Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – Brandi’s trip home

RHOBH LogoThere are times when I could easily see this being named Real Housewives of Just Because…. and last night’s episode was one of them!  The BH housewives are the most random group of women in the history of the franchise, and that’s saying something.  Have you SEEN the HWs of Miami?   I KNOW, I KNOW, Brandi Glanville has completely screwed up and I’m as disgusted with her as most fans seem to be, from the the racist treatment of Joyce Giraud (I can’t see it as anything else), the interchangeable best friends, the lack of responsibility taking, the constantly offensive language, you name it.  I have to to admit that last night’s episode gave me a lot of insight into her issues, and I had my own love and loathing moment going on. Well, love may be a bit of an exaggeration, but  I am pleasantly surprised that the producers allowed the audience to see a different side of Brandi.  I’m sure her overworked PR team is equally happy.

We learned that Brandi’s father is upset with her for calling him a drug dealer in her book.  I understand why her father is upset. He’s at an age where his regrets are the things he wants to put behind him and enjoy what he loves most about his life,  in the time he has left.  He knows the truth of how he lived and why he did whatever he did.  The self-professed “truth cannon” shouldn’t be feel so free to tell someone else’s truth, including her father’s.  She has enough salacious stories from her own history.  It’s not clear to me why her father and the sister have been thrown into the limelight  (her sister’s assault by a school principal was used by Brandi in expressing her dismay that she hadn’t been targeted for molestation – being “hot” as a child and all that).  If Karma is a bitch, Brandi should be living in fear of her own children keeping  notes for the tell-all they’ll write later.

What seems more like fair game?  Brandi’s compelling recount of the neighborhood she grew up in.   Within minutes of driving down the boulevard of broken dreams in her stretch limo, Brandi reminded the audience that poverty is not about race or region, it can happen to almost anyone, anywhere.  It was sad to hear that as a young girl, that she didn’t just view herself as poor, but as living on the “wrong side of the tracks”.  Contrast that to Joyce’s comments about having grown up poor.  Joyce takes pride in where she comes from and her family’s struggle because of the person it has helped her become.

For Brandi, the experience of poverty was a completely different one.  She speaks of friends she spent time with in school, but who were gone by the end of the day – fearful of crossing the tracks and visiting her in the rough neighborhood she called home.  It was sad to hear that she stood outside her parents’ bedroom door with her siblings and repeatedly listened to arguments about money.  It’s scary to me that alcohol appeared to be a form of escapism very early on for her – bars at 15/16? Stealing alcohol from elderly patients?   What’s also sad is what appears to be a lasting impact on Brandi, today.

Putting on an armchair therapist hat, I see her trip home explaining several things (to me, not that they are accurate in how she sees herself):

  • Brandi, more than any housewife I can remember, speaks openly about how much she cares about money and becoming rich.  The woman just wants to be RICH.  If Brandi has used the words “happy and successful in life” in conjunction with wanting to become wealthy, I’ve missed hearing her utter them.   Unlike ATL’s Phaedra (who sees “coin, coin coin” associated with burying the dead), I never hear Brandi talk about plans for the future or a wealth that will be secured for future generations.  (Am I the only one who remembers Lisa telling Mohammed that Pandora had better be included in his will?  Lisa and Ken are worth tens of millions, at least, and Lisa still has her future wealth hustle on).   As far as I can tell, Brandi has a book, a second one planned, and RHOBH. I can’t see that as a winning combination now that Bravo is geared toward recasting HWs to keep the series fresh.
  • Even if she stayed, Brandi is not just out of her league, she even seems ill at ease in her group.  Unlike the OC housewives, nearly all of whom are self-made, Brandi’s group is a toss up of the self-made and the long term wealthy (Kyle and Kim Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Yolanda Foster)  with a sprinkling of those born into extreme wealth (ex cast mate, Adrienne Maloof).
  • Her testy relationship with her own parents also makes me wonder if it drives what appears to be anger at the HWs who appear to get too close and too motherly with her.  I was stunned by her reaction to Lisa telling her to have her (possibly broken) wrist checked out.  You would have thought Lisa was grilling her on whether she’d taken out the trash, turned off the lights, made sure to put the recyclables in the appropriate containers.  Her reactions to being cared for/about feel excessive and causes me, as a viewer, to see her as too coarse and far too ungrateful to people who care about her.

Now it all makes sense to me.

To be clear, I’m over Brandi as a housewife.  I’ve never been a fan, but I could at least tolerate her in the past.  I’m over her obsession with telling others to “F—k off”.  I’m over her “truth cannon” being used to fire off sexist, racist (yes, my beliefs),  nasty barbs at others while she calls her behavior truth-telling, guided by humor, or anything close to civil.   Last night’s episode did not undo all of the harm she’s done – in my book, but it made her less of a monster, for me. The episode reminded us that she is human, that whatever she is today – she became that for a reason.

I hope she does fully repair her relationship with her family.  I hope Brandi finds happiness and finds out what she’s supposed to do with her life – other than just “make money”.   I hope Brandi watched last night’s episode (post editing, I know she was there) and realizes that the love her family has for her and the support they give her seems to be solid no matter what happens.

Most importantly, I hope all of that happens off screen.  It’s time for her to go, in my opinion, and if she’s smart she’ll want to go out with the images of her as a loved member of a loving family.  I would.