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'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: Is Kim Richards the new Kelly Bensimon?

October 22, 2010 | 12:03 pm

RichardsThis week, it was a lesson in relationships: Kim and her kids. Kim and Kyle. Camille and Kelsey. Adrienne and her husband. Taylor and her husband’s money.

It was Easter weekend in Beverly Hills, but the majority of the show seemed to be an exploration of the fun house that is Kim Richards' mind. She was all over the episode, twitching and frenetic like a jittery Chihuahua, confirming what I had suspected all along: She will be the designated crazy.

The “Housewives” editors use a certain trick to show which housewife they are going to paint as the delusional one, usually by having them say one thing in the interviews while showing the complete opposite in the footage. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s editing –- in the end, Kim is getting the Kelly Bensimon (“Satchels of gold!”) treatment.

To celebrate Easter, the Richards families (both Kim's and Kyle's) packed up and left for Palm Springs. Lisa Vanderpump and her family were their guests, and she brought a pair of exorbitantly expensive chocolate confections -- in the shape of a pair of red Louboutin shoes and a massive Easter bunny -- as a gift. Kim’s family loaded up the SUV for a road trip, an event, she says, during which she and her children always bond.

Begin the juxtaposition.

Kim says she’s a confidant to her children and that they have good communication as a family. Cue the video: a car full of kids blowing off the pleas of their mom to say something, anything.

Kim says they play games and have fun. The footage has Kim holding up a deck of cards, while kids ignore her.

Kim says that she’s her children’s friend. One of her daughters replies: “I don’t want to be your friend. I want to be your daughter.”

You can’t help but pity poor Kim. Even with the most favorable of editing, she would've still come across as a little off. When she wasn’t with her kids, she was arguing with her sister. (The two of them squabbled in a grocery store like two leathery-skinned kindergarteners.) And, then, she made the mistake of getting in the crosshairs of Lisa Vanderpump, who poked fun at Kim buying a butter substitute instead of the real thing. Kim tried to make some smart alecky comments. But, bless her heart, they might as well have replaced her comebacks with the muted trombone that played Charlie Brown’s teacher -– Kim made about as much sense.

(Thankfully, unless I missed it, Kim went this entire show without using the "because-I-was-a-child-actress” excuse, which seems to be her go-to response to just about anything.)

If the whole Kim ordeal wasn’t awkward enough, it’s just painful watching Camille Grammer now. We, the viewers, are let in on a little secret that she doesn’t yet know: Her marriage to actor Kelsey Grammer is over. And she genuinely seems to have no idea, running around redecorating their New York apartment and continuing to say she’s trying to evade his shadow while invoking his name at any moment possible.

Taylor Armstrong, the other housewife who wants to make something of herself without her husband, has only one substantive appearance in the show: She shops by having a store essentially come to her. Something she is able to do, she says, because of her husband’s wealth.

Meanwhile, Adrienne Maloof is off to Las Vegas for a photo shoot, providing an opportunity to see another odd Beverly Hills relationship moment between Adrienne and her plastic surgeon husband, Dr. Paul Nassif. We see a paunchy man and messy eater who just wants his turkey chili, sitting in a restaurant with the glamorous Adrienne, who gives him the affection of a kid brother. But it’s kind of endearing, in that weird reality TV kind of way, to see him jealous of the male model that gets to be in the photo shoot with Adrienne. He cleans up in a nice suit and shows up to shoot to tell the model he wouldn’t stand for any funny business with his wife. Plus, he would totally be in the photos, except thay he’s just so darned busy, since he is a doctor and all.

While this week was, indeed, a chance to look at these women's relationships, they are failing to do what is necessary to thrive in reality TV. They aren’t making it easy for us, the viewers, to have a relationship with them. They must learn the golden rule of the Order of the Housewife: You can love me, you can hate me. But if you’re indifferent, the show is dead.

-- Rick Rojas

Photo: Kim Richards. Credit: Adam Olszewski / Bravo