The Week in 'Wives: RHOBH drunk on olive water, RHONY drunk on art
The best, worst, and wildest moments from this week on The Real Housewives.
After last week's Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion episode, we all entered the first Houseweek of the summer with heavy hearts. Did we not, my fellow Bravoholics? Knowing the long, lonely stretch of two city weeks that lay ahead of us? But how wrong we were to doubt our reality TV overlords, the keepers of the Bravo schedule, who knew exactly what they were doing. Because who among us would have the strength for any more than these two absolutely jam-packed hours of Housewives high drama?
We kicked things off with The Real Housewives of New York City, who kept terrorizing the Hamptons first by arguing about genitalia then by painting some. Next up, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills continued their Tahoe trip, where mercifully the bears in the woods knew better than to try to take on the ladies, drunk on prank water (with olives). Here are the best, worst, and wildest moments from this week in 'wives!
HIGH POINT: The chaos of Kathy Hilton, RHOBH
I knew I loved Kathy Hilton the moment I heard her dreamily sharing the story of how she, in her girlhood, used to rip out neighborhood children's baby teeth (or whatever!). She's grown on me ever since, and she really outdid herself this week. It was a heavy episode, but what a difference it made to see our beloved Kathy show up at her sister's door in the middle of the night, noisy fan in tow, just to sit there drinking Red Bull and reading a stack of newspapers as Kyle tried to bury herself under the covers. The next night, bored as the rest of us were with Dorit's claims of being a "child of the world," she decided to order water in a martini glass and chug it, thereby setting off a chain of pranks that ended, as apparently all things must, with Sutton crying about something that's really not about her. The point is: Kathy Hilton, the richest woman in the room wearing someone else's old forgotten coat, is what this franchise desperately needed!
LOW POINT: Colorblind 'wives, RHOBH and RHONY
A true horror came upon us this week: A plague of colorblindness. Oh no, not the real kind! (Not even when Kathy accidentally put eardrops into her eyes!) No, I'm talking about the particular strain afflicting people who are desperate to tidily excuse themselves from any and all conversations about race, who think it's worse to be accused of racist behavior than to actually experience racism, pretty much because that is the only one of those two things that might ever happen to them personally. You know the type! They don't see color.
Sutton uses this exact phrase, acting the victim as she incoherently weeps that racism is worse than COVID, and Crystal quite patiently explains to her that the saying actually does more harm than good, effectively erasing the identity and experience of people of color. The scene is maddening, but things are even uglier on RHONY when Luann calls Eboni "angry" (during a pretty calm conversation in which Eboni was in the right, for what it's worth) then takes offense when Eboni points out that Luann just called her an "angry Black woman." Luann replies that she didn't say that, insisting that none of this has anything to do with race, implicitly claiming the same insidious false fairness of Sutton's outdated saying.
Either one of these moments could be the low point of the week, but for me, the real low point is that this happened twice. It is astonishing to me that these privileged, educated (ahem) white women would not at least listen to the women of color speaking about their experience. Instead they choose to yell (or sob) that their intentions were perfectly just, as if that overrules Crystal and Eboni's entire lifetimes of navigating this world with a complex relationship to and understanding of race. I am shocked by it! Even having already watched the whole last season of The Real Housewives of Dallas!
WILDEST MOMENT: Les beaux-arts, RHONY
To be honest with you, when I first learned that the ladies would be painting a nude model, I found it slightly annoying and gimmicky, and it absolutely was both those things. However, it was also a pleasantly absurd Housewives sequence, starting with the arrival of Luann's French musician friend Alfredo. It is very unclear to me why he needs to be there for the painting session, but we get to hear Sonja say that she is an artist so she doesn't like other artists; she likes bankers. You would think an artist — and her friends — might display some maturity when presented with the opportunity to capture the beauty of the human form, as the ladies were, but I regret to report that that was not the case. Sonja giddily pulls off Kurt the model's sash with such glee I half expect her to unveil a toaster oven underneath, but no, it's just a naked man, as promised. They all squirm and cry out compliments and do their best to paint until finally Ramona gets bored and sits on the porch, staring at Kurt's backside but insisting that she's really enjoying the view of the ladies at their easels in the great outdoors. Then she starts enjoying Alfredo's guitar playing, closing her eyes, biting her lip, and shimmying and swaying in her seat so arrhythmically time itself seems to stop. "It's very sensual," she tells Leah. I guess that's why we needed Alfredo there.
👑 QUEEN OF THE WEEK 👑 Crystal, RHOBH
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The Housewife and the Hustler hits Hulu June 14.
A WORTHY REBRAND: Those CHA-NEL earrings are so tired anyway. I agree with Sonja! They should just say CHA-CHA! (RHONY)
BEST EDITING: Between the helpful sidenote of Crystal and Sutton's real age difference (12 years, not Crystal's estimate of 20) and the truly masterful unfolding of the pranks on pranks, our friends the RHOBH editors get the win this week.
SOUNDBITE OF THE WEEK: "What happened to class? And elegance? Elegance! And Class! Where did it all go?" — RHONY's Ramona, storming upstairs dressed as Holly Golightly, a character who I'm guessing Ramona has not realized is a call girl with mob ties.