Ok, so, level with me here. All of those jokes about Kim being drunk in the first hour of last night’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills finale aren’t really quite so funny after sitting through the last 15 minutes, are they? All this time, Kim’s been comparing herself to her neice Paris, but Linsday Lohan may have been the more accurate corollary. Sorry, I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years of Housewives-watching, though, it’s that the most important thing you can do is find someone to blame when everything goes wrong. I would like to nominate Taylor.
I would like to say that it all started out so innocently, but that would be a lie. Instead, we picked up with Camille at the departure for the Tonys with everyone swilling booze and ignoring the marriage crumbling before their very eyes and Camille trying to pull reluctant compliments out of Kelsey in the limo. The footage and their sporadic conversation was overlaid with audio and occasional video of Camille talking about how he wouldn’t talk to her or look at her or even allow her to be admitted to their apartment building as “Mrs. Grammer” without showing ID, and it really set the tone for the rest of the horrific, trainwreck-y episode. I don’t like Camille at all, but if you listened to that anecdote and didn’t feel at least a tad sad by proxy, then you have an even grinchier heart than I do. And, you know, you might want to get that looked at.
We then visited Kyle, who saw a psychic and brought her mom’s ashes and a lock of her hair to find out about her conflict with her sister. This is another one of those things that would appear in a game of Real Housewives Bingo. “House Foreclosure.” “Release a single.” “See an energist.” “Call someone jealous.” Now that I think of it, that really should be a game that we play while we watch, because there would easily be enough Housewives cliches to fill up a few columns.
Next, Lisa got together with Taylor to scope out the competition, drink rosÃ© (Lisa’s clothes aren’t really pink, they just take on that color because of her drink of choice, sort of like a flamingo), hear about Taylor’s upcoming birthday party and gossip about Camille. Neither of them knew that Camille and Kelsey had broken up, so the gossip mainly centered around whether Camille and Kyle would get along at Taylor’s party.
Speaking of creating trouble, Lisa, never one to mince words, out and asked Taylor what kind of pot-stirring had happened when Taylor and Camille talked privately in New York. As it turns out, Taylor had blabbed about Kim forcing her to call Camille insecure at the airport, even though the footage of the conversation continues to contradict the claim that any force was necessary. It’s funny how footage always manages to stay the same, isn’t it? At any rate, I’m not sure how Taylor’s gossip about Kim ended in Camille freaking out at Kyle, but perhaps all the K names simply confused her and she pointed her anger at the wrong sister, and if that’s the case, it’s good that an erstwhile Kardashian didn’t mistakenly walk by during that conversation because she might have had a drink thrown on her.
Later at Taylor’s house, she and a friend sat out at the pool with Snowball and talked about how he must be sent away while the family goes to Mexico to forget that he ever existed. How tragic for them. It seemed as though Taylor hoped that maybe she could send herself away with the dog, ostensibly to a place safe from her husband’s creepy serial killer gaze, but she’d have to settle for a trip to Mexico with the Beverly Hills Strangler and their sneezy, rashy kid instead. Maybe if they take her to another country, she’ll forget she ever had a dog in the first place…
Over at Lisa’s house, we all found out that Cedric is 37. Sure, some other stuff happened in that scene and it was discussed that he should move out and whatever, but really, the takeaway is that he’s a 37-year-old manchild who’s running a long con on Lisa and won’t get out of her house. He looks good for 37, I’ll give him that, but how do you get to be that old without your own car or house or life? He seems content to live Lisa’s instead. Not that I can blame him, because Lisa’s life seems pretty excellent.
The next thing we knew, it was time for everyone to ready themselves for Taylor’s birthday party. Kim went to a makeup artist to learn how to put on eye shadow but was apparently too many cocktails deep to realize that opening one of her eyes while he did it would probably help her figure out how to do it on her own. Which is to completely ignore the sadness of a middle-aged woman who’s been married a bunch of times and had a bunch of kids wearing a pair of sneakers to a salon to learn about how to put on her eye shadow. Poor girl never got a childhood. She seems to want some sort or recognition from Kyle for it, but Kyle is quite a bit younger and probably doesn’t even pick up on the resentment.
Elsewhere, Lisa met with her personal designer to make boob jokes and pick out custom cocktail dresses. See, I told you her life was excellent.
At Camille’s place, things were still catatonically sad. She had been invited to Taylor’s party and intended to go, and she even got out a couple of cocktail dresses and shuffled them around a bit, but ultimately, she couldn’t find the wherewithall to go to attend. If the doorman incident had been playing over and over in my head, I might have stayed in too. And drank. Heavily. Or maybe I would have gone directly for the pills, I’m not sure.
While she wailed to a concerned (possibly paid to be concerned) friend, though, Camille managed to say one of the most interesting things of the night: “Whoever this is…I mean, I do in my heart believe it’s a woman…” Well, uh, did that seem like a little bit of wishful thinking to anyone else? Like, “God, please don’t let my husband have left me for a man because that would be a whole new level of public humiliation?” Now that I think about it, though, I’d probably rather be left for a dude than for a 29-year-old flight attendant. A 29-year old flight attendant who misspells her own first name. I’ve mentioned that, right?
