Although not a whole lot happened on last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (a half-hearted stripper class, a party with no alcohol, a faux-peacemaking between Brandi and Joyce), it was one of the more entertaining episodes of the season. Everyone was a bit looser than usual and joking around with each other, and that’s where the interesting nuggets (like another moment of Kyle impersonating Lisa) come out. (more…)

We took a couple weeks off from your regularly scheduled Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recaps to do the whole Christmas-New Year’s-Polar Vortex thing, but now we’re back with more observations about everyone’s favorite overprivileged Southern California nutcases (and Lisa). (more…)

Last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, dramatic as it was at times, felt uneven and transitional to me. By the end of the episode, it seemed as though it had been constructed entirely so that Brandi’s dognapping crisis wouldn’t crowd out drama from last week, which had enough constructed storylines on its own. So the Palm Springs trip got two full episodes instead of the one or one-and-a-half that it was intended to get, and we got to watch Carlton play with squirrels while we waited to hear the cause of Brandi’s phone call freakout. Why did it have to be the dog? I hate it when bad things happen to dogs.

1. It’s nice when people act like humans. Let the record indicate that Lisa does pretty consistently stand up for people when they’re being thrown under busses, even if a person being attacked isn’t traditionally her ally or the person doing the throwing is. Lisa plays into this show’s dynamics in pretty smart ways, and she doesn’t let her “alliances” stop her from being rational and human. Also pretty human: Yolanda, who went to comfort Kyle before anyone else even though they are clearly not in great standing with each other in general.

2. Brandi is drunk through the television. She sweated her weave out and everything. I can smell her from here.

3. Did anyone else catch the non-contextual shot of Kyle swimming by in giant chandelier earrings? That’s the kind of absurdity that I really prize in this show.

4. Brandi and Carlton are the reality TV equivalent of two coeds making out in a bar to impress frat boys. Except they are both grown and we are the frat boys. I did not sign up to be a frat boy. (Do I get a paddle? If so, I’d like to receive mine now so I can hit myself in the face with it until we get to stop watching Brandi and Carlton flirt with each other.)

5. Wresting a bottle of wine out of a drunk woman’s hand is a reasonable thing to do. Brandi probably has some sort of drinking problem, and although Yolanda thinks Lisa is the fun police, it’s natural to be worried about someone who is already drunk, making a fool of themselves in front of a camera crew and setting themselves only to get worse as the night wears on. Sometimes, someone has to be the fun police so fun can live to fight another day.

6. I got both motion sickness and a bit of the spins from the tram ride to the top of the mountain. I am very indoorsy.

7. Those squirrels are running a pretty good scam. “We’re communing with nature! Look at this little guy! Animals feel safe with me because I am very spiritual!” “Yeah, lady, just give me a Cheez-It.”

8. Brand’s dog was kidnapped. I have no words about that. It is just very sad, and a reminder that showing your house on TV is probably a little bit terrifying because someone with nothing better to do will always figure out where it is and when you’re out of town.

9. Andy played a clip of Joyce making out with Fabio on WWHL. Not technically from this episode, but I couldn’t just depart on the missing dog note. I didn’t have it in me. Fabio! Joyce! So much hair, you guys. All of the follicles.

Handbag count: One Prada Madras tote, one of Brandi’s ever-present Stella McCartney Falabellas.

I would love Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and all of the other “Housewives” shows) infinitely more if the casts were forced to travel for the entire season. No matter where Bravo sends these women, being away from home always, always results in more drama, fights and memorable moments than would have happened within the safe confines of their homes cities. Can you imagine it? Like a reality TV version of Semester at Sea. (Did MTV do that already?) Anyway, on last night’s episode, the cast decamped to Palm Springs for a short sojourn for no reason in particular, and as we’ve come to expect by now, Brandi started stirring the pot on arrival. (more…)

Last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills felt a little bit…transitional. It was like the reality version of a police procedural; we saw a lot of behind-the-scenes machinations, the careful formations of tentative alliances, oblique discussion of topics over which there shall be much screaming in the future. Also, there was Stevie Wonder. Hi, Stevie! (more…)

For an episode where most of the cast spent half their allotted 44 minutes hanging upside down, last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was about as dramatic as you could ask. We still didn’t get to see Kyle address the cheating rumors directly with Mauricio, or Mauricio address them all, which is really what I’m waiting for. We’ve had at least one commenter come through here in past seasons saying that Mauricio was just this kind of dirtbag when she used to work with him, and I think it’s instructive to watch people address these kinds of accusations. (Armchair body language expert is my second career.) While we wait for that, the Beverly Hills wives have taken a note from Orange County and chosen to argue about who is or is not a bully.

