(December 17, 2011) – What’s with these housewives and their dueling events? We thought it was odd and more than slightly immature a few seasons ago when Ramona Singer and Luann de Lesseps competed to see which of their cast mates would attend their rivaling Labor Day parties. We thought it was equally bizarre when the two ladies also hosted Sweet Sixteen celebrations for their daughters on the same night. And now on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills we are whisked away to Las Vegas where Lisa Vanderpump is celebrating her daughter’s bachelorette weekend in the Hard Rock, while Adrienne Maloof is feting nothing in particular in her family’s Palms casino.
Is this just a coincidence? Or is Bravo, once again, manipulating the drama by putting the ladies into formulaic situations that are geared to pit one woman against another? We certainly hope not. And not only because it is unnecessary to manufacture tension between already competitive people who demand attention and naturally find conflicts of their own. If these dueling events are the product of Bravo’s imagination, they reveal the network’s complete lack of creativity. Must the suits at 30 Rock steal their own stale ideas? Can’t they come up with something original to spark up the heat between the ladies?
We could go on and on with examples of how the different Housewives series mimic each other, like how both the New Jersey and Beverly Hills casts learned to belly dance during girls-only house parties, and how, when in doubt, they toss a camel or psychic into the mix to see how it the ladies will react. It all seems so silly because we could easily drum up far more original situations, including zipping Lisa Vanderpump and Giggy over to Venice to work out with her trainer on Muscle Beach, or down to Long Beach for lunch with Snoop Dogg. But alas, no one has asked us to brainstorm ways of taking advantage of Lisa’s fish out of water comedic potential. Instead we are left to watch her going through the motions of preparing for her daughter’s wedding with a party planner we simply do not find amusing even slightly. Trust us we know we are alone in our boredom with Kevin Lee, but the truth is we just don’t think he is funny at all. On the contrary, we think he is just a distraction from getting to know the eccentric women who have welcomed Bravo’s cameras into their lives.
Taylor’s Mercurial Relationships
It really is hard to believe that just two episodes ago Taylor was going for the jugular at Lisa’s infamous tea party, and now in this episode she is joyfully checking into a hotel with her recent enemy.
It is transparent that Taylor is a phony of the highest order. She is literally the walking-talking personification of a lie, with a fake name, a fake Godmother for her daughter, a fake marriage, and a fake checking account. And yet we are still amazed that when she and Lisa entered their suite Taylor said it was “more our speed” than the suite Pandora and her friends were using. What in the world does this woman mean by “our speed?” Just a few episodes ago she and Russell were threatening to sue Lisa over the US Weekly blurb about their deteriorating marriage and in the interim Taylor wants us and Lisa to believe they’ve developed a shared style.
Taylor has to be the single most insincere person in television history. She spends all of her camera time pretending to be something she is not. She’s asked us and her cast mates to pretend many things are true that are not. Last season she pretended she wasn’t the victim of domestic violence. Now she seems to be pretending she was. And soon she will begin to promote her book Hiding from Reality. Is asking us to believe she’s been hiding from reality while appearing on a Reality TV show?
While she may be the most extraordinary phony on Bravo, Taylor is not alone. Shereé Whitfield also has a manufactured storyline that bears no resemblance to her real life. We have learned that there is no Chateau Shereé and recently discovered that in fact her ex-husband Bob Whitfield does not owe her any money in back child support. On the contrary, MediaTakeOut is reporting that Shereé actually swindled him out of $400,000 and was admonished by the court for doing it. We mention this because Taylor actually makes Shereé look good because while they both may be con artists, at least Shereé isn’t running around blasting people and sobbing hysterically at every turn.
The Friction Between Lisa and Adrienne
But enough about Taylor. We want to know why Lisa is so angry with Adrienne. Though both women are good at keeping their drama more private than Taylor is, we know there is something simmering between them. There has to be a reason that Adrienne allows her chef to speak disrespectfully to Lisa. There has to be a reason that Lisa allowed Pandora’s bachelorette party to be filmed in a casino that competes with Adrienne’s. These two have been snipping at each other all season long.
We definitely think Adrienne should get over herself and simply accept that Lisa and Pandora chose to host their Las Vegas event in the Palms. We wouldn’t like it either, but we hope we would accept the disappointment without pouting as Adrienne has. Likewise if we were the mother of the bride, we pray we would not be tempted to attend our daughters’ bachelorette parties. And we would never want our mothers at ours. Both scenarios sound like buzz kills to us. We mention it because Lisa’s attending and bringing in Bravo’s camera is what caused Adrienne to get upset because she knows the promotional value they will deliver to her competitor’s casino. In an economy where everyone in Las Vegas is struggling, the last thing the Maloofs need is to appear on a show that is putting them at a disadvantage.
We do not believe for one second that this is why the women are squabbling. That simply doesn’t make sense at all if this season was film, more or less, in the timeline we are seeing. Lisa and Adrienne have been making snide remarks about each other since the first episode. We suspect, though we really have no idea, that Lisa and Adrienne are rivals on this show because they have more in common with each other than they do their other cast mates. Both are rational. Both are genuinely rich. Both are dignified. Both are happily married. Both seem to be a bit older than the other ladies. Both have significant investments in genuine businesses. Both live on the same tony block. And both of these women know who they are and are not pretending to be something else. Sometimes when people have too much in common they compete with each other to be the superlative of their chosen category, much like the competition Tamra inspired in Coto de Cazes when she announced she was the “hottest housewife in Orange County,” where the primary focus of many of the women was being hottest blond.
