The PurseBlog team took yesterday off for MLK’s birthday, so today’s recap of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is going to be a little different. Instead of our usual blow-by-blow, I’ve assembled a list of interesting (and, to be honest, sometimes not-so-interesting) things from last night’s episode to get the discussion going.

It wasn’t as fascinating or action-packed an evening as we’re perhaps accustomed to from the Beverly Hills wives, but there were blessedly few plugs for Vanderpump Rules and a random Paris Hilton cameo, so I can’t complain too much. That won’t stop me, though.

1. Kyle dropped the F bomb at dinner. For a woman who was recently so scandalized at Brandi’s use of the f-word during a communal meal, Kyle certainly managed to bellow it for all to hear during her own dinner party. This is my unimpressed face.

2. The cast is finally saying what we’ve all been saying – Taylor makes everything about herself. As tedious and casually racist (we’ll get to that in a minute) as I find Yolanda, she’s pretty quick on the uptake when it comes to Taylor’s tendency to bend every narrative to bolster her own. Camille, who is increasingly the group’s voice of reason, also seemed tired of Taylor’s efforts to ensure that all roads lead to her dead grifter husband.

3. Ken’s efforts to be a gentleman only made Mauricio look worse. Mauricio has been on a one-man mission to bulldoze all of his own good press all season, and that campaign continued into last night’s episode. Did he just develop that smug face in the past few months? Did he get some ill-placed Botox that has frozen it like that? The world may never know. What we do know, on the other hand, is that Lisa’s husband’s attempts to stop Mauricio from publicly berating a single mom (whose side of the story he has admittedly never bothered to hear) about how she should live her life only made Mauricio look like more of a jerk. The whole thing doesn’t reflect well on Kyle, either – it’s interesting that all the peripheral characters who seem to hate Brandi so much are the ones brought around by Kyle, isn’t it?

4. Kyle and Mauricio’s dinner with Adrienne and Paul read like a team meeting. Adrienne and Paul aren’t doing themselves any PR favors so far, and their get-together with Mauricio and Kyle to check on the status of their alliances and discuss strategy just made the whole thing, including Kyle’s and Mauricio’s involvement, seem craven and planned. At least when Lisa and Brandi talk strategy, Lisa tries to advise her on how to avoid these conflicts in the future and work toward making peace and not attracting more attention to herself. Even if it’s just for the cameras, it’s a much more savvy face to put forward.

5. Adrienne and Paul went to NYC to “get some fresh air.” As a resident of the city, I’d like them to elaborate on where, exactly, they found fresh air.

6. Yolanda’s casual racism reared its head again. While instructing some movers on where to place furniture in her ex-husband’s latest house, Yolanda jumped on one of them for speaking Spanish to another, despite the fact that he spoke English just fine to her and understood what she was saying. Mind your own business, Yolanda. Two native speakers of any language are allowed to speak that language to each other whenever they’d like, without your or anyone else’s approval.

7. Faye Resnick thinks that Avril Lavigne and Nick Lachey are A-listers. Presented without comment.

8. Speaking people who are not A-listers, Paris Hilton made a cameo. Mostly, the point of Paris’ pop-up seemed to be her desire to remind us that she is still trying to make her singing career happen, including an upcoming concert in Brazil where she’s “closing” for Jennifer Lopez. (Note: “closing” for someone at a concert is not a real thing.)

9. That Marisa person is not super excited about her husband. If you want your marriage to improve, or even to last through the end of the year, it’s probably not wise to tell a bunch of reality TV cameras that you don’t love him as much as he loves you in pursuit of a spot on a Bravo TV show. She seems generally pretty reasonable, but that’s not a good look, honey.

10. Mauricio tried to make peace with Ken with a bottle of gin instead of an apology. Ken and Lisa own bars and restaurants, so throwing them a gratis bottle of booze is not exactly the kind of thing that will make an impression. You know what would make an impression? Actually, you know, actually apologizing! And maybe apologizing to Lisa and Brandi instead of wanting to deal with the only dude involved, who was not actually the harmed party. To his credit, Ken seemed to realize just how ridiculous and lame the whole thing was.

11. Kim has a portal to another dimension in her house, apparently. No word on whether or not her psychic is as committed to sobriety as Kim is.

Without a doubt, this season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will go down in Bravo lore as The Brandi Season. Her various dramas and sit-downs bookended this episode, and despite Lisa’s efforts to integrate Vanderpump Rules into the storyline, Brandi and how people react to her, be it positive or negative, is really the person holding the entire thing together. She’s beautiful, flawed, loud-mouthed and often right, which is perhaps the perfect recipe for Real Housewives stardom. Are we sure that Brandi isn’t a robot that Bravo built in the basement at Rockefeller Center?

I really hate it when Bravo starts by forcing us to re-watch most of a scene that we already watched last week. That’s what happened at the top of last night’s episode; we were thrust back into Sur to watch Brandi and Scheana blubber at each other once again, but instead of following Scheana into Vanderpump Rules like we did last week, we followed Brandi into another section of the restaurant, where she sat down to drink pink wine with Lisa and rehash what had been said mere moments before.

Brandi then expanded a bit on how she had viewed her marriage while she was still in it, and apparently there weren’t all that many warning signs, at least not when she and Eddie were physically together. Watching her well up with emotion was unsettling (I’m not good with feelings. Ask Megs.), mostly because it seemed genuine. Relationship are hard, but breakups are harder.

Thankfully, we switched away from the feelings and toward Yolanda’s own subtle variety of insanity. Kyle was visiting her at home and they talked about cleansing and only eating lemon juice for 10 days and how it makes your brain all fancy and sharp. Sugar water for 10 days! Sounds super healthy and not at all like something that people who have disordered relationships with food do. Yolanda may or may not have also hinted at the stupefyingly incorrect idea that it might cure Kim’s alcoholism. Or at least “change her decision-making.” Which, when speaking about Kim and her problems, is sort of the same thing.

While Kyle was pretending to go on a cleanse in order to appease the Flying Dutchwoman, Kim was having a meeting with her life coach. Despite the often scammy nature of life coaches, the conversation she had with her “coach” was about a thousand times more sane and grounded than Kyle and Yolanda’s super-serious talk over spicy lemon water. They posited Kim’s relationship with Kyle is skewed because Kim is no longer drunk all the time and can finally see that Kyle is maybe not a nice person. Sounds plausible to me.

Next up was Lisa, who was trying a new special at Villa Blanca that involved beef and crab risotto and personally tending to the utterly enormous flower arrangements at the front of the house. Meanwhile, Ken and the household staff were constructing a flower-dotted tree swing made entirely out of pink and ribbons and loveliness in the back yard. Lisa came home and swung and continued to have the life of which every single girl on the planet dreams, and Ken pushed her and suggested that they celebrate their anniversary by renewing their vows. I would hate Lisa if I didn’t love her so much.

The show quickly snapped back to reality by sending us straight to dinner with Kyle and that Marisa person who is not a housewife yet but might be someday if she can insert herself in enough drama over the next few weeks. Brandi was the first to arrive (and apparently hadn’t been told that dinner was on the floor because she was wearing a short, tight dress) and announced that she was about to be sued by Adrienne and Paul unless she promises, cross her heart and hope to die, that she won’t ever talk about them again. Will she promise that? Unclear.