1. Carlton and Brandi went to a lingerie shop, because… Brand and Carlton are both overly willing to talk about sex, their bodies and how they like to have sex with their bodies, so I suppose that sending them both to try on lingerie didn’t really require any sort of explanation or plot justification. And it didn’t get one!

2. Kim thought it would be fun for everybody to go to acrobat school. Kim generally doesn’t seem all that steady on her feet on flat ground, but she won’t let that stop her from dreamin’ big, bless her heart. Can someone put some extra pads on the floor?

3. Joyce would once again like to remind you that she frequently has intercourse with her husband! Balls! Juggling balls, you guys! Joyce wants you to know that she’s good at juggling balls, wink wink nudge nudge. She wants you to know that she has put her hands on her husband’s testicles in the past 24 hours, and it was not the first time she ever did it. Do you believe her? She desperately wants you to believe her. Just tell her that you do or she will continue to talk about it and oh man can we not? Can we just skip that part?

4. It must be convenient to be able to raid Yolanda’s closet. Also, it must be convenient to be able to fit into Yolanda’s clothes! I would settle for just that part.

5. Lisa got a puppy! PUPPY PUPPY PUPPY PUPPY PUPPY I HAVE NO THOUGHTS EXCEPT PUPPYYYYYY OMG DID YOU SEE THAT FACE AND THEY NAMED IT BUTTSEX.

6. Arguments about nothing! If being an adult means sitting around at a niche group fitness class and bickering about who gets to talk in what order and about what, I’ll pass. Send me back to preschool. At least preschoolers get naptime and juice boxes.

7. You can tell who’s really vain and who’s not by their acrobat class hairstyle choices. Some of the cast mates, when told that they’d be swinging around and upside down at circus school, put their hairs in sensible ponytails (Yolanda, Carlton, Kim and Brandi after a while), some left theirs down (Lisa and Kyle) and some had theirs professionally curled and coiffed like they were going to a cocktail party (Joyce). I’m reading into it.

8. Prom looks way different in Beverly Hills in 2013 than it did in suburban Atlanta in 2004. 2013 California prom looks a lot more stylish and modern, but I, for one, think that prom should be a time for full kitsch and taffeta and rhinestones. Although not even I played by those rules, I suppose. My prom dress was black. Like my heart.

9. I already don’t care about the Brandi-Kyle drama. Did Kyle or someone in her “camp” tell the paparazzi that Brandi is a bully? Maybe! I’m not sure, mostly because I found Kyle’s beaded-fringe epaulets distracting.

10. Joyce needs drama to make herself an interesting addition to the show. She’s figured out that much, but apparently she’s not quite far enough into New Housewife Training to figure out that Lisa is perhaps not the person with whom to pick that fight. Even if Joyce was right (and I’m not particularly convinced that the Flyaway Hair Incident was really even a thing), Lisa is quick and she is cold and she is British, so she will cut you and she will sound correct and polite and authoritative while she does it. Lisa could throw someone off a cruise ship and a lot of people (me included!) would be tempted to find a way to justify it. Lisa is like the big boss you have to beat at the end of a video game. Not for beginners.

Handbag count: One Chanel backpack, one Chanel Grand Shopping Tote and two Louis Vuitton monogram totes, all used as gym bags, one Alexander Wang Whipstitch tote, one Valentino Rockstud Tote and one Louis Vuitton Limelight Clutch.

