Here are some things I’d rather watch instead of a nasty drunk who has teetered on the edge of full-blown alcoholism for some time undergo a 21-day cleanse in an effort to prove to the people around her that she doesn’t need to mainline Merlot:

·      Kyle shopping for matching outfits with all of her daughters while laughing her annoying husky giggle and slipping the saleswoman a fifty so that she will tell her that she looks like their older sister with a straight face.

·      Yolanda cuddling up beside her skeevy husband on his piano bench and asking him to play a piece of shit song that he once wrote for Peabo Bryson.

·      Kim expounding upon the majesty of that time when she, Ralph Macchio, and C. Thomas Howell went tobagganing down Witch Mountain.

·      Eileen appearing as both the earthling and the alien in the sequel to Stranger At the Pentagon.

·      Either one of the Lisas at the gynecologist getting a pap smear.

Yes, there is something abundantly distasteful about a woman embarking on a cleanse with such misguided motives, but I’ve come to expect only the very worst from Brandi Glanville – and I suppose that it’s somewhat comforting that she so rarely disappoints me by going ahead and behaving rationally.

The cleanse was Yolanda’s idea, as cleanses so often are.  She believes that Brandi needs to be more focused than her frequent inebriation often allows so that she can concentrate on her work and her young sons, and every time I remember that Brandi has kids, I experience a shiver that rolls up the length of my spine like a locomotive.  When Yolanda inquires about how it’s been living alcohol-free, Brandi replies, “I miss it,” and that sad statement then caused a whole new wave of shivers to take over and I had to pull on a hoodie to try to feel warm again.

It’s important to note that sobriety in the world of a Real Housewife exists kind of on a sliding scale.  In the enclosed world that these women inhabit, certain things are deemed acceptable: wearing a hideous and blinding caftan to lunch; going on exotic vacations with people you’d never deign to speak with if a camera wasn’t pointing directly at you; not punching Faye Resnick in the face every time she opens her mouth to speak or to breathe; and gulping Xanax during a drug-free cleanse.

It’s a world without rules, everybody!  And that’s why all of these women’s lawyers look so very happy.

“They’re so judgmental,” Brandi whines to Yolanda about the other women who have been such assholes by reacting to Brandi heaving wine into Eileen’s face and threatening to knock Kyle’s teeth out.   

“They’re judgmental because you gave them a reason to be,” explains Yolanda patiently in much the same tone of voice with which I explain to my dog that she shouldn’t scatter her kibble around my house.   

I’m pretty sure that my dog’s behavior will change more quickly than Brandi’s – and my dog is about to turn seventeen and is almost deaf.

After the pep talk Yolanda gives to the woman who last week sneered defensively that people were saying that Yolanda’s daughter was an alcoholic, they go downstairs and have a yoga session as part of Yolanda’s endeavor to get Brandi centered.  It’s a kind move and a bold one – and it won’t work because Brandi is a grown woman who is frozen in the throes of adolescence and she is unable or unwilling to take responsibility for any of her actions and the chaos that she leaves in her fuzzy wake.  She is the kind of person who is resentful that people kick her while she’s down but she never analyzes why she is down for the count so frequently and which of her choices have gotten her so close to the ugly linoleum so often.

But I commend her for almost nailing The Crow pose.  That shit is hard.

Over at Lisa Vanderpump’s house, Kyle arrives for a cup of tea.  Before they can start sipping, however, the housekeeper has to bring it to them and Kyle does that fake baby voice thing when she thanks the woman for serving her.  Under no circumstances am I saying that Kyle should not thank the housekeeper, but if she can do it while using her lower register and not reverting into the inflection of a toddler, I’d have a way easier time keeping my own tea down.

Kyle – back to using her real voice – tells Lisa how frustrated she is that Kim will not communicate with her, and she blames Brandi for driving a wedge between the two of them.  I think Brandi is a piece of dogshit, but Brandi is not the reason that these sisters are having a conflict.  The direct cause of their issues is that Kim will not discuss the truth and Kyle sometimes has to let her get away with being evasive, but when she does venture into territory Kim wants to keep shrouded, the sisters fight.  Is Brandi making things easier?  Of course not.  But Brandi is not really the issue; she’s a side issue, and as long as Kyle fixates on her, the happier Kim will be because Kyle is falling for her latest manipulation.

Addicts know exactly what they are doing and, while I am surprised whenever Kim manages to form a full sentence, I also know that she can write a dissertation on how to deflect blame.

