The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Finally Has A Semi-Successful Game Night
But it's not all fun and games.
Nothing's Been Resolved
Do yourself a favor and cut out the middleman. You'll miss never-before-seen energy from Camille, but there's really no reason to watch an unresolved retread of the last two episodes.
Here's the rundown: Eileen continues to debunk the myth that Lisa Vanderpump killed six of her family members -- and Lisa Rinna's father -- explaining that those deaths had nothing to do with why they fought last year. (I'm not sure that's actually it, but it feels close enough. Plus she's going to list the particulars a bunch anyway.) Meanwhile, Cool Ranch keeps missing the mark in conversation with Eileen and Erika, like the dented Ping-Pong ball she is. They go back and forth for a while: Cool Ranch alternating between hot and cold as it's wont to do, Eileen pointing out that she can hold her own because everyone thinks she blindsided Erika, Erika graciously confirming, Cool Ranch pretending it's all a joke, Eileen apologizing, Cool Ranch not understanding she won in a weird way.
Eileen's annoyed that nothing's resolved by the time she has to leave (same!), and Erika's annoyed Cool Ranch feels underappreciated as a flavor everyone enjoys because of its bitter aftertaste. Luckily, Kyle's game night is right around the corner and they can talk more then. Hey, someone has to ruin it.
Brooke's Baby Shower
Kim's daughter Brooke is pregnant, and Kyle's hosting the baby shower. She says that, while Kim has her issues, she's always been a great mom over the years. And you know what? I believe it. Kim looks good, too! Sure, she's wearing way too much blush in her talking head, so the overall effect is an angry magenta blur and the dress she brings to wear for the party -- which is lovely -- has one of those magnetic security tags filled with ink still attached to it. But you know, accidents happen...I hope.
Strange, But True
Lisa Rinna meets Eden in some hole-in-the-wall I think is a bar so they can talk about...sobriety? How quaint! Eden gives Rinna a crystal that's supposed to "clear toxic, emotional, old pains, which have instilled blockages in our energy." (Red flag: there's definitely something going on here what with the bullshit setting, bullshit gift, and bullshit alliance-forming.) In both the scene and her talking head, Rinna elaborates on her and Eden's connection and how they became fast friends because of all the overlap: an older sister who overdosed, a dead father, etc.
A waiter arrives to take their drink order. Eden orders water, and tells Rinna not to feel uncomfortable and to get a margarita if she wants one. This is when Eden reveals that she's in recovery, a moment that's undermined in part by the setting, but mostly by Rinna's cryptic asides which suggest that maybe she has her own substance abuse issues. (There is that story floating around that it's going to come out that one of the women is addicted to Xanax. I don't buy that it's Rinna, though.)
Talking about what her addiction/depression stems from, Eden tells a horrifying story about how, by the time she was born, her mother insisted on an early delivery because she was tired of being pregnant and wanted to go to the Hamptons: "I was born on a Friday and my mother left me on a Friday." Jesus.
Erika's gearing up to film the video for "XXpen$ive" and visits the set which, unlike this scene, is huge and elaborate. We deserve more!
Hollywood Game Night
Everyone remembers Dana's game night. If you don't, seek it out and learn your history. It's the reason why we get a lot of scenes at restaurants where nobody eats instead of scenes featuring Healthy Competition. Anyway, it's Kyle's turn to host. (Dorit, if you're reading this -- and as the new addition, you probably are -- take note of how Kyle acts before a party.)
I'll admit it: I thought this was going to be a disaster because of how much it's actively doing to get us from A to B. Setting the stage with tension between Kim and Rinna, who's running late; LVP poking the bear and making a knickers joke to Erika in front of Cool Ranch; etc. Then there's Eileen and Rinna, running late and briefly featured in their limo in a scene that hints at more rehashing but smartly (and awkwardly) drops it in favor of just getting them there. And of course the biggest set piece: making sure Kim ends up sitting across from Eileen and Rinna. Somehow though, they get through it.
