It occurred to me yesterday as I spent five and a half hours getting a haircut and some highlights (I look fabulous but Jesus Christ on a cracker, how do these housewives abide sitting for hours with a chair while people fuck with their hair and makeup?) it occurred to me that a lot of commenters here have either not watched RHOBH from the beginning, or see every season in isolation from the previous ones. Others just pick their pony ( or mini-horse or swan) whenever they began watching and defend that person to the death. I do not understand this viewing method as it is just not how life works in general with a group of women, and it certainly isn’t things evolve on reality shows. In any group of women, in a sorority, in the junior league, in an office setting, friendships change and develop and are influenced by the introduction of new members and the departure of old ones. On reality TV people come in one way on their first season and can be a completely different person on their second season. Kenya Moore came in batshit crazy and then toned it down for season two. Thus I hated her season one and have enjoyed her more and Moore as the season’s progress. Camille Grammar season one was not the same Camille Grammar we had in season two. Those are extreme examples, but in general you never see the season one personality of anyone by the second season. The longer people are on, the more they understand the game.
So what is the game?
It’s basically just like the Hunger Games. The way to win the real housewives game is to get a contract renewal for the next season. This is how you win the game and draw a salary that pays more than anything else you will ever do in your life, (with extremely few exceptions) and draw attention to your business particularly if you actually have a business (like Lisa Vanderpump, Bethenny Frankel and Heather Thompson). Very few women in the history of the Real Housewives franchises have ever said, “This is a stupid game that is beneath me and I don’t want to play it anymore.” I am going to focus on those who really want to play the game, and how that relates to this season of RHOBH.
RHOBH Season One
Season one was a dress rehearsal. For the purposes of this post, the only players we need to discuss are Kyle Richards (and Kim to some degree) and Lisa Vanderpump. Things did not go the way the LVP wanted in season one. She was not the prettiest, the richest, or at the center of much drama. LVP’s plan was to buddy up with Kyle, but Kyle was at the center of every storyline and LVP was upstaged by Camille, who was being cheated on very publically by her famous husband and flying everyone to NYC to witness her husband basically humiliate her. LVP was upstaged by Adrienne who had more money and was flying people to Vegas to meet Jay Z at a concert in her hotel.
Kyle has a huge blow outs with Camille resulting in the infamous Dinner Party from Hell, perhaps the greatest moment in housewives history. Kyle outs her sister as an alcoholic. Kyle and Adrienne seem relatively civil and Kyle befriends Taylor Armstrong. That last decision by Kyle will cause an issue with LVP so deep that LVP never gets over it. It will bubble up over and over on every season. It was in retrospect a bad decision, for Kyle and she will regret it for seasons to come. LVP also makes a mental note that Kim is a weak link with an addiction problem. She will debate how to use that to her advantage.
Season one LVP did not have enough accoutrements to stand out on this show. She needed a better house. She needed some swans. Some puppies. Perhaps a pony or two. She could not rely on a British accent and a random stray European man will tales of woe living in her house. For now, LVP is going to have to rely on Mohammed to provide a house that will be competitive on this show. LVP uses Kim for this plan inviting her to Mohammed’s house in order to fix her up with his friend Martin.
RHOBH Season TWO
The second season is not much better for LVP. Taylor, who is the bitch that has stolen her ally Kyle, is center stage. There is a very special episode of RHOBH as the first episode where everyone reacts to the fact that Taylor’s husband has killed himself. Camille’s divorce is literally front page news. And Adrienne may have to move the basketball team her family owns to another town.
Brandi shows up and starts going for Kim right away and Kyle viciously protects her sister at game night. LVP does not attend. Brandi also comes straight for LVP in her very first scene. LVP is literally being upstaged by a chick who rents a shack in the valley. Ken becomes LVP’s mouth piece. He puts down Taylor and Russell telling them that marriage therapy is for the weak. At that time we all just write that off as a “British male mindset.” LVP ups her “British” came (and her accent) by landing a gig on CNN to comment on the Royal Wedding. She goes back to the Mohammed well to throw an engagement party for Pandora, she brings in camel, and circus performers and snake charmers desperately trying to stand out among the group.