Lisa recommends that Kyle behave in a cordial manner to Brandi, and it’s here that I have to wonder if these women sometimes look at themselves closely in the mirror late at night and admit to their deepest pores that they have allowed their dignity and their judgment to be continuously compromised in the name of fame and Twitter recognition before swallowing an Ambien and allowing the darkness to take over.  

Out in Malibu, Eileen and her husband have dinner on a terrace of a restaurant as the sun descends and Eileen explains to Vince everything that went down when she tried to serve as a mediator between two sisters who have far more resentment than sense.  Listening to the story, Vince could not possibly look more bored.  It’s like he is watching beige paint dry, but he perks up when Eileen mentions that she’s invited the women to come do a reading of his new screenplay.  A few of the women are actually actresses, so maybe the reading will go well – but to make sure that nobody decapitates someone at the table or impales a fellow guest with the heel of a stiletto, she suggests that they serve no alcohol at the event, a genius concept that Vince brushes off in the same way he will have to brush the high-velocity blood spatter from the pages of his script after a few of the women guzzle some of the wine he has chosen to pour.

The next morning dawns brightly and Lisa V. and her husband play with their dogs on the lawn, looking like they are in an ad for either Architectural Digest or for a 5-ply toilet paper made out of cashmere.  Before he can exert himself, Lisa scoops Giggy into her arms because it’s all just too boisterous a scene for a doggie stuffed into a onesie and the whole image is simply too adorable for words.  But the frolicking must end because Lisa R has arrived and the two Lisa must drive to Malibu for the reading of Vince’s script.  In the car, they discuss Kim’s odd behavior and Lisa R. is nothing but blunt when she explains that Kim all but terrified her during the car ride the two of them shared and that she thinks that Kim really needs an intervention.  Lisa V. is uncertain, though.  It doesn’t seem as though she believes Kim is in a good place, but she also doesn’t believe that it is their place to stage an intervention.

“Why is everyone so scared of Kim Richards?” muses Lisa R., and just in case hers was not a rhetorical question, I’d like to venture that the reason is because Kim is a maniacal, manipulative, hysterical, deflecting addict who has a stunted development and synapses that have been shot for years and people with those qualities often are not open to listening to logic that they just don’t want to hear.

In another car bound for Malibu sit Kyle and Kim and they engage in a surface conversation about how unfortunate Kyle looked during her gawky stage instead of talking about anything of substance.  But then the façade falls to pieces and Kim tells Kyle that she’s not all that sure about Eileen and she was put off that Eileen tried to speak honestly and rationally to them over lunch.  Then Kim actually says the line, “It’s not appropriate to go into someone’s lives like that,” which is something one does not get to say with a straight face when she has chosen to be a willing participant on a FUCKING REALITY SHOW.

Not invited to the reading is Brandi, but don’t worry about her!  She is meeting her friend Jennifer on the beach for a chat.  Now, there are some sentences that I can’t even believe that I end up typing, and this next one might take the cake for this week: Brandi’s friend Jennifer is an addiction specialist who is having a rough day because she is recovering from a recent breakup with Andy Dick.   

I’m just going to let those words hang in the air for a moment.

Before Brandi and Jennifer can discuss why an addiction specialist only seems to associate with current addicts, Brandi’s phone rings.  It’s Ken, and he’s calling to invite Brandi to Lisa’s surprise party.  Brandi is thrilled to hear from Ken, but she is far less thrilled when he blatantly tells her that he wants her to be on her best behavior at the event. Brandi actually has the audacity to look offended by Ken’s words since she has conveniently blocked out how she helped to turn everyone against Lisa and then announced publicly that Lisa had once been bankrupt.

How dare Ken be direct like that?

But back to Brandi and Jennifer and their discussion about Kim.  Though it’s pretty clear that her social choices are rather questionable, it’s also kind of obvious that Jennifer has learned a great deal during her time counseling F-listers on Celebrity Rehab because, after hearing that Kim took a painkiller, she tells Brandi, “taking a pill is called relapsing.”  She also inquires about whether or not Kim goes to meetings or to therapy – she doesn’t – and basically says that Kim needs some help.

Over at Eileen’s house, the women have arrived and they sit in the living room and they read the script.  It was kind of hard for me to fully pay attention to the dialogue because I was far more entranced by Lisa R.’s reading glasses and waiting for Kim to explode into an emotional inferno, but I think the story involves a sock puppet and a blowjob and that means that I’ll watch it when it comes on cable.

