You know what’s so amazing about going on a vacation? No, I’m not talking about getting that perfect tan or seeing those magical places you have only read about in books or even having one of those nights that doesn't end until the dawn when you drink cocktails you can barely pronounce and then dance under a velvet sky filled with stars that look like diamonds when you stare up at them drunkenly. Sure – all of that is nice, but what’s really great about a vacation is when you get to sit around a table on a boat that you can’t get off until it winds its way through a canal and the biggest asshole in the vicinity suggests that everybody goes around and says something kind about a group of people who have more conflicts than the Middle East and then the evening ends with one person slapping you across the face.
Where’s my passport?!
We’ll get to the worst boat ride any group of people have ever taken in all of history – and that includes both the Titanic and that cruise ship where they ran out of food and families of five subsisted on one green apple for a week while feces ran in rivers through the solarium – in just a moment, but that event takes place at night and first we all need to trudge through the glorious daylight hours of a vacation with the Housewives.
It’s a sunshiny new day in the magical land of Amsterdam, a place where the flowers bloom spectacularly and some of the American women who visit refuse to gnaw on even a crumb of a space cake because they have children back in the States and getting a little bit high is way worse than slapping someone across the face in a restaurant – or at least that’s what Brandi heard once at a sample sale.
First to appear this episode are Brandi and Kim, and I can’t help but view such an image as a horrific bit of foreboding that now has me pausing the action on my television screen so I can wave around a small bundle of burning sage and quickly build a coffee table made entirely from protective rose quartz crystals while I say a blessing over my uterus that I never produce anything that becomes as big of a nightmare as Kim Richards.
Speaking of the insane Kim, she lets Brandi know that she has not been sleeping soundly, which is also a subtle way for her to make sure that we viewers know that she has not been gulping down sleeping pills or anything else that was initially prescribed for someone who has a terminal disease. But then the Lisas join the two women in the lobby, and they let their sleep-deprived travel buddies know that just a teensy bite of that space cake in the café helped them to sleep soundly for many uninterrupted hours of pure unconscious bliss.
Suck it, Kim and Brandi.
Kim and Brandi have a plan to go shopping that day, an activity that appeals to both of the Lisas too since nothing could be more wonderful than getting to do something you have never ever done before in your entire life while you’re on vacation. But proving that she’s kind of sane, Lisa R. does inquire about whether or not Brandi and Kim might prefer to go shopping just the two of them and Brandi responds by looking stunned and asking "why?"
I’d like to take a moment to answer Brandi’s question.
Brandi, I think that the reason a shopping expedition between this particular foursome might not strike any conscious mammal as ideal stems from one or all of the following reasons:
1. It was just last night when you stood shrieking in the middle of the street about the hypocrisy these women cloak themselves in while you prefer to wear your own version of the truth like it’s a sheer, edible G-string.
2. It was only two nights ago when Kim taunted Lisa R. across a dinner table that was crowded with everything except food and brazenly asserted that there were dark and tragic secrets buried under the Rinna/Hamlin garage and that Kim would dig them out herself with only a plastic spork and then sell those secrets to the highest bidder, along with signed headshots of herself from the early seventies.
3. Lisa, reacting to the threats gleefully stated by the vicious shell of a person who sat across from her, slammed a wine glass on the table and then lunged for Kim’s wiry neck – fully intending to break her into three ragged pieces – while the other ladies jumped to their feet in shock and Kyle booked from the restaurant as though she heard a gun only dogs can hear fire in the distance that indicated that Chanel toothbrushes were going on sale one block over.
4. Last season Brandi worked harder than she ever has outside of a bedroom when she systematically tried to get every single Housewife, husband-of-a-Housewife, caterer of a Housewife, stylist of a Housewife, and gonorrhea-specialist to a Housewife to despise Lisa V., a woman who was all but her emotional sponsor for two years. She provided flimsy accusations and minimal proof to insecure people who probably resent Lisa’s unrelenting and casual ability to be spectacular and then she smiled happily and silently glugged down wine as the people Brandi had so easily manipulated tried to tear Lisa limb from limb.