The rest of the group, including Lisa, Yolanda, Marisa’s husband, Mauricio and Kim, started arriving shortly thereafter. Marisa’s brother also showed up for reasons that weren’t immediately apparent. Once Kim arrived, Yolanda started questioning her about the Master Cleanse and whether or not she was going to do it, and Kim said that she no longer could because she just couldn’t, ok? She didn’t really have a good explanation as for why, so I’ll go ahead and give one for her: because cleanses like those are terrible pseudo-science BS. (That “high” people talk about? That’s an anorexic’s high. Google it.) If you’re going to torture yourself with a cleanse, at least do one that provides significant nutritional value beyond the sugar calories of maple syrup. Drink some green juice or something. (Ok, fine, I’ll hop off my soapbox now. And yes, I’ve done cleanses. NEVER AGAIN.)

When everyone finally settled into their seats, most of the group took the opportunity to complain about the restaurant’s bad service. Not Kim, though – she sidled up to Kyle to talk about reconciliation and moving forward, and she mostly did the talking while Kyle sat there and tried not to say anything wrong, or anything at all. I’m not entirely sure how the conversation ended, mostly because I got bored.

Elsewhere, Taylor stopped talking about the service and started talking about her troubles with dating and how she still felt like she was cheating on her dead husband. Talk then turned to how Adrienne and Paul are suing Brandi, and somehow, Taylor was suddenly holding Brandi’s hand and encouraging her to stand strong and not to back down and not to cry when people gang up on her. Taylor was also trying to rope Camille into the whole sister-friend lovefest, but she was having none of it. We all remember when Taylor was ready to throw bows on Brandi like three episodes ago, right? And now they’re two ladies fighting the good fight in tandem? What?

Pretty soon, the rest of the group started talking about the lawsuit and Brandi’s comments, and Mauricio made himself look like a giant jerk over this subject all over again. I still haven’t figured out why exactly he feels so entitled to be the last word on the Brandi-Adrienne conflict, but his smug attitude about it has quickly worn away more or less all of the affection I’ve built up for him over the past two seasons. He wouldn’t stop telling Brandi to call Adrienne, and he wouldn’t even shut up about it even when Ken (correctly) suggested that once lawsuit threats have been thrown, any halfway decent lawyer will tell you that you shouldn’t contact the other person at all. Why? Because that’s a good way to get harassment added to the lawsuit.

Mauricio’s brilliant advice? Ignore your lawyer. I’ve gotta agree with Brandi on this one: he would do well to shut the eff up. To be fair, Brandi would also do well to shut up about the difference between whether or not what she said about Kim was untrue or simply incorrect. If you’re going to be a self-described “truth cannon,” it’s best also to be able to graciously admit when you’ve gone afoul of reality.

In the middle of all the yelling and all the extra people at the dinner, it might have been easy to lose one of the most interesting details of the episode: Lisa and Ken both acknowledged that what Brandi had said was true. It was sort of a private aside between the two of them, but Bravo cameras caught it and producers were sure to include it. Sometimes I get the feeling that Bravo producers are talking to us and taking sides through their editing choices, and that was one of those moments. Looks like we know where the network stands on Brandi’s comments.

Last night was half an episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, half extended preview for Lisa’s new show, Vanderpump Rules, which managed to turn the entire evening into a nearly seamless two hour event of Vanderpumpian proportions. We’re not recapping Lisa’s show, but we are taking last night’s recap all the way up to the very precipice of Housewifery. Let’s all hope we don’t teeter over into the abyss of restaurant reality TV.

Unbelievably, we started right back at that dinner party. Remember the dinner party? With Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick? From like a month ago? Well, we were right back there with Brandi removing herself from the situation and Faye looking smug and victorious with her fake-tan-fake-hair matching system. If you thought that Faye might redeem herself afterward, as if she had just gotten caught up in the argument and knew she had gone too far in the aftermath, your hopes were quickly dashed. She went on to talk down to Lisa and the rest of the table about anything that might come up, and I’m genuinely sad that Lisa is too much of an adult to have given Faye the verbal reaming that she so desperately deserved. In particular, it was rich irony for Faye to complain that Lisa is a puppet master when Kyle had so clearly brought Faye in to do the dirty work of insulting Brandi to keep her own hands clean. For her part, Kyle didn’t even think to try and stop one of her guests from being run out of the room until Lisa suggested it. Some hostess.

The next day, at Taylor’s house, some sort of healer-psychic-crazy person (aren’t they generally called “energists” on this show?) who knows someone who is somehow associated with Oprah (which excited Taylor) came over to sit in the parlor and give out beads and perch on a settee and talk to the voices in her head. To Taylor’s minimal credit, she seemed pretty dubious of the entire thing from the start, but once the psychic started telling her what she obviously wanted to hear, she had Taylor’s rapt attention. The psychic wrapped up the appointment by revealing what really happened to Princess Diana, which we couldn’t hear because obviously the general public can’t handle it when people drop those kinds of truth bombs.

At Kyle’s house, that reasonable Marisa person from the dinner party came over for a private yoga session with Kyle’s instructor to work out the stress of the failed dinner party. Instead of actually paying any attention to the dude they were probably paying top dollar to put them into poses poolside, Kyle and Marisa gossiped about the party the entire time, and Kyle defended Faye by claiming that she just doesn’t buy Brandi’s apology. What was not addressed was why the veracity of Brandi’s apology was any of her damn business in the first place. (Spoiler alert: It never was and still isn’t.)

Then, of course, it was time for us to visit Brandi and Lisa. They were shopping (in a boutique that looked as though it was chosen for Brandi’s budget rather than Lisa’s), and instead of having any discussion about the dinner party, they did a little bit of promo work to get us interested in Vanderpump Rules. Lisa asked Brandi if she’d like to meet with Scheana, the cocktail waitress who schtupped her husband while she was pregnant. Brandi blames her for breaking up her marriage, which is kind of silly – the only people who can break up a marriage are the people who are in it. I understand not having warm and fuzzy feelings for Scheana (who “didn’t know” that her actor boyfriend was married and apparently never bothered to, you know, Google the reasonably famous dude she was dating), but to get over being cheated on, I think it’s important to place the blame on the person who cheated on you, first and foremost. Brandi’s not doing that, and she doesn’t seem like she’s been able to put any of it behind her. Still, she agreed to meet with Scheana. Lisa is her primary protector, after all, and it’s important to shill for her show.

Back at Taylor’s house, the psychic had vacated the premises and Taylor’s lawyers had conveniently called to discuss a possible settlement to the lawsuit. By now, we all know what the terms were: Taylor’s wedding rings and two of her Hermes bags, which were later found to be fakes. Taylor got appropriately upset at the idea of giving away her wedding rings from her dead husband, but she had little choice since she has no other assets.

Over at Yolanda’s house, she was cooking for her kids and lecturing her model daughter (and the rest of us) about how girls shouldn’t play sports because that’s masculine, and playing volleyball made her fear that Gigi was a lesbian. So let me get this straight: Women should work out like maniacs to maintain their bodies to please their men, but working out for pleasure or for the pursuit of sport and competition is a bad thing that should be restricted to women who don’t want to date dudes. Also, modeling is a feminine activity, and it’s therefore a positive and appropriate activity for a teenager, but not team sports. Ok then.

At Camille’s house, Brandi came over for a Divorce Summit to discuss the states of their respective former marriages. Camille’s kids aren’t allowed to say her name or call her mom in Frasier’s house, which is ridiculous and demonstrates the immaturity and insecurity of the people involved on the other side. In Brandi’s case, she was weighing whether or not to meet with Scheana, and Camille advised her to go ahead and do it. We all know that Brandi does do it, so it was kind of an anticlimactic conversation overall.

