Guest Post by Jacques
My pal Jacques, entertainment writer extraordinaire from down under, graciously offered to write a guest piece on RHOBH for us, and I happily accepted!
Beverly Hills is far from my favourite Real Housewives city these days, but somehow it manages to get under my skin like no other. I felt some serious word vomit coming on immediately after finishing the season 7 finale, so I raced to Twitter to beg Tamara to let me write something for Tamara Tattles. Thankfully, she agreed! Overall this was a far more enjoyable and entertaining season than the last two, but it’s still a long way off the Beverly Hills glory days of seasons 1-3, as well as the messy, underrated season 4.
Most Valuable Player: Lisa Rinna
Rinna’s a rollercoaster of a Housewife, providing endless ups and downs throughout the course of each season. One minute you’re laughing, the next you’re cringing, and the next you’re gasping, but you’re never bored. She was the catalyst for almost all the good drama this season, and even managed to insert herself into #Pantygate which had nothing to do with her. Like Brandi before her, she’s a breath of fresh air on a show where all the major players are terrified of getting their hands dirty. And like Brandi, sometimes she goes too far, but on reality TV that’s better than holding back. My only criticism? Enough of the modelling daughters storyline. We’ve already been there with Yolanda. Enough!
Most Passé: Lisa Vanderpump
The fallen star of the franchise wore out her welcome years ago, and this season she did nothing to convince me otherwise. She started on a predictably bitter note, holding a grudge from season six and then failing to reignite her feud with Eileen Davidson who was smart and mature enough not to take the bait. She spent the rest of her time as a sidekick rather than a major player, only garnering airtime for her contractually-obliged charity scenes or for sniping from the side with endless digs at Eileen and Rinna. It was a sad display seeing the former Queen Bee desperately clutching to a metaphorical crown that Erika already snatched a year ago. Moving forward, I can see LVP being a fabulous ‘friend’ of the Housewives, but she has little left to offer as a full timer.
Most Improved: Kyle Richards
As a longtime Kyle hater I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really enjoyed her this season. With that said, I still stand by every criticism I’ve ever had of her: I believe she’s one of the most opportunistic and contrived Housewives in the entire Bravo franchise and that her behaviour is largely dictated by viewer feedback (a crime Camille is also guilty of). She also has no storyline without Kim or Brandi to bounce off of. But she was really likeable this season, no matter how fake her performance may have been. She’s also found the perfect replacement to keep her relevant in the absence of Kim and Brandi in The Agency. Thanks to Mauricio’s immensely successful real estate empire, Kyle is now one of the show’s chief providers of the rich people lifestyle porn that so many viewers tune in for. Sorry LVP, you’ve been dethroned – again!
Most Underrated: Eileen Davidson
Queen Eileen is the most sincere, level-headed, and relatable Housewife in Beverly Hills history, which has surprisingly made her one of the show’s most polarizing figures. Some people find those qualities ‘boring’, others think she’s a breath of fresh air who keeps the crazy cast grounded. She opened the season like the class act that she is, refusing to play into LVP’s nasty jabs and pathetic attempts to continue their feud from the previous season. This was an important moment because it made Eileen the first Housewife not to go crawling back to Vanderpump after the inevitable fan backlash that rains down upon anybody who dares cross the British bulldog. When the pair later made amends in Hong Kong, it was natural and genuine instead of forced for a storyline. Despite limited screen time compared to the rest of the cast, Eileen successfully resolved dramas with Dorit and Erika in a mature fashion, and demonstrated sincere friendships with her gal pals that were refreshing to see after the ‘alliance’ friendships of stars like LVP and Kyle or Porsha and Phaedra. Eileen also tugged at the heartstrings by dealing with her mother’s death on camera, and later shut down PK in the most epic way possible on the season finale. In case you couldn’t tell, she’s my favourite on RHOBH.
Most Tired: Kim Richards
I’m a former Kim stan who considers her an important and vital part of the Beverly Hills formula, but this season was just too much. Despite not being a full timer, the ‘mostly sober’ star was wheeled out by producers to provide half of the season’s storyline. In every scene she was either combative, which was uncomfortable to watch, or gushing about her grandson, which was just plain boring. It was also frustrating seeing Kim complain about her sobriety being brought up when she willingly decided to film a reality show where her sobriety had already been a storyline for six years straight. If Beverly Hills is ever going to truly evolve as a franchise, then I can’t see how they can do it with Kim on board. Sorry girl, but it’s time to go and sort yourself out away from the cameras.
Most Important: Erika Jayne
Regardless of what you think of Erika, there’s no denying that she’s the star of Beverly Hills right now. The fact that she and Rinna didn’t snatch the center diamonds this season is a travesty and speaks to Bravo’s inability to truly move the franchise forward. The blonde bombshell delivered every damn time, whether it was through her fashion, family, friendships, or feuds. Sure, she came off a little badly towards the end, but it was nice to see that she was a flawed human being after coming across as a picture perfect Barbie doll for so long. If she stays on the show for long enough, we might even get a great Erika Jayne villain edit – how epic would that be?
Most WTF Was Bravo Thinking: Eden Sassoon
Eden is without a doubt the worst Beverly Hills casting choice ever. Worse than Kathryn ‘Faye Resnick snatched my wig’ Edwards and Joyce ‘is a big fat pig’ Giraud combined. She was both contrived for the cameras and totally batshit crazy which just made for awkward viewing. She also had the same quality as Joyce, where you knew the other cast members were being mean to her but you couldn’t hate them for it because you know in real life that you’d bully her too. Eden was terrible casting and terrible script producing because she was brought in for a bad storyline about Kim Richards that shouldn’t even still be a thing at this point. Shame on you, Bravo.
Most Welcome Addition: Dorit and PK Kemsley
Unlike Eden, Dorit was perfect casting; equal parts ridiculous, likeable, and hateable. Even better is that she comes as a package deal with PK, who turned out to be one of my favourite things about season 7. I’m a big fan of villainous Real Housewives husband-wife duos like Alex and Simon or Gretchen and Slade, so it’s fun to finally see the Beverly Hills version. Dorit and PK make great TV together and were the perfect punching bags for viewers, although I will say that I do think they got a bum rap. Dorit generally just did her job and by the end of #Pantygate I couldn’t pick a side, equally seeing where both she and Erika were coming from. As for PK, he isn’t quite the pig he was portrayed to be. Nobody really saw Erika’s snatch, and PK and Dorit were just engaging in some producer-prodded locker room talk when they half-jokingly acted like they had. I was also living for PK calling Erika “inherently cold” on the finale, but I enjoyed it even more when Eileen shut him down. If PK and Dorit stick around, which I believe they will, then I can’t wait to see more of their outrageous antics together.
Most Unnecessary: Camille Grammer
Modern day Camille is so painfully boring and the current rumours of her returning full time next season have enraged me, as Lisa Rinna would say. This thirsty has-been showed up to every damn party and scheduled filming event she was invited to and still contributed absolutely nothing to the show. At least Taylor did what the producers told her to and mentioned Yolanda’s illness last year. The misguided love fans have for her is all nostalgia for Classic Camille, who has been dead and buried for YEARS. Just like Camille, Kyle and Lisa both change their on-camera behaviour to try and remain popular with the fans, but they still know how to jump into a fight or prod a storyline along. Camille wants the fame but refuses to work for it, and if Bravo stupidly decides to upgrade her again they will regret it.
Jacques writes for SBS, Daily Mail Australia, and Idolator. You can follow him on Twitter at @arcadeyblog.