I feel very strongly that it is imperative to consistently vary one’s vocabulary – even when speaking about human beings who exhibit the total intelligence of one lone amoeba – and in that spirit, I boldly proclaim that I will no longer call Brandi Glanville “an asshole” anymore because I have said it far too often and I am concerned that it has lost its impact. Instead, I shall refer to this bus-and-train-wreck version of an adult as “an inflamed sphincter,” and I want to take a moment to apologize to all of the sphincters out there for the terrible association.
This episode begins with Yolanda, Eileen, the Lisas, Kyle’s artificial hair, Kim’s alleged sobriety, and Brandi’s sphincter still vacationing in the stunning land of Amsterdam, a country that should sue half of these Housewives, Bravo, NBC Universal, and Brandi’s forefather’s sperm for so tarnishing the sanctity of the place. But as it’s a new day, new apologies are in order and what better place to do it than in a souvenir shop while wearing clogs?
Hoisting a lovely bouquet of flowers over her shoulder, Brandi’s plan is to apologize to Lisa V. for smacking her across the face the night before. Yes, as they both attest, the smack was done in jest, but it was also done by an absurd woman who all but begged Lisa to be her friend again after attempting to both personally and professionally destroy her and then she chose to nurture that cracked friendship with pussy jokes and face slaps.
Before she approaches Lisa, Brandi tells her best friend Kim – a beacon of morality and the most articulate woman on the planet as long as you’re looking at that planet on the day after the Armageddon and Kim was the only one who managed to survive – that she slapped Lisa and now Lisa “hates my guts.” Kim’s response is almost nonverbal and I’m going to respectfully request that from this point forward that she only communicate in sign language or through interpretive dance, but I think I might have managed to piece her tremulous response together. I’m pretty sure she said some version of “Lisa will get over it,” because when you’re part of a duo that can only relate to others through the most heightened of emotions – be it an unadulterated hatred or a baffling affection – it’s really everybody else’s job to catch up to your questionable behavior and forgive you for your shittiness that is disguised as an unfiltered and total lack of inhibition.
“I was joking. I took it too far – as she’s done with me many a time,” says The Sphincter. (I’m capitalizing it as to be respectful.) And that response, dear reader, is why nobody who is conscious should ever forgive Brandi Glanville for anything. Even after slapping Lisa, screaming at Kyle in the street, and fighting with Eileen over dinner, Brandi cannot just accept culpability and simply apologize without projecting or deflecting, and she is not nearly interesting enough for me to care about how damaged she is anymore.
As she approaches Lisa to hand her the flowers, Lisa won’t even reach out a hand to accept them.
“I’m really not happy,” says Lisa in almost a monotone because this idiot does not deserve to hear that wonderful lilting inflection in her voice and she certainly doesn’t deserve to hear an “I forgive you.”
“What else can I do?” asks the grown woman who will never change.
“You can stop doing things like that,” replies Lisa, exasperated beyond belief. “You can’t do things and keep fucking apologizing.”
“Okay,” shrugs Brandi, once again morphing into a tween with an attitude in front of our very eyes in a transformation so swift it’s as though she’s Wonder Woman spinning in circles to turn from a shy young woman into an Amazonian Princess who has powers and an invisible jet. The only difference is that Brandi has no powers and, if she ever becomes a Princess, there’s no doubt that the monarchy will crumble.
Sensing that Brandi has no idea what to say and that she will continue to make the exact same mistakes (though she might begin to substitute “slap” for “punch,” “push,” or “pee on”), Yolanda tells Lisa, “I guess we have to teach her slowly” about how to live life like a sane individual. Appearing immediately fatigued by just the suggestion of having to pretend they will have any luck teaching Brandi anything, Lisa looks directly into Yolanda’s eyes and says, “I don’t have any fucking patience for that, Yolanda.”
Watching the two women discussing her latest senseless caper, Brandi is at least willing to admit, “I guess I take fun to a level that isn’t fun,” which is kind of the most obvious statement she can make after every person who has ever been stuck in a room with her for more than fifteen minutes has told her the very same thing. But at the same time that Brandi is finally exhibiting the smallest level of self-awareness ever exhibited since the days when we evolved from sea creatures, I find that I am remarkably distracted for two reasons. One, she might sort of be showing some personal growth here, but it won’t last and prior seasons have proven that. Two, I don’t know where this woman found fillers in Amsterdam, but I have never seen someone without a nut allergy appear so puffy in my entire life. What the fuck is in her face? Botox? Homegrown Restylane? Ground up Royal Kush? A twenty-three year old’s sperm?
