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'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: The truth will ouch

January 31, 2012 | 11:59 am


How does one attack the RHOBH three-part reunion? Does one nibble around it, like it's some overstuffed hamburger? Try simply to keep up, as with a quickly melting ice-cream cone? Come 20 minutes late to miss the previews?

Poor viewer -- it’s the middle choice, as this RHOBH will be difficult and drippy with only the crunchy cone of Andy Cohen to give it some structure.

Which isn’t to say one doesn’t like it. (The reunion show is the dessert of the Bravo series meal, after all.) And this one, while not deserving three parts, certainly can make use of them, what with the tragedy of Taylor’s marriage, Kim’s entry into rehab and Brandi’s insistence on forgoing a brassiere.

But let’s go to the first victim. Reluctant, understandably, to begin with the truly terrible tale of Taylor’s now-deceased husband Russell, Andy chose to launch with the viewers’ undeniably favorite Housewife Lisa, presumably because she can take it.

Not only has the lady declined the Juvaderm stretching positively balloon-tight the faces of her fellow cast-mates, she’s well-stocked with naughty humor, irony, goodwill and good advice, traits scattered erratically among the rest of the ladies.

And thus the assault was fairly severe. It began with a viewer’s query about Lisa’s more rounded derriere (a perennial theme with the Atlanta Housewives), which, if Taylor’s smug smile didn’t make clear enough, in Atlanta is a compliment, and in Bev Hills is a big Ba-Donk-a-Don’t.

Speaking of bad puns, we next returned to the saga of the “Maloof-Hoof” versus the “Vander Pump,” which Linda had quipped was coming to kick the, um, derriere of the former.

We’ve known Adrienne had been hurt by Lisa’s not holding her daughter’s bachelorette party at a hotel across the street from her own, but her depth of distress at this shoe-wear crime had not heretofore been fully explored. For five minutes, the ladies discussed whether Lisa's comment had been mean (even Camille thought it was), until Lisa declared she would make no jokes again. As a fellow pun-offender, I am fairly confident Lisa was guilty only of taking an opportunity to release this execrable play-on-words into the wild.

But the next accusation was far more extreme. Adrienne accused Lisa, repeatedly, of “selling” stories, meaning receiving a check for comments she gave to Radar Online, a publication, I confess, I was not aware still existed. Lisa’s response was so comprehensive and disgusted that even Adrienne finally shrugged and apologized. Kyle then cryptically uttered, “There’s more to it than meets the eye,” but refused to elaborate on this charge. Since she also accused Lisa of the vile crime of being her own screen saver on her iPad, I can only assume it is gadget-related.

But then we traveled on to the really awful tragedy of this season, which is not Russell’s suicide, but the specifics of the abuse Taylor says she suffered, such as epithet-filled texts and, according to an Us Weekly excerpt from her new book, having her head smashed against the wall of the car and being punched in the face.

She said she went on the show because she thought the cameras might control Russell. “At the end of the day, after a fight I used to just sometimes say, hit me so this can be over,” Taylor said, trembling.

However, this was not controversy-free. Camille sat up straight and told Taylor that she should have thought about going on a reality show in her situation, and that she didn’t appreciate being made the scapegoat about the "revelation" that Taylor was being beaten when Taylor had told them all about the alleged abuse off-camera. The question of whether Taylor had known about Russell’s angry email to Camille came up.

Previews for the next part of the reunion, which ran concurrently with the first episode, seem to suggest that Taylor will come under even more fire for the book, as will Brandi for her vulgarity, and Kyle, I presume, for doing those TurboTax ads that keep airing during breaks.

However, my question is, @BravoAndy, will poor Dana ever get a seat on the couch? Oh ignored, newly blown-out lady! If a million-dollar lollipop holder can’t even buy you a lick of screen time, these are dark, dark days indeed.


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— 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