Friday, January 28, 2011

Half-ass TV Recap: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Reunion Part 1

The Real Housewives of Beverly HillsI couldn't help noticing that blogs that post TV recaps tend to get a lot of traffic from fans of the show. With that in mind, allow me to introduce my own concept, thought of right here in the Captive Wild Woman think-tank (family room alongside the wall of my nice thumpy-disco neighbors): Half-ass TV Recap. I don't have time to watch much TV or to even pay attention to most of what I watch (unless it's "The Wire" or some such thing). I will watch a disaster show like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because I want to see what happened to former childhood star Kim Richards, but I don't relish the moment. In fact, I tend to feel suicidal afterwards. Therefore: some random thoughts and feelings as felt by me, suicidal reality-show watcher on last night's Reunion show, Part 1. For those of you who avoided this reality wreck, I commend you.

The Beverly Hills housewives are seated in a semi-circle around smarmy host and interviewer Andy Cohen in the fabulous Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. I think briefly about taking notes or making screen grabs (consisting of me taking a photo of my analog TV screen) but then decide, "Fuck it. It's just this stupid show." I am a committed half-ass. So committed, I didn't start recapping until the post-season reunion show. You're welcome.

Andy Cohen is the last person on earth you want to interview you. I don't care if you're a shallow, mean-spirited rich lady wearing unflattering shiny clothes and giant sparkly earrings that look like chandeliers for a monkey-house. There must be some clause in their contracts forbidding them from calling him a putz as he pelts them with rude questions about their looks, their net worth and their general fucked-upness, all disguised as "America wants to know" email questions. This guy is so oily he should be liquefied and shot into Taylor's forehead for never-ending smoothness.

He starts off asking about their terrible plastic surgery and some of the housewives chime in that they've only had injections and anti-aging agents pumped into their faces. The others sit very still and try not to call attention to themselves, like hamsters in the wild. Some reader wants to know if Taylor will ever remove her lip implant because it's so friggin' big. Taylor defends her implant, saying she's not going to have surgery to please some people. She says Internet commenters have written that her mouth is too big so maybe she should have surgery on that as well. Kyle cackles, "Mouth reduction for you!" and they laugh and laugh. Oh Kyle, you're such a good friend.

There's a question about the price of milk. Kyle and Kim seem to know the most about that, guessing $3.49 for a gallon and less if you shop at Costco. The other housewives look askance and murmur, "Costco? Whatever are you talking about?"

Taylor is asked if it was worth it to throw a $60,000 birthday party for her four-year-old. Taylor looks unsure. "I think so. The guests had a good time...?" she offers. The other housewives sit very, very still except for Lisa who brings up Pin The Tail On The Donkey and how her kids were brought up differently. I love competitive parenting, don't you? It's the best.

Andy points out that Lisa seems jealous of Kyle's new friendship with Taylor. Lisa is all like, "Well, I never! They're just annoying together." As if to demonstrate, Kyle and Taylor link fingers like sixth-graders going steady. Kyle starts calling Lisa "Jealous! Jelly beans! Peanut butter and jelly sandwich!" Lisa rolls her eyes, as do we all. All the housewives imitate them by pairing off and nuzzling one another. It's a botox love-in extraordinaire!

Then there's a lightning-rod focus on Camille's most-hated status in America as dipshit Andy reads off the words describing her among the press and tortured TV-watchers across the country. I'm cheating because I'm using The Vulture's very funny recap here to recall his list of evil traits. Camille, throughout the season admittedly appeared as a creepy, insecure sociopath by being: conniving, passive-aggressive, catty, jealous, cruel, hypocritical, self-absorbed, manipulative, fake, insincere, delusional. Andy smiles as he continues reading. Camille, who was quite gracious on this episode, says it hurts and that people write anything at the computer, but the edit was purposefully made to make her look like that and she's not really such a horror-show.

During the Camille grilling, the camera cuts back numerous times to Kyle in close-up, smirking, looking smug. But when Camille has to re-live her break-up with her Kelsey, Kyle is shown carefully rearranging her face into what appears to be sympathy. Now who has the "bitch-edit"? Way to turn on a dime, Bravo producers.

I'll say this: The camera doesn't lie BUT editing does. I have no doubt that Camille gave the producers plenty of fodder to work with, but having worked with editors, I can attest that the cutting of the footage is everything. It's fairly easy to make a bitchy person look even MORE bitchy, by simply not showing the cause of the bitchiness. I worked on a film that did just that. Just one small additional piece of footage with one sentence of explanatory dialogue changed the entire course of a filmed conversation and gave the bitchy lady in the film a good reason for being so obnoxious in that particular scene. It gave her some humanity at least, even though she came across as a difficult person. You could kind of understand where she was coming from, just from that one extra sentence. Take out the sentence and she was insufferable. Put it back in and she's a complex human: like magic!

