You know how there are certain words people just hate? The ones that always make me want to tear my ears off and then fling them across a crowded room so I'll never see them again are "moist" and "panties." Combine the two and I'll never eat solid food again. I don't know why it is that those words make me cringe, but the reaction is real and it's probably somehow related to the way they grossly they roll off the tongue and the visuals that I connect them to in my head. At any rate, there are scores of other words that make me smile. "Poodle" is my favorite word of all time and I have no answers for how that came to be. What I do know is that none of us should ever use the words "cunt" and "scary" in front of Kathryn, our newest Housewife, a woman who likes to engage in battles over linguistics in an effort to make her guests feel as uncomfortable in her home as is humanly possible.
We begin this week still in San Diego. Erika Jayne and her liberating gyrations on Pervert Night are just a thing of memory now. Over at Kathryn's San Diego house, a chef is preparing lunch for a group of people who – at best – tolerate one another for payment and – at worst – do not trust one another in the slightest. Think about the conflicts that are a ‘brewing along with the coffee the chef is currently slaving over:
Kyle doesn't like that Kathryn thinks Faye is a cunt – even though Kathryn would never ever use that word and Faye is totally a cunt.
Kyle doesn't appreciate that Lisa Vanderpump did not decree that Kathryn should be shot after uttering negative words about Faye at their joint birthday party where everybody had to show up in costume just so they would all have something to talk about.
Lisa Vanderpump doesn't appreciate that Yolanda tossed her kids' medical records into her lap at a restaurant like she's some basic bullshit OC Housewife since we all know those ladies are a nickel a fucking dozen and Ms. Vanderpump should be anointed like she's fucking royalty.
Yolanda – who is not even in San Diego – is horrified that anyone had the nerve to use the word "Munchausen" when speaking about her.
Lisa Rinna is furious that Erika, after coming down with explosive diarrhea of the mouth, told Yolanda something that Lisa Vanderpump never actually said about her kids and then allowed Yolanda to allude that it was Lisa Rinna who opened up her huge mouth about it when she did not.
(Eileen is too busy having an inner dialogue with her hidden whore to worry about any of this. She wants that slutty lady she's tucked deep inside to come out and play because she's now so inspired by the ass and class rolling off Ms. Erika Jayne that she wants to follow suit. Wait – is "inspired" the right word?)
And Kyle. Kyle would really appreciate it if nobody ever worked up the nerve to talk about her sister even though 1) they all know her sister 2) they were all on a reality show – this one! – with her sister and her sister's only storyline besides moving again and again involved her faulty claims of sobriety 3) her sister is a public figure by her own doing 4) her sister tried her damnedest to ruin the lives of several of the current Housewives for no reason at all besides hoping desperately that she would be effectively deflecting attention away from her mangled self. Oh, and Kyle – knowing full well that her story on this show is about having a contentious sibling relationship or two – signed yet another contract because she'd shrivel up and die if cameras didn't follow her down the street.
With all of that sunny optimism bubbling beneath the surface, let's have brunch!
Kathryn's house is lovely and spacious and Kathryn declares that the place has great energy. There's even some marble from Jerusalem that you can stick a prayer note into! (Dear God, please don't let Brandi Glanville appear back on my television until the fillers she's pumped into her face settle. Also, can you take the mind of a guy I know and shove it into the body of this other guy I know? You can totally take credit for thus creating the perfect man as long as I get to keep him. Amen.)
The rest of the women jump on the tour bus that's parked incongruously outside their hotel and make their way over to Kathryn's house. Erika is in a black jumpsuit and her hair is in a high bun on top of her head and I think she might have contemplated asking her husband to send over their plane so it could land on the roof of their hotel so she could get the fuck away from people who now suspect that she is the Yolanda Snitch, but she decided to be tough and to wait to ask for that favor until after she's committed murder and needs to go on the lam in style.
