The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: Politeness, party of none
Let's start this recap off by handing the mic over to our newest Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, Garcelle, to summarize this episode in her ever-so-succinct manner: "This party for me started awkward … and then it got bizarre … and then it got more bizarre." I think if Garcelle had the chance to edit this thesis statement, she might amend it to include yet one more "bizarre," in order to account for Kyle and Dorit cooing over a handle of Fireball shortly before Kyle jumped into her standard round of drunken horizontal splits…
But other than that, pretty damn accurate! Because this episode is a top-to-bottom, front-to-back, non-stop cringe-fest. If it wasn't Aaron working his way through the word "nuclear" over and over to tell everyone that they have cancer lurking in their elbows, or Teddi sprinting away from the dinner table, crying about how absolutely chill she's being, then it was Sutton talking about how polite she is while tweeting under the table about how Kyle's tacky place-card-less dinner party might as well be an early bird special at TGI Fridays where the soup of the day just happens to be wild porcini cappuccino.
Now, here's the thing: Sutton is not wrong about Teddi's proclamation that she doesn't care if her friends come to the retreat that she invited them to being kind of offensive. But Sutton also pins a "Polite Police" badge on her blindingly bedazzled décolletage every time she walks into a party and then waffles between telling people every single brand that she's wearing, announcing loudly that she's uncomfortable to the party host, and scoffing at the mention of sex at the dinner table shortly before telling a pregnant woman that she's boring at the very same dinner table. As someone who was also raised within the near vicinity of that accent she's holding onto so tightly, I'd say Sutton is really picking and choosing which of Ms. Emily Post's rules she wants to abide by…
Which leads me to this point: with few exceptions, if you have to tell people about the way that you are…then you're not really that way. If it's not perceivable to the naked eye that you're direct and honest (ahem, Teddi), or that you're polite and fashionable (ahem, Sutton), then perhaps…you are not those things, as much as you may want to be. And even though Teddi, and more recently, Sutton might not quite fit in with the rest of the RHOBH gang, that aspect of Sutton and Teddi puts them right at home in the Beverly Hills cast, where no one is ever just flat-out themselves. They're simply performing the versions of themselves they hope to be perceived as…
That's why Dorit and PK are always doing their little community theater scenes around the house — to try to seem like your average loving, filthy-rich couple who are not at all running an underground business to steal Dalmatian puppies and turn them into coats for the bankrupt and famous. And it's why, after receiving the feedback that she seems uptight and boring, Teddi keeps almost bursting all the blood vessels in her face crying about how she's totally chill right now. Perhaps the only person being fully themselves on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills these days is Kyle's husband, Mauricio, who has finally just committed to being high as a kite anytime he has to film a scene.
This episode takes place almost entirely at the welcome home party that Kyle throws for herself at her house where, during set-up, Mauricio wanders down in nothing but a towel in front of like 30 caterers. Kyle asks if he's been "partaking," and he replies: "Maybe, maybe not — it's all about changing your mindset."
And maybe that's what Teddi and Sutton need — just a ton of Mauricio's weed. Because their very contrasting mindsets have brought them to something of an impasse in the lead-up to Kyle's dinner. In last week's episode, after Lisa Rinna got Teddi all riled up, telling her that no one really wanted to go to her retreat, Teddi had an outburst at Sutton's store opening, telling all of the friends that she'd invited to come to her retreat that she really didn't care if they came or not. Now, the day before Kyle's party, Lisa Rinna has brought Teddi and Sutton together for a casual dinner, and it really is no wonder that Rinna stays so trim, given all these pots she's always stirring…
Sutton starts right in asking Teddi if she gives a s--- whether she comes to this retreat or not, because she was planning on it, but then it started to seem like Teddi didn't want them there. Teddi immediately starts grinding her teeth and trying to laugh casually, saying that her point wasn't that she didn't care, but that if they don’t come, it's not the end of the world…
Have you worked through all those double-negatives yet? Me neither. But Teddi determines at the end of this awkward dinner that she and Sutton may desire different things from their friendships: "I want someone to be direct and honest with me, and she apparently wants someone who can cater, kiss up to, and beg." I ultimately feel a little sorry for Teddi with how convoluted this all gets, but her belief that she appreciates directness and honesty over sugar-coating from others has to be one of the most delusional things currently happening in the Housewives — and that includes every naked thing going on over on New York.
Everyone arrives at Kyle's dinner party in perfectly coordinated shades of black, white, metallic, and leather, except of course, for Sutton, who perhaps cemented her "Friend of" status when she entered the party in a red dress made entirely of jewels, religious iconography, and the embroidered words, "QUEEN OF LOVE," announcing that it's not couture, it’s just regular old ready-to-wear. Erika explains to a confused Teddi that "ready to wear" is what they all wear, but even if they do wear couture sometimes, "it doesn’t matter." Erika looks like she's swallowing glass every time she has to interact with Sutton.
Rinna, however, is still trying to make Sutton happen, always singing her weird praises in the testimonials, saying that Sutton loves fashion: "It's like another tier." But Sutton is obsessed with fashion the way people are obsessed with CrossFit — it may be a totally fun and positive thing you're doing, but the less you talk about it, the more people are going to be able to appreciate the results.