So, if Camille claims she got the bitch edit, I can give her the benefit of the doubt. Besides, Kelsey Grammer is just so disgusting. She deserves a big fat settlement just for having her humiliating breakup filmed for the world to see. Jesus. What is wrong with us? I gotta stagger out into the cold gray world and have a moment...

I'm back! So Camille admits she might have been difficult and insecure because Kelsey wasn't calling her all the time and perhaps she thought something was amiss when he moved 3,000 miles away for a year and encouraged her to stay in Los Angeles and star in a reality show known for humiliating its subjects. Perhaps... There's mention of Camille's soft-porn past and how the housewives were all watching it in a limo after a disastrous dinner-party at her house. There was argument back and forth about who was the bigger skank, Camille or Faye Resnick, who posed for Playboy. The argument was not resolved.

Then there was a snit-fit between Taylor and Kim over a dinner-party conversation about the mysterious but epic fight between Camille and Kyle. Look, Taylor, don't torment my beloved Kim Richards, you would-be sister-stealing Heather! Why would you pick a fight with a formerly decent child star? The former child star, even one who probably suffers from acute anxiety disorder, through poise and an innate sense of drama, will always look better. Just give it up. But Taylor's too grotesquely un-self aware to see how this is playing out. By sitting quietly, unruffled, while asking Taylor, "What did you mean when you said you were going to go 'Oklahoma on my ass'--you who run a charity for domestic abuse victims--you were quick to go there," Kim ends up looking like a halfway decent person--not easy on this show. "Were you going to take me out in the back and beat me among the dumpsters?" she continues, making Taylor laugh and pish-posh it away with a "I was JOKING!" But Kim will not be deterred. She starred in Tuff Turf for pity's sake. She knows Taylor's type. "I just thought it was ODD, for someone of your background to get so violent like that." "But I didn't!" Taylor almost squeals. Ha ha! So enjoyable.

The citizens of Oklahoma grumble and start writing emails immediately.

Then Taylor brings up Kim's supposed alcoholism, even though the entire cast drank its way through multiple parties that would have consisted of discussions of shoe shopping without the much-needed cattiness provided by cast and crew. I'm telling you: a normal person would have to drink to get through this season. I don't get all the shocked accusations. Don't most families in America have 2-3 alcoholics in them? Am I projecting? Isn't everyone in Beverly Hills on something? Kim: star in a Lifetime movie about a victim of bullying. It will be great.

Camille and Kyle have it out (AGAIN) about their New York City fight, which was never caught on camera and so consists of "She said She said" accusations. All of which are boring me, so I won't go into it. Something about how no one would care about Camille if it weren't for Kelsey and how Kyle never said that, and she's a liar and she's a victim and she's a phony and she's a bully and "bully" is a (*finger quotes*) "buzz word of the moment" and "No--you BULLY me," and so on. At this point I realize this is only Part 1. No freaking way! I have to watch on Tuesday for the exciting conclusion. You 12 readers better tune in for the half-ass recap.

There's an obligatory montage of Adrienne and long-suffering Paul bickering over clothes and food. Andy calls her out on her obvious disdain of her husband, which makes me like him for a millisecond. But I also like Adrienne, who seems hard-working and decent. She never got in the middle of a stupid fight like the others and she seems to understand that Kim needs support.

Then there's more of Taylor who is accused of stirring the pot of the off-screen fight that never made sense but took up an entire television season (and beyond) to resolve. There's back-and-forth of I didn't stir the pot, I think you did, No I never did. Andy puts in his two cents: I think you stirred the pot. I agree with him.

Perhaps next week there'll be some resolution for sisters Kim and Kyle who apparently aren't speaking to each other after the grand finale blow-up in the limo last week. That was uncomfortable to witness to say the least and never should have been on TV. Well, none of it should, except for maybe Lisa's little dog, Jiggy. Because he was going bald, proving that no matter how wealthy you are, you can still lose your hair, dignity and ass when someone goes Oklahoma on it.


Mildred Davenport said...

Funny stuff! I admit i'm a sucker for this show and your comical recap.

Miss Lisa said...

Mildred! Dahling, it's been *too* long! This whole reality-TV concept floats within the fine line between Edith Wharton to the max and pop-culture damnation. A toast!