Next up, improbably, was Adrienne. She had been totally absent since the episode before last, at which point she and Paul had reportedly stopped filming entirely after their blowup with Brandi. Her return didn’t address any of the drama; instead, Adrienne took the opportunity to plug a skincare line she’s starting with her husband, which is probably on hold now that she and Paul are getting divorced. The scene lasted approximately 45 seconds, and then Adrienne was gone again.

We jumped directly to some sort of group dinner for god knows what reason, at which point Taylor announced she had agreed to give up her rings and her bags in exchange for making the lawsuit go away. Kim’s strange appearances at a local cigar bar were also mentioned by a random dude at the table, but nothing came from the line of conversation; in fact, the scene itself seemed like a throw-away.

And then we were treated to the main event: Brandi and Scheana’s meeting of the minds at Sur. It looked as though Scheana had taken care to wear extra black eyeliner and mascara on her bottom lid to get the maximum visual impact for her tears, a tactic that will do her well if she plans to make a career out of reality television. The back-and-forth between them was mostly what you’d expect (“He took me on trips!” “I was his wife, I was his everything!” “He met my mother!”), but Brandi did ask one thing that I thought was smart: which of her friends knew and didn’t tell her? Now that is one way to find out who you can really trust.

The encounter went about as well as you could expect, under the circumstances, and Brandi mostly came across as mature and reasonable. Scheana generally did as well, but if you watched the premiere of Vanderpump Rules that this episode bled directly into, you know why: she’s set up to be the underdog, partly because of her reputation as someone who goes after other people’s partners. From the first episode, though, it’s hard not to prefer her to Stassi. But let’s not get into that.

The Dispute That Shall Not Be Named rolled forward on last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, just like we all expected it to. Notably absent from any of the shows’ scenes were Adrienne and Paul, who are said to have immediately stopped filming the show after last week’s blowup. There’s some indication that Adrienne will be back later in the season (With Paul? Sans Paul? Who knows.), but for right now, let’s take a look at what everyone but one of the fight’s main participants had to say about about the spat last night.

For the second week in a row, we started right back at the party we left the episode before. Adrienne and Paul had just gotten finished cursing Brandi out and then retreated to another section of the venue to call Brandi a drug addict (which is likely more defamatory than whatever comments are currently involved in a lawsuit) and then storm out. Back at the party, Taylor was hyperventilating for a little bit of camera time and Mauricio came over the lecture Brandi about her behavior. Whether or not whatever rumors Brandi spread were true or appropriate, Brandi wasn’t the one who started the fight that day, and she wasn’t the one who started with the obscenities and the yelling.

It was Kim, likely out of some 12 Step-motivated desire to be honest and good, who turned that information over to Adrienne and Paul at an inappropriate time, who planted the seed for the entire fight. And then it was Paul and Adrienne who absolutely lost it in public instead of taking a deep breath and deciding how to act like people who know they’re in the right. (If they are indeed in the right, which seems questionable, as we discussed last week.) One of the best things that anybody ever told me is that you can’t control how others act, but you can control how you react, and Adrienne and Paul both reacted like people with a secret to keep instead of a record to set straight.

Once we left the party, our next stop was Lisa’s house, where a whole load of things were happening, including a visit from Martin, installation of new driveway gates and Ken’s endless neediness post-surgery. He appeared to be recuperating well, but don’t the rich always recuperate well? Once again, Lisa positioned herself as affable and relatively normal for such a rich lady. She’s really good at this whole reality TV thing.

We then checked in on Kim, who was at pilates with her daughters to work out a little and discuss her upcoming trip to Las Vegas a lot. She’s taking her son there for his 21st birthday, which has people understandably nervous about her continued sobriety, including her. She said that she planned to have spa treatments and schedule some meetings that she could take in her hotel room, which made me wonder why she didn’t just send her son out there with some friends. That’s not an uncommon thing for rich kids in their early 20s, and why tempt yourself unnecessarily?

At Kyle’s house, she and her husband were discussing an upcoming dinner that they were throwing and whether or not Brandi should come. Mauricio wanted to uninvite Brandi, but Kyle stuck to her guns and her original guest list – Brandi would come and that was that! But let’s be real – Kyle’s Brandi decree was likely made the way it was because uninviting the season’s main storyline would mean that her party would be a blip on the radar instead of the main plot point of an entire episode. At this stage in the game, the cast knows how this stuff works. (In that vein, Alex McCord’s videos on CeleBuzz are very illuminating about how these decisions are made.)

Kyle then moved on to lunch with The Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick (shoutout to season one!), who seemed to hate Brandi for reasons that weren’t entirely clear. (Except that Faye loves camera time, and picking a fight with Brandi is a great way to get camera time. That was entirely clear.) She and Adrienne have a history of friendship, and she may or may not be bucking for a spot in the cast (they interviewed her like a cast member, that’s for sure), so the teams were clearly drawn. One more person on Team Adrienne.

At Yolanda’s house, her trainer was kicking her ass in such a way that I became winded just watching the scene. Yolanda looks like she’s in very good shape, but as it turns out, she’s in very good shape, and so’s her trainer – he’s 57, and I would have pegged him at approximately 40. I have no idea how old Yolanda is, but whatever her age, she looks good. Of course, she also has crazy Dutch model genes that likely help out with that. And the number of a good plastic surgeon, plus the money to pay him well. That never hurts.

Yolanda’s workout session was all well and good, but without much delay we found ourselves back into the meat of the story. Brandi arrived at Lisa’s house to have the conversation that we all saw in the previews, and the upshot of it was that Brandi felt heavily stressed out about the entire confrontation, wished that she had never said what she said and was nervous that Adrienne and Paul’s money and power would win them any fight that ensued. To me, that was an oblique reference to a potential lawsuit, which can be financially disastrous for a person in Brandi’s financial position, even if she didn’t do anything wrong. Just fighting the fight costs a fortune, and it’s a fortune Adrienne and Paul theoretically have to fritter away as they see fit.

Brandi again vaguely referred to things Adrienne and Paul had put her through in the past, and although she didn’t elaborate as much as we’re all waiting for her to, she did mention that she was pretty sure Adrienne had planted a story about her at Radar Online immediately after their altercation. In Real Housewives episodes of the past, there have been plenty of story-planting accusations, but this is one of the only times (and perhaps THE only time) that I can remember Bravo both replaying the part of the fight in question and then immediately showing us a screen shot of the supposedly planted story. Sometimes you can tell that the producers are taking someone’s side in how this show is edited, and in that case, it seemed pretty clear.

We then proceded directly to Kyle’s previously mentioned dinner party, apparently celebrating the reopening of her dining room. After some cocktail hour small talk, we all sat down for dinner and Faye went straight in on Brandi for no apparent reason, other than the fact that she seems to be the attack dog that Kyle trots out when she wants to get in a fight but doesn’t want to do the dirty work and look bad. Bravo, again appearing to take Brandi’s side, helpfully played the Season 1 clip of Faye getting ratchet on Camille while that crazy e-cigarette-smoking psychic looked on. Based on how the rest of the conversation went, the drunk psychic may have, in fact, been right about Faye and her relative level of moral turpitude. So it only took two years for her to look slightly less crazy! So there’s that.

Brandi explained some of her issues in a relatively calm way, but as soon as she said anything vaguely snarky (about Adrienne perhaps buying a book deal, which I can’t find any evidence of Adrienne actually having, bought or not), Faye saw her opening and dove straight in and didn’t let up. You see, Adrienne’s brother used to date her stepdaughter, so she is an ADRIENNE EXPERT, and Adrienne would never lie about anything, ever. Except about Lisa selling stories to tabloids, but whatever, right? That was an intentional hit on Lisa’s reputation, so it didn’t have to be true.