5. Just in case she hadn’t successfully assassinated Lisa’s character, Brandi also touted how she paid less than twenty bucks to research her former friend’s former address and then publicized via social media that Lisa once lived in the valley (gasp!) and has been bankrupt, charges Lisa vehemently denied. There has been no further proof, so it looks like Brandi made up those allegations too.
So yeah – I think it makes all kinds of sense that any woman in Amsterdam named Lisa wants to be absolutely certain that she is welcome on this shopping expedition, though I wouldn’t so much as walk out the door of that hotel with those women without an armed guard or a vial of pepper spray that will also knock an attacker’s teeth out, which incidentally is another recent threat Brandi made, though that threat was to Kyle so I didn’t care all that much.
Into the lobby glides Eileen, a woman still completely shell-shocked by the behavior she has witnessed in close-up from grown women. If she recently had LASIK surgery, the moment she saw the foam pooling in the corner of Kim's mouth might have made her long for her formerly cloudy vision. Eileen greets everybody – some more warmly than others – and when they tell her that they are going shopping, there is a bit of a double-take that occurs before her acting craft kicks in and she then simply smiles and lets them all know that she will be heading to a museum. But she and Lisa R. do reach out their hands for a second and kind of touch one another to show that there are no hard feelings that Lisa is choosing to head off for the day with Kim, a woman who took more joy in threatening to destroy Lisa’s life than any one thing has provided her with – except for that last David Cassidy album – and topped the whole thing off by calling an Eileen a beast who has a face that she hates.
Kyle and Yolanda are not yet downstairs, so Eileen sits alone in the lobby waiting for them. It turns out that Yolanda will not be joining her friends for the day because all of the stress of trying to see all of the perspectives of all of these emotionally-ravaged women combined with the Lyme Disease she is battling has left Yolanda exhausted and needing to stay in bed. Kyle stops by her room and agrees that Yolanda should rest, but when Yolanda mentions that Kyle must deal with the Kim Problem because God gave her this job in life, Kyle begins to sob that she does not want this job, and I can’t really blame her.
I would never attend Kyle’s Now-I’m-An-Atheist! party, but I would totally send a gift. What’s the Chanel version of a crucifix or a Star of David?
When Kyle meets Eileen down in the lobby, she learns that the rest of the women have all gone shopping – together. Like Eileen, she is dumbfounded that the Earth has continued to spin after her own existence feels turned upside down and she tells Eileen that Yolanda is not feeling well and is staying in bed for the day, to which Eileen responds, “Yolanda staying in bed is the sane reaction. It’s a good sign of her mental stability. How can they all just go shopping and pretend everything is normal? It’s like I walked into an insane asylum with these women.”
Both Kyle and Eileen have a really good point here: they were dragged through the shit-filled mud when they tried to stop Kim from attacking Lisa R., and here Lisa seems to have forgiven that creature even though Kim has not apologized or sought forgiveness from the others, so the whole dynamic is awkward as hell if you’re not into pretending that things are perfectly fine when there’s a lunatic who keeps joining you for dinner.
Turns out that Lisa R. has a very normal reason for deciding to go shopping with two women who hate her and with Lisa V., who might prove helpful should Kim or Brandi attempt to spontaneously throw-down with her again. See, she knows that if she spends the day with lucid women like Eileen and Kyle, they will attempt to talk about the hairy yellow monster in the group who can barely string a bunch of words together into anything resembling a sentence except for that time when she managed to threaten Lisa’s very existence because then Kim managed to almost master the art of language. But Lisa explains again that she is in survival mode and she does not want to talk about or think about or relive what has happened to her since arriving in Amsterdam, so she is choosing to put on her blinders and go shopping with some assholes.
During the shopping excursion we get to see a few things of note. Lisa V. and Brandi still have somewhat of a funny rapport between them and Lisa acknowledges that she and Brandi can still have a laugh, but this is also a women who knows her limits and she does not seem at all interested in having anything but a casual chuckle with Brandi ever again. We learn that Kim knows that tassels are meant to be worn over nipples and that if she had to choose which ones she’d wear, it would be the white ones with the little black bow, and I would like to nicely ask if there’s a medic in the vicinity who can stop by to preventatively pump out my stomach, because the sight of Kim Richards choosing nipple tassels might cause this wave of nausea that just set in to never abate. And we learned that there’s a store in Amsterdam that has gravel instead of a hardwood floor, and it looks really cool, which means that I must rip up my own flooring immediately and install either gravel or a moat, which I will fill with goldfish because I cannot afford a family of swans.
