‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ recap: Depth Charges
Say what you will for Punta Cana, D.R. -- it’s no Lanai, Hawaii. But devoted viewers of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” could be forgiven for momentarily thinking they’d been beamed back into last season’s "RHONJ" getaway.
There, denizens of Wayne also frolicked on white beaches, competed for the mini-est bikini, invaded each others’ suites, went off on a blue-water cruise, and had a tense dinner from which one couple departed in a massive huff.
But Beverly Hills is no Wayne. (Do the Bev Hills ladies even know where Wayne is?) On Lanai, where wandering valets spray you with water and offer cooling cucumber slices, the suites are posher, the vistas more beauteous, the bikinis expensiver -- and the stakes, despite those cucumber slices, much, much higher.
Last week, we were treated to the shattering news that Taylor and Russell Armstrong’s marriage is over. But, though the assembled debated mightily whether the breakup, not the first, would last, it was another couple that sucked up most of the drama -- the tardy Kim Armstrong and her incredibly creepy boyfriend, Ken:
I haven’t always taken Kyle’s side, as I think she is often a big ol’ troublemaker. But watching Kim offer strained smiles to Ken as they missed every event in a massive cloud of mutual passive-aggression made me sympathetic to her sometime drama-queen sister.
After a day exploring fish on a catamaran with the assembled, even Mauricio went from snorkeling to snarkling, pressing Kim and Ken on why they were 36 hours late. Before offering a toast “to truth,” he noted, “When you lie, it makes tension, and nobody can have fun.” Mauricio, thank you! I think this might actually be the first useful thing uttered in Real Housewives history. And if I couldn’t add the observation that being surrounded by cameras 24/7 might also inhibit a) truth and b) fun, I’d be on board with your philosophy entirely.
On a lighter note, as I continue my investigations of the "RHOBH" relationships, I can’t help but notice the secret to a happy marriage may be to have relatively little interest in your husband. After humorously tolerating Ken’s ogling of Brandi -- whose rattling limb structure makes "RHOATL" supermodel Cynthia look positively rotund -- Lisa laughingly sighed she might have to put out that night. Adrienne groused how much she missed her children while Paul dragged her to a romantic lookout, where she noted “I couldn’t be there for more than 10 minutes. I’d get bored.” And Mauricio, pleading for a moment of attention, practically had to physically remove Kyle from the wall where she was eavesdropping on her sister instead of sharing a birthday margarita with her strapping, emotionally needy, super-hot husbs.
But the most serious run-down of relationships in this episode occurred in the preview of the next. There, we’re treated to a shocking shot of Taylor with a visible -- if fading -- black eye.
On the one hand, it explains why Bravo has been unsparing in its treatment of Russell, building up the narrative that he was secretly an out-of-control bully until we, the viewers, could see the undeniable proof. But it makes one wonder -- what would have happened if Russell had lived? We know he sent a litigious email to Camille simply for repeating Taylor’s confession that he’d broken her jaw off-camera. What has Bravo known about the off-camera abuse these two years? And would they have risked getting a nasty email of their own?
— Lizzie Skurnick
Photo: "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" cast members (clockwise from top left): Lisa Vanderpump, Adrienne Maloof, Taylor Armstrong, Kim Richards, Brandi Granville, Dana Wilkey, Kyle Richards and Camille Grammer. Credit: Richard McLaren / Bravo