Ah, yes, it’s time to discuss Amesterboy, the blonde kid Brandi met in the Red Light District – I feel like I don’t really need a punchline here – who happens to have grown up with Max, Lisa Vanderpump’s son, a kid who finally became able to legally consume alcohol in the United States just two short years ago.
“I was up all night,” Brandi bawdily tells Kim, who responds by making the kinds of sounds a family of gorillas might make to indicate excitement. It also appears that she is trying very hard to form a sentence, maybe to let her best friend (who was kind enough to watch her relapse into temporary oblivion while on camera without holding Kim accountable for any of it) know that she fully supports Brandi’s choice to announce to a world that includes her children, her own parents, her children’s teachers, her sons’ friends and their parents, and her ex-husband’s lawyers that she has nailed a very young stranger and will do it again later that night.
Is there any way we can get those kids into therapy now? Because having a mother who has no ability to see things as they truly are and less of an ability to hold herself liable for the damage that continues to befall her own life is the kind of shit that can haunt a kid forever.
Back at the hotel, two things are transpiring: Lisa V. is feeling very morose and very ready to return home to her mansion paradise and Brandi is preparing her brand new face for dinner with the women and then for her date with Andre, a guy who either wanted to appear on camera or get laid and he managed to find a scenario where he was able to achieve both, so congratulations, Andre! Your parting gift might cause some blisters, though.
On the phone with Ken, Lisa reveals that Brandi slapped her, though she is very careful to indicate that it wasn’t a slap meant to be physically painful. Still, she felt violated by the whole thing and Ken sums up many a viewer’s thought by saying quite bluntly, “Get away from her,” and his voice is riddled with undiluted disgust as he speaks the words.
In another hotel room is Brandi, who is applying mascara when Yolanda knocks on her door. Yolanda arrives looking compassionate and chic and she clearly has something on her mind: that Brandi has done nothing but create total destruction for the entire trip.
“This is the third day and we haven’t gone one day without a problem,” sighs Yolanda, and she’s saying something valid to someone who doesn’t want to hear it, which is made entirely clear by Brandi’s immediate response.
“And that’s all my fault?” asks the fool who has targeted every single person on that trip, who has screamed in city streets about hypocrisy, who has slapped a woman across the face after screaming bloody murder when one of Kyle’s fingernails once grazed her arm, and who has not said a single word about the fact that she spoke openly about Kim having relapsed.
“It’s not all your fault, but you seem to be the common person everybody is upset with right now,” Yolanda explains and I can almost see that she is breathing through her nose and exhaling through her mouth in an effort to remain calm.
And it’s right about here where I have to say that I think that maybe everyone is taking the wrong approach with Brandi Glanville.
I get it. See, it would also be my first instinct to sit that woman down and explain to her logically and rationally and with colored illustrations that her behavior has been beyond ridiculous and nowhere close to being socially acceptable and that if she’s trying to secure herself a contract for another year on this series, she should act incendiary and provocative but not like a fucking lunatic. But that kind of discussion will not work with someone like Brandi, as Yolanda is seeing right now and as everyone else has already seen. No, what Brandi probably requires to make herself change is a scenario like this one:
EXT. – BOAT – EVENING
Brandi slaps Lisa across the face. Lisa holds her hand to her cheek and looks stunned by what just happened.
Now hit me!
Okay, say night-night!
Lisa hauls back and cold-clocks Brandi clear across the face and then steps over her limp body. Then she leans down to the comatose woman on the floor of the boat.
Remind me to ask you later how your teeth taste.
Now, I’m not a fan of violence. I have never been in a physical fight in my entire life, but I’m thinking the above scenario might be the only chance of Brandi realizing that it’s maybe not so funny to smack a friend across the face. Yolanda’s measured words and constant loyalty to her are not getting through; maybe Lisa’s fist can do the job.
But back in the hotel room – where no brawling is taking place –
Yolanda continues to reiterate that Brandi’s apologies don’t mean anything anymore because there have been too many and nothing has changed and now they are all about to embark on yet another awkward dinner.
“Then I won’t go,” says Brandi, just barely stopping herself from spitting out a “so there!” and Yolanda just smiles at her serenely while Brandi adds, “I’ll just go on my date. I’ll have a better time. It is what it is.”
“I know,” responds Yolanda with a sigh, “but it’s just exhausting.”
“Just as much for me,” says the imbecile.
Yolanda gazes then at the friend before her who started this conversation by asking if she was getting a “mom lecture” and the expression on her face indicates that she pretty much knows that Brandi is a lost cause and she later notes to the camera that Brandi’s response was that of a child so she simply hugs the sphincter goodbye and then leaves the room so Brandi can go apply some more makeup.
