The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: Age ain't nothing but a red flag
As the old saying goes, "You can take Denise Richards away from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but you simply cannot take the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills away from their infuriating habit of making a huge deal out of something, and then acting like they're the victims of the huge deal that's been made.
Crystal has said repeatedly that she's willing to move on from Sutton walking in on her naked in Lake Tahoe, and personally, I believe her. Because in Crystal's first ever interaction with Sutton, she watched this woman cry that being stereotyped as racist for being a Southern white woman is as bad as actually experiencing racism… and Crystal let that go! She hasn't brought it up again even though that is definitely the weird Sutton behavior from Lake Tahoe that I would be focusing on, if any.
So, after last week's conversation, I believed that Crystal would stop talking about Sutton walking in on her naked if other people (cough, Kyle) would stop bringing it up. Crystal has obviously spoken about the incident much more willingly and prolifically than she's claimed to — but she's also spoken consistently about how she felt. The problem seems to be that the other women don't like the way Crystal felt and would like to insist that she feel the same way they would feel in the same situation, lest her offense damage Sutton's reputation. The most painful part of this extremely tedious situation where one single word is litigated for 20 minutes, is that they could be using all this energy to mine Erika for answers about her extremely mysterious divorce from Tom… or ask Garcelle what her opening line on Bumble is… or quiz Kathy on what she thinks other common Jewish phrases mean…
But no! They've got to get in their bi-episodic quotes about how words are powerful. I say this as a writer: when put up against each other, words are not more powerful than actions. And most viewers can probably agree that Sutton's room-entering actions in Lake Tahoe weren't all that bad or weird in a vacuum — but it's also not an assassination on her character for Crystal to say that she happened to feel violated by something that other people may not feel violated by because of her own personal boundaries.
So! Now that I've spent precious inches of the internet making a big deal out of something I wish wasn't a big deal (RHOBH-isms really are contagious), I'd love to switch gears by paying Sutton a compliment: she is the only Housewife to push Erika for any sort of details on her divorce thus far. And whether it's because Sutton has also been through a "rich people" divorce, or because Erika likes how kind Sutton is (translation: gives a lot of monogrammed gifts, and also maybe a product-placed bag of Pop Chips), she actually seems to let down her wall a little during this private spa day. Erika says that she's sure Tom is mad at her, and he's not just going to hand over a small fortune to her in the divorce. "I know how mean and utterly dismissive Tom is," she says in her testimonial.
Sutton asks Erika whether she was upset that Tom didn't come to see her Broadway debut last year, and no, it's not an answer on if Erika knew Tom was defrauding widows and orphans in order to fund her pop career — but it is the first kernel of truth I think we've gotten yet. Erika says not only did it hurt for him not to come to see the dream that he was such a big part of making come true, but then she also had to "go out there and defend it" (the editors' helpful flashback to Erika trying to casually shrug off that Tom never made it to see her in Chicago during the last reunion). But certainly, the most interesting thing Erika does on an emotional level is when she tearfully laments that she never had a marriage like Kyle or Dorit's: "Y'know, my marriage was different than any of them… that's the hardest part, I think, to reconcile." I think the implication there is that, whatever the reason for ending this marriage now — it was never much of a marriage to begin with.
Elsewhere, Crystal works out with her kickboxing coach, as is the tradition of all young, hip new Housewives (though Crystal's coach was the hot, jacked athlete that you think of when you think of a boxing coach, as opposed to the wise, unintelligible melting candle that Leah takes classes from on RHONY). Kyle's daughter Sofia surprises her youngest daughter Portia with a visit home from college, and many teenage girl hysterics ensue. Garcelle talks with her sons about what they'd think of her getting married again, and tells us that her dating coach had her get on Bumble. To which I say: I'm sorry, can one of the most beautiful women in L.A. not get an invite to Raya? Brad Pitt may not be there, but we all know she could get Ben Affleck in those DMs immediately.
And, perhaps, most importantly, the Scott Disick conversation is finally broached. If you didn't know, a few months after 37-year-old Scott Disick broke up with his formerly-teenage girlfriend Sofia Richie (daughter of Lionel Richie), he began dating 19-year-old Amelia Hamlin (daughter of Lisa Rinna). If you are noticing any disturbing trends here, everyone on RHOBH will tell you to ignore them until they hopefully go away. Except for Kyle, who will scream, "He's too damn old!" Kyle is correct.