Faye rode Brandi relentlessly over any tiny thing she said, pausing only for Lisa and Kyle to get in a fight and for Marissa, the stranger of the group without any previous loyalties to either team, to say that it seemed like Brandi might be right. Faye couldn’t stand that, of course, and she shut Marissa up before she could even complete her thought. Faye’s single-mindedness about the dispute was odd – it objectively had nothing to do with her, and other than Faye’s clear desire to end up in the opening credits one way or another, what’s her motivation for getting into it?

Not only did Faye rant about what a stand-up person Adrienne is and how Brandi’s just so mean and horrible, but then Faye decided to press her about her plans to apologize and her chosen means of doing so. Not only should Brandi call and apologize immediately, according to Faye’s entirely unsolicited advice, but she should send flowers. Or forget the flowers, send an orchid! Faye, apparently, is unaware that an orchid is also a flower. Whatever the object, unless something is sent, Faye will not accept any apology that Brandi gives to Adrienne! So there!

Faye then preemptively accused Brandi of some kind of future smack-talking that she’s sure will take place because she can see the future, so if you ever hear anything bad about Faye Resnick, just remember that it was Brandi who started that rumor. Even the bad stuff about Faye in this recap – that was all Brandi’s work. She personally called me and told me that Faye Resnick is a dim-witted, fame-whoring striver with hair the same color as her bad fake tan. I didn’t figure that out on my own at all.

To be fair, Brandi has never been particularly clear about what exactly it was that Adrienne did to her, other than plant some stories about her after she refused to join her Lisa Hit Squad at the previous reunion. If that’s true, then I can understand Brandi’s frustration with Adrienne, although it seems like the fallout from that stuff has escalated rather quickly and Brandi’s response may have indeed been disproportionate to whatever was done to her. It seems as though Adrienne has reacted disproportionately in turn, though, and then Faye found her way into this entire thing. Kyle looked upset that things had gone badly at the end of last night’s episode, but she had to know exactly what was going to happen.

Real Housewives appears to be taking a break for the holidays, so we’ll see you back in these parts in January!

Well. Not only did Real Housewives of Beverly Hills get real last night, but something happened that I can’t recall ever happening before on Bravo – the network declined to air something super juicy, probably because they’re in the process of getting sued over whatever it was that Brandi said. I can’t even think of anything else to say in summation of how off-the-rails last night’s episode was, so let’s just get straight to the recap.

We started at Kyle’s house, where the family was having one of the classic problems of having a teenager – kids egging the house – OR SO WE THOUGHT. That Mauricio, so tricky! For the second time this season, he tricked everyone with talk of drama on the front lawn in order to surprise someone with a new car. First, it was a Maserati for Kyle, but this time it was a Mercedes for his newly licensed daughter. This one didn’t have a big red bow on it, but the kid didn’t seem to mind. Time will only tell what kind of mess he creates in order to award their gardner with a Porsche next week.

Our next stop was with Brandi and her book agent, who ate some sushi and kibitzed over Brandi’s book cover and title. Brandi doesn’t want her picture on it and she wants the title to be, “It’s a Breakup, Not Cancer: How I Got F—– Over and Got The F— Over It,” which I actually think is an awesome title. The problem, though, is that you can swear like that in a book’s title, and if the thing doesn’t have Brandi’s picture on it, none of the rabid Housewives fans will know it’s hers and buy it when they wander past it at Target. Listen to your agent, lady. He made Chelsea Handler really rich.

Over at SUR, Lisa was talking about some things that seemed to be priming us for her upcoming SUR-centric spinoff. A young, half-drunk waitress had offended an important client at a party the night before, which meant it was time for the sort of dramatic sit-down that Vanderpump Rules will probably be full of. Lisa didn’t fire her, even though she would have been justified – telling a guest that the party sucks really isn’t something you can do in the service industry, even if you’re young and pretty, and the server didn’t seem to have any concept of the fact that she had actually done something quite wrong. But still, we’re trying to gin up the image of Lisa as a den-mother here, so she merely sent her off for the night’s dinner service, not for good.

In further server drama, Brandi called Lisa to make sure that Scheana (not a misspelling) wouldn’t be working for that night’s tasting festivities. If you’ll remember, she was among Brandi’s ex-husband’s many mistresses, and they ran into each other while Scheana was passing a tray of drinks last season. Of course Lisa’s not dumb enough to schedule her, but mostly it was interesting to see some more of Brandi’s house during the phone call. In particular, we saw her bedroom, which was small and full of regular person stuff and not at all looking like it’s been attended to daily by a maid like everyone else’s homes. Brandi: she’s just like us!

Once people started arriving for the party, Kim and Brandi made a funny phone call to Kyle about how they were looking for her, and she was late, and they were just so worried. For some reason, Kim’s self-awareness and humor in that moment made me feel really happy, to the point where if I had been in the room, I probably would have hugged her. Compared to last season, she’s made such a huge turnaround, and Housewives so rarely become better, more functional people as the series wears on.

Once everyone arrived, the group sat down to try SUR’s appetizers, and naturally, that’s when the drama started to come out. First Kim talked a little bit about rehab and how it is to be out (some people in her life still “challenge” her, and they may or may not have been sitting across the table from her), but then conversation turned to Brandi and her issues with Adrienne. From how the scene was cut, it seemed as though producers wanted to emphasize that she went on and on in her griping, some of which we’ve heard before – namely that Adrienne and Paul tried to flip Brandi to their side during their conflict with Lisa and that they pressured her to tweet certain things that would help their public cause. Side note: I really hate when Housewives cast members argue about tweets, whether it’s in a regular episode or during the reunion. It’s tedious, and it will never not be tedious.

The thing about Brandi, though, is that if you let her talk long enough, she’ll talk her foot into her mouth. Or at least that’s what it seemed like she did while airing her grievances about Adrienne in the presence of Lisa, Kim, Kyle and Taylor. The scene was extremely carefully edited to show the run-up to the comment and the reactions from the group (mostly of the “aghast” variety), but not what Brandi actually said. It was intimated that it concerned Adrienne and Paul’s family, so in the moment, I assumed it was either some of the stuff that’s already come out in their divorce (abuse allegations, the split itself, whatever else) or rumored financial issues.

In stark contrast, we then cut to Adrienne and Paul having a cutesy family day at home. Paul was clumsily shredding salad and putting meat on the grill, Adrienne was teasing him about his lack of culinary prowess and his back hair. See, they’re fine, everybody! Nothing to see there! Nothing at all! At least until we get to the point in the season where things hit the fan and everyone starts accusing everyone else of beating the kids and each other and god knows what else. Tabloid accusations were thrown and then retracted or cleared so many times that I’m not even sure what the score is anymore. We certainly didn’t find out last night.

At that point, the second party of the episode beckoned. Mauricio had just opened a new real estate brokerage, and he was having the gang over to view one of the properties and swill some cocktails and maybe sell a condo to Camille. She was polite but hesitant, mostly because I think she won enough houses in the divorce to keep her entertained for the moment.

While that was going on, Lisa was at the hospital, attending to Ken while he was getting ready to go in for hip replacement surgery. It was the result of an old polo injury, which is perhaps the most Lisa-and-Ken reason to have surgery ever, and Lisa and Ken were having very divergent reactions to the impending operation. Ken didn’t care, Lisa continued to mother everyone, the sky was blue. I can’t blame Lisa for her concern, though – a hip replacement certainly sounds serious. Everything went fine, though, because of course it did.