Kyle and Kim continue to have issues surrounding Kim’s alcoholism. Adrienne becomes closer to Kyle and tries to help her navigate the situation.
Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd are blamed for a nasty story about Taylor and Russell’s marriage in US magazine. No one really believes this. Because Lisa has a lovely accent and seems rather harmless. Later Lisa and Ken get into a very uncivilized argument with Taylor and Russell. Taylor claims that Russell is abusive. This causes a brief détente between Taylor and Lisa.
Lisa pisses off Adrienne by having her daughter’s bachelorette party at a competitor’s Vegas hotel. Viewers (including me) don’t see this as duplicitous or calculated by LVP either. Adrienne is a bitch, especially to her husband and LVP has a charming accent and a doting husband whose nasty comments are overlooked as coming from a rather cranky old man who likely has health issues. The housewives split into factions for competing parties in Vegas. Oddly, I believe only Taylor chooses LVP’s event (which is actually Pandora’s bachelorette part and why would the housewives go to a kid’s bachelorette party?) Taylor is still avoiding Camille at this point because she outed the domestic violence claims on TV.
Kyle has to turn Russell and Taylor away from her white party that year because Russell is threatening to sue everyone.
LVP gets closer to Brandi in Hawaii as she is running low on options, but later at the opening of SUR makes sure that Scheana is there. Most everyone saw that as deliberate evil, but no one cared much because Brandi is an awful human being. In one season LVP manages to negotiate an engagement party, a bachelorette party and a wedding by Bravo for Pandora. CHA-CHING!
RHOBH Season THREE
Kim goes to rehab between seasons in Utah. It didn’t take.
THE ARRIVAL OF YOLANDA FOSTER.
THIS IS THE PART YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND. THIS IS WHAT MADE EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON ON RHOBH IRRELEVANT BESIDES LISA VANDERPUMP AND YOLANDA FOSTER.
From this point forward, you will find most people have chosen a side in the war that this show has about to become. Whether they know it or not, they are either on TEAM LVP or TEAM Yolanda Foster. This is war. There are only two sides. Every other woman on the show, from season three on became pawns in a game of chess.
Except most people don’t understand this. Most people do not know that LVP hates Yolanda because of her divorce from Mohammed who is LVP’s closest friend and perhaps only real friend in all of Beverly Hills. Yolanda got herself out of that prenup with the whole broken back during Anwar’s childbirth story. I think many conversations were had between Mohammed and LVP and that LVP was angrier about someone doing her friend dirty than he actually was. Mohammed has tons of money, he was not as emotional about it. He threw money at Yolanda, and she went away and he kept his close relationship with his kids. But LVP does not let things go. When Yolanda talks about “the vault” she is not referring to Kyle and her issues as much as she is to LVP. These two women both know where the others skeletons are buried. Mohammed on the other hand does not want any of this drama brought up. He’s made it clear to both of them that they should no rock the boat of the other to the degree that it involves him OR HIS CHILDREN.
Yolanda, who has once said that nothing is uglier than a drunk woman, realizes that she cannot claim any of the main players as allies. In the first episode, she picks up Brandi, who says that “Yolanda has slept with half of Beverly Hills” right out from under Lisa’s nose. And the other drunk Kim as her first two pieces. You have to work with the resources that are available. She will come for Kyle later if she sees an opening. In Yolanda’s very first Bravo blog she says of Kim, ” It was also great to connect with Kim (my water buddy!) while she confronts some prior sources of tension. We got along so well despite me having the same birthday as her beloved sister, Kyle, who is clearly not always her biggest ally in life. So much to learn!” This will eventually be ingrained into Brandi, the village drunk, as her season mantra. It was Yolanda who pointed out to Brandi that the crack between Kyle and Kim was ready to be exploited. It also gave Brandi someone to drink with (allegedly) later in the game. It was a brilliant opening gambit by Yolanda.
