Every once in a while, my trashTV habit results in a show review for the Tufts Daily. By “trash TV”, I mean every episode of every season (except Miami–seriously, Bravo, WTH was THAT?) of any “Housewives” series Bravo
throws at my face offers up to me. Last time, it was the Atlanta Housewives. Up next: the 90210 ladies!
‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ concludes with all-too-real tragedy, leaving viewers wanting more | 3 out of 5 stars
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2012 22:01
Every so often, a reality show reminds us that we’re all human regardless of the amount of plastic or toxins we have shoved into our bodies. This season of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, try as it may to wrap itself up neatly, still stung with very real tragedy, including a cast mate’s husband’s death and a drug and alcohol problem revisited.
Though it was a season finale, the looming sense of finality for the women seemed misplaced and pregnant with uncertainty, as Bravo is currently considering replacing several Housewife cast members.
Cast member Russell Armstrong’s August 2011 suicide took a backseat to the final episode, which chronicled the wedding of Lisa Vanderpump’s only daughter, Pandora, in the Vanderpump backyard.
But we’re not talking your typical backyard wedding with a barbecue pit, picnic tables and charmingly quaint mason jars full of lemonade — oh, no. Kevin “Chi-chi-chi” Lee, a seasoned Beverly Hills event planner, most likely took theVanderpumps to the cleaners to arrange an all-you-can-pink event complete with a massive tent on the tennis court and enough flowers tucked in nooks and crannies to incite a bee orgy. Hopefully they gave out Allegra in the guest gift bags.
The event has been in the making since early in the season, occupying much of Lisa’s plotline along with the opening of her latest restaurant venture, SUR Lounge.
Throughout the episode, Lisa buzzed around her massive mansion, commanding contractors and decorators and fretting obsessively.
All of the Housewives were reportedly invited to the Vanderpump wedding, but onetime friends of the housewives, Dana Wilkey and Brandi Glanville (not official Housewives, more hangers-on than anything else) were missing from the final episode, as were Taylor Armstrong and Kim Richards, the sister of cast member Kyle Richards.
For the past few episodes, since Kim began dragging her boyfriend Ken around, the cameras have hinted at a drug dependency issue with Kim, chronicling her increasingly tense relationship with Kyle and noting her slurred speech and questionably intense regimen of antidepressants and anxiety pills.
Glanville called Kim out in an episode for her disheveled appearance and strange behavior, labeling her a “druggie,” and eliciting strong reactions from Kyle in Kim’s defense. In December, Kim confirmed our suspicions by checking into a drug rehabilitation clinic and promptly dumping the sleazy Ken, whom she claimed had been emotionally and verbally abusive toward her.
And then there’s Kyle. The season finale didn’t see much of this Richards sister, for better or worse. Throughout the season, Kyle has found herself “in the middle of the drama” on countless occasions, all the while declaring to the world how much she “hates drama and confusion.” Maybe a change in social circle is in order?
Camille Grammer, freshly divorced and still in the thick of custody and financial battles with her (Hollywood and Broadway star) ex-husband, Kelsey Grammer, was painted by the show as decidedly silent on most issues, and appeared to be “along for the ride.”
It wasn’t until Taylor Armstrong denied the abuses of her husband (after telling each of the cast mates, on separate occasions, of the desperation of her situation) that Camille sprang to life.
Promptly thereafter, Russell reportedly threatened Camille via email with a lawsuit for speaking against him, and potentially endangering him. Cue Camille climbing back into her well-decorated shell. Camille successfully sidestepped much of the season’s drama by smiling sweetly with a closed mouth.
Camille’s number-one on the show, cast member Adrienne Maloof, of the Maloof Family fortune (including some random, shabby hotel in Las Vegas called The Palms — ever heard of it?), inserted her raspy-voiced self into countless conversations and confrontations at the end of the season, many of them having little or nothing to do with her. In the season finale, she danced the night away at Pandora’s wedding.
After nearly an hour spent accounting the celebration, the hustle and bustle died down. Bravo messily tried to wrap up the episode with what felt more like a series finale than a season finale: a girls’ day brunch featuring all of the housewives (sans Kim) as they delicately addressed the topics of Taylor’s husband’s recent suicide and Kim’s substance abuse.
Taylor had been absent from both the Vanderpump wedding and other group outings, and for good reason: the death of her husband rendered her a single parent to their young daughter.
After a season spent dissecting her crumbling relationship with her husband, Taylor announced she was leaving him shortly before his suicide.
For the first time ever, this reality show felt “real” — Well, as real is it could possibly get— and you could see the heartbreak behind Taylor’s eyes.
However, with only three minutes of introspection at the end of the episode allotted for this interaction, it seems the episode would have been better served by being titled “The Real Wedding of a Beverly Hills Restauranteur’s Daughter.”