Having said that, we also suspect there could be something else going on off camera that we will never know, in a similar way to Muhammed not wanting Russell to attend Pandora’s engagement party without Bravo telling us that Russell may have swindled money from him in the MyMedicalRecords.com mess. As we said, we have no idea, but we sure would like to know because the way Lisa and Adrienne’s rivalry or distaste for each other is playing out on camera doesn’t make complete sense to us. It feels like they were friendly last year and this year they’re making biting comments about each other with no explanation for either of their motivations.
Taylor and Camille: The Aftermath of the Malibu Beach Party from Hell
Understandably both Taylor and Camille were looking to decompress and hash over the horrors of Brandi Glanville’s wine tasting. Taylor got her chance over lunch with Lisa at Villa Blanca. Taylor says she was betrayed and blindsided by Camille when she “walked into the lion’s den.” Taylor tells us she had too much to drink and doesn’t remember most of it. Her selective memory comes in handy here because while she has no recollection of her own bad behavior, she does seem to have total recall about what Dedra did.
Taylor tells Lisa that she thinks Dedra is fighting Camille’s fight for her.We think that is an accurate and very interesting remark because truthfully we think Taylor was fighting Kyle’s fight. When we saw Taylor and Dedra bicker at Brandi’s party, we had a haunting feeling that they were hired guns, battling by proxy on behalf of each other’s best friend.
Pinky has no ability to comprehend most of what Taylor is saying and how she is trying to manipulate Lisa. She simply sees a fixer upper who needs a friend. The chance to prop up a wounded soul is irresistible to Lisa who hasn’t had a good project since Cedric flew the coop. So Lisa invites Taylor to Las Vegas and talks about the Chippendale’s dancers she’s hired for Pandora’s bachelorette. Lisa says it’d be funny if she were “shagged by a team of chipmunks.” That’s an hysterically funny line. Not just regular hilarious – Phaedra hilarious. Still it’s utterly strange that Taylor is now laughing and emoting happily with the woman she set in her rifle’s sighs two episodes ago.
Just as Taylor was putting her spin on the conflict, Camille Grammer was also busy manipulating her cast mates and viewers’ opinions of their kerfuffle when she met with Dedra and Brandi for a glass of wine. Brandi said her party was “the craziest thing I’ve ever seen” and we have to second that. Like us, Brandi thought it played out like a scene out of The Exorcist. Camille tells us Taylor is in the throes of an abusive relationship. When was this filmed? Just two episodes ago Camille was screaming at an already hysterical Taylor. Why is she now so sympathetic to Taylor’s “pattern of abuse” at home?
Brandi, who is turning out to be a great addition to this show, is kind about Lisa trying to help Taylor. Camille and Dedra sound very suspicious of Lisa’s motivations. Camille is stealth in her criticism of Lisa. But Dedra is clumsy in trying to make us understand that Lisa has an ulterior motive in inviting Taylor to Pandora’s party because she wants everyone to believe she is an altruist who is simply trying to include a friend in need of welcoming kindness. The comment just makes Dedra look like a pot stirrer who is hellbent on starting trouble. But we cannot help but notice that she is taking her cues from Camille who lead the conversation down this path when she asked, “And now Taylor and Lisa are good friends?” Dedra is just as manipulative as Taylor. And she just as klutzy at it, too.
Brandi and Vegas are Always Fun, but Kim is One Sad Girl
Thank God for Brandi. While Taylor yammers away about how Kennedy and Taylor’s assistant made her cupcakes (why does this woman have an assistant? And how could she pay for one?), Brandi is looking like a model and bowling like a professional. Camille is right; Brandi “has a future with these girls” because “she is alot of fun to be around.”
Meanwhile, back in LA, Kim and Kyle are shopping and Kim pulls Kyle aside to tell her about the trouble she’s having with her children now that she has moved in with Ken, whom Kyle doesn’t like. It seems Kim’s daughters Brooke and Kimberly have a problem with him, too, though her son Chad is fine with his mother’s transitioning into a new life now that all of her children have grown up. Kim is sobbing because she wants autonomy. Kyle speaks their mother’s party line that a woman has to live her life in sacrifice to her children.
Kyle tells her that everyone has Kim’s best interests in mind, but even an hysterical Kim knows this isn’t true. She asks Kyle why people won’t support her when all she wants is a man in her life so she doesn’t have to do everything alone as she has for the last 18 years. Then Kim begins to hyperventilate and for the first time, Kyle seems genuinely sympathetic to her sister.
Kyle tells us Kim should be working on herself and her life. We agree, of course, but Kyle has to begin to treat Kim with kindness, rather than to boss her around like a child. It is no one’s business whom she dates and why. Kyle acts like it is troubling that she is “only” dating Ken because he is nice to her. What is the missing ingredient here? Is the problem that he is not rich? There is something very strange in Kyle’s reservations about Ken. She is definitely annoyed with Ken. We are sure there is a reason. And frankly maybe she is right, but she never tells us why she is so dismissive of the man whose biggest stated crime is that he is nice to her sister.
About the Author (Author Profile)
I am a New York City publicist who specializes in promoting luxury products and experiences and occasionally moonlight as a journalist.
Relatively new to the world of blogging, I have watched and enjoyed Bravo’s Housewives shows since the first season of the Real Housewives of Orange County. I created this blog over the 4th of July holiday of 2011 because I enjoy writing and love to figure out how to blend images and words to create something that is both visually compelling and interesting to read.