The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season-Premiere Recap: Stealing the Show
This week on our favorite show, Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women do all sorts of things. They show their “girlfriend” their basement, which they’re turning into a $500,000 sex dungeon suitable for the whole family, which means that no sex whatsoever will happen there. They almost sit on the enormous Tiffany-blue invitations for their international superstar DJ niece’s weddings because the invitations are about the size of three copies of Dianetics duct-taped together. They watch their children (of the corn) have their karate lessons in the backyard while stroking their new dog Winnie as if we didn’t spend about 716 episodes discussing the fate of their last dog Lucy Lucy Apple Juicy and whether or not she is a correspondent for RadarOnline.
But mostly, the rich women talk about Dorit’s break-in. It’s a little ironic that we were just talking about the victims of theft last season, and there is an actual victim of theft on the show. Those who follow the Housewives in the press knew this was going to be in the season and have probably already seen the security-camera footage of the event, which was released to the press in an attempt to find the men who walked out of Dorit’s house with $1 million worth of jewelry in bags.
It’s hard to make jokes about this because, as someone who has also suffered a home invasion, I know how awful it is and what a violation it is. I even felt bad for PK, who wasn’t home when the incident happened. I know; it’s not a feeling that I liked either. The morning after the break-in, Rinna, Erika, and Kyle all rush to Dorit’s house to console her. The awful reality-television specialist part of me just wishes the show’s cameras were there to get Dorit’s reaction, but the actual human part of me thanks the Catholic Jesus that she was afforded at least a modicum of privacy while going through this.
Later that night, Dorit comes by Kyle’s house, where she is consoled by Rinna, Erika, and Garcelle. Mauricio is also there, so Kyle says, “Will you repeat everything you told us this morning so that Mo can hear it?” Is one of the cameras named Mo? Maybe a producer or a sound guy? I’m sure Mauricio, voted hottest stoner in L.A. three years running by Horny Homosexuals Magazine, did want the details, but it was the viewers at home who needed to hear this. Our Kyle has never found a tragedy that she couldn’t perfectly produce.
Hearing Dorit describe one of the intruders repeatedly saying, “Just kill her already,” is harrowing. I have said many awful things about Dorit over the years, but I would never wish for anyone to go through this. You can see just how shaken she is when Kyle’s dogs start barking, and Dorit freaks out like a priest whose Grindr notifications keep going off during mass. At the end of the night, when PK goes back inside to find his phone, Dorit sits in front of Kyle’s house, practically keening with grief at being left alone while PK had to go search for his errant technology. That’s what is going to be hard about this story line. It will take a long time (and, yes, lots of therapy) for Dorit to get over the PTSD, but it’s not the kind of story line that makes for great television. Her stewing in her misery isn’t dynamic and doesn’t even really involve the rest of the cast. It’s just sad.
As far as the rest of the episode goes, it is off to a weak start. Rinna goes over to Erika’s house where she sees (through her enormous Amber Vision aviators) a bouquet that Erika got from a “secret admirer.” She’s not dating, but she’s having lots of sex, which might explain why her disposition seems a bit rosier and her skin a lot clearer. Anyway, Rinna tells her about something Sutton said on Watch What Happens Live about how Sutton once invited Rinna and Harry Hamlin to an AIDS fundraiser, and Rinna never sent her a thank-you.
Seriously, we’re going to be saddled with this? Not only are Erika and Rinna talking about it, but Sutton also discusses it with Garcelle and Crystal Kung Minkoff. Rinna has also preemptively posted about it so that fans will be on her side as soon as the premiere finishes airing. This story line is like a fart in a fish market. Even if you know it’s there, you can’t even pick it out because so much other stuff is going on. Why are we focusing on this? I don’t care whether or not Sutton invited her, if Sutton was dying to get on the show, if Lisa thanked her. None of it.