I did appreciate hearing Garcelle open up about how her eldest son getting together with a woman who had children from a prior relationship was actually the best thing that ever happened to him… but given that Amelia is a teenager dating a father of three, the comparison didn't seem entirely applicable! In reality, Dorit's reaction to Rinna cluing her in on the Scott Disick conversation when she returns from the bathroom is probably the aptest: "Mazel tov… or, no?" (Kathy subsequently having to be told that mazel tov means "congratulations" not "Merry Christmas," is also priceless.)
Finally, it's time for the ladies to enjoy a private rooftop dinner together. When the conversation turns to Garcelle's dating life, and Sutton sing-songs a little line about how "nothing lasts forever," Kathy chortles (there's really no other word for it): "Oh that was cute, Tom-assina." And nothing is ever the same again.
Because "Peeping Tom-assina" is apparently Kathy's new affectionate name for Sutton, ever so subtly referencing the time she walked in on Crystal naked.
Not 30 minutes ago, on the car ride over, did I hear Sutton say that Crystal needed to develop a sense of humor about their situation — and all episode long Sutton has been making little jokes about walking in on people naked. But now that Kathy rolls her nickname out, Sutton's sense of humor goes flying into the Santa Monica breeze. But it's Kyle who just up and takes the opportunity to say once more that "the word 'violated' gave the implication that it was sexual."
And, oh how I wish that in this moment, either Crystal or Sutton had simply said, "Didn't we agree just last week that we wouldn't talk about this anymore, Kyle?" which happens to be word-for-word what I screamed at the TV. Crystal's use of the word "violated" to describe what happened in her bedroom in Tahoe had already been brought to Sutton's attention by Kyle in the last episode, and Sutton had already insisted they discuss it in front of the other women in the last episode, after which, Sutton and Crystal agreed yet again never to discuss it again…
So why are we out here quoting Webster's Dictionary definition of the word "violated," which Crystal says means a "failure to respect someone's privacy," and not necessarily something sexual, which she did not mean to imply?!?!
Kyle says she's been walked in on in a public bathroom and she didn't feel violated, and Crystal could use any other, less-loaded word to describe how she felt when Sutton saw her naked. But the thing is — she has! Crystal said violated once, and each time they've asked her to reconsider it, she's reiterated that she felt "uncomfortable," and "like a boundary was crossed." But the fact of the matter is, she also felt violated. It has been reiterated to us, and to these women, again and again that Crystal has a delicate relationship with her own body image.
Why must the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills majority always insist that everyone feel the same way they feel? Why is Sutton allowed to feel offended that Crystal said she violated her privacy, and Crystal isn't allowed to feel violated? How are they going to insist that Crystal confirm to the table that Sutton didn't have bad intentions when she came to her room that night, and then when Crystal indeed confirms that she doesn't think Sutton had bad intentions as requested, they say that she's changing her story??? I can't really tell what they want from her! To feel differently than she feels?
Crystal doesn't seem to totally stand by her outsized reaction to Sutton's behavior, but she does stand by how she felt about it at that moment. And they can't pester her into changing those feelings after the fact just to save Sutton's reputation, which I assure you, is going to be absolutely fine. I've rarely been disappointed more than Garcelle invoking "nowadays, with cancel culture" to say that Crystal shouldn't have used the word "violated," and I've rarely felt more glee than — after spending 30 minutes listening to the other women tell her why she can't use that word — Crystal looking Sutton dead in the Cat-in-the-Hat pussy-bow she's wearing, and saying, "I'm not gonna back down on that word."
If all of these women feel sure that Sutton didn't do anything wrong, perhaps they could stop trying to convince Crystal to use a different word, and just accept that people are allowed to have different feelings about the same situation. As always, Kathy sums it up best when she says that they're all dealing with a lot of extra stress right now, referring to every single person around the table by name, except for Dorit, whom she calls, "my buddy over here, my English girl." Because she both doesn't know Dorit's name and doesn't know they're supposed to refrain from talking about her weird accent. See you back here next week, my buddies.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Bravo’s guilty-pleasure franchise meets California luxe