For example, Garcelle floats in on a cloud of tiered tulle and everyone oohs-and-ahs, because that’s just the kind of response it deserves. Everyone seems to be having a genuinely good time, and Kyle has to yell over them to announce it's dinner time, offhandedly mentioning that she didn't assign seating — y'know, because it's a dinner party of 14 people, all of whom know each other. But from the moment Sutton learns that there are no place cards, she starts gasping that it gives her anxiety to not have assigned seating. And yet, she doesn’t rush to the table to make sure she gets a good spot.
Listen, I like to be right in the middle of a dinner table myself, and you better believe, whether it's Easter brunch or midnight Waffle House, I'm going to get myself there — and if I don't, I have no one to blame but myself! But Sutton waits until everyone has already grabbed a seat, then storms up to Kyle at the head of the table and screeches loudly, "Kyle, this is exactly what I thought was gonna happen, I don't know what to do, I'm feeling very uncomfortable!" I think this was the moment my mind closed itself to Sutton. Because after Kyle jumps up and seats Sutton in between Teddi and her husband Edwin (Rinna must have been tired from stirring those pots all by herself), Sutton smugly tells Teddi that she couldn't just plop herself down anywhere: "I'm a polite person."
Sutton might be the most impolite person at this table, and I say that with full confidence that Denise smuggled in a turkey leg to the table inside her purse.
Rinna, reinvigorated from the pot-stirring break that Kyle briefly gave her, suggests that they play a game where they each tell the woman sitting to their right what their first impression of them was, and what they think of them now. The women take turns telling each other how fabulous they are, which Sutton summarizes as: "My first impression of you was that you're really pretty, and I now know — gasp — you ARE so pretty!" It's funny, I'll give her that. But Sutton's insistence that she needs to be honest during this dumb little game makes no sense given how polite she's always insisting she is.
Politeness and honesty occasionally overlap, but most often, you forgo one for the other. And Sutton's allegiances to politeness vs. honesty become clear the moment it's her turn and she prefaces her remarks to the person on her right — Teddi — with, "Ugh, I'm so mean."
"Okay, I'm gonna be very honest: I thought that Teddi, maybe you were gonna be a little boring," Sutton starts off, leading up to what would normally be the "but you weren't!" moment. Instead, Sutton looks around at everyone's nervous faces, asks if she's supposed to be honest or not, and continues, saying: "That was my first impression, like, ugh. And then, pregnant — god help us." Later, Teddi will say that she was most upset over being accused of being boring because she's pregnant, but rather than taking offense at that in the moment, she brings up that after last night, it's clear that she's offended Sutton by saying she didn't care if she came to the retreat or not.
Sutton reiterates that it was a weird thing to say, which causes Teddi to snap, "I'll make it easy for you — don’t come!" Then everyone starts saying how they don't want to come either, and suddenly Teddi is crying, which everyone loudly points out, making Teddi cry harder as she tells people not to come. Running away from the table, she says, "Sometimes, just let me have a break, guys. Like everyone thinks I'm so uptight, but I'm trying to be CHILL!"
It's tough with Teddi… I often feel sympathy for her extreme Little Sister Energy — but it's that very same Little Sister Energy that makes you want to ignore her, and leave her behind in the house while you go ice skating on the frozen pond with the hot rich boy from the neighborhood…
While Kyle and Edwin calm Teddi down, Sutton gets right on top of saying she totally didn't mean to upset Teddi. But neither woman need worry, because the moment Kyle asks Aaron to explain what his job is to the table, no one thinks about Teddi or Sutton ever again. Because either Aaron has been served one too many Casamigos … or even Aaron doesn't understand what Aaron does. He starts off with a bold claim: "Everything you've been taught about how disease process and stuff works — it's not true." Given that these are all reality TV stars, not doctors, they've likely been taught very little about how disease processes and stuff works, but all of their stunned faces suggest that even they know this is a wild thing to say. Especially once Denise warns Aaron: "Be careful how you say all this."
WHAT?!?! This entire sequence is wild and made all the more entertaining by the fact that while everyone else is stifling laughter, high-ass Mauricio is nodding along solemnly, like nothing in the world has ever made more sense to him than Aaron saying, "You look at an atom, and there's a lot of space, it's empty space, 99.9 percent of it is space, but it's oscillating at a frequency that appears to be real in our reality."
"Space, space, space," Mauricio nods.
Aaron says that he ruptured his Achilles tendon and regrew it in two months, and when asked how that's possible, he explains that there's cancer inside everyone at this dinner table, and asks if they want to know how it got there…
Faye Resnick pops microgreens in her mouth like that gif of Michael Jackson eating popcorn.
"Because it's protecting you of an infection your immune system did not respond to, and you would have died in 12 hours. It's your best friend that protected you from somebody that's gonna shoot you in the head with a bullet, and I'll prove that all day long."
Now, it's important that I transcribe that statement to you in full, because I couldn't summarize its meaning if you paid me $1 million dollars — but I do feel a little bad writing it all out, given how Denise starts hushing Aaron's descriptions of cancer (a.k.a., the human body's best friend), not because she's embarrassed, but because she says they're "already being followed." Apparently Aaron's clinic yields such tremendous results, that there are certain people in Big Pharma who would be none too happy with his practices getting any more publicity…
I, for one, am thrilled.
Everyone retires to the living room for Fireball shots, and the next day, Kyle convinces Sutton that she should still come to Teddi's retreat, while Teddi tells Erika that she really doesn’t want Sutton there. And we'll all just have to wait on the edge of our seats to see what happens at an accountability conference full of people who don't want to be there.