Back at the party, more people were arriving, and Brandi was expressing naive confidence that no one had tattled to Adrienne about what she said. Little did she know, Kim was tattling as she spoke. Once again, we didn’t get to hear what the whole bombshell was, but we did see the fallout – Adrienne and Paul decided to leave, but not before Paul started yelling about what a bitch Brandi was and what he wanted to do to her so that the whole party could hear. Adrienne, at one time or another, had alleged abuse in their divorce proceedings, and I couldn’t wrap my head around how Paul could be an abuser – he always seemed so goofy and gentle before. In that moment, it all seemed plausible. I’m not sure what the status of those allegations currently is (like I said, I’ve lost count), but they were the first thing that came to mind when Paul started flying off the handle. Even Taylor admitted that that sort of behavior in a man makes her super nervous.

The whole thing quickly dissolved into profanities and shrieks of, “YOU LIE,” “NO, YOU LIE,” which gave me some time to think about what everyone’s reactions told us about the veracity of whatever claims were made and why exactly Bravo wouldn’t broadcast them. Let’s answer the second question first – for Bravo not to air something that is so clearly juicy and headline-worthy, Adrienne would have to have threatened them with an enormous lawsuit. Bravo has no conscience, so it has to be a legal issue that’s stopping them. That, or they want to draw us out and tell us what it was two episodes from now. Also a decent possibility.

If it’s a potential lawsuit, though, then Bravo has to believe that Adrienne and Paul would have some sort of actionable defamation claim if they broadcasted Brandi’s claims, which means that it’s likely something that’s not already widely speculated about, and it may very well be false. In order for a defamation claim to stick, there has to be some sort of negligence toward the truth, and that negligence needs to be even greater when the defamation involves a public figure like a reality show cast member.

For the network to keep what Brandi said quiet despite the fact that it’s the center of a major storyline could mean a few things. It could indicate real concern on the network’s part that whatever Brandi said is actually defamatory and actionable. It could mean that the accusation will be revealed later, at which point we’ll realize this was all a ploy to keep us watching. Or, it could indicate that there’s ongoing litigation over what was said; if that were the case, Bravo’s lawyers would probably stop the network from airing the statements, even if they believe the suit to be frivolous. I’ve seen some chatter that it’s the third option, but nothing totally solid.

And then, of course, there were Brandi’s, Adrienne’s and Paul’s reactions to the allegations becoming public, which (at least to me) seemed to indicate that Brandi was dropping truth bombs, however inappropriate or poorly planned. Brandi stayed relatively (emphasis on “relatively”) calm while Adrienne and Paul yelled at her, even when Paul, a grown man, got in her face. On the other hand, Adrienne and Paul completely panicked from the moment Kim told them what had been said. That’s not generally the reaction you expect from people who’ve just found out that someone is telling ridiculous, easily disproven lies about them; it was much more in line with how people act when something had become public knowledge that they had been desperately trying to keep hidden. Even in the next week’s previews, Brandi looks calm and sure of her position and Adrienne looks like she’s about to come unraveled. My gut instinct is that Brandi has truth on her side, even if she doesn’t have propriety there to keep it company.

I still like Brandi quite a bit, but of course, I also think airing Adrienne’s dirty laundry (rumored to be related to the birth of her kids) was in poor taste and totally unnecessary. Adrienne’s been doing a fine job making an ass out of herself for the past few episodes, and Brandi would have been much better served by sitting back in the cut and letting her implode on her own. On top of that, Brandi’s mean-girl attempt wasn’t very well planned; if you’re going to spread rumors, you have to do it in such a way that they’re not so obviously traceable back to you. And definitely don’t do it at a dinner party where a camera crew and a bunch of your enemy’s friends are listening in.

Last night, things got weird on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. That happens from time to time on Real Housewives, but unlike previous episodes of bizarre behavior, last night was actually…fun. It was fun. Everyone played badminton poorly and flung towels at each other and then got drunk and did cartwheels, and it was great. It was almost as if the stress of constantly fighting with each other had finally gotten to everyone, and they all agreed to suspend their arguments for a day to be real human beings again, instead of reality stars.

Before we could get to any of that, though, we started right back at the dinner table. Again, we watched Adrienne obnoxiously announce to the group that Kim was crying and Brandi tell her to shut the f— up about it. Kim got up from the table to go cry in peace in the bathroom and Brandi followed her, sorta to comfort her and sorta to ensure that Kim was on her side. Back out at the table, we had been transported into an episode of Downton Abbey, wherein Kyle, Adrienne and Taylor were having extremely Victorian reactions to someone dropping the f-bomb at dinner.

Inexplicably, Kyle in particular focused on the apparently extreme impropriety of telling someone who was trying to humiliate another person to shut the eff up, while Kim, her fragilely sober sister and the subject of the attempted humiliation, was sobbing in the bathroom. She was being comforted by Brandi, who is the bad guy in all of this, don’t forget. The person who followed the crying woman out of the room to make sure she was okay instead of sticking around to bicker over the use of a four-letter word – that person’s the villain. Adrienne, who was so concerned at Kim’s tears that she felt the need to announce them to 10 people and a whole camera crew, didn’t get up or even inquire about why Kim might have been crying.

Lisa, perhaps predictably (not only because Lisa and Brandi are friends, but because Lisa is a somewhat reasonable human being in general), gently posited that maybe dropping an f-bomb in front of a group of adult women is actually not that big of a deal, even if it was a bit rude, and at least she was doing it out of a desire to defend Kim. Kyle would have absolutely none of that, at all, and never seemed at all concerned that her sister was obviously quite upset. Kyle’s concerns laid mainly with Adrienne, the person who started the entire fight by trying to humiliate Kim (which, in and of itself, is like picking the sick gazelle off of the back of the herd). Apparently being told to shut up when you’re being a huge jerk is a very traumatizing experience.

Because Lisa could make no headway with the rest of the group, she went to the bathroom and told Kim and Brandi, who had been joined by Yolanda, to come on back out. She advised Brandi to apologize for the f-bomb, which is advice that Brandi actually took. Everything was ok for a moment until Brandi took a quick phone call and announced that she had gotten a book deal, at which point she then complained that everyone wasn’t congratulatory enough. That wasn’t a good idea for a few reasons. First, don’t push your luck. Second, Brandi had gotten up in Taylor’s face about her book at the reunion last season, and although there are a few important differences in the timing (six months vs. several years) and circumstances (dead husband vs. Leann Rimes) of their books, bringing it up in that context automatically makes Brandi look like a hypocrite, even to those who are sensitive to her side of things.

It was all worth it, though, to watch dim-witted Adrienne try and make a joke about how she, too, had just gotten a book deal and then watch as absolutely no one laughed. At that point, Adrienne tried to extend the joke (Was it a joke? Does Adrienne have a book deal? It didn’t seem like any of the other cast members had any idea if she was actually kidding.) by raising her glass for a toast, at which point absolutely everyone found something really interesting to look at on the tablecloth and pretended the whole thing wasn’t happening. Whatever happened to Adrienne? Remember how level-headed and mature she seemed in the first season? We should have all known that no one who’s genuinely level-headed and mature gets that much plastic surgery.

Apropos of nothing: Can someone put some lipstick on Yolanda?