YOLANDA STARTS FILMING AT MOHAMMED’S HOUSE! She just feels like helping him with some interior design. We also see her stunning Malibu house and her super famous (pretentious) husband, David Foster. It’s all VERY Beverly Hills. We are in LOVE with Yolanda.
LVP gets a better house.
LVP is already in a bit of a pickle. On top of the Yolanda situation, she still has Adrienne and Camille to take out. Camille was downgraded to recurring friend status, so she was no longer a threat. But Adrienne was still full time and still richer than she was and getting a lot of air time. LVP came for Adrienne in season two quite a bit, coining the phrase” Maloof Hoof” and refusing to film in her Vegas properties.
Luckily for LVP, she still had some sway over Brandi Glanville. In the luckiest moments of Brandi’s life she found herself in a vital spot on the chessboard. A place that both LVP and Yolanda needed to set up future moves. LVP had little time and needed to use Brandi to both take out Adrienne and leave Brandi too hobbled to be of much benefit to Yolanda. LVP succeeded spectacularly. She loaded Brandi for bear in Ojai which resulted in this being the most read post on TT of all time. At that time I was a tiny little blog and when hundreds of thousands of people showed up as the show was airing to read that post, I thought my site was under attack. When Brandi announced at the table that Adrienne had used a surrogate for the birth of her twins, Bravo bleeped it out after a nasty legal battle ensued between Adrienne and Bravo. But the damage was done. And Bravo and Adrienne were DONE with each other. Adrienne did not show up at the reunion and Andy was FURIOUS.
Adrienne continued to film a bit and even showed up to Lisa and Ken’s vow renewal. On the day of Lisa and Ken’s vow renewal, Adrienne and Paul’s divorce hit the tabloids. How convenient. That is two conveniently times leaks to the press brought up by production.
Kim got a nose job, and the resulting painkiller prescriptions to keep using, Kyle and Lisa fight (mostly about Brandi and Kim) and make up on the Eiffel Tower. But Yolanda has spoiled Brandi in Paris buying her some very expensive shoes.
RHOBH Season FOUR
Taylor is gently pushed out of the show and appears in only a couple of scenes. Ditto Camille. Joyce and Carlton arrive on the scene and basically stay out of all the lines of fire. There lack of participation got them summarily axed for the next season.
The only pieces left to move around the board are Kyle and Kim and ….Brandi.
Now LVP can show turn her focus to Yolanda. So she is going to need Kyle back solidly on her team and when Kyle upsets Carlton inadvertently LVP defends her. She continues to woo Brandi away from Yolanda with moderate success. In episode two, Yolanda according to the TV listing “needs surgery for her Lyme disease.” Surgery for her Lyme disease? Sigh. This changes things.
LVP goes on DWTS and has no sense of humor when the others discuss her dramatic fainting scene. Kyle initiated that and that INFURIATED LVP. She was also pissed at Brandi for participating. So when packing for a trip, Brandi shows up with tabloids about Kyle and Mauricio. Brandi says later that LVP told her to bring them. Despite the scene looking very set up with LVP seeing the magazines laying around Brandi’s place and LVP asking on camera why she has said tabloids. I am firmly ensconced on TEAM LISA VANDERPUMP with most of the rest of you. These days, the Brandiloons take my position on Season Six LVP as finally believing Brandi. Perhaps, maybe I do in this third TABLOID INCIDENT involving LVP now. But it still doesn’t make me like Brandi.
Brandi begins to realize that Lisa is manipulating her and runs into the arms of Yolanda who is now able to completely control her and turn her against Lisa. Lisa has also had a blow up with Kyle over not being a loyal foot soldier when the mean girls were poking fun at LVP’s DWTS appearance.