When they arrive, they are all full of compliments about the house. There's an infrared sauna that Lisa Rinna covets, though she's not really sure why. Every room has a view of the pool and they all sit down outside for brunch. "Sit anywhere you want," Kathryn tells them, perhaps in a nod to how Kyle stuck her across from her longtime nemesis at her barbecue and then had the pretend nerve to fake wonder if the two women would fight. But Kathryn is not interested in any fighting, not at her house. Just read the prayer note she stuck into her kitchen marble! (Dear God, please don't let any of these Beverly Hills women break anything and also keep my husband from gazing at any ass he encounters between this afternoon and the end of time. Amen.) Unfortunately, Eileen did not write God the same letter. No, she wants some answers about who told Yolanda that Lisa Vanderpump was talking about the health of her children and she's not about to let Erika's lukewarm denial suffice. Bless her, for I too hate unresolved conflict and besides, it's always fun to watch Kyle pretend to be nervous when people begin to fight around her even though I'm pretty sure there's actual empirical data that proves that her hair gets longer and shinier as people around her cry.
Erika finally admits that she was the one who said something to Yolanda her nose scrunches up after her admission like she just smelled something foul. I could be with gay men who are paid to adore me on my tour bus right now instead of with these asshole women, she thought right then, and I guess she's right, but she gave Mikey the afternoon off and now she's stuck there. But the focus is about to move off Erika being a shit-stirrer and onto Lisa Rinna, who allegedly never eats. While she claims to swallow calories and then work out, Erika and Kathryn have a different take on their "friend's" lack of digestion. She doesn't eat. She just pushes the food around on her plate and nibbles things like she's an anorexic rabbit. Lisa, trying to throw the comment to the side, explains that an eating disorder was brought up last year, but it was done in a malicious manner by someone who didn't care about her and Kyle's face goes stark white because she knows that Lisa is referring to her asshole of a sister. Honestly, I get that Kyle feels remarkably uncomfortable listening while other people discuss what a travesty her sister is, but the best way to avoid having to be privy to these awkward moments is to get the fuck off this show where her sister allowed her non-sobriety to be a major plot point for about five years. I do not feel badly for Kyle. I tried and, much like Erika Jayne's bedazzled and strappy catsuit, I had a hard time pulling it off so I have just stopped trying.
Kyle, however, has not stopped trying to make herself look like an innocent martyr. She takes deliberate bites of food when Kim's name is brought up and her eyes grow wide as those around her discuss their own interactions with the sickest of the illustrious Richards Sisters. According to Kyle, Lisa Rinna is just as guilty in their battle as Kim was, which means that Kyle's either a complete idiot or she cannot retain memories of things that really happened. Like her damaged kin, Kyle likes to throw stones to deflect any negative attention (otherwise known as "the truth") and she's probably a key reason why Kim has managed to get away with such disgraceful behavior for so many years. Kyle, her key enabler, all but sponsored her droves of denial. Need an example? Kyle will agree that her animalistic sister didn't handle things all that well, but she takes issue with Lisa using words like "vicious" and "vile" to describe her even though those words are totally accurate when it comes to describing a lunatic like Kim. Luckily, Kyle doesn't get to control what other people react to and I could watch Lisa Rinna eloquently speak about her maniacal experiences with Kim for days because every single thing she's saying is true and we all saw it go down. Sing it, sister!
For a moment, it looks like the conversation might just be swallowed by everyone at that table just to make it go away –besides Lisa Rinna; she doesn't eat – but Kathryn, the hostess with the least awareness under the sprawling sun, will not let it die. She finds it weird that Lisa claims that her fights with Kim were "scary" because Kathryn defines that word to mean being in "real physical danger" and that's not what Lisa experienced. So to wrap up, Kathryn doesn't like the word "cunt" and go fuck yourself if you misuse the word "scary" in her presence and anyone at that table who has the audacity to confront her about anything should be shot and that's what brunch at Kathryn's house is like.