The next morning, everyone talked diamonds over coffee and half the group set out for a hike. Lisa and Brandi, as you could probably guess, stayed behind to…not hike, because hiking is terrible (Personal opinion! Can’t be wrong!). Instead, they talked about why it was that Brandi should think about phrasing things differently and why everyone jumped on the f-word so quickly – everyone’s looking for confirmation that Brandi is who they all really hope she is (a crass, nasty villain with no redeeming qualities), and they’ll take that confirmation wherever they can manage to find it, including in something as simple as a swear word.

Because everyone in the group has the short-term memory of a goldfish, though, they were all back to having fun once the hikers returned home. They piled into a few golf carts and raced out into golf courses unknown, Yolanda and Lisa competing off the cart path while everyone else held on for dear life and tried not to puke their egg whites omeletes. At the end of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, they found a badminton net, and to absolutely no one’s surprise, none of them can play badminton and none of them were dressed appropriately to even try. Lisa, in her long, layered white dress and old lady sneakers, was the outfit highlight of the afternoon.

After they got finished butchering the respectable pursuit of badminton, the ladies started their spa treatments. They drank a little berry drink, they tried to rip each others’ towels off, Kim pretended to masturbate in front of everyone. For once, I actually agree with Taylor – Kim seems to have traded in drunk wacky for regular ol’ wacky, which I guess isn’t the worst thing in the world. She certainly spends less time in the bathroom now. On the other hand, some of her wacky seems to have started to rub off on everyone else, at least during this trip. A little bit of poolside grab-ass turned into a full-on towel and water fight in the sauna, and the fact that I don’t see a single nipple pop out tells you a lot about the differences between the Beverly Hills wives and those in Miami.

Later that evening, after they had all cleaned themselves up, the cast had dinner prepared for them by a cutie pie chef, which is the only reason I would ever join a Real Housewives show anyway – they get a lot of free food and booze. While they ate, they talked about childbirth and baby lamb cells and god knows what else, but they all got along the entire time. Even Brandi and Taylor sat next to each other, and they were laughing and clinking glasses like brand new besties. It was…unsettling. I don’t know how to conceptualize happy, functional Housewives.

After dinner, most of the cast kept drinking while Yolanda and Kim both excused themselves to go to bed and avoid the booze. It seemed as though everyone else waved goodbye to them and decided, “Great, more for me,” because eventually the entire group was drunk enough that Taylor and Brandi ended up on the ground, arm-wrestling. But before that, there was a kiss. And then they wrestled, and someone’s mic pack fell out. So basically, the entire thing confirmed every slumber party stereotype that any teenage boy has ever had, except instead of sorority girls, these were MILFs. And honestly, it seemed like a lot of innocent, drunken fun. They did cartwheels and handstands and tried to wake up Yolanda through the floor, and somehow, no one broke any fingers.

The next morning, Yolanda complained that she hates drunk women and thinks they’re not classy, and to that, I say BOO. People who are regularly inappropriately drunk are a problem, but having a night like they had once in a blue moon is perfectly fine. They had a great time! Everyone got along for a solid 24 hours of togetherness! Despite the initial fight, this may have been the most functional, fun-loving trip in Housewives history. I was impressed!

And then, because no one can ever leave well enough alone, Kyle brought up the fight in the limo on the way home. In the limo on the way home! We were so close to a flawless Housewives victory! Kyle tentatively apologized for jumping down her throat, but that just tipped off some bickering between Brandi and Adrienne, who continued to insist that she was just concerned for Kim’s wellbeing and trying to find out what was wrong. The footage tells a different story, of course – Adrienne didn’t make any effort either during or after the fight to find out what was wrong with Kim. So either Adrienne was so completely taken aback by the use of the f-word by an adult woman that she couldn’t continue feeling concerned for her friend, or she was just trying to stir the pot in the first place and never actually cared why the chick at the end of the table was crying. Which seems more likely to you?

We all know what happens when Housewives go out of town, and depending on your perspective, it’s either great or terrible. From a viewing standpoint, it’s great – moving the entire cast even a couple hours from home seems to throw everyone into emotional flux and somehow sever their ties with the tenuous maturity to which they cling back home, in more familiar environs. Last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was a perfect example of the phenomena – things were perfectly civilized for most of the episode until everyone sat down for dinner in Ojai.

As is customary when drama is cut off at the knees at the end of an episode, we started right back up at a claustrophobic little two-seater table with Adrienne and Lisa. They were both working up to an eventual apology by trying to accept the mutual delusion that the giant Trojan Horse of flowers at the Sur party wasn’t actually intended to be a pleasantly fragrant middle finger, and mostly, it seemed like it worked. Adrienne apologized for being such a transparent, drama-stirring brat at last season’s reunion, and Lisa explained why she had been hurt and then accepted the apology without going on the offensive or raising her voice. Adrienne didn’t push for an apology from Lisa, even though she clearly feels like she’s owed one (Maloof Hoof and Crackpot and all that – very offensive). So, you know, credit to her for that.

Over at Yolanda’s house, she had an unlikely visitor – Kim. Bravo’s decision to sell Yolanda (a fantabulously wealthy former model who has what seems to be a perfect life) as fast friends with Kim (an alcoholic with very tentative sobriety and a somewhat shaky financial situation) seems like an odd choice to me. Let’s see what they have in common: their hair matches and they’re both going on this upcoming trip to Ojai that Kim is apparently organizing. (“Organizing.”) And really, that was the whole upshot of the scene – they’re all going to Ojai sometime in the indeterminate future and Yolanda can operate an espresso machine.

We then checked in with Brandi, who was meeting with Michael Broussard (who you might recognize if you ever late-night shame-watch Chelsea Handler’s show) about a book she’s trying to get published. Brandi seemed a little awkward in the whole interaction (probably because she’s never had to do much beyond look pretty and be a wiseass for her work, which is a good gig if you can get it), but if anyone can sell her book, Broussard probably can. Whether or not Brandi can write is not at all material to this discussion, of course. Also, in Michael’s exceedingly gay opinion, Brandi’s boobs are perfect. I’m guessing that a lot of straight opinions would agree with him.

Afterward, we followed Kyle and her daughter to the DMV, where her daughter had already failed the written portion of the driving test twice. I remember the driving test. I flipped through the booklet while I waited in line and I passed with flying colors. It’s common sense, and I will not hear anyone who tells me otherwise. But, of course, third time’s the charm – Kyle’s kid finally passed the test and Kyle let her drive the Maserati home, standing on the imaginary passenger-side brake the entire time. My mom still stands on hers whenever I’m driving, and I’m nearly 27 years old and have a spotless driving record. Some things are universal.

Suddenly, everyone was readying themselves to go on the Ojai trip that we only just learned about earlier in the episode. Lisa invited Brandi and apparently Kim told her that was fine, so between that and the fact that she’s been assigned to “host” this trip (and that she actually showed up to do the honors), perhaps Kim is making some progress. And if she is, good for her! She even made overtures to mending fences with Brandi, which is a lot more than I can say for Taylor. When Kim is outshining you with her open-mindedness and emotional progress, it’s time to reevaluate some life decisions.

While Lisa and Brandi were wrapping up a photo shoot for a local magazine and discussing thumb wrinkles (Brandi is decidedly not in favor of them), the rest of the Housewives (except Yolanda, who was flying in later) were arriving at their mansion-for-the-weekend in Ojai. Everyone was super excited about the house – the views, the grounds, the Mediterranean feel – until, that is, they realized that there were only five bedrooms for about a bajillion cast members, plus Camille, who’s now a demi-Housewife. None of them were with their husbands, so I don’t understand exactly what the big deal was about sharing rooms or sleeping in double or twin beds for a few nights – some of these people are actually friends with each other, right? Enough to sleep in the same generalized space? Adrienne, for her part, was only concerned with ensuring that she had a better room than Lisa. The entire thing reminded me of watching a new Real World cast fight over rooms, way back when that was a watchable show and I was 12 years old.

