‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Get Raw

by on December 24th, 2014
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The opening minutes of the season premiere of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” were akin to watching an episode of “Intervention.” It was raw, emotional and just this side of uncomfortable as the Housewives and their husbands gathered at Adrienne Maloof’s house to debrief on the recent suicide of Taylor Armstrong’s husband, Russell Armstrong (Bravo ran a disclaimer that the opening scenes were filmed in late August – Russell was found hanged to death on August 15).

Everyone was shell-shocked as they tried to process their emotions. Mauricio Umansky, Kyle Richards’ husband, feels like it was a selfish act and Lisa Vanderpump, who wasn’t exactly Russell’s biggest fan, maintains she just couldn’t find a connection with him. Everyone agrees they formed their opinion of Russell based on the “heartbreaking” details Taylor shared with them about the shabby state of her marriage. Everyone feels guilty they never saw it coming and briefly touch on the financial mess the Armstrong’s seemed to be in. Kyle is philosophical that life must go on.

And too, so must the show. The usual opening credits were eschewed in favor of recapping the tumultuous events of Season One and letting us know the show was filmed prior to Russell’s suicide. We segue from tears of sadness to imminent tears of Joy as the beau of Lisa’s daughter, Pandora, pays Ken Todd a visit to ask for the lass’ hand in marriage. Ken toys with him for all of about 30 seconds before giving his blessing. They agree to let Pandora be the one to spill the beans to Lisa as Ken works on his poker face.

Kyle and Mauricio are packing up and moving out. A picture of Kyle’s late mom evokes memories of her broken relationship with sister, Kim Richards, who Kyle famously outed as a lying alcoholic in Season One’s fiery finale. Kim’s been avoiding Kyle, still unable to forgive her sister for her betrayal. Kyle, too is in tears as she tries to figure out a way to fix the situation. Kim’s daughter laments how to explain her screwed up family to her friends, but just can’t. Well, none of us can explain our own crazy families, so she shouldn’t get too wound up about it.

Ahh, Camille Grammer. Arrogant, giggly, most-hated-Housewife-in-America Camille. Camille seems a little calmer, a bit more melancholy, but it’s still early. She and hired help, D.D., are going through all the things Kelsey Grammer (or maybe his new wife?) cleared out of their Hamptons home and shipped to her when they got divorced. Camille’s going to give everything to charity and looks forward to downsizing one day. She reveals she and Kelsey communicate through a mediator and that she’s ready to move on from her old life.

Adrienne and her husband, Paul, aka, The Bickersons, are prepping for a dinner party for the Housewives. Uh oh. Has she learned nothing? Adrienne and her chef plan the menu, figuring his homemade macaroni and cheese will be a big hit. Except with that “British lady” from across the street. Seems Lisa had a thing or two to say to the chef about his cooking and Bernie considering throwing her into a pot of stew to shut her up.

Kyle is fresh out of ball gowns to wear to Chez Adrienne and because it’s Beverly Hills, a shopping trip is in order. Taylor makes her first appearance on the night by running breathlessly into the boutique to let Kyle know Lisa’s formerly freeloading houseguest, Cedric, just rolled up next to her on a bicycle (guess times are tough since getting kicked out of the Pink Palace). Taylor frets that she can’t be friends with Cedric, lest she (further) incur Lisa’s wrath. Taylor knows Lisa doesn’t like her and Lisa just flat out doesn’t trust her fellow Housewife, finding her manipulative and not truthful. Kyle’s not sure why Taylor’s so wound up in knots and urges her to be confident with Lisa (or anyone, for that matter) and “clean house” if she needs to with her life.

As it turns out, Paul is rather fussy about his decorative towels. Whoulda thunk it? Adrienne’s annoyed that Paul was MIA for most of the dinner party prep and per her usual, picks, picks, picks at him. Mostly, she hopes the party will be pleasant and that all the Housewives will be on their best behavior, since that’s how she runs her house. Hmmm…

The gist of the party is for Adrienne to show off new dog, Jackpot, and to screen Camille’s appearance on “$#*! My Dad Says” (Paul would rather have an encore showing of Camille’s Skinemax movie). Camille and frenemy, Kyle, seemed to have mended fences during the hiatus. As everyone arrives (what was up with Kim and the Western wear?), things get off to a pleasant start. Well, except for the Dogfight at the O.K. Corral between Giggy and Jackpot. My money’s on Giggy.

So after all her ruminations about everyone being on their best behavior, Adrienne turned out to the biggest brat of them all. She snipes and nags at Paul throughout the dinner, making all the Housewives beyond uncomfortable and forcing Lisa to yell “stop it!” Maybe he was kicking her under the table, but Adrienne came off like…Camille! Actually, the former Mrs. Grammer was on her best behavior. It was the other beeyotches who caused all the drama.

Paul asks Taylor how things are going with Russell and she announces they’ve been in therapy working on the marriage. Old Englishman, Ken, doesn’t buy into it and blames us tacky Americans for not having our act together, finding the notion of therapy “weak.” Ken should be more concerned about letting Giggy drink out of Adrienne’s $550 champagne glass at the dinner table. A weepy Taylor bolts to the bathroom and Kyle excuses herself to console her friend. Taylor finds it funny that Ken walks around Beverly Hills carrying a dog in clothes and yet she’s the weak one. Lisa’s opinion of Taylor as a manipulative gal stands and holds no sympathy for her woes.

Kyle comes back and when asked, tries to tell Ken he “offended” Taylor. That’s a fightin’ word to Mr. Todd, who takes issue with Kyle. Kyle makes a mental note to order a pocket edition of Webster’s Dictionary, as she can’t say “insecure, insignificant, offended” (don’t forget “attack!”) around this crowd. Ken tries to engage with Taylor about why she’s upset, but to no avail. Lisa cuts the evening short, crying an airport pickup as the reason for their early exit. Well. At least no one flipped a table, pulled hair or blew electronic cigarette smoke in anybody’s face.

This season on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” there’s two new wives (still can’t believe Faye Resnick didn’t get the spot she was so obviously bucking for), Lisa’s on the outs and Taylor falls apart.

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