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'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: Taylor in Wonderland

It was more than dueling children’s parties in Beverly Hills this week for the housewives. These parties served as a marker of the dividing lines between the two sides that seem to make up this show: the delusional, money-and-influence obsessed ones, with the others who at least have some sort of connection to Earth.

This week, both Taylor Armstrong and Kyle Richards had toddler-age daughters celebrating birthdays. Taylor’s party (and who are we kidding here? It was Taylor’s party more than her daughter’s) was beyond opulent. It was beautiful in a disgustingly exorbitant kind of way, with a "Mad Hatter" theme and tiny sandwiches and colorful deserts. It took place at the Houdini mansion ($10,000 to rent), had a musician performing a song for her daughter, Kennedy, and had champagne for the grownups. This, clearly, wasn’t a celebration of the life of this child; here was, instead, a commemoration of the anniversary of the time Taylor gave birth. Because everything has to be about Taylor, right? 

This episode was very revealing. Now we know, for the most part, who these women are. We saw them as mothers, and through their mothering we were able to get a glimpse of their character. This week said a lot about Taylor. The jury had been out on her from the beginning. She seemed sheepish, diminished by an awkward, wealthy husband who ran the household. In the first week, she talked about how she wanted to break out on her own, fearing that her husband would figure out that, despite all her plastic surgeon’s wizardry, she was aging. All that turned out to be rather disingenuous, and she came out this week as terribly self-centered, annoying and absurdly out of touch with reality.

She starts the episode at the jeweler finding the perfect diamond necklace for her 4-year-old daughter. The jeweler tells her, “Every girl needs a big, gorgeous diamond for her fourth birthday.” No, she doesn’t. She needs an empty box. A doll. Friends to play with.

“Kids’ parties in Beverly Hills have gotten out of control,” said Kim, whose daughter’s party was a bit more tempered, for Beverly Hills, at least. In her backyard was a moon bounce. A petting zoo. You know, fun stuff — things a kid would actually enjoy.

As usual, Lisa Vanderpump played a very important role this week. It says a lot about a show — or a city, if you believe that Beverly Hills is, indeed, like this — when a snarky British woman who time-traveled from a 1980s soap opera is the one grounded in reality. With her, we had a chance to see past her witty comments to what’s underneath: an insecure woman, scratching to find her place now that her children have left her an empty nest. She appeared to be a dedicated mother. Her face when her son, Max, made a surprise visit to her birthday lunch couldn’t have been manufactured for television. It was refreshingly genuine. (Not a word you use much with housewives, huh?)

And Lisa said she saw herself in Kyle with her children. She called it like she saw it with Taylor’s party, too. She saw what we at home saw: a miserable child, a mother soaking up the spotlight, and, oh, Taylor’s awkward and controlling husband.

Taylor rebutted with something straight from the Camille Grammer playbook (don’t worry, we’ll get to her shortly): I’m so generous. I did this all for my daughter. Lisa would rather just go out and buy herself more shoes.

“I’d rather throw a huge party for my daughter,” Taylor said. “That’s just how I am.” And, she added about daughter: “She's definitely a little overwhelmed.” (Actually, the poor child was miserable ... at her mother’s party.)

Speaking of self-absorbed, that brings us to Camille. There’s no debating that Camille would have sided with Taylor’s party, but she couldn’t attend as she was too busy getting away from the imagined stresses of California for Hawaii. And, my goodness, it is stressful in California. Having to instruct a servant on how to arrange the fruit on her kitchen counter and get her house manager (yeah, she has one of those) to plan her trip to Hawaii? Poor thing! No wonder she needs to get away!

“When Kelsey’s not around, it’s twice as much work,” she lamented. (For those keeping count at home, yes, she did reference husband Kelsey Grammer, again, for the 3,435,874,185th time.)

So, for Camille’s sake, let’s pause here momentarily for a little math lesson: When you multiply anything by zero, the product is zero. Thus:

[(Grammer Family - Kelsey) x Doing no actual work whatsoever] = 0

Nevertheless, Camille still must have the opportunity to rejuvenate. She needs the therapy of the beach, the paddle boarding and, apparently, the time to share a hot tub with a friend who looks like Rush Limbaugh’s creepier older brother. “I’m busy all the time,” she whines to the unsympathetic audience. “I run, like, several different homes.” She also takes the credit for her husband’s sobriety. And, in case you missed it last week, she launched Patricia Arquette to the super-stardom that comes from a warmed-over show anchoring CBS’ Friday night lineup and drawing in the crowd that watches Lifetime in the middle of the night.

Camille also wants us to know she gave away a car because, as she said, “Kelsey and I, we’re very generous people.” (Look! She mentioned him again!)

Meanwhile, we don’t hear much from the other Housewives this week. Kim Richards bounced around the screen a few times looking like Lamb Chop having gone through Extreme Makeover, revealing very little about her character. Which says a lot in and of itself.

Although we see very little of Adrienne Maloof this week, we are able to catch in a brief blink of the camera that she is actually tethered to the real world. She gave us the lesson of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” this week: Children are the great equalizer. You can own all the basketball teams in the world and all the casino-hotels in Las Vegas — you’re still going to have to wrangle with your kids to just sit down and eat their lunch.

Unless, of course, you’re Camille Grammer. You have a fleet of nannies for that.

— Rick Rojas

Photo: Taylor Armstrong. Credit: Adam Olszewski / Bravo

Comments () | Archives (15)

I love Lisa even more than I did before this episode after seeing her as a mom and how well her kids turned out. She was so sweet about the adopted son and about realizing that he may feel insecure about being the less acheived one AND the only one who isn't biological. It's actually says a lot about her that she acknowledges that and doesn't try to just make him fit the mold.
Oh Camille and Taylor. So very sad. I felt terrible for that poor 4 year old, my god that was pitiful when she was swining with the nanny while Taylor had a full-on photoshoot with herslef on the table, on the chairs, in her hat, with her cotton candy....

