in the “this season on” teaser that preceded and proceeded Tuesday’s premiere. “The real story,” it tells us, “is even more…CRAZY/EPIC/UNBELIEVABLE/SHOCKING.”

I know those last four words, which flash across the screen in quick succession, are supposed to suggest to me that, of all the insane things I’ve been HEARING, what I’m about to SEE in season 9 is even crazier, more epic, more unbelievable, more shocking

But I have no idea what they’re talking about?! What’s crazier? What’s more epic??? Do they really expect that I keep up with the goings on of the Housewives’ personal lives in between seasons? Am I to be reading blogs that briefly freeze my entire computer every time I open them because they host so many ads for SHEIN simply so that I can understand the significance of what’s about to happen in a 22-episode season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?

No, I much prefer to come into these seasons blind. And if something like a panty scandal or a season-long fight about being late for 4 p.m. spicy margaritas manages to take me by surprise with its sheer epic-ness, then all the better. Watching Erika Girardi’s soul leave her body as she unhinges her jaw to unleash holy fury like if The Exorcist had been styled by Jeremy Scott all because someone suggested she accidentally told a lie is so much more delicious when you haven’t already read 200 re-worded Daily Mail captions telling you how it’s going to happen three months from now.

If there is CRAZY, UNBELIEVABLE, EPIC SHOCK to come, I will gladly take it—but in Tuesday’s premiere, I took comfort in all the things I found least shocking from the Housewives’ most glamorous branch.

Like, have you ever been less surprised by anything than Lisa Rinna attending goat yoga with her Insta-famous daughters, with whom she shares one bottle of water split into three tiny cups afterward? Could anything shock you less than the information that Lisa Vanderpump and her husband Ken are regularly resuscitating a dying dog with a combination of CPR and heart massages inside their own home? Would it knock you over with a feather if I told you this premiere featured three pairs of Gucci joggers (not just for RHOA anymore!), two arguments revolving around a dog named Lucy Lucy Apple Juice, and one “charcuterie expert”???

Of course not—the dream of one day filling an entire cathedral-door-sized table with charcuterie is exactly why we’re all here! That the premiere starts with a two-month flash forward to a screaming match between Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards (and Kyle Richard’s new teeth, and Lisa’s husband Ken, ugh) suggests that this season will be different—but we all know it won’t be. Because the moment after that “TWO MONTHS EARLIER” title card flashes across the screen, Lisa Rinna is right there waiting for us: making a cup of tea in a mug the size of a cereal bowl in her Nancy Meyers kitchen, yelling up the leopard print stairs to tell her daughter that it’s time to go to goat yoga.

There were a few actually relatable things that happened in this episode, like Erika saying she’s started hosting more people at her house because she doesn’t want to…leave her house. Or Teddi’s 3-year-old son Cruz explaining that this is simply how his face looks when someone asked him why he was being weird. Or Kyle’s daughter’s desire to openly mock Ken Todd on her Instagram…

But mostly, this episode opened up with perfect reminders that RHOBH is that unique combination of unbelievable fantasy and terror. Teddi has a new $4 million house…that appears to be made almost entirely of doors. Everyone has amazing jewelry and handbags…that keep getting stolen from their homes because they’re known for having amazing jewelry and handbags. Denise Richards is this season’s new cast member…which means we have to talk about Charlie Sheen all the time.

Basically, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have—Erika putting on six-inch heels with a Moschino sweatsuit to walk into the kitchen and throw a bottle Dom Perignon on ice for lunch with Dorit, who is wearing what can only be described as parachute shorts. Improbably, Dorit tells Erika about an outdoorsy trip she took to Utah for some mental clarity after her home was broken into. Erika is a really great person to go to if you want the very slightest amount of detectable empathy for your trauma, and then just a ton of laughing it off.

So, Erika might have been a better option to be Lisa Vanderpump’s sounding board as she is very much still grieving the tragic loss of her brother to suicide three months ago, but continues to insist that she’s keeping a stiff upper lip. At a time when LVP likely needs the most empathy, she seems to be attracting the least amount of sympathy by being her most LVP self… which is to say, acting one way with her friends off-camera and then trying to stir up mad s–t the second that little red light comes on. Or at least that’s what I’m picking up from the way Kyle flips a switch the minute LVP tries to tease that she’s done something wrong.

In this, the year of our Lord and savior True Detective season 3, Vanderpump Dogs’ bubblegum pink façade is more startling than ever. Inside it, Kyle is equally startled to find that the manager John keeps trying to tell her something about a dog he’s holding, while Lisa Vanderpump hisses at him, “We are not going to talk about that.” I’m not really one to defend Kyle, but I am one to be fair (ha!), and Kyle really doesn’t seem to be digging around for gossip here; John just seems desperate to dish it, apparently because he’s pretty peeved off.

The dog in question is Lucy Lucy Apple Juice, who was apparently adopted by Dorit recently…and then a week or so later, Lucy ended up in a shelter…and because all Vanderpump Dogs’ are microchipped, LVP then got a call that one of her dogs was in a shelter and went and re-rescued her. When Dorit relays this story to Erika, she correctly gasps, “Was Lisa maaaad?” Amazingly—she was not! As Dorit tells it, the dog was biting PK (cue pathetic photo of PK with a few scratches on his nose and me delivering my own personal theory that dogs are excellent judges of character), so they found a new home for her…but somehow she didn’t end up in that home, she ended up in a shelter.