After two seasons of covert warfare, never calling any attention to their own actions, Yolanda’s lyme brain had outwitted LVP. LVP and Yolanda had been pretending on camera to be if not allies than mildly tolerant of one another but all of the underpinnings had come to the surface. LVP says in a blog about this time, ” Now after reading Yolanda’s blogs and having seen endless comments on film, I have realized I called it wrong. Obviously Kim and Kyle had been truthful about what had transpired in Paris, I just had refused to believe it. Joyce had warned me at the beginning of the season, and I chose to ignore her account of Yolanda desperately trying to engage her in a detrimental conversation about me. I didn’t know Joyce at that time and I was hoping that the bond between Yolanda, Mohamed, and our families would supersede the negativity she harvested.” In other words, “Look Mohammed, I did the best I could but this bitch is on my last nerve and it’s all her fault.” LVP will play the victim to the hilt for the rest of season four.
This is also the season where Yolanda accuses Ken of attacking her at a party.
When the gang went to Puerto Rico, LVP had very few allies. Except for me. And most of you. Even when all of this went down in Yolanda’s words, ” If Ken had given me the opportunity to speak at the table before lumping me in with the three other women and before he called me ‘stupid,’ I would have said that I saw the magazine in question at Brandi’s house — but I never saw Lisa put it in the suitcase. Ken did not want Kim to speak for Brandi, but he spoke for Lisa even though the truth is that neither one was there.” I did not personally become disgusted by Ken. I felt like he was sticking up for his wife. I was still on the front seat of the LVP bus in a cheerleader’s outfit shaking my pom poms and the bus sped off for the edge of the cliff.
When Ken CRIED at the season four reunion, I was so upset with EVERYONE on those couches for coming for sweet little LVP my blood was boiling. I was furious with Andy Cohen. I have searched for my recap of that reunion, but I don’t think at that time I was recapping any RH shows other than Atlanta. This was, at that time, to my eyes based mostly off of just that season and not THE LARGER PICTURE a whole bunch of people being really mean to LVP.
RHOBH Season FIVE
In her first blogs of season five, LVP has picked her new pawn in the game, “You will enjoy getting acquainted with Eileen, a lovely woman that I am happy to call a friend, someone who is understated about her success and supportive of others. But adding a new cog to this wheel often changes the complexion of these existing friendships, so as always stay with us!” Didn’t take long for her to turn on Eileen.
This season was a bizarre mess. Kim was back and clearly not sober. Lisa Rinna and Kim’s interactions in Amsterdam sort of overshadowed everything. Brandi aligned further with Yolanda as no one wanted to film with her anymore. Rinna and Eileen were much believed first season housewives and Yolanda was more focused on carefully crafting her divorce from David and properties were being liquidated and LVP was not the primary battle on her frontlines.
Yolanda took us to Holland, and Brandi enabled Kim’s addictions and carried out Yolanda’s season three plans to pull Kim away from Kyle. But by now, Yolanda realized that Kim wasn’t stable enough to use in her war against LVP. Also Bella got a DUI while Yolanda was frolicking in Europe that she would later blame on Lyme Disease in season six. But first, Yolanda made just a brief appearance on the reunion to talk about Lyme disease before bailing out on the rest of the drama. That left Kim and Eileen to be the maid drama of that reunion and LVP and Kyle were not that integral to the finales.
RHOBH Season Six
Yolanda needs an ally. Fresh out of central casting we get Erika Jayne. Erika Jayne who likely doesn’t know Yolanda from Oprah storms onto the set and in every scene plants a seed about Lisa Vanderpump’s “side sniping.” She says several times to people who will listen that LVP is the kind that doesn’t directly come for you, but gets her agenda accomplished through the side door.