Also, Kyle actually says the line, "If you don't have anything nice to say, I don't want to hear it at all." This chick knows she's on a Bravo reality show, right? Please: ask me again why I hate her. I’ll point you to the very next scene when she leaves the table in a huff and tells Lisa Vanderpump that she can turn the tables on Lisa Rinna by bringing up those text messages she sent Kim that Kyle now deems as threatening because it’s convenient for her to do so. Lisa Rinna has actually been incredibly kind in her discussions about Kim in front of Kyle but Kyle is too much of a narcissist stunted in adolescence to realize it.
Since she’s now around the women who are sure to be her new forever best friends, Kathryn drops a line about how she understands the pain that comes with addiction so Eileen asks her about her story – and her story is pretty painful. Her father committed suicide when she was just thirteen due to an addiction and she still feels that loss deeply and she’s therefore sensitive to how people discuss addiction and depression. Eileen comforts her sweetly and then Kyle returns to the table and explains how awful she feels when people discuss Kim and the rest of them apologize. Kyle then looks quizzically at the tears streaming down her hostess’ face, so Erika concisely sums up what went down in their absence and the woman is so succinct that I can almost forgive her for trying to make the word “cunty” happen.
Back in Beverly Hills, Erika and Tom get together with Lisa Vanderpump and Ken. Before Lisa and Ken arrive, Erika lets her husband know that she is going to throw a barbeque for all of the Housewives, but it’s going to be a Beverly Hillbillies-inspired event because Erika has already proved her class through Erika Jayne and now she’s allowed to play in the sprinklers the world of irony. When Lisa and Tom get there, Lisa is interested in getting a tour of the place. They check out the chapel and Lisa is cheeky and complimentary and then they leave and head out to a restaurant for dinner. Tom offers to give Lisa a bite of his chicken and I really like the guy. He seems intelligent and thoughtful and he clearly adores his wife and I hope this show doesn’t destroy him – or at least that was my thought until Erika interrupted him and he all but told her to shut her mouth and just sit there and look pretty. It was a moment and a manner so unexpected that I felt a thud in my stomach and I think we have just seen the signs of where Erika’s storyline will be taking us next season.
And now we’re back again with Kyle and the only thing that makes it even more distressing is that she’s having lunch with Adrienne and Adrienne’s new eyes that reside somewhere in the middle of her forehead. Adrienne almost immediately brings up Kim and Kyle is more than able to discuss things with her, probably because Adrienne pretended to like Kim and Kyle knows she won’t hear anything negative. I can understand that the only thoughts she wants to have as she rebuilds a relationship with a close family member are positive ones. What I refuse to understand is that she compounds her problems by being on this show and deals with people who annoy her by threatening to reveal things that she heavily alludes to but doesn’t say because her mother once taught her to never reveal full threats in public because then the extortion part of the plan might not work.
Over at Lisa Rinna’s house, something profound is going down. She has found some poems her sister wrote before dying of addiction and she wants to share those writings with her daughters and speak with them openly and honestly. I could only commend her more if she had done it off camera.
On the day of Erika’s barbeque, she invites her gay village over to dress her for an afternoon in her backyard. They swathe her in a tiger-print caftan and stick a necklace that has a tooth dangling off it around her neck and send her onto her expansive grounds so she can take her proper place as the Queen of Everything. Lisa Rinna hops into the back of a limo with an S&M styled Eileen who owes her new look to having just gone shopping with Erika. I’m calling it now: Eileen is the Eve Harrington to Erika Jayne’s Margo and, by season’s end, she will have stolen that fucking catsuit and will have been elected mayor of Erika’s gay village. I can’t wait to watch it all go down.
