The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
“Pardon Our French”
June 11, 2019
The women whose homes weren’t burning down in one of the worst wildfires in California history arrive in France for their utterly undeserved vacation in an 18th century, 15-bedroom chateau in Provence. As they drive through the countryside, Kyle pouts that it’s sad Lisa Vanderpump isn’t there with them. She also notes that it just was not all that long ago that they were in Paris together, Kyle once again having to make nice and soothe over Lisa’s VanderEgo over God only knows what transgression. I blogged that season and I don’t remember/care/feel like looking it up.
They arrive at the chateau which is as palatial and ridiculous as advertised, and they are greeted, Downton Abbey-style by the entire staff.
I will say this about the chateau: there are none of The Real Housewives of New York room shenanigans, as the hostess just assigns each of the women their rooms and THAT IS THAT. Still, Rinna manages to find something to complain about: namely, that they aren’t in a hotel where she can run away to her own room in the event of a conflict. Here, she’s trapped with these bitches.
I MEAN, SORTA. The chateau has its own squash court and a sizable wine cellar, not to mention an entire pool house. If things get too sticky, I’m sure there is SOMEPLACE to hide, Rinna.
Everyone dresses for dinner and despite claiming that this was to be a “no glamour” vacation, everyone is dressed as if their lives depend on it so as to impress … each other? NO, WAIT, WRONG — the correct answer is: the cameras. They dress up for an in-house dinner to impress the cameras.
They also check in with Camille and Denise before dinner. Denise reports that she had to evacuate and has no idea what the status of her home is. The fire is still completely uncontained and they had no option but to just leave.
As for Camille, she has happier news: they just found out that her house is just fine. The whole mass evacuation thing was scary, and they only had time to grab important documents and an Andrew Wythe painting. And, look, I don’t even blame her for grabbing an expensive and irreplaceable painting, but still: rich people problems, amirite?
And for one minute, the women are like, “Gee, I feel kinda shitty sitting here in this opulent chateau literally being waited on hand and foot by servants while our friends’ lives burn down all around them …”
… before being all, “OH WELL! À votre santé!”
Over dinner, the women commiserate over terrible childhood nicknames: Teddi was “Butch” and Kyle Richards was “Kyle Bitchards.” Dorit reveals that she stole her parents’ car when she was 13 and her parents thought she had sex in it because her friends smeared some white chocolate in the back seat? Which, just, ew, gross, no. Thanks for the mental image, Dorit.
They also briefly touch upon the whole dumb Rinna-as-Erika-Jayne non-scandal wherein while dressed as Erika Jayne, Rinna called Kim Richards a cunt. Kyle, deciding that she can’t just come out and say, “Listen, bitch, don’t call my sister a cunt,” instead takes a different tack and tries to claim that her real problem is more in Rinna’s interpretation of the character: that Erika Jayne would never just call someone a cunt.
Rinna hears something else in the criticism and agrees that maybe it wasn’t the right time or place, perhaps, but in the end, the bit broke the ice between her and Kim and they were able to have a conversation about the “big fat elephant” in the room. “Or bunny,” Dorit corrects her, and everyone is so drunk that they think this is hilarious.
Everyone toasts each other for being “fucking amazing” (debatable) and they “eat” dinner and then they go to bed, good night.
The next morning, Dorit is up at five because jet lag is a BITCH. She calls Camille and learns that her house has, in fact, burned down, despite it not having been on fire just 12 hours earlier. Also, something about Denise and her dogs and gas masks? I don’t know, I think everyone is fine.
Later, everyone has a hungover breakfast where they discuss the fates of their less lucky friends back in California, including one of Teddi’s coaches who left her home with only her pajamas. It was a very bad fire that did a great deal of damage! And it really was not all that long ago in the grand scheme of things but everything has been such an unending shitshow since 2017 that sometimes it’s hard to remember that these fires were not even two years ago!
The ladies then load up into the Rich Lady Bus which drives them into the local village to do some hat and cheese shopping. It’s less interesting than it sounds. They also visit the Pont d’Avignon bridge which is famous for being incomplete, I guess:
Oh, the French.