“The thought of spending the night with a twenty-three year old hunk or five menopause mommas?” she wonders to the camera. “I think I’m gonna pick the hunk.” She has learned exactly nothing from her dear friend’s latest discussion with her, so instead she smiles at the knowledge that at least she is still youthful enough to get her period and to have been photographed with a tampon string hanging out of her thong on a night when she got trashed and photographed. (Seriously: Google “Brandi Glanville” and “tampon.” I’m sorry in advance for that image never leaving your psyche.)
The dinner without Brandi (the physical Brandi; her ghost still looms over the meal like whatever it is that smells badly that you can’t seem to locate from wherever it’s hiding in the back of your refrigerator) goes beautifully. The women are joined by Yolanda’s brother and his wife and they laugh and listen to one another tell stories and nobody gets punched or threatened and the wine all stays in the glasses and a shooting star goes soaring across the sky and forms into a giant “B” that then disintegrates as fast as it appears because the heavens simply refuse to allow that shit to happen.
It comes out over dinner that Brandi is on another date with this kid and Lisa is mildly aghast, knowing her son – a friend of Brandi’s date – will hear all about it.
“Dutch boys don’t kiss and tell,” smiles Yolanda.
“This one will,” Lisa responds cheekily. “He’ll squeal like a piglet.”
And “piglet” is a rather apt choice for this guy who arrives so late to meet up with his still-egg-developing date that Brandi has to sit there and read the menu like it’s the newspaper. She appeared ready to search under the table for an Equal packet to peruse next when her date finally enters the room. He is equal parts pretend-suave and smarmy, but Brandi doesn’t really notice or care because she is already drunk by the time he gets there, looking sweaty and loose-limbed and she tells her scooter-riding soul mate that she only kisses guys between the ages of twenty and twenty- five and guys in their fifties.
Somewhere in the distance I can hear a gathering of men, ages twenty-six through forty-nine, chanting mantras of thanks for being ignored by Ms. Glanville.
Brandi and the toddler sit and discuss how fun it was to kiss last night and then Brandi asks him for another kiss and tells him he’s a really good kisser – which means his recent games of Spin the Bottle in his friend’s basement proved helpful – and he tells her that tonight will be a better night and to finish her drink and would she like it if he showed her around, a line she giggles at, and it all reminds me of how smooth I thought this guy in high school was who would always ask me to go “take a walk” with him at parties and how, by February of tenth grade, I stopped thinking he was smooth and started laughing at his approach. But see – laughing and giggling are two very different things and off goes Brandi into the night with the only person in Amsterdam who doesn’t want to drown her in a canal.
But back in Beverly Hills, things are not going so well for Brandi. She just got word that her father is in the hospital with heart complications and she looks devastated and frightened. Yolanda meets with her as she gets a facial and tries to be supportive but the conversation quickly veers back to how unfair it is that Brandi gets called out for all of the things that she says when nobody else does and I know I don’t like her, but her argument doesn’t hold up. You simply can’t compare her unrelenting awful behavior with the other women either reacting to it or having their own brief moments of bitchery because they are in fact two very different things and it’s like watching someone compare stilettos and a jar of Nutella. There are good and bad things about both, but it’s not any kind of normal or effective comparison. With Brandi, it’s the sheer volume of what she says about people and how she is always ready to strike and the way she has shrugged her shoulders for years (decades?) and said, “If someone hits at me, I go lower.” It’s that she never knows when to stop. It’s that she is a terrible drinker and the way to stop the comments is to either stop drinking, eat more carbs when she does drink, or morph into an entirely different person because this person has become a fucking nightmare.
“I’m sick of the lectures. I’m sick of the bullshit,” wails Brandi and Yolanda calmly explains that Brandi has had an issue with each of the women individually.
Yolanda is a woman able to recognize patterns.
Brandi is a woman able to recognize the key differences between the penis of a twenty-four year old and a fifty-four year old.
I do, of course, hope that Brandi’s father’s health has improved and I also hope that her ownmental health has improved, but at this point I’m only holding out real hope that one of them will actually happen.
Across town – in a scenario that’s almost hilarious in how contrived it clearly is – Kim arrives at a venue where Adrienne Maloof will be holding some upcoming extravaganza. I’m just going to say this: there’s a good possibility that I might not sleep between now and next Monday because I am far too excited by the idea of getting to watch another Adrienne Maloof party. Will there be red velvet flavored vodka? Will her ex-husband dangle from a tree? Will she have yet another layer of her skin peeled off before the festivities? Will Faye Resnick be there?!