Lisa, Brandi and Yolanda all finally arrived and everyone had their awkward hellos, but on the whole, everything was fine. Even when Lisa and Brandi were shown their tiny little room with their tiny little beds, they didn’t throw a fit. Even if they weren’t happy with it, which was what everyone else assumed, they acted like adults and didn’t sulk or protest. Housewives acting like adults in the face of non-perfect circumstances! What will happen next? Actually, Kim’s already hosting this whole trip and making sure people get places on time, so maybe hell has already frozen over.

Everything was going fine until Brandi and Kim ended up sitting across from each other at dinner. If two people don’t get along, you should never have them facing each other. Even side by side is preferable! But if two people can’t stand each others’ stupid faces, making them stare at each other for a full meal is not the greatest idea. I’m getting ahead of myself, though, because things went just fine at first. Kim said something lovely to everyone, Brandi had some fun trashing her ex-husband, Leann Rhimes and their dumb tabloid photo ops. Brandi even went out of her way to compliment Kim on how smart and wonderful her daughters are, which seemed totally genuine (or at least as genuine as anything can be on reality TV), and they talked at length about being in dark places and being divorced and Brandi apologized again for what she said to Kim last season.

Kim mentioned again how hurtful that had been and started to tear up, and then to my complete surprise (based on what we had seen in the previews, anyway), it was actually Adrienne who jumped in to start a fight. Brandi and Kim seemed to be making real progress toward not hating each other, and out of nowhere, Adrienne announced, “UH OH, SOMEONE’S CRYING,” which is objectively a jackass thing to do. Brandi told her to shut the f— up, which, in my mind, was a perfectly reasonable response to such a rude, callous, drama-instigating move. It perhaps wasn’t the best response, or the most diplomatic, but the action itself was so crass that I can’t imagine I would have reacted differently, in a similar situation.

Because it was Brandi who dropped the f-bomb, though, the whole group piled on to her to register their disapproval. Naturally, we can’t watch a full fight, beginning to end, in a single episode, though, so we’ll have to wait until next week to see things really devolve, figure out whose side everyone takes and see if things devolve from bad to worse. (My bet? Yes.)

The thing I like best about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is that instead of spending the entire season getting to the real drama that we all want to see, they dive right in and make no bones about it. It seems as though last night’s episode couldn’t possibly have been only the third of the season, but it was. It’s like they never left us, these Housewives, and I hope they never do. Well, all of them but Taylor, anyway. Bravo should feel free to push her out onto an ice floe if they want to.

We started with Kim and her daughter Kimberly (yep.), who were preparing for Kimberly’s prom like it was her wedding day. Kim didn’t have a normal childhood because she was an actress, so she was really intent on making prom as special as possible. And how would she do that? CHOPPED SALAD. Mixing and mixing and mixing a chopped salad for almost the entire scene, like her daughter was going to take it to the dance with her and distribute it. Her boyfriend was in charge of bringing a tuna noodle casserole.

At this point, I have to ask a question that I first had to ask (to no one in particular, because I was in college) way back during Laguna Beach: why don’t people in Southern California wear real prom dresses to prom? Why do they all wear little cocktail dresses that they’ll have a million opportunities to wear as adults? In the South, we wear ballgowns, because why the hell not wear a ballgown when the opportunity presents itself? And also, because it’s the South, and we wear dresses to college football games. But isn’t that more fun? Prom dresses to prom? Am I getting old here? Get off my lawn.

Over at Yolanda’s house, she was planning the episode’s party with a caterer and butler (yep.), which allowed Yolanda to give us a tour of her giant house and mention that Oprah had presented her and her husband (but mostly her husband, I’m guessing) with a bottle of wine from 1945. Oprah! We have our first Oprah namedrop in Housewives history, I think. Someone make a note.

At Kyle’s house, things were a little less glamourous. She was trying to teach one of her daughters how to drive in a Porsche Panamera, which seems like it might not be an ideal vehicle for a 16-year-old. Parallel parking was the lesson of the day, and they chose to use an $80,000 S-Class Mercedes on the street as one of their parking cones, which makes me sweat just typing it. We did get a funny story about Kyle stealing Kim’s Ferrari as a kid and then abandoning it in the middle of the street, still rolling, because a bee flew into it, so I suppose that makes up for the vicarious agita of watching a 16-year-old without a driver’s license try to parallel park in a $100,000 car.

Speaking of cars worth six figures, Lisa then rolled up in her Bentley with custom pink wheels to have tea with Kyle. Naturally, the point of the tea was for Kyle to try and broker peace talks with Adrienne and Lisa, and Lisa wasn’t having any of it. If I were her, I wouldn’t have any desire to resume my friendship with Adrienne either, plus it gives her a way to extend the storyline for a few more episodes, which can only be beneficial to her because she’s the sympathetic party in the situation, for the most part. Lisa is nothing if not savvy about her position in the Housewives universe.

At Yolanda’s house, party preparations were underway with the butler taking the role of Yolanda-flatterer for the evening. We then did our requisite time in the limos that were on the way to the party, mostly with Adrienne, Paul and Kim. (For the moment, try not to puzzle out why Kim was with them. It’ll only make your head hurt.) The only thing we really learned during the ride is the Paul is still incensed over “crackpot” and “Maloof Hoof,” which might literally be the silliest things anyone has ever held a grudge over in the history of Real Housewives. In a certain light, that might actually be viewed as an accomplishment.

We didn’t take a dip inside the Taylor/Kyle/Mauricio limo, which is probably for the best because it was likely just Taylor chirping incoherently about Brandi the entire time anyway. When they arrived at the party, we got an even more thorough view of Yolanda’s house, which included its enormous ocean vistas and a glass refrigerator for color-coordinated produce. Normally I’d make fun of that, but based on how my pre-Thanksgiving fridge looks right now, I can’t hate.

While everyone was trying to figure out if Yolanda’s butler was stalking them from party to party, Adrienne and Paul arrived, at which point Paul became incensed that Lisa did not greet them. That was particularly interesting, in light of how Paul ranted in the limo that he would be pissed if Lisa tried to greet him like she normally greets everybody, and then he ranted to Kyle that he had no desire to greet Lisa anyway. The plastic surgeon doth protest too much, I think.

Once everyone sat down, I was stunned, genuinely stunned, at what a beautiful dinner party it was. As her husband mentioned, Yolanda is clearly quite skilled at being a hostess and homemaker, and I suppose if you finance an incredibly lavish lifestyle for someone, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that contribution from them in return. How can I get that deal? If someone would pay all my bills, I bet I’d throw a hell of a party. Call me, rich bachelors.

Things at the party didn’t stay perfect for long, though, mostly because Taylor was there and so was alcohol. The group was barely on the salad course by the time Taylor was sauced and ranting to the stranger next to her (a cute, very patient trumpet player) about how Brandi, her nemesis (yep.), would be GOING DOWN if she were there because she made a joke about sleeping with people in Beverly Hills. See, now aren’t you glad that we didn’t have to visit Taylor’s limo?

Once Taylor piped down, we found out how David and Yolanda met – through Yolanda’s ex-husband Mohamed. David said that Mohamed introduced them but didn’t want anything to happen between them, which he blamed on his Muslim culture, which seemed…needlessly specific. Don’t most men try not to set up their exes with close friends, no matter their culture? Most of the guys I know, anyway. Perhaps I know more Muslims than I realized.

