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Women on the Verge: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, S2E1

Remembrance: The ladies of Beverly Hills have been assembled, outfitted in black, to discuss head-on what has happened to the Armstrongs. Taylor is absent. Kim is unfortunately the only one wearing white, and I don't blame her. I think the producers just sort of rouse her out of her cage and push her in front of the camera and tease her ear gently with long pieces of grass to produce the grimace permanently etched on her face--a feeling that must be somewhat familiar to a former child star. There is plaintive music. There is a discussion that reveals nothing but the fact that no one really saw it coming. And, even if one of the housewives did, would they admit to it? In a show where everyone is one-upping each other, there is no conflict or victory to be won. It seemed like a press junket, a moment for each member of the show to provide one kind, noncontroversial quote to be repeated mindlessly in tabloids for the next week. An opportunity for the housewives to distance themselves temporarily from whatever nasty remark they've made about Russell, which, in retrospect, will come off as unforgivably callow.

I don't think any of them are suicidal (although, what do I know?), but to see their sad old (or new) faces again makes me worried in a way that I've never ceded to reality TV stars. Could they all be on the verge of something horrible, and if so, in what unpredictable ways will they manifest their sorrows?

Enough--there is a disclaimer on the screen! Something about events happening before the suicide. It was necessary and fake, and, you know, with all the ugliness aside, let's just get on with it! [My own disclaimer: I got really excited about the premiere--too excited--and drank about three or four different types of wine last night. So this is going to be my hallucinogenic interpretation gleaned from the sloppy notes I took back on the back cover of an old copy of The New Yorker from my bag that I've never read and will never read. High and low, but mostly low up in here!]

Bingo!: What is the least controversial storyline you can think of? Think........ Something involving animals!!! Adrienne and Paul have a new dog, named Jackpot, and sadly, it is one of three animals featured in this episode that is richer than you will ever be. One, which needs no introduction and is strangely more human than Kim, is Giggy Vanderpump. The other is Camille's horse named Ghost(?). Camille doesn't ride the horse--she just rides slowly in her go-cart over to the stables and whispers sad things about her ex-husband's (I don't know if you've heard of Kelsey Grammer???) girlfriend to it. "Ghost, she stole my all clothes. Ha! It's OK. I'm totally OK with everything. Everything is a foregone conclusion, Ghost. Let me tell you!"

Anyway, bleh, Jackpot. It is getting really Best in Show right now. Adrienne was basically shit-talking Giggy because she's bored and wants a new project. She's bored with Paul, her plastic surgeon husband who's bestowed her with a "new new" face. The project is to take her dog and his leather daddy outfits to the upper echelons of fame attained by only Giggy and maybe Tinkerbell Hilton. It's not going to happen. I'm just curious, though: How do these dogs pee? Seriously. I watched Giggy walking down the street in a full-on purple velour bodysuit, and then she started crouching. I think the camera panned away, but, ew!

Also, here's something funny. What is Giggy's favorite drink? The $2,200-a-bottle champagne that Adrienne served at her stupid dinner party. Why do I know how much it costs? Because she wants us all to know. How much did Giggy drink? About, oh, my weekly salary's worth, which feels just wonderful!

Pandora the Explorer: You guys! Pandora is getting maaarrrriiiieeeddd. Her beautiful, WASPY fiancee, Jason, asked Ken's permission to cover her hand with a ring! It was kind of sweet, although Pandora is kind of pressing her luck.

SHOPPING: Kyle went shopping by herself. The saleslady was like, "Hello and welcome to THE NAME OF MY STORE. Can I help you with anything?!" Kyle waved her hand and shook her silky mane of brown hair and the woman disappeared behind a rack of expensive scarves so as not to be hit by something tall, yellow, and lanky speeding through the store like a meth addict. Taylor! TAYLOR!!! What was she doing there?! What? She RAN INTO the teenaged ghost of Donnie Osmond CEDRIC?! Zomg! I'm shopping. Goodbye!

"Therapy is very effective": The secondary plot (to the animals) of this episode involves a dinner party in King Triton's castle, which Adrienne bought for an undisclosed sum from Disney a few years ago and turned into her dining hall. The aforementioned $2,200 champagne was drunk by the paycheck-load in frosted amber flutes that looked like they were ordered in bulk from an Oriental Trading catalog circa 2003. A tinge of resentment over the cheapness of my own wine (but with the tasteful Ikea-ness of my own glass) flared up within me. But then it subsided when Ken Vanderpump called Taylor "weak" for doing couples therapy with her husband. What? Oh girl!

This barreled into a 15-minute-long drama wherein Taylor started shaking and weeping uncontrollably, Kyle consoled her and preached piously about the "effectiveness" of therapy, Camille laid low with nothing but a shit-eating grin, Adrienne scoffed at her husband multiple times (the TV editors are trying to divorce them, btw), Kim twitched vacantly, and Lisa and Giggy took turns sipping from the same flute, watching the melee unfold in front of them and exchanging meaningful glances when no one was looking.

And then it was over! Actually, other things may or may not have happened later. But at this point, I was too drunk to remember and I was also having a hard time writing down my recollections ("camile is very haughty," "is that a framed wedding dress in Adrienne's bedroom???") because The New Yorker has no negative space. TAKE IT UP WITH THEM.

The next few weeks look promising. Someone accuses someone else of doing meth. Someone bares their teeth and screams at something else. Money is also involved. Adrienne is contemplating divorce. Or maybe she isn't. Maybe her storyline of marital discord was the second option when the first couldn't be used. I haven't a clue! But it is going to be real.

--Mike Berlin

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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