There are small moments, like when Kim catches Eileen and Rinna rolling their eyes at her. It's smooth sailing for the most part, though, thanks to the ingenious decision to make teams irrelevant and throw half the women outside on the patio. Are there invasive, potentially risky games called things like Puppet designed to open the door for fighting? Absolutely, and thank god for the underlying tension, brief as it may be; game night runs so smoothly and at such a clip, there's barely any time to think about panty lines or dead parents because Eileen has to act out Will & Grace and Cool Ranch has to pretend she knows what Seinfeld is. It's wonderful!
The Inside Team wins, but it's sort of a meaningless title since everyone's running to and fro. One thing's for sure, though: Eden gets MVP. She's committed to her team, will do anything to win, and -- surprisingly -- is turning Cool Ranch on like you wouldn't believe. ("Eden is the type of girl that even a straight girl can fancy.") One minute she's asking Kyle if she's gay -- clearly, she missed it when Kyle offered a martini or a margarita to drink because Kyle's known Eden for all of ten minutes -- and the next, she's sprawled out opposite her by the pool, talking about her sex appeal. ...It's a lot. For the record: Eden isn't gay, but if she were, she would "take Erika home before Dorit," which is the right and only choice.
Then things go awry. Eileen tells Kyle she mentioned her in the Works Cited page of her fight with Cool Ranch. The problem is she doesn't tell the story right, so Kyle thinks she's saying...Kyle has no fucking clue what she's saying. They grab the bag of chips and throw it on the table. It's not long before everyone's seated for the show. Eileen and Cool Ranch spar a little; eventually Kyle gets involved to clarify that she said Erika was blindsided, not that she was holding any particular grudge. I've got to hand it to Cool Ranch: I really enjoyed seeing her tell Kyle that if she thought Erika was going to react negatively (honestly, who wouldn't?), why didn't she stop her from buying the underwear? Insane as it is to put that blame on Kyle. Everyone has gotten a few punches in when Erika taps her bedazzled staff on the patio and clears her throat, finally ready to talk. She says it's upsetting because it felt like everyone talked about her behind her back for a while afterward instead of telling her to close her legs the day of, and that it sucks. Kim breaks the tension by saying she can't believe not wearing underwear's such a big deal.
Instead of seguing to the credits like on a sitcom, though -- which is how the scene should end -- Kim uses her time on the floor to tell Eileen and Rinna that Frito, whatever her name is, has a point; they really do bounce off of one another. Then she says Rinna uses excuses to write her actions off all the time, so she's not surprised by what she's hearing. Which is valid, but wrong in this context considering that the point she and Eileen are trying to make is that their loss didn't affect their relationships with LVP whatsoever. They get into it and Rinna tells her that she was only so cruel to her because of what she said -- or didn't say -- about Harry in Amsterdam, which is something she'll never get over. (Thanks?)
Here's Rinna's major flaw: one minute, she takes the moral high ground and tells Kim she dealt her a low blow/is disgusting, and then suggests everyone talk about Kim's recent arrest the next. Kim was originally at fault, but for all her sermonizing, something Rinna forgets is that Kim is an addict and every day's a struggle; it's not healthy for her to live in the past, so Rinna's going to have to stop holding it against her and move on. Which she does-ish, thanks to Eden, who gets Kim to tell Rinna what she needs and vice versa because she can relate.
I don't think it'll stick because I, like Kim, don't think Lisa Rinna is that genuine. I don't think she's a bad person, I just think she's more concerned with people-pleasing and making money, and most importantly, just kind of awkward and empty. And that's fine! Nobody says the two have to be friends -- the producers would probably prefer it if they never were and things only escalated -- but it would be wise if both women (and the show) could just let it go and move on.
There are a lot of warning signs this week that the show's going to succumb to its worst qualities. It's not as balanced as it should be, but major kudos for sidestepping what's gotten it into trouble in the past a turning out a solid episode.