After the reading, the women hang out at Eileen’s for a little while.  Lisa V. asks to hold Eileen’s Emmy and gives a mock acceptance speech about how she earned the award by sleeping her way to the top, but there’s only so much time allotted to silliness and joy when Kim is in a room.  A walking and talking manifestation of haunted and hunted misery, Kim talks about how hard it has been watching her ex-husband’s declining health and that Brandi has been there for her as she has experienced all of her recent pain.

The Brandi acknowledgment rattles Kyle, and she says, “For whatever reason, Kim turned to Brandi instead of me.  How can I be there for her if I don’t even know what’s going on?”  And that, Kyle, is exactly why Kim is turning to Brandi instead of you.  You won’t fully believe that Kim’s decline is exclusively about her ex-husband’s health.  You will believe that her breakdown is rooted in her addiction.  You have heard her tired stories and her convoluted excuses for decades now.  Brandi has not, and what that means is that Brandi will believe her and she will be able to get away with being sick because getting healthy takes strength and resolve, neither of which are the defining characteristics of Kim Richards.

Don’t buy my theory?  Well, take a second and listen to what Kim said as the women in the room let her know that she could count on them for their support:  “I don’t know why people get involved.”  Once again, I have to say that YOU CANNOT EXPECT PEOPLE NOT TO GET INVOLVED WHEN YOU ARE ALL CAST MEMBERS ON A REALITY SHOW AND YOU HAVE FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT IN FRONT OF ALL OF THEM.

I swear, I need a massage and some therapy after watching this nonsense…

There is a brief interlude from the Kim Craziness over at Yolanda’s house and it serves as a nice palate cleanser.  Yolanda is meeting with party planners who set up elaborate scavenger hunts through the streets of Beverly Hills.  The whole thing does sound like fun, but there’s no way the actual event will be funnier than hearing Yolanda say, “It’ll be a good way to find a newfound respect for one another and each other’s brilliance.”

I think it’s sweet that apparently Yolanda is inviting the Beverly Hills branch of Mensa to her scavenger hunt.  I hope she remembers to tell the geniuses to bring their own vitamins.

The last hurrah of the episode is the celebration of Lisa V.’s birthday at Pump, her new restaurant.  All of the women are there because Ken did not want to intentionally leave anyone out.  Lisa R., Eileen, and Brandi arrive in pink as a nod to the pink-loving birthday girl.  Kyle shows up in even more sequins than she wore last week.  Yolanda manages to pull off a dress in Kermit-green and she takes Kim to the side and tells her that she has heard some talk about what has been going on and that if Kim needs her, she will be there and she will never judge her.  It was a moment of pure compassion, one that I fully believe Kim will somehow manage to hold against Yolanda at some point in the very near future.

In the limo on her way to the party, Brandi sits in between Kim and Kathy Hilton and across from her stylist/houseguest who accompanies her to every event and I cannot stop questioning why Brandi’s hair has never looked worse than it has since a live-in stylist came to town.  But I digress.  What really matters in that scene is that Brandi tells Kathy Hilton that she threw wine all over Eileen “on accident,” and I’m torn as to whether or not I should be more disturbed by her grammar or the fact that she’s a fucking liar.

Looking phenomenal on her 54th birthday, Lisa is lured into Pump by her husband and looks genuinely surprised and touched by the big reveal.  She kisses her friends hello and then says, “How did you make the cut?” straight to Brandi’s face, and I think she might get some flak for saying that, but I loved it.  That comment sums up who Lisa is in a nutshell.  She will play nice and she will be funny, but she will not forget that you have wronged her and she shouldn’t have to forget such improprieties committed by someone who was supposed to be a real friend.

Lisa is correct to feel suspicious of Brandi, who makes several jabs about Lisa’s age for no good reason at all besides that she’s an asshole.  And just before the episode ends on a serious note with Eileen telling Kyle that she and Lisa R. feel a moral obligation to speak to Kim about the probable compromise in her sobriety because they have seen her erratic behavior, all of the women gather around a microphone and start singing a made up song with made up lyrics and I squinted my eyes at the television screen and tried desperately to remember if perhaps I had stuck a tab of acid on my tongue earlier in the day and could I possibly be hallucinating the musical moment?

I’d ask Kim about the possible side effects of the drug, but she’s probably way too sober to answer me.