Truth. The need for it. The need to speak it. The need to own it.
It’s the word of the moment, but is anyone else fed up to the back teeth of hearing all the Real Housewives – or anyone else, for that matter – wittering on about the need to spout their own truth?
And that’s because someone speaking their own truth usually means regurgitating a pack of lies.
Which brings us to the first reunion of the twelfth season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
‘The chic-est reunion I have ever seen,’ said host and Bravo supremo Andy Cohen, at the much- anticipated gathering.
It was a nod to Dorit Kemsley’s excessive word of the word ‘chic’ when fawning over Jamie Lee Curtis, who had put in a guest appearance earlier in the season. For chic here, read train wreck in a candy store. Sequins, mosaic, pearls, diamonds, yellows, pinks, blues – let’s hope you had your sunglasses at the ready.
Immediately to Andy’s right sat Kyle Richards, often rumored to be his favorite. Why wouldn’t she be? Andy knows which side his bread is buttered, and in the case of Kyle, the relatives who are the Hiltons, and her super-rich realtor husband Mauricio Umansky – who has just been handed his own Netflix series, Buying Beverly Hills, by the way – Andy’s bread is not just buttered, it’s holding up a veritable dairy farm.
For reasons best known to herself, Kyle was sporting daggers as earrings. By the end of the three reunions, her lobes will be down to her ankles.
Next to her sat Garcelle Beauvais – ‘about as dominatrix as we’ve gotten,’ said Andy, as the spectacle in black and sparklies loomed before him. Perched atop a pair of long black leather boots and tucked into a dress as short as it could be without being a blouse, she stayed perfectly poised throughout, as the camera caught nearly every inch of her right thigh. Either that, or the entire length of Long Island had decided to take up residence on the sofa.
Was her choice of outfit just the mood she was in, asked Andy. ‘Yes,’ said Garcelle, ‘and I also wanted to switch it up.’ Switch it up? There’s a big difference between turning up the heat on your hairdryer and going all out electric chair mode.
Next to her sat Sutton Stracke, the woman who invariably looks as if she has not only been dressing in the dark but shopping in it, too. Viewers are still having nightmares over the blue cat sweater she wore on a date.
A fan of excessively large bows and over-fussy outfits, Sutton’s attire is so jaw-droppingly bizarre on occasion, you could be forgiven for thinking she is drowning in a vat of marshmallows.
‘Dolce and Gabbana?’ asked Andy, of the pink dazzler. ‘Peter Dundas’ she proudly replied ($4,490 at Saks Fifth, should be interested – or 749 Bic Mac meals, should you not).
To Andy’s left sat Lisa Rinna, whose many wigs this season appear to have lost their way en route to a yeti convention. Producing a small, china bird – birds are a symbol of her recently deceased mother, Lois – she cooed that she felt as if ‘the angels are protecting me.’ Clips from the next reunion reveal Kathy Hilton calling her out as ‘the biggest bully in Hollywood – and everyone knows it.’ How did those angels work out for you, Lisa?
Erika Girardi oozed to Lisa’s left. Yes, ooze is the only word for it, as she sat immobile in a very strange blue dress strapped tightly across her chest, making it look as if each breast were not only a different species but had arrived from a different planet. The larger one appeared to have acquired its own passport and was already in the throes of making a quick getaway.
Dorit Kemsley, to her left, provided the best spectacle, as she aways does. How many months does it take her to get dressed in the morning? Boasting two plaits woven with pearls, everything about her screamed…well, chic. To look like her, most of us would have to have started round about 1989.
Then came Crystal Kung Minkoff, the bore who surely won’t make it to the next season. Perched on the end of the sofa, she already looked as if she was halfway out of the door – or in the process of being pushed. Even coming dressed as an over-ripe banana for this reunion will not be enough to save her, and every attempt at MCI – Make Crystal Interesting -has failed miserably. Heck, she can’t even make herself appear interesting – MMI, Make Myself Interesting – so what hope does the show have?
Diana, dressed in lime green at home, was wisely keeping a safe distance. ‘If this is ill, you look pretty good,’ said Andy. Quite. Say nothing though, or she’ll have her lawyers onto you quicker than Kyle can stab you with an earring.
With the exception of Sutton and Kyle, all the women looked as if they were parading sofas on their faces. Even Crystal’s lips appeared to have expanded throughout the season – in fact, they appeared to grow during each commercial break, albeit to just a two-seater. But Garcelle, Lisa, Erika and Diana were definitely in the three-seater zone. As for Dorit, her lips have furnished up to a whole new level. We’re now talking sectionals.
The problem with the reunions is that they are just a rehash of every subject that has already been done to death. This one included Dorit’s house invasion, along with Crystalzzzzzzzz’s allegation of Sutton’s ‘dark’ comments. Backtracking like crazy – now that she’s bezzies with Sutton – Crystal tried to gloss it over, claiming that the problem had been the tone of the conversation rather than anything specific. As Kyle pointed out, this was a complete contradiction. ‘Your truth isn’t true,’ she responded to Crystal’s defence that the story was ‘her’ truth. There we go again. Put a sock in it, MCI.
The exasperated faces with which we have become so familiar responded with suitable outrage as the non-stories developed. Garcelle’s tongue licked the inside of her mouth and her cheeks transformed into a weak pair of bellows trying to light the embers of an already dying fire when Diana denied having had anything to do with the online bullying of Garcelle’s 14-year old son Jax.
Lisa’s head rocked from side to side, her mouth portraying that ‘Really?’ kind of quizzical expression that alas makes it look as if her enormous lips are trying to swallow her head whole. Kyle’s mouth, as always, was almost permanently open, like a guppy caught in a fish tank’s headlights. Crystal did her usual staring into the middle distance (always a failed attempt at MMI).
There was a serious note to the show when Andy addressed the camera to condone the bullying of Jax. ‘There is no room for this kind of hate,’ he said. ‘Bravo unequivocally condemns it.’
Surely reality TV, and certainly the whole of the Bravo franchise, thrives on conflict and, yes, while rightly condemning the conduct of online trolls and the death threats that some of the women have received, maybe there’s something the participants could do, too – keep their kids off the show. While that might not stop trolls from doing what they do so hideously, in keeping your kids out of the public eye, it offers them a degree of protection that parading them before the cameras does not do.
In all, this was something of a dull opener, with the promise of much bigger drama when Kathy Hilton enters the fray next week.
Rumours abound that following the taping of all three reunions, sisters Kyle and Kathy are barely on speaking terms. Far more important is whether Kathy will finally discover the identity of a certain person. It was the best moment of the entire season, when Erika, talking about herself, said that everyone thinks she’s tough but she’s not hunky dory.
‘Who’s Hunky Dory?’ asked Kathy – out of genuine ignorance.
Bring on Kathy and Part II.
And next time, I swear by almighty God, I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.