Once dinner was done, everyone gathered around the piano for a little music. There were several professional musicians at the party, so they were going to entertain everybody with a couple of songs. Drunk Taylor got upset that she wasn’t allowed to perform, despite the fact that she’s not even passable as an amateur singer, and then she got upset again because of the song choice (“Amazing Grace”), despite the fact that she, Kyle and Kim had been singing it at David before the professionals even decided on a song. Drunk Taylor is never wrong, and I guess we all just need to understand that. David gamely played “When The Saints Go Marching In” for them to lighten the mood and ensure that Taylor wouldn’t fake cry herself out of her chair.

Finally, we stopped by Lisa’s house. She was readying herself to go to war with Adrienne (or go for a drink, whatever), which Ken disapproved of. Wisely, Lisa knew that if she turned down Adrienne’s direct invitation, she would automatically switch roles in the disagreement from the wronged party to the petty drama-lover, and also, person-on-person confrontations away from the rest of the group generally make for excellent television. We’ll have to wait for next week to find out, though – Adrienne was only able to utter a solitary, “Um…” before Bravo cut off our supply of sweet, sweet drama.

We’re ba-ack! Well, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are back, anyway, and that means that we’re back to recapping the show after taking a knee for a little bit. We missed last week while we were still getting back up and running after the hurricane, but fret not, my cable is back in (mostly) good working order and I’m back from my extended Housewives hiatus. I mean, it’s Beverly Hills – I just couldn’t resist the drama.

We started with Kyle, who was out shopping with Adrienne to advise her on birthday presents for Portia, because apparently in Beverly Hills, it’s not awkward to supervise your friends while they spend money on your kid. All of these little shopping dates are really just setups to do some kind of expository work for the show that won’t fit in anywhere else, though, so naturally Kyle brought up Lisa and why, exactly, she and Adrienne no longer get along.

They’re still fighting over the nastiness at the last reunion, and although Adrienne seems to feel like she’s owed an apology by immature, obstinate Lisa, I can’t exactly remember anything particularly nasty that Lisa did. Just because two people got in an argument doesn’t mean the two people are equally at fault or equally wrong, but that’s the sort of complex idea that has no place in the heads of reality show stars. What I doremember from the reunion, though, is plenty of transparent, second-rate scheming on Adrienne’s part. She really should have hired a consultant or coach or something before she tried to match wits with Lisa.

We then followed Kyle to Taylor’s house, where she was helping to suss out the subtle differences between Mexican food and Spanish food before Taylor served one or the other (we’re not quite sure which) to Kyle, Mauricio, Adrienne and Paul. Taylor claimed to have cooked the feast, but it all came out of giant catering dishes, so maybe she “cooked” it insomuch as she lit the little butane warmers. All by herself! That’s applying heat to food, which might actually fit the loosest of definitions of cooking, which is really all that’s required to be considered the truth on Real Housewives.

Everyone then sat down to eat, and all I heard was Taylor asking people to run a race before my Time Warner Cable service started being extra, EXTRA Time Warner on me and freezing every thirty seconds. The next thing I knew, Adrienne was leading Paul into what can perhaps best be described as a drag queen supply store. I missed all of the shoe buying experience except for the giant Gwar moonboots dunked in silver glitter, which I guess is a manly shoe relative to the other probable options. When Mario saw them later, he complained that they weren’t really heels, which would be cheating. I guess he can take that up with the High Heels Race Standards and Practices Board.

Our next stop was to visit newbie housewife Yolanda, who is clearly used to being seen and not heard and should probably stay that way, at least based on her repeated, tasteless comments about wanting to prevent her teen-model daughter from looking Chinese at a photo shoot. Yolanda’s daughter is gorgeous, naturally, which was precisely Yolanda’s intention since her birth. Modeling has an expiration date for every woman, and mama made no bones about wanting to vicariously extend her career through her offspring by providing “advice” and “guidance” and nosing her way into wardrobe meetings. For her daughter’s part, she seemed to think that her mother was as annoying as any 17-year-old girl would, but this difference was that Yolanda’s daughter was right. Most people’s mom’s aren’t actually that tiresome.

Over at Kyle’s house, preparations for the series’ latest over-the-top child birthday party were underway. Kyle was irritated that the party vendors had not found actual unicorns to bring to her house, at times seeming apparently unaware that unicorns aren’t, and even when they are (like for the sake of a little girl’s birthday party), they’re actually just horses with horns strapped to their heads. The horse wrangler seemed to be tuning out the entire thing as best he could while still managing to remain an active participant in the conversation, probably because Kyle was the third entitled housewife to yell at him over the inherent fictitiousness of unicorns that week.

Elsewhere, Mario and Paul were running down what appeared to be some sort of suburban side street in cheap shoes in some vague attempt to help Taylor end domestic violence and gain more camera time. Unfortunately, that meant that they missed seeing Lisa lead a llama through the middle of Kyle’s house while Kyle scurried behind them, protesting the entire way. Once the llama had been turned over to the professionals, Kyle sat Lisa down to try and convince her to let her get involved in the Lisa-Adrienne drama, and naturally, Lisa didn’t want to have any of it. There’d be a lot less drama if all the Housewives refused to let camera-seeking costars hold amateur Camp David talks out by the pool.

Lisa then exited the party (not atop the llama, much to my eternal disappointment), at which point everybody else that we’ve ever seen on this entire show came out of the woodwork. Camille, Dana-Pam, Yolanda’s driver with a giant teddy bear that was meant to distract everyone from the fact that she didn’t bother to show up. Brandi also arrived, despite the fact that literally everyone else at the party wants to yank her extensions out. Things were so bad that Kyle, who didn’t even intend to invite Brandi to the party in the first place, was the one giving her a pep talk and encouraging her to stay and mingle and try to pretend that there wouldn’t be any weave-snatching. Instead, Brandi bolted and everyone gathered around to question Kim about the whereabouts of her ex-boyfriend. (Whereabouts: Unknown.)

After some drama over horse poop, we got on to the actual bullshit – Taylor sat around telling everyone a second-hand story about how Brandi joked to Yolanda that she had slept with every guy in Beverly Hills. Anyone who halfway paid attention to the show last season would understand that Brandi’s sense of humor is just kind of off-color and dirty, and she tends to be particularly self-effacing about her own sexual exploits. Why Taylor thinks that retelling a joke that Brandi told about herself constitutes any sort of triumph is anyone’s guess, but my personal theory is that Taylor is so desperate to feel superior over anyone, given all that we know about her grifting, that she’ll take any opportunity she gets. Brandi is probably the easiest target, considering that most of the other women don’t like her and her flaws are pretty apparent, but Taylor failed to remember that it’s pretty hard to make fun of someone effectively when they’ve already made the joke about themselves.

Well! We’re still sorting things out after Hurricane Sandy around here (and truthfully, I missed the entire thing and am still sorting myself out from an extremely fortuitously timed vacation), so we unfortunately can’t recap Real Housewives of Beverly Hills this week. But! But. The good news is that we’re going to be recapping it from here on out because there is simply no more fascinating a train wreck in all of the reality TV universe. Also, because Lisa Vanderpump is awesome, and you can’t tell me otherwise.

The downside (there’s always a downside!) is that the start of Real Housewives means that we’re going to discontinue our recaps of Real Housewives of Miami. It was a good warm-up for Beverly Hills, but we can’t cover both, so RHOBH it is. Feel free to chat about your feelings on the premiere below, and then check back in this place next week for our first Beverly Hills recap!

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