In this, the third episode of this season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, things kicked into full gear. Bravo teased us by promising to make everyone talk about whether or not Kyle’s husband is cheating on her (which is still undetermined, at least as far as the show’s plot goes), but for me, newcomer Carlton proved the most interesting of the attention-vacuums. She has a confessional in her home, but don’t ask her about Catholicism when she invites you over. She’s a witch, but don’t ask her about being a witch. Carlton thinks you are all very rude, even if she hasn’t met you yet. Except Brandi. Carlton loves Brandi, probably because Brandi is pretty and that’s the most important thing about a person. I don’t even care about Kyle and her slimy husband when the alternative is listening to Carlton talk herself in circles about nonsense.

1. I have never lounged in lingerie with my ladyfriends. And I definitely don’t take off my lingerie and take a bath in front of them. I am clearly not cut out for reality TV stardom.

2. Joyce can crown people “Queen of the Universe.” Because she decided that she can! The level of self-regard required to wake up one morning and decide that you are qualified to appoint someone Queen of the Universe must be astounding. Also, what about all the alien women who haven’t been considered for this title? They live in the universe. Some of them might be hot. This all sounds really subjective and maybe even discriminatory. Against aliens.

3. No uggos for Carlton. Her nanny is hot because she only wants her son to be around hot women. There is absolutely no chance of that parenting attitude turning a little boy into an absolute woman-hating nightmare when he grows up. Not at all. Perish the thought. Also, Carlton also doesn’t like to be around average-looking chicks herself, because never forget, ladies: the way you look is what makes you a good or bad person.

4. Yolanda’s blonde looks good this season. Her hair was a little touch-and-go sometimes last year, but I’d imagine that seeing yourself from all angles on camera will get that kind of thing fixed up real quick when you have resources like Yolanda’s.

5. Brandi’s boyfriend didn’t seem all that bummed about getting dumped on camera. I’m not entirely convinced he was her boyfriend to begin with. “Ambitious real estate agent with benefits” sounds more likely.

6. Lisa got kicked off Dancing with the Stars. Speaking of people who didn’t seem all that bummed.

7. Among the things that Carlton thinks is inappropriate: asking if she’s Catholic. Sure, decorate your entire cathedral of a house in religious iconography (complete with an actual confessional) and layer yourself in crosses, but how dare anyone ask if your aesthetic was inspired by a Catholic upbringing? How offensive that anyone intimate you might have a thought or two about the Pope rolling around in your head.

8. Also offensive to Carlton: asking if she’s a witch. I mean, she is a witch. But don’t ask her about that.

9. Not offensive: calling Carlton a c-u-next-tuesday. Well.

10. Joyce doth protest too much. Her man is the best lover ever! Her man is so big! Her man is perfect! The more she brags, the more convinced I become that he has someone chained up in a basement sex dungeon or something.

11. It’s women’s own fault that we aren’t in charge of things. Carlton solved feminism, everybody! It’s not systematic discrimination or structural sexism or internalized misogyny or anything! It’s just us, being inferior and dumb and catty.

12. Is Mauricio cheating? Maybe? Probably? Aren’t most of the the cast members’ husbands cheating, if Real Housewives history has taught us anything? Whatever the actual answer is, bringing it up in front of the whole group at what was supposed to be a rather innocuous lunch seemed a tad cruel, even to someone like me who can’t stand Kyle most of the time. It’s the type of thing that’s going to get shouted about at a party eventually, of course, but reality TV etiquette at least requires you to whisper about it with feigned discretion for a couple of episodes first.

Episode handbag count: Two Hermes Birkins, one Chanel 2.55 Reissue Bag, two Stella McCartney Falabella bags, one Sophie Hulme Envelope Clutch and one Reed Krakoff Boxer Tote.

I was on vacation at the beginning of last week, so our return to recapping Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is getting a late start, but we’re back! Based on the previews, it looks like the season’s fireworks will really get going next week when all those cheating allegations about Kyle’s husband works their way to the surface. We can only deal with the present right now, though, so let’s have our first recap in quite a while. (more…)

I guess I forgot that Real Housewives of Orange County had so much drama to cover. Normally I’m bored by the middle installment of a three-part reunion, but I found myself reasonably entertained last night, from Gretchen’s manila folder full of tweets (how do you even print a tweet?) to Lydia’s explanation of why she doesn’t do her own laundry – she doesn’t have to. (That is, incidentally, also why I don’t do my own laundry, although I take it to the lady down the street instead of having my nonexistent household help do it for me.)

