A Mid-Season Investigation into Real Housewives of Beverly Hills 

They're Baaaaaaaack!

It’s been one thing to be quarantined but quite another to be quarantined without access to new Housewives episodes. What was I meant to watch? Camp Getaway? I tried. I couldn’t make it through the preview. Something about adult counsellors working over the weekend so yuppies can relive their youth, simply does not appeal to me. Maybe I am wrong⁠—if I am, and you’re a fan of Camp Getaway who wants to plead for the show, hit me up.

Attempting to fill my ever-growing Housewives void, I returned to my first love⁠—true crime⁠—to help pass the hours. For the first week, I went through classic episodes of Unsolved Mysteries and Cold Case Files. In the next two weeks, I was able to get lost in (and completely obsessed with) HBO’s new six-part docu-series I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I’ve watched both episodes at least twice and finished the book within days of its arrival. Then I may have joined the Unsolved Mysteries Reddit after binging the six new episodes on Netflix. I kept my brain preoccupied trying to piece together those puzzles without going too far down the rabbit hole. Ok, I may have gone down the rabbit hole a bit with the Dupont de Ligonnè family murders⁠—but how could you not? Where is Xavier? Clearly someone with a Netflix subscription must have seen him in the last while, right?

But I digress. Back to the Housewives. If I had to pinpoint when my obsession with the franchise began, it would be somewhere between January 2018 and July 2018. In those seven months, I underwent two major surgeries and got married. It is fair to say those seven months were a hugely emotional time. So when my friend Julia popped over on her way home from work and saw my sad state, she took the remote and put on the first episode of Vanderpump Rules. I am not sure how many episodes we watched and dissected before my husband, Ciarán, got home late after working overtime on Aquaman. He opened the front door quietly to avoid our one cat, Boris, noticing and demanding belly scratches and food. Unbeknownst to Ciarán, I wasn’t asleep as I normally would have been. Instead, I was wide-eyed, glued to the television, and about to tell him everything about the lives of the servers and bartenders of SUR restaurant. Lucky him.

From Vanderpump Rules it was a slippery slope to the Real Housewives franchises. I found myself watching the series as though I were a detective and/or psychologist. I have no shame in admitting the many in-depth conversations I had about the goings-on of these women. I not only watched what they did, I tried to figure out why. I found myself watching each episode with the same intensity that I watch one of my true crime shows. Sometimes I even narrate them in my head. I mimic Robert Stack’s baritone voice and combine it with Bill Kurtis’ cadence, “Tonight, we profile the twisted-saga of a family-friendly dinner gone horribly wrong. Watch the night quickly sour after host Denise Richards takes umbrage to her guests openly discussing threesomes within earshot of the teenagers. Kyle Richards adds fuel to the fire, by storming out of the party. Did Lisa Rinna push Kyle too far by questioning her loyalty? If so, why? Join me for the fascinating tales of threesomes, loyalty and lies. Tonight, on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

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The ladies of Beverly Hills returned on the 8th of July, but instead of Kyle leaving the family dinner, it was Denise leaving the family barbecue. We saw a glimpse of this infamous exit in the season premiere preview, so it seemed only fitting this was the cliff-hanger episode before the hiatus. On the June 16 episode of The Jess Cagle Show, Denise shared she believes the hiatus was nothing more than catching up on confessionals that were delayed due to COVID. She added: “We just recently started doing [the confessionals] where we’re filming ourselves basically. We have someone come in and set everything up with a mask…so we got behind for that.” Denise also mentions the show wrapped in December with her very much an active filming cast-member although she did miss a couple of the season’s final parties. This may come as a shock to fans who remember seeing these two images flash across their screens at the end of the season premiere.

 

Painting quite the picture and leaving us Housewives fans with little time to process this earth-shattering news, there is a jump cut to Denise. She is gearing up for her confessional with quite the smirk. Denise teased us even more, claiming “If it airs the way it was shot then people will see what happened.”

So, let’s take a closer look at what the season has shown us thus far including this latest episode.

 

The New Housewives on The Block

Season ten introduces fans to new Housewives, Garcelle Beauvais and Sutton Stracke.

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Sutton (left) in Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2018 Collection.

After a rather hilarious exchange of Fendi versus Fenti between Sutton and Dorit, we learn Sutton is a naturalist when it comes to couture. Not even God himself and Tom Ford could design a piece worthy of her purist style.

An older photo of Garcelle with her ex-husband and their two kids.

On the other hand, Garcelle openly discusses the end of her nine-year marriage to Mike Nolan after discovering his five-year affair. She also delves into how she successfully co-parents with her ex, offering the audience more substance and style.

 

Poor, Poor Dorit

This season Dorit reminds me of Mean Girls’ Gretchen Wieners in search of her new Regina George. When Lisa Vanderpump departed last season, Dorit quickly attached herself to Kyle. It’s not hard to see why, given Kyle defended Dorit, which subsequently ended her friendship with Lisa. That said, after miscalculating Teddi’s and Kyle’s ride-or-die status, Dorit finds herself as the third wheel. Having never really warmed to Teddi, Dorit⁠—along with some subtle reassurances from the Queens of Manipulation⁠—begins to cause some friction with both Kyle and Teddi.

 

What’s the Deal with Aaron?