This Taylor person and her husband are just the most hideous of people. That party just made the kid miserable, as did the father make the mother miserable, on purpose. Which begs the question, why is a guy who filed Ch 7 bankruptcy liquidation spending $50K on his kids party? I actually like Lisa. She's funny and real. Well, real for Beverly Hills.

Wasn't it Kyle who had the second party? Kim's kids are grown. I love your article, though. Beautifully written.

i can't believe you didn't mention the "special song" at taylor's party..."you're beautiful...just like your mom." classic.

I actually had tears in my eyes when Lisa was discussing how much she loves her kids. She's the Real Thing.

I've got to admit - I like Lisa! I'm not proud to feel some like for a "housewife" but she's funny & pretty & un-surgeried & seems to have a touching relationship with her kids. The rest of them, lord help us...

I like Lisa, she's funny, good hearted and her gorgeous features actually look natural. And, Taylor aside, I don't think Kyle's $15,000 party for her daughter was a breath of reality either.

The only thing I don't like about watching this show is seeing how negatively Kyle treats her sister Kim. It's unpleasant to watch and I find her very unattractive because of it. Kyle tries to portray herself as a martyr but her behavior shows she's meanhearted. Bullying is not attractive, even if it's in the family!

I can honestly say that after watching these wives, I can say that I can't see how Kelsey stayed sober all these years living with Camille.She is truly the most self absorbed person I have ever seen. If someone had told me about her, I wouldn't of believed. She has 4 nannies for 2 children and all her other staff she has to oversee. She is so, so busy, please. She said they had 17 homes,who needs that many? Give to homeless organizations and then stop opening your mouth telling what a good person you are. All this show is showing is how plastic some people are. Good for Lisa and Kyle, maybe Kim if she would talk instead of always looking like a deer caught in the headlights. The other two are just disgusting forms taking about air on this planet. Glad Kelsey is leaving her and hopes he is happy and this new one isn't a plastic blonde, oh and that giggle she does all the time.

Absolute kudo's for the author of this article. You weren't afraid to tell what an idiot Camille is. And Taylor is following closely behind.Those party favors at Taylor's daughters party were ridiculous. She spent more on that party than some make a year. I love,love,love Lisa. She is aging beautifully and isn't afraid to tell her age or go without plastic surgery. They truly need to scrap this show and get rid of trash like Camille and Taylor,money doesn't by class and it truly shows with those two. Give Lisa her own talk show. She can counsel people about child rearing and marriage.Oh, and that Maloff woman with the casino's etc.. her children are out of control. I realize that they are young boys, but she couldn't even tell the twins apart, guess that is the nannies job. Maybe she could borrow one of Camille's nannies? This show is truly sad when you think about it,all this money and yet doesn't buy happiness, class, well-adjusted children with good values and especially manners.Let Lisa have a show and show them how it is done.But not even sure Lisa could help Camille, I do think she needs to crawl into a dark hole and never come out. YOU RULE LISA, show them how to have children's parties, actual parties for the child. Show them how to have children with manners and maybe Dr. Drew or Ford clinic won't see these kids in the next 10-15 years. These women, other than Lisa, should be embarassed at the way they look, act, live and love??? especially love their children. Again great writing about the episode.

O.M.G.I have never in my life seen such a narcissistic person as Camille...I hope Kelsey has a pre-nup and a good lawyer,so she is left with one house and no nannies!!!Seriously the fact that he has stayed sober with her as a wife is an amazing task.I couldnt believe when she asked the nanny how her sick child was,she hadnt even gone to see him herself.ugggh!!!!I hope Kelsy meets a nice woman who pays attention to him and his kids...Cause this woman is a self absorbed idiot!!!She is actually worse then Kelly from the New york house wives....And Taylor,"derrrrr" what kids wouldnt want a puppy over a necklace,you should be glad your husband gave her something she wanted for her birthday,cause it looked like to me it was the only thing she enjoyed about the whole day!!!!

I love the math equations! Classic! That had me laughing for awhile. Written in perfect form!

I love love love Kyle, Lisa, Adrienne.
Cammile is a little into herself ya think.

Oh my, you are spot on with this blog. Spot on, my man!!

I truly hope the women on this "reality" show are NOT for real. These women are a "disgrace to the race". I have never ever witnessed such shallow, self-a bsorbed, meaningless, narcistic, self-centered people in my life, including the husbands. I truly hope our society is not dependent upon these folks' values. I am not a prude. I just cannot believe the world in which these people function . . as if anything they worry about is for REAL!!! Get a real life, ladies. OMG!!

Lisa, Adrienne, Kyle----I like them all. They seem quite genuine in their own right as far as their character and portraying somewhat of a "down to earth" attitude..easy to spot and easy to admire.
Camille is in a league of her own (literally meaning "her own world"). Very easy to see she's just fooling herself in what she thinks she's portraying---which isn't "nice", "sincere" or just plain ole being responsible for yourself.
Now Kim....although a bit quirky I like her too...she's comes across as being "who she is" and that is that---no games....she's a keeper. Her quirkiness reminds me of ME... yikes.
Taylor---yikes......not good. Very pretendious and trying to be someone she's not but wants to want people to think she is. The sympathic emotions scenes as a sure sign of plain old insecurity---(minimizing the word "amazing" would be helpful also). She's heading in the direction of another Camille but I highly doubt she will ever get quite THAT FAR down the pier.
It's been a way more interesting series than I would've expected...probably my favorite of them all so far.


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