The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: As told by Erika Girardi
What I wouldn't have given, 10 months into lockdown, to be invited to Kathy Hilton's house to get slathered from head to toe in reiki-charged golden masks while a woman named Lejla spoke to me in soothing tones about my third eye. I would have listened to Dorit explain her fashion design experience to me for an hour (or, let's face it, two hours). I would have let PK give me unsolicited business advice while simultaneously bragging (yes, bragging!) about his prolific bankruptcies. I would've dug a $500,000 hole in the basement so that my tall husband could better practice his golf swing (but not a million-dollar hole — like Crystal, I am also frugal)…
I would have explained the Bernie Sanders meme to Kathy Hilton. Hell, I would have explained memes to her!
And now I know for sure that this perfect season of RHOBH has turned me soft because I was actually glad to see the gals having a nice, relaxing time for once (except for Erika, who arrived in a full face of makeup and seemingly no intentions of releasing any stress). They've really been putting in the hard work this season — telling wild stories, pretending to believe wild stories, not pretending to believe wild stories, throwing Bolognese parties — and we appreciate the effort. But between the spa day, the fashion launch, and the husbands huddled around a heat lamp attempting to make conversation long enough to avoid catching any shrapnel from an argument where they're pretty sure they just heard the words "Mario Lopez," this kind of felt like a good old-fashioned episode of the Housewives. Y'know, from the times before there was a national pandemic, and everyone started committing federal crimes...
Except, of course, for the latest addition to "The Wild and Crazy Times of Tom Girardi, as Told by Erika Girardi" — that is signature season 11, baby.
As Kathy and Lisa Rinna lay covered in gold, very much not listening to Lejla's attempts to enlighten them, Kyle and Erika chat about their time at Garcelle's party last week. Erika says she had a nice time, and she will simply continue to ignore Sutton: "I have a lot going, and I don't need any of that in my life." And if you thought she had a lot going on in her life before, just wait until you hear what's happening now. Erika takes a brief pause in talking about how stressed she is and then speaks 200 words in under 20 seconds without any prompting, and they go like this:
"You know, I just — Tom's house was broken into, and he confronted the burglar and then had to go have eye surgery, and then my son had to go over and help, and then my son rolled his car five times on the way home."
Now, I've been hard on Kyle recently, but I feel so fortunate that she was the one Erika told this story to. Because not only did Kyle make appropriately stunned facial expressions while listening, but she also asked the appropriate follow-up questions, such as" "What?????" "Who????" "How?????" and one more time, "What????"
Kyle's clarifying questions ultimately yield a few non-clarifying answers. Erika says that she got a call at 3 a.m. from the Pasadena Police Department saying that Tom's house had been broken into, but she didn't "get" the call until 6 a.m. Erika repeatedly says that Tom confronted the burglar, but doesn't say how she knows that. Did the police department tell her those details? Perhaps her son told her, whom she says "went over," which would imply that her son went to Tom's house, but Erika also repeatedly says that Tom went to the hospital and had to have surgery. The detail that Tom went to the hospital always follows the detail that Tom confronted the burglar, seeming to imply that he had to go to the hospital because he confronted the burglar. But when asked why he had to have surgery, Erika replies, "Well, he has glaucoma, and I think the pressure and anxiety — I'm not sure, I haven't spoken to him."
Presumably, Erika knows these details from her son who went to check on Tom because Erika couldn't, and who Erika says rolled his car five times on the way home because it was snowing. "Snow in Pasadena?!" Kyle squeaks. "He lives further out," Erika husks back. "Is he okay?" Kyles asks of Erika's son who, again, Erika says flipped his car not once, but five times.
"Yeah, he's fine," Erika replies.
The way Erika gives enough details to make sure something sounds sufficiently dramatic, but not enough details to appropriately construct a timeline, reasonable causation, a beginning, a middle, or an end — you know, the things that make a story make sense — is crazy-making! But the hazy details aren't what has Kyle the most rattled. She's starting to notice a pattern; the alleged break-in happened before Garcelle's party, but Erika waited until now to mention it. "We spend time with Erika, and then find out later there was this big situation going on that she didn't share with us," Kyle says in her testimonial. The editors helpfully add in a clip from Lake Tahoe with Erika saying, unprompted, how much she loves that Tom lets her be herself, followed by a "THREE DAYS LATER" title card when all of the women were shocked to find out that Erika had filed for divorce. "When Erika withholds information, she just makes it hard to be able to support her," Kyle says.