Surprisingly, Sutton doesn’t come off all peaches and cream in this episode either. Not only did the WWHL thing make her look a little bit sneaky, the editors really give it to her when she goes to see a sobbing Kyle who just returned from Dorit’s robbery. She starts off well by offering Kyle the cookies she found in the car. “What kind?” Kyle says through sniffles, landing her a spot as a neighbor in the reboot of Modern Family that is scheduled for DisneyParamountApple streaming service in 2027. Then Sutton tells her, “I’ve been putting out fires all day, too.” Yes, Sutton can’t get one of her designers into the country, and that’s just as bad as Dorit being held at gunpoint. Uh, yup.
I also don’t love it when Sutton says she wants to be set up but doesn’t think she has the same criteria for a guy that Erika does. She just wants someone who is tall, well-educated, and likes cats. She implies that Erika needs a man with lots of money. First of all, that is probably true, but did we hear Erika express that explicitly? So far, she’s more interested in sex and fast food. Secondly, Sutton doesn’t need a rich man because she already has her husband’s money. She already cashed in with the first guy so she can pamper the second one. That’s like Paris Hilton saying she doesn’t need a man with a hotel empire because she already inherited one.
When Erika and Garcelle meet for a workout class (a very odd combination), Erika says that Sutton’s problem is that she swings at people and then plays a victim when they swing back. This is a perfect assessment of her character. Sadly it is perhaps the only true thing that Erika says during their entire discussion. Garcelle asks if Erika will apologize to Sutton for threatening her last season. Erika says, “What words did I use?” Regardless of Garcelle’s answers, it was never really the words that were so bad; it was the venom with which she delivered them that was the real threat. When Garcelle says that Erika stated she would come for Sutton, Erika says, “That could mean anything.” This sounds like someone who has been spending way too much time with her lawyers and is trying to get out of this apology on a technicality.
Erika then tells Garcelle that Sutton was saying things that have been proven false. Cut to Garcelle in confessional saying that if they have been proven false, she hasn’t seen it anywhere, not in the press, not in the blogs, nowhere. While one of her lawsuits was dismissed, more have since been filed, so Garcelle is absolutely correct. We then see Erika in her confessional talking to a producer and telling Bravo to “do their due diligence” to find these things that have been disproven.
This is a bad move. First of all, she should know that is not how the show works. The producers get the women to do all the exposition. Where is Bravo going to insert their research findings in this format? Also, the problem with being a Real Housewife is that it is already a mediated platform. Telling Bravo to do their own research will result in them (1) doing no research and dropping it (unlikely) or (2) doing the research and then using it to read you to filth or (3) doing no research but still making you look like an ass for telling them to “answer their own fucking questions.” She’s seven seasons into doing the show by now and always seemed savvy with how she came across onscreen, but this move belies all of her previous training. If she wants to defend herself, then she should defend herself, but this is not the way to do it. It’s rare (but increasingly less so) that we hear from the producers and even rarer when one of the ladies talks back to one, but when they do, you know that the editorial savagery will be fierce. Look at how well “Bravo Bravo Fucking Bravo” turned out for Our Lady Denise of the Richards.
She does tell us that she’s been drinking too much and eating too much fast food. She describes getting so drunk that she doesn’t remember ordering Taco Bell until the morning when she wakes up and sees the wrappers (the most relatable thing that EJ has ever said). But I still can’t shake this image of Erika, in her silk pajamas, shuffling into the kitchen, her gut rumbling and ablaze, as she crinkles up the last remaining evidence of a Crunchwrap Supreme and vows never to do it again. As she throws the wrappers in the trash, she stares out the back window, wondering how it got here, wondering when she’s going to feel better, wondering when she’ll stop torturing herself with sub-par fast food. She knows Popeye’s delivers. She knows that will help her kill herself, one savory bite at a time. But just as her sun-dappled revelry is flying out into her backyard like a cilantro-scented breeze, the idyll is interrupted by a volcanic burbling in her stomach and the urge that even a hardened clench won’t solve.