They have lunch in a cafe where Erika is the only one who knows how to order because she’s the only one who actually allows herself to enjoy food.
Speaking of: Rinna announces that her daughter Amelia is going to New York to study nutrition, wellness and psychology as an outgrowth of her struggles with anorexia, and yay! That’s wonderful news. Rinna admits that her daughter is still struggling but she’s at a place where she can and wants to talk about it.
This causes Kyle to burst into tears because, hey, guess what, when she was a child actor in the 80s, she also struggled with anorexia. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? Kyle explains that she feels weird saying it out loud because she’s never discussed it with her four daughters, terrified that she might put the idea in their head, or something, as if they aren’t a part of a society that saddles women with unrealistic beauty standards, and specifically citizens of Los Angeles, a town built on anorexia and diet pills, and even more specifically, have had their childhoods and teen years documented on a reality show.
So, while I understand Kyle’s feelings, somehow I doubt that if she had told them about her struggles with a healthy relationship to food and they then developed their own eating disorders it would be her fault. Which is basically what the other women say, too. They encourage her to talk to her daughters about her experience when she returns home. AND THERE YOU GO: ANOREXIA IS SOLVED!
Erika notes how easy it has been for the women to be vulnerable with each other on this trip, probably because that VanderBitch isn’t with them.
The group returns to the chateau so as to get dressed for dinner and while they are all WAY overdressed for going to what ends up being a hamburger joint, it’s Dorit’s purple fur-trimmed motorcycle jacket that really wins the, “OH MY CHRIST WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ACTUALLY WEARING AND WHERE ON EARTH DID YOU FIND THAT ATROCITY, DID YOUR TWO-YEAR-OLD DESIGN THIS?” prize for the night:
Right, so they go to as mentioned before a hamburger joint where everyone orders hamburgers to Dorit’s disgust. “Ugh, Americans,” she sighs as if she isn’t American.
Also, the ladies (and the audience, I believe) learn for the first time that Erika is actually Latina, her absent father is half-El Salvadoran. Huh! You learn something new every day.
And then the conversation circles back to the Rinna-as-Erika-Jayne thing AGAIN, because, it is now clear, that Kyle with an assist from Teddi, is trying to get Erika worked up and angry at Rinna. Kyle once again makes the argument that she was not so much upset with Rinna for calling her sister a cunt — not at all, she’s not that petty and sensitive. She just thinks it’s weird that Rinna would do so while claiming that she was being Erika Jayne when Kyle and everyone else knows that Erika and Erika Jayne would never do such a thing. Why can’t Rinna take responsibility for calling Kim a cunt rather than trying to put it off on the character of Erika Jayne?
Rinna is like, “I was doing my interpretation of a character? Also, who cares?”
Teddi backs up Kyle, arguing that if someone was doing a caricature of her and they behaved the way Rinna did as Erika Jayne, her feelings would be hurt.
But Erika — i.e., the only person who really matters here — is like: 1. Erika Jayne is a character, a persona, she is not me; 2. My feelings are not hurt at all and 3. Why the fuck are you two trying to drag me into this? It has nothing to do with me and I’m not going to fall into your dumb trap.
Rinna at one point unhelpfully tells Teddi that she doesn’t care if she likes her or not, causing Teddi to pout that in that case, she doesn’t understand why they hang out (BECAUSE YOU’RE CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED TO DO SO), and Kyle comes back in with the, “I get that Erika Jayne is the character and that Erika Girardi is the person but you can’t really separate them…” but Erika is like, “bitch, try me.”
In an interview, Teddi complains that Erika tries to shut everything down when it becomes uncomfortable, to which I say, OH HELL YES SHE DOES AND SHE’S A GOD DAMNED AMERICAN HERO FOR DOING SO. Teddi then points out that she went to an Erika Jayne concert recently and she didn’t notice Erika Jayne telling anyone to fuck off. With this, Erika sighs heavily and demands that everyone STOP RUINING HER NIGHT.
And with that, they order dessert.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Bravo on Tuesdays at 8/9 p.m.