Lisa believes this story, so she doesn’t want rumors being spread about Dorit, but John is pissed about Lucy ending up in a shelter, so he most certainly wants to spread rumors about Dorit. But when LVP ever-so-casually implies a little later that she wishes Kyle had come to the opening of—BWAH BWAH BWAH **CROSSOVER ALERT**—Tom Tom, Kyle has capital-h, capital-i: Had It. She says that the night of the Tom Tom opening she had just gotten back from Europe and Lisa acted like she understood that at the time, but now she’s trying to act like Kyle is unsupportive.

Kyle storms off saying she’s not going to do this, and then the argument continues downstairs, with Kyle saying that Lisa has a history of trying to make her look bad when she hasn’t done anything wrong. Having this happen so close to the recent revelations about Dorit and Lucy Lucy Apple Juice, which LVP was totally fine with, seems to have triggered Kyle’s newly short fuse. “You’re looking to start shit with me, I can already feel it!” Kyle says…tellingly.

Lisa Vanderpump starts crying, highly uncharacteristically, and saying she’s sorry, that she loves Kyle, and she hasn’t been coping very well with her brother’s death. Then she gets embarrassed that she’s not coping well, and everybody hugs and cries and tells her not to keep everything inside all the time. It’s ultimately a pretty sweet moment that perhaps we can hold onto when it all goes to shit in two months.

But it seems Kyle isn’t the only one who’s feeling a little whiplash about LVP’s opinions on her actions. Dorit has been insisting to Erika that Lisa totally understood what happened with Lucy Lucy Apple Juice; Lisa has been insisting to Kyle and Teddy that she totally understood what happened with Lucy Lucy Apple Juice; yet, when Dorit and PK meet Lisa and Ken for dinner, Lisa immediately says they need to clear the air on the dog thing and be done with it.

Lisa tells Dorit that she knows they had no malintent and PK defensively snaps, “I think that’s a very weird concept to say, ‘I know you didn’t mean it,’ because of course, we didn’t bloody mean it!” Now listen, I can believe that Lisa is maybe manipulating Dorit, a beautiful simpleton, for an on-camera story…

But I much more hardily believe that PK is a monster, and not just because he walked into this dinner wearing a drool-stained V-neck and immediately revealed that he shaves his arms and hands (though that certainly didn’t help his case). Even if Dorit and PK weren’t trying to like, actively harm Lucy Lucy Apple Juice, they very clearly should have just brought the dog back to Vanderpump Dogs instead of arranging some sketchy exchange themselves. There’s loose mention of a contractual $5,000 fee they might have been trying to avoid that we’ll hopefully get more information on in future episodes.

For now, LVP says that she’s out there defending Dorit and PK’s decision, but she wants them to know that people at Vanderpump Dogs were pissed off, and other people are talking about it. Specifically, John Blizzard (that’s a different John than earlier because everyone at Vanderpump Dogs is named John) told Teddy, which Dorit does not love hearing because she assumes Teddy will try to come at her sideways given their history…

But when Teddy sees Dorit at Kyle’s pool party, they’re actually pretty chill. Their sons are about the same age, and there’s a snow cone station and a charcuterie board that takes up most of the dining room, so why ruin a good time?

The bad time WILL come…oh, it will come. But for now, everyone brings their whole family over to Kyle’s and it’s pretty sweet. New castmember Denise Richards also makes her debut, which means we get to hear all the ways these women know Denise Richards. Rinna has basically known her since she was a teenager when they grew up modeling and acting together, so she’s her entry point into the franchise. But Kyle knows her from a former “Hollywood moms” group, and she also knew Charlie Sheen from her former life as a child star. Erika simply knows her from playing “Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough” and I love her getting up in arms about the fact that anyone would question Denise’s ability to portray a nuclear scientist.

Lisa Vanderpump knows Denise because one time her and Charlie Sheen’s cars were stolen off a cliff at the same time (???). And really, most of Denise’s time onscreen is spent talking about Charlie Sheen, including when Teddy accidentally says “winning” (because gah, Teddy is such a nerd). But Denise seems pretty chill about all of it, probably helped along by the fact that she now has a superhot boyfriend named Adam. Superhot boyfriends can mellow a lot of awkward situations. Something for Dorit to think about…

Kyle says no one is mentioning Lucy Lucy Apple Juice because they all know it would put Dorit in a bad situation: “Not caring for an animal? You get a reputation like that—you’re screwed.” I can’t say that I saw an animal cruelty storyline commanding this season, and yet here we are. What did you think of the RHOBH premiere? Are you looking forward to the potential takedown of Queen LVP or is this an undeserved coup? Could it really be more CRAZY/EPIC/UNBELIEVABLE/SHOCKING than whatever’s already been made public? And what, exactly, could be growing on PK’s hands that he has to shave it off?!

Bravo’s guilty-pleasure franchise meets California luxe
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  • 10/14/10
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