Since it’s in their contract that they all have to pair off to get to Erika’s, Yolanda rides with Kyle and they’re both in jeans. Yolanda also wears barely-contained rage. Seems she’s still angry that Lisa Rinna mentioned Munchausen’s around her because she had her paid health advocate look up the meaning and she really doesn’t appreciate Lisa planting Munchausen seeds throughout the world where they will break through the soil like the devil’s flowers and infect her babies with their toxins. Then – through a flashback – we see one of my favorite kind of Housewife moments in which one of the Housewives (in this case Yolanda) says something specific and cruel about another Housewife and then congratulates herself for not throwing out that incendiary information in public. Basically what happened was that Yolanda told Eileen that she was deeply disturbed when Lisa almost decapitated Kim at the table in Amsterdam and she could have used words like “deranged” to describe her – but she didn’t. It’s just like how my best friend’s mother used to call her after they’d spent a Sunday together to say, “Aren’t you proud of me that I didn’t bring up the fact that you’re single even once?”
Yolanda is playing this game all wrong. Lisa Rinna was all prepared to grovel about ever having used any word that starts with the letter M in the same sentence as the name “Yolanda,” but Yolanda has ignored Lisa’s apologies and has allowed her anger to grow and now Lisa is annoyed by all that Yolanda is insinuating. Something tells me that a major brawl might go down next to the churro stand in Erika’s backyard that Lisa Rinna will stand near so she can smell those things and pretend like she’s eating one.
The backyard is stocked with men in bathing suits and junk food served on sticks and that means that I would like to go to there right now. Kathryn, Donny, Kyle and Yolanda arrive next and everybody hugs hello and Lisa breaks into a hot flash at just the sight of Yolanda. Lisa, Ken, and Mauricio show up in time for the carnival games and Yolanda gets out some rage by heaving beanbags at a stack of aluminum cans, which is probably the most sense one of her treatments has made in a long time. Then they all sit down together for a second but nobody says anything and Eileen looks like there’s a chance that she might explode right out of her outfit with all of the cutouts from all the pent-up frustration she feels about not exploring the core of a conflict in public.
“Is there anything we need to talk about?” Yolanda asks directly when Lisa Rinna and Eileen join her at a table. Kyle is sitting there too, her hair beginning to sparkle in the sun. Yolanda asks everyone to sit so they can all have the conversation at once and the husbands are left to have a spontaneous grown-man playdate while their wives prepare to argue in circles on a patio. Lisa Rinna begins the conversation by telling Yolanda that she should know that they all love her and Yolanda sort of smirks and busts in to shame Lisa for all the Munchausen she has put out into the universe. Apparently, Lisa Rinna doesn’t just have a following on QVC. No, Ms. Rinna is the next Deepak Chopra and her words alone are enough to change the foundations of nations and Yolanda will never forgive her for using her considerable influence against her. It doesn’t matter that Lisa apologizes another fucking time. “Sorry doesn’t work,” Yolanda bleats, and then she puts on her glasses so she can read the inflammatory definition to the group one more time before telling Lisa again that she is labeling her unfairly, just like she once labeled Kim Richards. First, that’s a really faulty argument because Lisa was absolutely correct in her labeling of Kim Richards. Second, Yolanda doesn’t know what the fuck she’s talking about. Lisa never said that Yolanda has Munchausen’s; she said that other people gossiped that she might. Those are two vastly different statements and I’m sorry that Yolanda has been sick for a long while, but she is being a total asshole here and her debate skills suck and I’d love it if she’d just go lie in a cryotherapy chamber until she calms the fuck down.
Before any freezing can take place, Erika demands to know the name of the person who first uttered the word “Munchausen” to Lisa Rinna, and being a decent person, Lisa doesn’t want to reveal that name. The person is not there to defend herself – and that’s when things get loud and her posse by the pool begins to fear that it might be hard to get blood spatter out of a Roberto Cavalli tiger-print caftan. But Eileen and her calming tone get in there before things turn into an inferno and she explains to Yolanda that things have gotten convoluted and Lisa and Yolanda finally stand up and hug one another and all is right again in the world and it’ll stay that way until next week when they all decide to start threatening one another again out of sheer boredom.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle.