RHOBH: Kyle Richards, my new reality TV bad-ass housewife fave!

For me, the “Real Housewives of…” series has become an interesting study in the de-evolution of women who, at one time, must have considered themselves rich, powerful, or at least in control of their lives in some way.  Women who started out having conversations about their children, marriages, and power business moves in earlier seasons later behaved as if they were auditioning for positions with the World Wrestling Entertainment organization! Marvelous?  That is left to be decided by individual viewers.  I only know that I’m more fascinated by the transformation, than the hot mess that comes along with it.

Each episode I expect the housewives to stand just a little farther apart from one another, just in case a random slap, kick, or hair pull takes place.  If I lived with the RHOA, RHONJ, or RHOM crews, I’d walk around in a suit of armor (in the event that someone broke through my line of bodyguards).  These three franchises are, in my unscientific review of prior seasons, the three which are most likely to break out in a physical fight no matter what the location or seriousness of the event.  They put the “K’ in Klassy!  For RHONY and RHOC – I’d carry aspirin and earplugs – the screeching and verbal intimidation would be enough to push me over the edge.  Sure, they spell classy with a “c”, but my guess is that while they can spell it correctly they can’t define – pardon the few exceptions in each franchise. (I hope we get to a point where none of the RH of any franchise uses the word “class”. I am of the Anderson Cooper school of thought, if you’re using the word and not referring to your children in school – then you shouldn’t be using the word at all.)

RHOBH is a completely different animal.  Even with the introduction of Brandi Glanville, most of the RHOBH have maintained their dignity and not fallen too far over the Bravo cliff.  There have certainly been tense moments and raised voices in Beverly Hills, but the larger Beverly Hills game seems to be stealth set ups, angry aggressive glares and angry confessional interviews talk.  VIEWER.HEAVEN.!

Kyle Richards has become my new fave RHOBH housewife.  She is working on becoming my fave RH, across franchises!  Of sure, she is not living her life to make me or any other viewer happy, I get that, and it’s what makes her pure GOLD this season.  While some housewives are trapped by the cycle of drunken debauchery and permanent snark (fun within limits), Kyle opened the door to the life she seems to live outside of the show. While Carlton Gebbia dreams of Kyle (or has premonitions, intuition, and other psychic connections), Kyle is busy hosting a fundraiser with Jamie Lee Curtis.  Brandi Glanville is breaking her hand, Kyle Richards is turning that broken hand into psychological insights and emotional breakthroughs for Brandi.  Yolanda Foster is pruning lemon trees, Kyle is snarking Carlton’s bitter nasty attacks into comedic GOLD!

I honestly expected Kyle to let it all go when Kyle began ranting during Mauricio and Ken’s joint birthday party (Klassy move, Carton).  Kyle tried keeping the peace with Carlton all season.  Instead of expressing her displeasure with the constant “tits on an ant” attacks, she unloaded on Carlton during the confessional interviews.  The worm turned at the dinner party.  Kyle refused to allow Carlton to spew odd accusations that she’d been attacking her.  She did not save her displeasure for the confessional, well done.  It seems, to me, that rather than confront Carlton directly, the other housewives have turned away and ignored her actions for the sake of a false peace (Yolanda in the lemon grove with the women, painting lovely pictures for her daughter while Carlton ruined that moment with antagonistic talk).  I knew Carlton was in trouble then.  Yolanda tried to ignore her and the BFF/crush Brandi thought Carlton was a bit over the edge.

Given rumored fan frustration with Carlton, I am happy to hear more of the HWs speaking out about her actions (Brandi in particular).

Tonight, I’m preparing to watch the Brawl of Shame, Part II, as I’m watching, I’ll be thinking about the snarkfest coming my way with the RHOBH and it will dull the pain RHOA will surely bring, even if only just a little.

When the Vanderpump Rules, I remember the things I’m grateful for

In no particular order:

1.  I am grateful that I am no longer in my 20s.  Everyone I’ve heard say that they wish they were 20 again focuses on the youthful health and physical beauty.  I focus on the  inescapable pain of being 20-something, being  clueless, feeling powerless, and the insecurity of youth – and that’s if you’re paying attention and not too filled with enough hubris to believe that you know that world and are a player in it (dream on, child, dream on).

2.  I am grateful that I’m not foolish enough to allow myself to be exploited by a reality tv show.  If I was that foolish, I surely wouldn’t allow myself to be cast on “Vanderpump Rules”.  I don’t know what Lisa V. makes for being a part of this show, but it’s worth it, for her – I’m guessing.  Her protégés/ puppets couldn’t possibly want to hang on to any of this footage for their later years.  Can you see any of them sharing this footage with their children and grandchildren?  I cringe at the thought of it.

This is the kind of show that, when the fog clears and you’re looking back at your life, leaves you wishing you were never a part of it.  Are these people even being paid more than they make as servers at SUR?   Are they in it for the “exposure’ (make of that what you will) hoping to be viewed as breakout stars and become famous on their own?  I just don’t get what the “Vanderpump Rules” servers get out of this – but I’d scratch “hanging on to remaining shreds of dignity” off the list.

To be sure, it’s good (often) trashy fun to watch.  I just can’t imagine watching anyone I cared about on this show.  If ever there was a time to add “semi-scripted” to show, this is it.  Leave me some hope for this group.  I choose to believe that these are not the lives they would be living if the cameras weren’t rolling.

3.  I am MOST grateful that I’m not friends with Jax Taylor.  It’s not just because he’s content to compete with the iconic Zoolander “Blue Steel” male-model pose, or the Joey Tribbiani “look like you smelled something bad” method acting approach.  No, it’s because Jax (he of the “look confused” male-model stare), intentionally or not, seems content to present himself as a pretty empty vessel.  Jax commented on Watch What Happens Live, that once he saw the footage documenting his callous disregard of his once-best-friend Tom, he realized how awful it was that he lacked remorse for (TWICE) sleeping with Tom’s girlfriend, Kristen.  The first violation of the friend code took place while Tom as passed out cold in the next room of the apartment he shared with Kristen.  Who cares about the second violation once the first happened, right?  Jax claims that he shouldn’t have been so callous, now that he’s seen the footage.

For once, I felt that Andy Cohen asked the question that most of us were probably thinking… “When you saw it on television, REALLY?”  It didn’t bother him when he said it, it didn’t bother him when Tom looked as if he would cry  and begged to have Jax help him understand?  It only bothered him when he saw it as it aired on television.  Brrrrrrrrr!  No one should make a clinical diagnosis of another person based on a television program and with limited information so let me say this, that if I had a friend like Jax, and the friends I’ve chosen are supposed to be a reflection of who I am as a person, I would seek help.  I would sure (surely) seek help.

In it’s best moments VR can be crazy fun, and lost insight into decades fondly left behind for some of us.  At it’s worst, I hope that their footage is somehow magically lost, erased from Youtube and other video capturing sites, and that they never have to explain to anyone how they ended up on that show.  Ultimately, I wish the Vanderpump crew the best in creating the lives they want for themselves.

Real Housewives of Whatever Survival Guide

pay attention2Read carefully.  The well kept secrets shared below could save your:  dignity, reputation, career, marriage, and/or  life  (I’m not sure, but I think that last one was a wee bit of an exaggeration).  There are just three simple rules for surviving the Real Housewives of Whatever:

1. Timing is everything!

If your friend/neighbor/family member/acquaintance has been cast on a real housewives show AND she invites you to stop by during a taping session, you know – just for drinks and giggles. For the love of trashy tv DON’T DO IT!  The more famous you are, the more likely it is that you have been made a sacrificial lamb. Did the invitation come wrapped in a tear-stained envelope?  That, my friend, is what is called a clue.  Those tears are yours.  You just don’t know it yet.

If curiosity about seeing how the sausage is made is killing you and you decide that you simply have to go, first ask yourself if you’ve ever shared a deeply private and painful experience with this person, swearing her to secrecy.  You did swear her to secrecy? The second step is to put your attorney on speed dial.  Ask if said shared secret is covered as part of a verbal non-disclosure agreement. If the attorney says no, then for the love of trashy tv DON’T DO IT!  If the attorney says that it is covered? DON’T DO IT.

Ok, I get it, I get it.  You are still not persuaded.  Then the only thing left to do is pray!  That secret is almost guaranteed to be exposed. It will happen as part of a drunken rambling, “slip of the tongue”, or it will be slammed down on the table like a winning hand of poker.  Count on it!  Word to the wise, drinks and giggles with a Real Housewife of Whatever are probably safest between hunting filming seasons.

Even between seasons, don’t tell a RH your secrets.  Seriously. Don’t.

2. Travel light OR Not at all!

You survived drinks and giggles.  To make it all up to you, the Real Housewives have invited you to take a vacation with them, and being a glutton for punishment you agree to go.  You’re traveling by car, you say?  If you have the option,  sit in the backseat!  Yeah, I said the backseat. Need I remind you?

Sure, they can still get to you when you’re sitting in the backseat, but at least make them work for it.

Ah.  You’re going boating?  You should be safe, you say?  You are ADORBS!  You won’t be swimming with sharks, you will be boating with them!  Don’t go out on the deck alone with a Real Housewife.  Make sure there are witnesses at all times, and don’t count on the production crew to save you – you don’t think they care about ratings?  Your humiliation (or worse) is golden on film!

“Aren’t you taking things too far?”,  you ask.  No.  No. Not really.  Well, maybe a little, but probably not by much.  Real Housewives of Whatever roll like that, I think.  I’ve heard. Well…it’s been said that they can be treacherous!  To be on the safe side, make your own accommodations and stay in an undisclosed location!  Taking vacations with Real Housewives may require you to keep your lawyer and your therapist on speed dial!

Am I the only one imaging RHOBH’s Lisa Vanderpump giving Brandi Glanville the “Fredo Kiss”?

3. The enemy of your Real Housewives of Whatever enemy is definitely your  friend!

 No?  Your friend/neighbor/family member/acquaintance would never betray you like that?  Cute.  I see you’ve never watched the show.  Awesome.  Well here’s one more piece of advice.  If you haven’t taken a self-defense class, give it some consideration. When you take that self-defense class, you might as well add your trainer’s number to your speed dial along with your attorney and therapist.  Running out of speed dial options?  Screw your friends and family, they can’t help you now.  You have willingly, and naively, entered into a fight for survival (physical, psychological, emotional).

It’s not a Real Housewives of Whatever party until someone gets slapped, punched, kicked, threatened, intimidated, or arrested. Any and all of those events could happen over breakfast!

So friends, this is my last warning.  You can’t say I haven’t tried. If you decide to tag along with your real housewives pal, joining her for drinks and giggles, skip the drinks and keep a side eye on the giggles.  She could be laughing at you, not with you.  I think it’s safe to say that some of the Real Housewives are a cross between  Keyser Söze, Lucrezia Borgia, and Niccolò Machiavelli (Yes, the latter of the “Machiavellic” fame.).  In your shoes, I’d count on more  Keyser Söze than the other two:

If you fail to heed my warning, it was nice knowing ya’.  If you decide that I’m too cynical, and that you are perfectly ok in the hands of your reality show pal, well trash-tv god love and protect ya’. By the way, I have a real estate transaction I’d like to discuss with you when you have time – and don’t be alarmed, it only looks like swampland in the pictures.  It’s a grade A golf course worth millions, you cutie pie.

RHOBH: I’m sorry, I tried


I have been trying to write a summary for the RHOBH since the show aired. Not.Easy.Folks.  Not easy.  What did I love? Hands down,  Kim Richards made the show for me.  With warm regards to the rest of the show, each time I sat down,  the closest I got to writing a review was this…. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  I fell asleep TWICE— TWICE!  I have the show on DVR, and I just can’t make myself watch it.  What you read below is based on what I remember:

For all of the criticism poor Kim gets, on and off screen, the thing I have always loved about her is that she seems to have a good heart.  It has always separated her from the rest of the group for me.  Watching Kim, who is typically fragile and withdrawn from the wives, at the signing gig was a thing of joy to behold  (and, yes, I was a huge Hello Larry Fan! You may openly mock me, now.)  I was impressed by the touching way she genuinely and tenderly embraced her fans.  Some actors don’t mind mocking their fans as a little creepy, obsessed, odd, whatever.   Not Kim.  It saddened me to think that the admiration from her fans may be the most consistent unconditional support she has received (outside of the love of her children).  Somehow, Kim has managed to hang on to a pretty healthy fanbase who remember the sweet-eyed girl with a life more tragic than anyone would have suspected.

Despite her past issues with her sister Kyle, I think the sisters have been magic together on screen lately.  Did I want to bear witness to Kyle’s waxing session in the episode before? No.  Was it worth it to see Kyle and Kim behave like giddy children together?  Ok,yes.  I’m never sure who has the most accurate memory of their childhood, but if I’m guessing, the truth is somewhere in the middle.  It appears to me that the sisters adored each other then and adore each other now.  Bonus points for Kim and Aunt Kyle for utterly horrifying Kim’s daughter, Kimberly, with their regressive banter about “tweeters”.  They were like 14 year olds in the salon, and young Kimberly looked as if she would have sold an appendage to be anywhere but in that salon with them.  Well done!  It was one of the most genuine  family moments we’ve seen on the show.   That warmth and love in this family comes through now (and for me as a viewer, that wasn’t always the case).  If it’s true that she’s going through deeply troubling times, I wish Kim Richards well.  I hope that she and her family recover and that she  gets to find the happiness she seems to enjoy bringing to others.  The most recent scenes between the sisters are the scenes that help me let go of the limo take down by sister Kyle seasons before.  Those scenes help me RHOBH_KimKyle2ignore the  disapproving glances that seem to breed massive insecurity in Kim when sister Kathy is around.  It gives me hope that there is a chance for a real life for a former child star whose fame helped support a family, but did little to help her survive a world that can be both loving and cruel.

I hope that some day, soon, Kim will find someone she loves, who will love her unconditionally – someone who will be  a fighter at her side in what will surely be a lifelong battle for sobriety.  Some find money.  Some find fame. Some find love. Some find it all.  I wish for love and happiness for Kim and whatever  wonderful life comes with that.

As for the rest of it?

Yolanda?  I just can’t.  Her gift to her daughter was touching and thoughtful.  I’ll leave it at that. Oh, ok, one more thing… is it just me or does King David seem to be less than amused by Brandi’s potty mouth?  I think I’m starting to like that guy!

Brandi?  I just won’t.  I refuse to fill my beautiful mind with thoughts of Brandi, today.  I see sunshine outside my window. Catch me another day.

Carlton?  Why, Bravogods, WHY?  Tell me what I have to sacrifice to get you to dump her from this show (fattened cow, favorite jeans, peanut butter cookie habit)?  I’ll do it, no problem!

Either the editing monkeys are playing fast and loose with audience, or Kyle thinks about Carlton as often as I do … which is almost never.  I am irritated by the feeling that two Carlton Gebbias show up to every scene.  The first Carlton sets the wives up to say something stupid.  “I’ll put a hex on you”, from Carlton becomes,  “Did you put a hex on me?”,  from one of the wives.  The second Carlton swoops in and accuses the women of slandering a religion I’m not sure she even understands.  Carlton2 then declares war on the sandbagged housewife who dared ask the questions Carlton1 implicitly and explicitly prompted her to ask.

I’ll retract at least one statement I made earlier.  I can’t bring myself hurt a living thing so the cow is out.  I will preemptively burn my jeans and not buy another peanut butter cookie until news of the next season’s cast is announced.  If that woman returns, I will accept the fact that I was a real ass in my past life, take it as my punishment, and learn to fast forward any scene she’s in, or move on to a new show.

Make that, move on to a new show.  Even I couldn’t have been that big of an ass!


As usual, property rights to all images are retained by their original owners.

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.