Erika Plays Doubles Without A Partner In Part 1 Of The RHOBH Reunion
Does she score enough points to come out ahead in this week's rankings?
The season now behind us, let's see who's been thrown to the wolves and who's leading the pack in Part 1 of the reunion.
To the rankings!
P.K. lost whatever remaining credibility he had once the camera zeroed in on him peeking around the side of Villa Rosa in an effort to be included in the women's conversation. Caught lurking in the semi-darkness and sweating through his Miami Vice by Banana Republic t-shirt and blazer, the charade of "P.K., the great and powerful spud" came to an end and he was finally revealed as the bloodthirsty reality star and gouty leg of a man he truly is.
His season playing out the way it did, he's now in the position of having to save face and win back everyone he alienated from the start. Enter "Paul," the levelheaded self-made man swept away by reality TV's nasty undertow attempting to save his darling wife, and who lived to tell the tale. It's a step in the right direction, but what's done is done. Sadly, Paul, smiling through the pain and casually writing Pantygate off as a stupid misunderstanding as opposed to apologizing to Erika the first chance you get is this week's biggest faux pas.
- The Reunion Looks
Asked if anyone will wear her dress again, everyone with the exception of RinnUGH -- who's wearing a Victoria Beckham V-neck sheath dress that retails for $1,950 at Neiman Marcus and (smartly) plans to wear the fuck out of it until it falls apart -- says, "No." Eileen wearing hers again is a pretty safe bet, but until date night with Vincent rolls around, she's comfortable sitting in silence and being seen as part of the group -- which is fine. You can't blame anyone for not wanting to repurpose the outfit they wore to what's essentially the day of their sentencing, but it's sad all the same.
Less involved and more restrained than I expected (she and the producers are waiting for LVP's sundown before the fireworks display), it still isn't a great week for RinnUGH. In what would have been a great act of solidarity were it anyone else, her "I'm not wearing any underwear" routine is just another in a long line of moments meant to elicit some kind of reaction she can build upon. [scoff]
- Cool Ranch
Whether or not this cocaine-flavored Dorito is to your taste, it's the ingredient that's been missing from the series for a while now. Pantygate may have been obnoxious and overblown, but it was also effective. Her biggest misstep isn't that she's fundamentally a shit-stirring gossip, or even that she got caught. It's that she doesn't ever roll with the punches. For example, when someone produces a video of you from a few years ago talking with a less dramatic affect than you have now, take a page from those who paved the way -- New York City's Sonja and Luann come to mind -- and just laugh it off. She may have nursed this leg of the franchise back to health, but she's shooting herself in the foot by responding to everything so defensively. Her exasperation is exhausting.
There's no doubt in my mind she and the barrel of rotting red potatoes she calls a husband will be back for a second season. Hopefully by then she'll have learned to lean into, if not the pettiness, then her eccentricities.
- Lisa Vanderpump
The quagmire of being seen as too British by her American friends and too American by everyone back in Europe is an interesting one. As is the fact that she never heard "I love you" growing up and made a conscious effort to be more emotionally available, if not to anyone in the room with her, then to her children and small animals. (There's also a brief, affecting mention of the friend who flew her and RinnUGH out to see the deformed pony having passed away.) Morsels of potentially great if not entirely new stuff, that are (once again) under-explored and, for whatever reason, don't really go anywhere.
The real problem is the huge generational divide; "woke" as she is when it comes to Yulin and LGBTQ rights, her defense of Cool Ranch on the grounds that Erika should be lax about Pantygate because of her stage persona is misguided at best. And for fuck's sake, she needs to take the false lashes down a size. From certain angles they make her look like Coraline's "Other Mother."
The idea of everyone except the cost-effective RinnUGH burying her dress somewhere in the Palm Springs desert in the dead of night once the reunion wraps brings us to Kyle. Overall, she continues her strong showing this season by remaining relatively quiet and filling in the gaps as needed. She's also continuing to serve up some unintentionally great face. However, the bombshell that she saves each of her finale and reunion outfits in a specific place in her closet like her own personal Babadook is an unfortunate bit of information that stuck with me for the remainder of the episode. Think how much her quality of life would improve if she'd just auction off the dress she wore in the season one finale and donate the money to charity, or used it to help buy back Kim's goddam house.
Through no real fault of her own, the worst that can be said about Eileen is that she never gave up trying to maintain eye contact with Andy and, given the option, would have preferred to rehash the dinner in Hong Kong with Erika from inside a hermetically sealed room via walkie-talkie. Seated where she was, so far from Andy and right next to Erika, the overall effect of her exchanges was like watching Philippe Petit walk between the Twin Towers.
Like Eileen, there are times where it's physically painful to watch Erika, who's struggling to regain the unprecedented level of control she established over both her image and the audience now that she's in the trenches with everyone else and subject to the same rules. A fingernail's length below the high watermark she herself set, it's interesting to see her overnight transition into the franchise's John McEnroe. "C'mon, Erika, get your head in the game!"
Mixed performance aside, she's still this week's MVP thanks to an excellent first round in the partner-less game of doubles she's playing with Paul and Cool Ranch. Try as they might -- in a game of their own design, no less -- they're simply no match for her.
- Whoever decided to ramp up the theatricality of the pre-reunion segment and position the whole affair as the found-footage horror movie it is
Job well done!