‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ recap: $25K-colored glasses
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I like watching the Housewives snipe at each others’ qualifications. It’s like seeing a group of backpack-clad, retainer-wearing middle-schoolers argue over who’d make the best Miley, or a bunch of armchair jockeys scream orders at the wide-screen as if LeBron were simply waiting for them to show up.
This week, in Beverly Hills Housewife-land, opportunities were Threat Level Doozy. First, a new friend to Tyler and Kyle -- Dana -- blew the lid off the Housewives’ lavish lifestyle by confessing that her sunglasses cost $25K. New Housewife Brandi Glanville diagnosed (correctly, as it turns out) Taylor’s skeletal physique as “The Divorce Diet,” much to Kyle’s consternation. And, finally, Lisa had the temerity to appear for five minutes on CNN to comment on Kate and William’s royal wedding — at the behest, I might add, of Kyle and Kim’s own agent.
These issues all came to a head at a barbecue thrown by Adrienne Maloof, who, to digress briefly, I increasingly want to make my best friend. It’s not her private jet, or her private chef, or her private basketball team. It’s that she’ll order her husband around one minute and pick the dog poop from his shoes the next; make fun of his chubby hubby physique, then tell everyone to lay off; and (related) knows how to serve a monster barbecue: Put the kids in a blow-up jumpy castle and lay out enough food to feed a starving army of anyone but Housewives.
Lisa, who had to miss the barbecue because of her appearance on CNN, got the first backhand from Taylor. In a voice rich with irony, Taylor commented, “She’s qualified because she’s … British? And [rolling eyes in mock attempt to think of other reason] … married?” Let’s remember, Taylor, that’s pretty much all that qualifies Kate to be the next queen of England, too.
Next, new friend Dana, who told everyone that her sunglasses cost $25,000 and that she was planning to wed outside Paris in a castle — “I guess I still want to be a princess!” — received the chidings of Camille. “If someone is truly wealthy, they don’t talk about how much things cost,” she told the audience gently, then actually covered her mouth and flipped her head over at the prospect of Dana’s “lavish wedding.”
And pity poor Brandi, who’d already correctly pointed out that Taylor’s marriage was clearly on the skids, and been ridiculed for wearing a wedge with her crutches in a land where flats are the equivalent of a set of curlers and a hairnet. When Dana commented that she didn’t know what her husband did and he was away all the time, Brandi joked that he probably had a woman in every city. This was forward, to be sure — but they were also sitting at a table where exactly that had happened to half the women. “He’s at his mother’s funeral, actually,” Dana responded darkly. OK, except one generally brings one’s fiancée to such events.
I wonder if it’s the Housewives’ increasing physical similarity that makes them that much more intent on separating the truly genteel from the mere arriviste. Once, surgeons simply gave the same nose jobs. Now, they leave the same tell-tale signs, and only Lisa, who Adrienne’s chef quipped “didn’t have her rocker,” still looks like herself. With their precise blowouts, marcelled, Daryl Hannah-esque waves, grizzled arms and shoulders showing the irreversible effects of sun and starvation, and their precisely filler’d faces, they look increasingly like a tribe of pneumatic, comprehensively overendowed, desperately underemployed group of sisters.
So they must redouble their efforts to separate themselves from the fakers. Owning five vacation homes (cough ... Camille! ... cough)? Genteel. Being married in a castle? Laughable. Having your wedding dress show inordinate decolletage? Declasse. Having your boobs done yearly? Upkeep. Saying openly that your husband cheated and someone else’s might be doing the same? Catastrophic. Having weekly breakdowns over your broken marriage without doing anything about it? Cue the violins!
It was a bitter display, and it’s not surprising that Adrienne Maloof and Lisa, who work for their wealth but are apparently enmired in dog poop, were the only ones who didn’t take part. Because for the first time, the blowout brigade — who, let’s remember, opened up their lavish lives, not merely one set of shades, to millions of viewers — got a $25K set of mirrored sunglasses held up to them.
And their hypocrisy, not their diamond chandelier earrings, was blinding.
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-- Lizzie Skurnick