As the shoppers trek over both gravel and veiled animosity, Eileen and Kyle go to the Rembrandt Museum, where Kyle spends most of the time commenting on the outfits the women in the paintings are wearing because she misses America and she hasn’t seen Fashion Police in over a week. When they leave the exhibit, they see an enormous sculpture outside of letters spelling out “I AMSTERDAM” that you’re allowed to pose in or next to and Kyle shimmies herself into the “D” and giggles that she fits inside of that giant consonant because she is so tiny, which might be the reason that she did not allow herself even a single chocolate truffle when she and Eileen then went to get some coffee, because what if next time she wants to do a split inside of the “R”? She had better retain her figure!
Over coffee, Eileen mentions that it’s very weird that Lisa R. is acting like she’s fine, because both Eileen and Kyle are not fine with what transpired, nor should they be. They were treated viciously by a woman who now seems to have experienced zero consequences for her revolting behavior, and though Kyle might not actually confront the issue, Eileen is just too perplexed by it all to end up staying quiet for long.
The first person Eileen approaches is Lisa R., and the two of them go off on their own to get a glass of wine. Once again proving that she is articulate and rational and a good friend, Eileen calmly asks how Lisa could be spending any kind of breezy time with Kim and how legitimately messed up it feels that it doesn’t seem as though Lisa has Eileen’s back when Eileen so clearly and publicly had Lisa’s. After all, Kim has not deigned to apologize to either Eileen or Kyle for her behavior and Eileen genuinely believes that Kim does not even fully realize that her behavior was not acceptable, and that’s when Lisa tells Eileen that she is sorry that it seems as though her loyalty has been compromised – it has not been – but Lisa is afraid of Kim and is reluctant to talk to her about anything other than what color bow she wants on her nipple tassels.
“All she does is attack,” explains Lisa. “You can’t talk to someone who is not completely rational.”
Eileen sort of nods and seems to realize that Lisa is stuck between their friendship and her own legitimate fear of the ferociousness that best defines Kim, a woman who greatly resembles a generic Barbie Doll named Kiki – Kiki has long blonde hair and she only swallows pills sometimes! – and they end their discussion still friends with one another because sometimes grown-up can see things differently and the whole thing reminds me that it’s kind of a pleasure watching smart people fight.
But then the sun begins to descend in the distance and it’s about to be nightfall and Yolanda – who is feeling better – has made arrangements for all of these women to have a gourmet dinner on a boat that takes them through the canals, which would be amazing if the following brawls might not break out at any time:
Brandi vs. Kyle – If I were a betting woman, I’d give the win to Brandi here. She’s almost always wrong in what she says to or about Kyle, but Kyle dissolves into frustrated tears too quickly during a battle and I think the salt in her tears throws off her thought process.
Kyle vs. Kim – Look, there’s no reason Kyle should not win this brawl – even if she wins by standing on top of her sister’s face or by tossing her hair-first into the canal – but the thing is that nobodywins during a fight between these two because they don’t deal with the actual issue at hand; they only fight in subtext and it’s exhausting, even for a viewer. I’d totally go get a bottle of water and maybe some Twizzlers and then check my email during this showdown, but don’t worry about me missing it; it’ll happen again and again.
Brandi vs. Eileen/Kim vs. Eileen – that anybody legitimately hates Eileen strikes me as weird. Eileen is refined and sometimes she injects witty comments into a conversation and she is smart, and that’s obviously the attribute she’s got that so terribly threatens the biggest idiots in the entire bunch. Eileen sees through all of their barely-veiled bullshit and will call them on it if their bullshit causes them to be disparaging to others and, if there’s one thing we have learned on this trip other than the fact that Kyle can fit inside of a giant “D”, it’s that Kim and Brandi are allergic to accountability.