Is it harder to support her, Kyle… or is it harder to believe her? Because I'm starting to notice a few patterns myself:
1. Each time one of Erika's friends hears this wild story about her son and ex-husband being put in extreme peril, they react as though they're watching it on TV. They gasp and ask questions, the first of which never seems to be, "Is everyone okay???"
2. PK is consistently making sense this season, and I hate it here.
You see, Dorit and PK head to Kyle and Mauricio's house for dinner that evening, where Kyle relays what happened with Tom and the burglar, and Erika's son and the car flipping. Later, when Dorit retells the story to their husbands at the dinner table, PK asks why she's laughing while telling it. And it's a reasonable question! She's talking about the son of one of her best friends getting in a car wreck. Likewise, Mauricio is muttering, "poor girl, poor kid," while Kyle and Dorit, Erika's friends, are relaying the details like it's a crazy story they heard on the news…
Because, deep down, Kyle and Dorit don't believe the things that Erika tells them, even if they insist over and over that they know Erika's not a liar.
But PK has had it with the stories! He put on his nicest hoodie to come to this dinner, and he simply cannot listen to Kyle and Dorit tell him that Erika said she actually requested that Tom not have brain surgery after the car wreck that knocked him unconscious for 12 hours (not for nothing, how are we just now seeing this footage???). "I'm not a statistician," PK smirks, again, wearing a hoodie to a nice dinner where he immediately sat down and demanded mayonnaise for his salmon: "But what are the statistics that Tom and his stepson both flip cars?"
And he's having an even harder time believing that a wife would ask for her husband not to be operated on after he drove his car off a cliff. "You're suggesting that Erika's not telling the truth?" Dorit sniffs. "No, I'm suggesting she's been in a controlling marriage for 20 years, and she's still being controlled! I think Tom lied to Erika, and Erika went along with it," he says.
Okay then, PK, go off! I mean put on a collar, and eat the food you're served — but go off!
Finally, everyone gathers at Dorit's house for the launch of her new wedding dress collection, and y'know what? It's actually really lovely. The wedding dresses look like wedding dresses; there's not a wedgie in sight, which is an upgrade from Beverly Beach; there's not a lemon in sight, which is an upgrade from Buca di Beppo; and everyone seems legitimately impressed with Dorit's designs. Designs that she absolutely, 100 percent, most certainly designed herself. Dorit is definitely giving off a "lady doth protest too much" vibe while talking about how no one else but her designed these dresses, but when the editors show the original dress sketches, they're all drawn on women who look exactly like Dorit — and truly, only Dorit would do that.
Of course, an RHOBH party wouldn't be an RHOBH party without litigating exactly how honest and straightforward everyone needs to be all the time, so all the ladies gather 'round a standing table for the final course: arguing.
Kyle mentions that an article came out earlier that day that quoted Garcelle saying that the other RHOBH girls had been coming for her this season, but she was coming for them right back. "Oh f---!" Garcelle responds when Kyle brings it up, like she somehow thought Kyle wouldn't bring it up. "When I did that interview, they asked me how it was going with the girls, and it was right after the Rinna Beauty launch — so I was heated!" Garcelle explains in her testimonial
For some reason, Dorit is floored that Garcelle would say such a thing and asks why she would intimate they were coming after her. "You did the other day!" Garcelle responds. "You came after me first!" Dorit chirps back, which to be fair, Garcelle said she was doing in the interview. Dorit says she thought they'd gotten past their issues (have they??), and Garcelle asks why she's not allowed to voice her own opinion. Dorit and Kyle start insisting that they love for other people to voice their opinions, and they would love to hear hers, but Garcelle isn't having it: "It doesn't feel like that, because my own opinion only works when it satisfies you — if it goes against how you feel, then I can't have an opinion."
Ding, ding, ding! Garcelle may feel excluded from this group, but at least she's finally cracked their code. I don't agree with everything Garcelle does, and I know I would absolutely get a little sensitive if she made one too many little jokes at my expense, but she is hitting this nail on the head. Dorit and Kyle love to wax poetic about being honest, but they only really want honesty if it's honesty they agree with. If it's honesty they don't agree with, then they'll argue with you for so long that you'll start to feel like you never should have said anything at all. They're not exactly great with fearless feedback. If Dorit says one more time that if people think she talks too much, they should just say so… to a group of women who have told her repeatedly, loudly, and often that she talks too much… I'm gonna lose it!
"I speak four languages, and that doesn't make sense in any of them," Dorit says to Garcelle because she just can't help herself. But hey — great gowns, beautiful gowns. See you back here next time for what I hope is a week where everyone successfully keeps their cars on all four wheels.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Bravo’s guilty-pleasure franchise meets California luxe