Everyone else began to arrive at Taylor’s house for the food and cocktails, and they all looked predictably modern and rich and Southern Californian. Kyle wore some kind of dress with cutout sleeves that her husband seemed to want to rip off of her immediately, and Adrienne wore a crazy pair of Gianmarco Lorenzi uber-bedazzled shoes, because of course Adrienne has those Gianmarco Lorenzi shoes. I’d be more surprised if she didn’t have them. And then, Kim walked in.
Wearing an outfit straight out of one of the lesser episodes of Dynasty and a matching pearl choker and bracelet that can only be described as accessories of utter sadness, Kim arrived already a few sheets to the wind and having a good time. She had a friend with her and that guy Martin who she never went on a date with was also being friendly, and everything was fine. Just fine. Until, that is, Taylor decided to go have a nasty confrontation with someone who was clearly intoxicated. Always such a good idea.
As Kim and Taylor got louder and louder about whether or not Kim made Taylor say nasty things about Camille, the rest of the housewives started to gravitate over as the party guests looked on. Kim was spiraling quickly, sticking her finger in everyone’s faces and throwing accusations and complaining that she was being ganged up on. And really, she probably had a point with that last part, and also with the suspicion that Taylor isn’t really all that interested in being a good friend to Kyle.
Once the confrontation was broken up, Kim fled to the limo where Martin tried to calm her down and it became clear that she was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of blackout drunk. She babbled toward near-incoherence about how it was her career that had bought her family their house and bought Kyle her first car, and I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it’s a clear indication that stage-momming your kid into child stardom is often nothing short of child abuse and will, at the very least, probably make your kid some sort of self-loathing substance abuser when she grows up. The spliced-in interviews with Kim were particularly hard to watch with this new knowledge; what once appeared to be mere flightiness now looked much more like intoxicated slurring.
Perhaps the saddest moment in a night filled with things that could have made you weepy all on their own (seriously, y’all, even Andy Cohen seemed depressed last night) came after Adrienne, the voice of all Housewife reason, jumped in the limo to try and calm the situation. In trying to divine the nature of Kim’s problem with Kyle, she asked if she was lonely and perhaps wanted Kyle to be around more. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs trained to save face when the word “lonely,” is uttered, Kim momentarily snapped back to sad coherence to weakly protest that she likes being alone, and you could tell that she really wanted to believe it.
Things went from deeply sad to sad and sort of terrifying once Kyle jumped in the limo and her apparently long-festering resentments rose to the top. It would be easy to see Kyle as the aggressor and Kim as the victim in this scene, but as with all family issues, I think the actual dynamics at play are far more complex. Yes, screaming and ranting and letting your sister’s Big Secret out to the world, in addition to invoking your mother’s death and letting it slip that Mario has been paying Kim’s bills, was an objectively mean thing to do. I felt sick to my stomach just watching it. But.
Having to be your big sister’s keeper for all of your adult life also can’t be easy, particularly when you have four kids of your own and she has four kids that, if she is an alcoholic, she likely can’t adequately care for without help. If Kyle’s family is paying Kim’s bills and Kyle feels like she is the one who is in charge of making all of her sister’s problems go away, then that can only lead to a giant, festering ball of resentment and anger that I think we’ve seen glimpses of all season. Those little put-downs and moments of passive-aggression didn’t come from nowhere, and if Kim’s exodus from rehab after a week is indicative of her attitude toward her alcoholism, then some of Kyle’s behavior was probably at least understandable, if not particularly mature or justified. The fear of letting down your dead mother because you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, not to mention that your sister’s need for help must remain a secret even to your close friends, is probably enough to make anyone a little catty.
It also wasn’t Kim’s fault, clearly. The damage done to her was done long ago, and now she’s three marriages and four kids deep and still wishing she could go back and be 17 again and learn how to do her makeup when the rest of us did. And that is some deep stuff, y’all. Plenty of people wish they could go back and try for their dream job or move away for college or tell that boy that they loved him, but wishing you could go back and learn how to do your makeup? That’s a special kind of regret the likes of which I can barely even conceptualize.
So who does that leave? Taylor. I promised you 2,000 words ago that she would be at fault for all of this, and although these issues weren’t hers, she certainly didn’t have to poke a drunk woman with a pointy stick in public and with the knowledge that the rest of the women had also had a few cocktails. Not only was it unnecessary, but the impetus for the argument seemed completely mean-spirited, to say nothing of inappropriate timing. And when everyone gathered around, Kyle should have had to good sense to step into the confrontation, regardless of her anger at her sister, and break it up. Why couldn’t everyone just leave Kim and her sad Dynasty outfit alone?
As always, the finale ended with little blurbs about what everyone had done since filming, and not only did Kim get put into (and promptly check herself out of) rehab, but she and Kyle are also no longer speaking. Also not getting along? Lisa and Cedric, who are no longer in contact, probably because she finally figured out that Cedric’s a grifter. Which means, of course, that there’s an upshot to this entire sad season – Lisa has an opening for a sidekick. I’m updating my resumÃ© as we speak.