Kim vs. Lisa R. – their dispute has been tabled for now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t magically pop up again and remember: dinner is being served on this boat, and that means that there are knives on the premises.
What in the hell was Yolanda thinking…?
As all the women gather, it’s abundantly clear that nobody wants to say a single thing that could create a watershed of chaos, though in this group one of the things that could be said that might allow hellfire to be spouted could be the word hello. But they’re all (sort of) trying. Yolanda and Lisa V. are acting like everything is fine and Lisa R. has a dazed look in her eyes that very much hints that she has gone to her safe place in her mind where the world has clouds constructed entirely from bandage dresses and the size of her lips makes perfect sense. She just wants to have an evening where nobody screams and nobody is threatened and nobody cries – which means that she should have stayed home.
But it’s Kyle who breaks first – and by first, I mean immediately – when she sits with a group of people, including the sister who won’t speak to her and her sister’s evil friend who just stares haughtily across the table at Kyle for kind of no reason other than to be an asshole.
Meeting Lisa V.’s eye across the table, Kyle kind of mouths to her, “Everything is fine?”
“It has to be,” Lisa wisely mouths back, and she’s sort of right. They are stuck on a boat with people who hate one another because they have all signed contracts to go on vacation together. So they have a choice tonight: they can punch each other in the face or they can act like everything is fine.
Kyle can’t pretend though, and while I get that this issue involves a member of her family, if she’s not ready to confront the issue and she is emotionally unable to temporarily ignore the issue, she should have stayed back at the hotel and ordered room service that she could have looked at instead of eaten. But she didn’t stay back; she showed up on that fucking boat, so my feeling is that she should make the best of it by drinking some wine and staring at the beautiful surroundings and trying on Lisa’s hat because it is spectacular.
Though it probably should have been Kyle to break first, it’s Eileen who kind of matter of factly tells them all that the night feels bizarre and that there are all kinds of conflicts that she’d love to talk about. And right there we see a key difference between Eileen and Brandi. Eileen doesn’t raise her voice and she explains how she feels like a normal person. Brandi would have said something like, “Bring it, bitch,” because she’s an underdeveloped adult who starts a conversation about the resolution of conflicts by saying, “I’ve been a dick to you,” and then lists all of the shitty things she has done to Eileen who just kind of stares at the moron in front of her and tells the camera, “Well, congratulations for owning it – you know you’re an asshole.”
Brandi is an asshole. She doesn’t really have the ability to genuinely apologize for doing something so questionable that any person who is sober or decent-minded would react with horror and she also lacks the ability to actually look at the person who is talking to her about the ways in which she has been hurtful. Instead, Brandi rolls her eyes and averts her glance and it’s kind of gross that it’s so clear in those moments that she never grew up, that what we are looking at is a Botoxed version of a teenage Brandi who refused to take accountability or blame for anything and who would probably roll her eyes when she was yelled at by her parents before running to her bedroom and slamming the door and then lying atop her bed while she stared at the Motley Crue posters on her wall (no judgment – I had them too) and thought about how great life would be when she could finally be out of the house and get to act like an asshole all of the time.
We all have dreams.
My dream is for Brandi to say that she’s sorry and then shut her fucking mouth instead of retaliating by throwing something in her accuser’s face, but much like my dream of world peace and sugar-free Cadbury Cream Eggs, that dream has not come true. Instead, Brandi tells Eileen that she doesn’t like that Eileen said that Brandi is a mean drunk, to which Eileen stopped talking and managed to keep her burst of laughter in check before asking Brandi if she was the very first person who had ever made that comment, to which the idiot liar responded, “kind of.” And Brandi is not done! She is astounded that someone could say something (like Kim has relapsed) that could be life-changing for that person. How could someone say such a thing? And it’s here again where I have to wonder if participating in this show is maybe serving to destroy the lives of everyone in its path because what kind of fucked up world must these people inhabit where mentioningsomeone’s relapse is worse than someone making the choice to relapse?
Watching the action is Yolanda, and after seeing with her own eyes that both Eileen and Lisa R. continue to apologize for things they were not wrong about in the first place to two people who cannot accept an apology that they don’t even deserve has begun to annoy her, so Yolanda gets up from the Crazy Table and sits at the other table by herself and begins to eat dinner. She is soon joined by Lisa V. and Eileen – and you could tell that Lisa R. wanted to bound over to the normal group too, but she is so scared to make a misstep around Kim, and it’s all kind of terrifying and sad to witness.