Where to start with Aaron? To be honest, I am still trying to wrap my brain around this man. First introduced as Denise’s fiancé awaiting a divorce from Nicolette Sheridan, Aaron was around sporadically last season but now we are seeing a whole new side of him.

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At the ill-fated Welcome Home, Kyle Dinner in Episode Three, Aaron and Denise claim they are being followed by big pharma. Why would big pharma be following Denise and her over-muscly husband Aaron? That was just one of the questions I had as they huddled, muttering together like a pair of Shakespearian villains.

Quick Sidebar: Kyle really has the worst luck with get-togethers this season what with this fiasco, the Santa Barbara Weekend of Looks and finally, le pièce de résistance—the Family Day BBQ without her husband Mauricio and Denise’s children.

I won’t lie, I watched Aaron’s speech too many times to share without fear of judgement. Let’s just say it was to the point where, when I read it back, I not only hear it in his voice but also see his gesticulations. Much to his dinner guests’ dismay—aside from Lisa, who was revelling in the awkwardness—Aaron begins his convoluted speech with a story about him growing up “next to the largest nuclear facility in North America”, and witnessing those around him dying of cancer. Continuing on this intense thought train, Aaron ponders aloud “…we [can] split an atom with sound and cause a nuclear explosion. If you look at an atom there’s lots of space, right? Electron, proton, neutron, whatever. So, there’s a lot of space, right? 99.9% is space but it’s oscillating at a frequency that appears to be real in our reality…Traditional isn’t traditional, it’s allopathic. And allopathic, it means alternative medicine…It’s all a measurement of the electromagnetic spectrum frequency.”

Confused?

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Aaron continues, explaining “I break down stuff so you can heal you. I don’t heal, anybody, by the way, I remove blocks, discord, information.” Aaron then double-downs, claiming he “re-grew [his ruptured Achilles tendon] in two months, no surgery.”

But wait, there’s more!

We later see him threatening to crush Denise’s hand as they leave Kyle’s failed Family Day BBQ. No good. This guy is proving to be no good. Aside from his ‘alternative’ medical practices, which rob the chronically ill of their money and their hope, he is also possibly violent. I would hope Andy would bring this up in the reunion, but after the Below Deck Reunion brü-fail, my faith in AC has wavered. Also, who is to say that Denise will even appear in the reunion.

 

The Manipulators 

Fans of RHOBH will remember Lisa Vanderpump once wore the manipulator crown with Kyle at her right hand. However, since her abrupt departure last season, no one clear successor has appeared to claim the crown. From the outside, it appears as though Kyle has finally taken her spot on the throne with young protégé Teddi Mellencamp-Arroyave at her side. However, as the episodes continued, it became clear there are two Queens ruling this season. All hail, Queen Lisa Rinna and Queen Erika Jayne.

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This dynamic duo is teaching observers the subtle nuances of manipulation. Choreographed with the mastery of a ballet, Lisa and Erika each take turns pulling the pins on emotional grenades before retreating to watch the fallout from a safe distance. I first noticed this tactic in action as Lisa filled Teddi’s mind with insecurities and doubts about inviting the ladies to her All-In Retreat on the way to Sutton’s event. By the time they reached the event, the damage had been done. Teddi was extremely defensive when met with questions about her retreat which led to the whole ‘don’t care if you come’ debacle, which lasted one episode too many.

I am curious to see what those two have up their sleeves and if they are somehow connected to the Brandi Glanville affair leak. From the look of the previews, it appears as though Denise is putting together the Lisa Rinna pieces. She is realizing that, while they have had a long friendship, Lisa will always, without fail, do anything for that paycheque, honey. And it is nothing personal. It is entertainment.

It is part of the reason why Lisa and Erika make such a great team. They have never lied about why they are on the show—they are hard-working hustlers. They are constantly looking for the next thing that will grow their brand. I mean we went from watching Erika rehearsing for her nightclub gigs to watching her prepare for her upcoming role as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s Chicago. These women do not stop for anyone but their family.

In the latest episode, Lisa references Roxie Hart’s monologue when she straight out confesses to Erika, “When you talk about fame, you’re gonna relate to it. Erika, it’s what we’ve all strived to have…’Cause there is no shame in the game.” All said in the midst of having a machine tighten and lift her butt. Never let it be said these ladies can’t multitask. In what I consider one of her top five looks, Lisa continues her trip down Broadway Memory Lane of when she was Roxie Hart, expressing in her confessional, “In the monologue, Roxie says, ‘The audience loves me and I love them for loving me.’ And, like she is getting high off of it. Fame is a high…And I can relate to that so well! It’s brilliant, when you’re saying those lines, I was really saying them. The audience loves me and I love them for loving me.” Lisa ends her confession to Erika by stating, “We are tough bitches.” Erika follows up brilliantly, claiming: “We’re Roxie.”

 

Next Week in Beverly Hills…

As the previews begin, so does my narration, “Join us next week as Kyle once again attempts to host a party without drama. Unfortunately for the threesome of Denise, Aaron and Brandi, the night may turn into an evening they won’t soon forget. Join us to also witness the return of one of the original housewives, Camille Grammer, on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays on Bravo. 

Listen to Denise on SirusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=_NN6Q-uB58o&feature=emb_logo

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