On Team Lisa we have Kyle and Rinna. From the very first episode LVP starts to blog about how she and Kyle talked about Yolanda’s condition. LVP said, ” I think it was confusing seeing her dealing with this illness, how it ebbed and flowed, the social media pictures…and as the season plays out, we discuss that, as you do when you are all immersed in a group. ”
So the grand stage was set, LVP, Kyle and Rinna v. Yolanda and Erika. The other new girl, Kathryn would be little more than the neutral water carrier between the two camps. Eileen would be very late to the party as she was grieving two deaths in her family. She would mostly talk to Rinna about the off camera loading of ammunition as she was really not up to the season this time. She would try to distract herself with Erika Jayne. Erika Jayne was like a new shiny thing for Eileen to play with. She had no idea that Erika had a pivotal role to play in the drama. Yolanda would direct from the sidelines alternately freezing herself and appearing as though she was dressed as a giant pan of Jiffy Pop whilst chatting with her favorite child on Facebook, while Gigi looked put out by the entire farce and ready to be elsewhere.
Kyle would manage to excuse herself from the main clash on the battle field by hanging out with Faye and holding dinner parties where everyone could go after each other while she checked on the help. She was aware that Lisa wanted to expose Yolanda’s illness but she was not willing to be town crier of the incident. So Rinna did it. Kyle, LVP and Rinna were all well aware of what Munchausen is before it was ever said on screen. As was Yolanda.
The interesting thing that occurred this season was that the introduction of the most important things came from someone reading from a phone. First everyone gleefully read Yolanda’s ranting text to Kyle in their talking heads. Next Rinna uses her phone to read what everyone else is DYING to say as it has been all over the Internet!
So the season goes on with Rinna very early on realizing she is going to the only one held accountable for what EVERYONE ELSE including production, who wanted the storyline introduced as early in the season as possible, was thinking.
Eileen has her own issues with production which stem from her having to convince production to leave her marriage issues off camera. She pled with them that her family is already dealing with two deaths and could they please have a modicum of compassion for her family during this difficult time. Production backed off. LVP was forged on with her script either unaware or not caring. I’d presume the latter since she never issued a genuine apology to Eileen, who she has referred to as her friend and someone she thinks highly of.
So as the season ends, Yolanda is now in OPEN warfare with LVP for the first time ever. Once Lisa used Kyle to “force” LVP to confess that Mohammed knows that the children do not have Lyme Disease. Yolanda retaliated via Mohammed to get LVP thrown out of the House of Jordan. Yolanda’s crushing blow will devastate Lisa Vanderpump if it is indeed successful.
There is a new TMZ story today that has many of the details wrong about when and where LVP and Mohammed had the conversation about the kids. It was not filmed for RHOBH. There were however paparazzi outside snapping photos. This was in fact a very big deal and something that Mohammed did not want on the show. And there certainly have been implications that effect his relationship with Lisa Vanderpump.
But the extent of the damage is not yet known. Lisa has already tried to placate Mohammed. It could be as dire as TMZ is attempting to make it out to be, or not. Time will tell. We do have three episodes of a RHOBH Reunion to publicize and TMZ tends to work hand in hand with production to bolster up the excitement.
SO I began this incredibly long retrospect to hopefully shut down some of the stupidity I have been reading here. Particularly, about Lisa Rinna who has been treated like the biggest buffoon of all time by some of you. Everyone on this show since season two has been fighting for survival in a hunger game like arena. Just like everyone else, Rinna, Eileen, Erika (and to a lesser degree Kyle because she is not going anywhere, ever and is part of production) pick their allies, choose their battles and fight to the death. Rinna is full of emotions and empathy that are often lacking on this show. She is prone to dramatic overreactions. She often regrets and apologies for her choices. But no one in the Thunderdome is guiltless. They are all fighting for their lives and making quick decisions. It is irksome that this reunion Lisa Rinna is going to take the brunt of the abuse, when there are plenty valid targets available on both couches.
And for the love of all that is holy, NO OF THEM ARE BLAMELESS. And Yolanda Hadid and Lisa Vanderpump are the primary opposing forces.
So if you are going to comment on the season, at least have some sort of idea about WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.