Eventually, they all sit at the table with food, and Brandi has a great idea! They should all go around the table and each person should say something that she loves about every other person there! If this group could be honest with one another, it would be a sweet – albeit odd – way to pass a dinner, but since this group is filled with people who have emotions that run from apathy to full-fledged fear and hatred for one another, I’m concerned the game could end with blood spatter.
I might be the only one concerned; the game begins and all of the women croak out sweet comments to one another about their energy and their aura, except for Brandi – you know, the one who came up with this game – who only says things about liking someone’s eyes or waistline or hair. She refuses to go deeper than the superficial because she doesn’t like what’s underneath these people, which is a weird charge for someone to make when she herself is dead inside. Kim, on the spot, has to say something nice when it’s Kyle’s turn to be complimented (this is Kyle’s favorite game ever!) and it’s a little hard for Kim because she is hurt that her sister has been hanging out with “people who have been unfair” to her – you know, when they feared a loss in the sobriety that took place directly in front of their own eyes. But Kim manages to tell Kyle in her creaky voice that she admires Kyle as a mother and as a wife and Yolanda makes them hug and then it’s Kim’s turn to be complimented. Personally, I’d commend her for her sheer capacity for delusion, but I must have done something right in this lifetime and I was rewarded for it by not having to be anywhere on that boat or in that country or in the same “D” where Kyle was able to stretch out because she’s so small. So from America, I sat back and watched petrified women lie to Kim Richards, telling her that she is a survivor and that she is strong and that she is a winner, and Kim is too out of her mind to realize that every single person’s voice had an audible tremor because they are all terrified of her.
It’s finally Brandi’s turn to be complimented (“You have the perfect ass” or “I’m impressed that someone hasn’t tried to decapitate you yet” would be my compliments for Brandi), but she bolts from the table, refusing to hear the fake complements from the mouths of these women, even though she was the one who suggested this self-esteem exercise in the first place. She runs into the bathroom of the boat that is sadly not covered with pictures of Nikki Sixx and eventually she comes back out, but she never says that maybe the reason these women would all have to completely lie about her positive qualities is because she hasn’t shown them that she has any.
At the end of the night – another one where there has been tears from the Sisters Richards and pathetic comments made by Brandi about how Eileen is a home-wrecker – it’s time to get the fuck off of that boat. But before they can scramble to safety, Brandi has decided that it’s time to get a little playful because she mainlined vodka while she was locked in the bathroom avoiding compliments. And which lady does she want to be playful with? Lisa Vanderpump, the former best friend she tried to destroy for sport!
Playtime begins with Brandi trying to kiss Lisa, who is not having it. First of all, she hates Brandi. Second of all, it’s quite unclear as to where those lips have been. Third of all, the hat on her head is arranged at just the right angle and Brandi leaning in to kiss her (“No tongue,” promises Brandi) might cause the thing to go askew. So since Lisa won’t kiss her, Brandi playfully slaps Lisa across the face and then immediately gets the same look on her face that my niece had when she was two-years-old and she removed her own diaper to poop in the corner of the living room and then got caught doing it. That’s the look Brandi has on her terrible face after slapping Lisa, who is simply stunned and says, “No! That’s wrong!” which is the very same thing we said to my niece when she was crouching near the piano.
Will Brandi apologize for slapping this woman? Are you fucking as high as Kim? Of course she won’t apologize! She will just laugh and say, “Now slap me!” to a former friend who stands horrified before her.
Next week, Brandi forgoes a meal with the ladies – which causes Eileen to squeal with an unmitigated sense of joy – in order to have dinner with some random guy she met whom she describes as only a woman so adored by her ex-husband’s attorneys can: “Beautiful man, beautiful cock.” The truth is, I’d rather talk about a stranger’s scrotum than watch Kim Richards get called “a winner” by a woman fighting to keep a straight face ever again, so I shall be tuning in next week to find out whether or not this guy is circumcised.