Even funnier than thinking about what Adrienne’s urine might smell like after downing shots of her Maloof-sponsored vodka or what kind of a reptile Faye Resnick might now most resemble since we have seen her last is the fact that the producers of this show clearly want us to believe that Adrienne and Kim get together to talk about deep and personal things all the time. Of course they do! Who would you call during a crisis if not Kim Richards?
But if Adrienne planned to say even a single word, she was out of luck because this is the Kim Show, and I am quite willing to guess that she has some theme song playing in her mind while she tells Adrienne the story of being confronted by Lisa Rinna in Amsterdam and how her sister didn’t defend her and look, I know this scene was probably very heavily edited, but what are the chances that Kim actually told Adrienne the entire story, including that she threatened Lisa and told Eileen that she hated her face?
(By the way, the words “I don’t like your face” have become my newest favorite insult. As an expression of derision, it has now surpassed calling a douchebag “a douchebag” or even wishing someone permanent impotence. I have now resolved to use my new favorite insult in a sentence at least four times per week – five during the summer because the days are longer.)
Across town, Kyle and Lisa Rinna are eating some kale and Lisa tells Kyle that she still feels so fucked up about what happened in Amsterdam with Kim. Lisa seems pretty done with the crazier Richards, but she realizes that Kyle, who has not spoken to Kim since returning to California, can’t just cut the woman out of her life because – due to the very worst bit of genetic luck that has ever transpired inside of an ovary – Kim is her sister. Lisa also informs Kyle that Brandi told her that she was also worried about Kim but that she was reluctant to even broach a question about her sobriety because she’s afraid that being held accountable might send Kim over the edge. It’s really very sad that Kim is either so delicate that she can’t handle her own life or that she has managed to manipulate everyone so completely to believe such a thing so she can spin through life without having to answer a single question about how very questionable she is.
But Kyle is not really reacting to the fact that the person who is now the closest friend that Kim has – saddest sentence ever – is concerned about her sister. No, what Kyle snatches onto in her sometimes-adolescent mind is that Brandi has been talking about Kim and so that means that Brandi is really not a good friend and now Kyle has proof and her hair gets a little shinier while she tries to figure out the very best time to reveal Brandi’s duplicity to her broken older sister.
Before we get to the latest conflict between two sisters who genuinely loathe each other (I’m sure they love each other, too – but these two also fucking loathe one another) we join Lisa Vanderpump at her new restaurant where she is presiding over a wedding between two very handsome men. Lisa recently got ordained and she has decided to only officiate gay weddings and she does a lovely job and I almost cried when we left that happy space to go spiraling into the dry hell of Palm Desert with Kim and Kyle.
Knowing that they should really try to work things out – again – Kyle invites Kim to join her for a night at her sprawling new house in the desert. It’s a large place that manages to look both rustic and modern and Kyle walks around and lights candles and tiki torches while waiting for Kim to arrive and I cannot possibly be the only person who looked at all of that fire and got a little bit nervous. It will be the first time that Kim sees the house, and when she does, she says the following: “I think it’s a beautiful home. God bless them. Enjoy it,” and she says those words with the least amount of warmth or believability ever witnessed on television or in person and maybe this is yet another reason why Kim should only communicate with others through interpretive dance because she simply cannot manage to effectively pull off language.
It all starts okay – sort of. Kim talks about how hard it is watching her ex-husband’s declining health and neither sister has tried to rip a fistful of the other’s hair out, but it all devolves quickly. How could it not? After all, not only is Kyle hurt that Kim is off her fucking rocker and blaming everybody but herself for it, but Kim is still galled by the fact that Kyle didn’t defend her after she innocently threated to expose all of Lisa Rinna’s secrets and then told Eileen how much she hated her face.
“I’m not the same person I was three years ago,” Kim says in her unsteady voice to remind Kyle how ridiculous it is for her or anybody else to even question her cracked-out behavior. “I’ve changed.”
The thing is, Kim has not changed. Maybe she’s not drinking or taking pills or smoking or whatever it is that she used to do, but her aversion to the truth and her deflecting of blame and her oversensitivity to problems she has created are all the very markings of an addict.
“I didn’t need you to defend me in Amsterdam,” Kim sniffs at Kyle, even though she has recently used of all of her energy to form sentences indicating just how furious she is that her sister didn’tdefend her atrocious behavior. “Brandi defended me!”