1. Vicki’s face looks a lot better now that her plastic surgery has settled down. If we’ve learned anything this season, we’ve learned this: If you’re on a reality TV show and planning on getting some plastic surgery, get it as soon as your season ends so the swelling and bruising are gone by the time you have to film again. Being a veteran at this sort of scheduling, you’d think Vicki would have planned ahead.

2. Maybe I’m dumb, but I think Tamra might have actually changed a little bit. Tamra has been a mean girl for a long, long time, but if anyone has a past that explains it, she does. I don’t ever have much faith that anyone on reality TV will use the experience to evolve as a human being (devolve is a completely different story), but it’s a titanic victory of self-awareness to be able to connect your actions to their motivating neuroses and identify behaviors you’d like to change, and Tamra’s done that work. I can’t honestly say the same of anyone else I can think of on any Housewives franchise, so I think she’s earned a little credit. Being able to be a better, more functional person going forward is a whole different step, but at least she’s made it this far.

3. Gretchen came armed with a lot of evidence, but nothing really proved what she claimed it did. She had a voicemail from her agent about Malibu Country, but it didn’t prove anything beyond what we already knew from other people on the cast. She had emails from Tamra saying that she still didn’t like Alexis, but Gretchen had thrown such a hissy fit over her coming to Tamra’s dress appointment that it seemed plausible that Tamra would just tell her what she wanted to hear to get things temporarily resolved. I’ve had that friend. I lied to her all the time just to avoid her whining.

4. So THAT’s what happened with Heather and Gretchen’s warring TV roles. For the first time this season, the whole Malibu Country kerfuffle seemed clear to me. The show was toying with having a Housewife appear as a guest, and when they decided to have Heather appear in a slightly larger role, the other spot went away – the casting people had laid groundwork for both options and one worked out, obviating the need for the other. Well, if they had just explained that earlier, maybe I would have cared about that plot line before now.

5. Everyone is so sick of Gretchen that it’s starting to make me paranoid about whether or not she’s being set up. When everyone agrees too wholeheartedly about someone’s general dastardliness at a Real Housewives reunion, it makes me suspicious. It’s so rare that five out of six cast members on this show agree on anything that it starts to feel a bit too neat and tidy, although if anyone were to be set up as the villain, Gretchen’s certainly an easy target. She’s so smug, makeup-shellacked and Slade-covered that who would ever believe her? I certainly don’t, despite my vaguely tingling spidey senses.

6. They lost me at the Alexis “bullying” stuff. We’re being mean to Gretchen now, try and keep up.

7. Watching someone cry with a face full of Botox is horrifying. Gretchen’s tears looked sincere, as much as anything on this show looks sincere; I don’t know how someone can cry that hard over Slade Smiley, but she definitely did. Watching her paralyzed face trying to contort itself into a display of emotion, on the other hand, was beyond belief. Can you pull a muscle in your face? If it’s possible, I bet Gretchen did it while her visage struggled to pull itself into a shape resembling human sadness.

8. Somehow, Bravo managed to make next week’s reunion finale look interesting. This part of the reunion was pretty interesting too, and last week’s wasn’t bad. I didn’t expect that Bravo would be able to pull three hours of reunion drama out of this rather innocuous season, but they did it. Congrats. Sort of.

Unfortunately, we won’t be having a recap next week because I’ll be on vacation. I’ll be watching, though – are you looking forward to watching Brianna confront Brooks?

Keeping Up With The Kardashians recapper extraordinaire Emily is in the middle of moving today and didn’t have cable set up in time to catch KUWTK last night (and I only keep up with the Kardashians via editing Emily’s recaps), so today, instead of a recap, we’ll have an open discussion thread for you guys to get your thoughts about last night’s episode off your chest. Or, you know, your generalized Kardashian thoughts. Those are welcome too. Compliments on my awesome Kim side-eye screen grab up top are also allowed.

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