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'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: War parties

November 22, 2011 |  8:07 am

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"I don't want just 'ahhhh.' I want 'WOW!"

Wise words on any occasion, but these sentiments, uttered by Kevin Lee, wedding planner to the stars, could have stood in as the ethos of this entire episode, in which client Lisa approved $115 invitations for the wedding of daughter Pandora, Taylor threw a 200-plus-person fete for 5-year-old daughter Kennedy, Camille baldly confronted Taylor's hypocrisy over the remnants of Lisa's tea party, and Adrienne chided Lisa for choosing a competing venue in Las Vegas for Pandora's (200-person? Did I hear that right? Please tell me that was the wedding) bachelorette 'do.

I've long complained about the trumped-up events -- fashion shows, charity galas, safaris, one-hit wonders -- on most other "Housewives" shows, which are designed to  put forth the idea that these women do something besides inject their faces. But refreshingly, the ladies of Bev Hills, I believe, are entirely in earnest. "Real Housewives of Atlanta's" Nene and "Jersey's" Teresa Giudice became their family's breadwinners after the housing crash crashed their husbands' real-estate ventures. But Beverly Hills' richest are supported by the far more stable market of entertainment, and entertain they do.

That doesn't mean, however, that these entertainments are any fun. We launched with the stresses occasioned by Kennedy's birthday, which seemed to have something to do with the 20 children's tables not arriving. (Because God knows, children don't sit on the grass.) The event took place on a horse farm, complete with a bouncy house, a concert by an alleged "American Idol" alum, "Vance," and a cake with a burro-sized edible horse atop, where generally the sugary bride and groom would go.

And perhaps it was this unfortunate resemblance that made it all but impossible for the other ladies present to dwell on the exigencies of Taylor's marriage, which combine a bright public face with tragic private confessions, the two of which can apparently never meet in the light of day.

Next we arrived at Stage 1 of the choices for Pandora's bachelorette party, bridesmaids' gowns, and wedding invites. Those Vanderpump gals like 'em some blinged-out pink, and that's what they got: a candy-cloud confection with a diamond center for the bridesmaids to sport, and a $115-dollar rose-bedecked box for the wedding invites, which last Lisa was hard-pressed to refuse, since it matched the twinkly pink gown she was wearing completely. 

Do you get tired watching all of these parties? I get tired. It's all well and good to make a showing for a happy event, but when the show is for a guest barely potty-trained, like Kennedy, or involves a string of luxurious affairs, like Pandora's, one wonders how the aftermath can ever hold up. Taylor, is this appropriate preparation for Kennedy at age 6, which, in my memory, involved a lot of penmanship and quizzes on geography? Lisa, can any marriage require a string of celebrations longer than a Rolling Stones reunion tour? What's going to happen the minute Pandora rolls over and smells her husband's morning breath? There's no $115 tube of toothpaste for that.

When the economy was booming, such excesses seem harmless. But one cannot help but see the Marie Antoinette-esque cavorting as a blatant show of disregard in an economy in which people are stressing out over how to put food on the table for their children, not how to provide 20 tables for a child's birthday party. Even if you're not a socialist, at this point pure logic might direct the ladies to -- pun intended, Taylor -- rein it in. After all, someone needs to afford the cable to watch you all. Even if you're only telling us what kind of cake you'll eat.

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-- Lizzie Skurnick

Twitter.com/lizzieskurnick

Photo: "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" cast members, clockwise from upper left, Lisa Vanderpump, Adrienne Maloof, Taylor Armstrong, Kim Richards, Brandi Granville, Dana Wilkey, Kyle Richards and Camille Grammer. Credit: Richard McLaren / Bravo

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