Now look: there’s no doubt that Kim said exactly those words to hurt her sister, but maybe what’s even worse is that Kyle fell for it. A woman who can not stop from bawling her eyes out during a confrontation, Kyle actually allows herself to be taken down Brandi Road, but this time she packs herself some trail mix and a canteen filled with expensive wine that she all but takes a swig of in front of her dry-knuckling sober sister and snidely says, “Yeah, she’s a real good friend,” and then tells her that Brandi has discussed Kim’s questionable sobriety with “everyone,” including Kim’s newest arch nemesis, Lisa Rinna.
Kyle says all of those things to Kim with just a wee bit too much satisfaction and it’s a little disgusting because that moment was not at all about alerting Kim to a real issue. That moment was about getting back at her for all that she has done to Kyle, which Kim kind of deserves because she is truly awful and dangerous to have around, but let’s nobody pretend that this particular scenario was really about Kyle protecting her lost sister.
But who cares about how Kim’s addiction almost ruined her life and the lives of everyone in her path or the fact that Brandi might have claimed that Kim needs an intervention pronto because there’s way more important things to discuss, like how this little detente is taking place in the desert, the very location where Kyle STOLE KIM’S GODDAMN HOUSE.
The quick backstory for those of you lucky enough not to know it: when their mother died, she left her desert house to all three sisters. Kyle and her husband bought the other two out and, at the last minute, Kim decided she wanted to keep the house too but the deal was done and Kim has harbored a stinging and scorching resentment about the House Incident ever since – which is odd since she usually gets over things so quickly.
“I haven’t brought up the house in a long time,” Kim says, and her voice sounds like an three-year-old who is stomping his feet on the floor in frustration in front of parents trying to implore the kid to use his words. And can I please just say that I personally find nothing more infuriating than a person who says something like, “I haven’t even mentioned that thing you don’t want me to mention.”
Where is Lisa Vanderpump's fist when I need it?
In Kim’s warped memory, Kyle took the house away from her and used the money from the sale of that house to purchase this beautiful home where she gets to be surrounded by her husband and her children and her friends and her tiki torches and it’s all Kyle’s fault that Kim doesn’t have any of that, and it’s not at all related to the choices Kim has made for herself over the years and if you think that, you are just mean.
But Kyle – and either bless her for trying or shame on her already for continuing to engage in this nonsense – tries to explain yet again that they couldn’t stop the deal at that point because they were already in escrow and that’s when Kim literally shrieks, “You’re lying!” and the whole thing is so fucking bizarre that I literally pressed the pause button on my television and stared at my dog’s sweet face for a good thirty seconds just to prove that there was still some good in the world.
“You weren’t in the position at the time to share a mortgage,” Kyle explains to Kim, but saying something so obviously legitimate only further sends Kim over the edge and into a place where shrieking banshees twirl in circles and tell Kim how much they idolized her back when she was a star.
“Talk about your own shit,” Kim whispers menacingly to her dear sister, once again bringing to light that the real issue in her mind is not that Kim’s questionable lifestyle and personal struggles caused her not to be in a financial position to keep a house she so desperately wanted; the realissue is that Kyle has the audacity to mention it, and there is really no way that these two women will ever move forward. Does such a prediction sound too harsh? Well, then consider how these sisters speak to one another in this mature exchange:
“I am so tired of your lies,” says Kim.
“Well, no one else sees it that way,” sniffs Kyle.
“Everybody sees it that way – including your close friends,” sneers Kim, and I think she then sang, “na na na na na na,” but I might have just hallucinated that part.
The night ends with Kyle weeping in her kitchen and Kim coming in to tell her that she will always love her, which means that – again – nothing has been resolved and that the upcoming finale and the twelve-part Reunion and next season will revolve around this same horseshit and when it comes to these Housewives, I no longer see any reason to have any more hope.
I have lost hope that Brandi will ever change into a person who is able to be decent for more than seven consecutive seconds.
I have lost hope that Yolanda will finally say to her, “You’re a fucking liability and I’m cutting you loose.”
I have lost hope that Kim will apologize to Eileen’s face for insulting it.
I have lost hope that Lisa Vanderpump will ever officiate my wedding because she only marries couples that are homosexual and I am holding out for a guy even better Amsterdam Andre.
And I have lost all hope that a reconciliation will happen between two sisters who, after all of this heartache, are still willing to peddle their misery on television for our consumption and then wonder why things have not gotten better.
Feeling such a loss of hope is awful, but there are ways to remedy such a thing. I’m going to go slip on some stilettos and eat a jar of Nutella with a fucking spoon and remind myself that next week I’ll get to watch an Adrienne Maloof party, which means that both laughter and really shitty vodka are just around the garish corner.