This season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was basically sponsored by the tragic chronicles of Erika Jayne. From the embezzlement allegations against her (estranged) husband Tom Girardi to the scrutiny of her suspiciously well-timed divorce filing and everything in between (rolling cars, snowstorms, cheating, emergency surgeries, burglaries) there was no shortage of content to cover. In the words of Scheana Shay, it most literally was all happening to the untouchable ice queen Erika Jayne.
But a scandal can’t stand on its own. As Meghan King so graciously set the precedent with CancerGate, and the Potomac ladies exercised with Michael Darby, you truly need someone to both recognize the potential of a Bravo God-gifted scenario, and to take a firm stance and ask the hard questions. And in this season of RHOBH, both Lisa Rinna and Sutton Stracke understood the assignment.
Erika may have brought the tangential legal woes, surprise details about her and Tom’s pretty mess-y marriage, and more, but Rinna and Sutton were the vehicles who made that content a conversation about the cast’s stance on the matter(s), rather than a full-blown Erika pity party.
Hear me out.
If it were up to Kyle or Dorit (sans PK), the season most definitely would have steadily chugged along. Shocking news about Erika would drop and they would run to comfort her. They’d patiently listen to her confusing explanations, partially because they didn’t want to cause waves and partially because they couldn’t be bothered to read a 4,000 word article in the LA Times.
Which sure, would still be semi-interesting, because we’d see Erika’s response to the news in real time, and may have even gotten a shady comment or two from Dorit during a confessional. But overall, it’s safe to assume that even though the cast may have *gently* alluded to their suspicions behind closed doors, they likely would have never confronted Erika IRL.
But what we got this season was so much more entertaining than the above. Sutton gave us ruthless investigative journalism, while Rinna presented us an unwavering, court-worthy defense of Erika. Despite their differing positions on the matter—actually, because of their differing positions on the matter—Sutton and Rinna’s strong opinions shifted the storyline beats away from just a regurgitation of the headlines, and made it about the cast’s dynamic in relation to how they felt about snow in Pasadena and rolling cars.
And that’s what makes a strong Housewife and memorable season. The glamorous houses and cute family moments are nice additions, but the real tea is hearing the ladies voice their stance on matters that the viewers and Bravo fandom sure as hell are tweeting about and taking sides on.
Because Rinna and Sutton took the risk of sharing their perspectives, it paved the way for the others, including an initially timid Kyle and fence-sitting Dorit, to throw shade at Erika’s ever-changing stories, discuss what Erika knew/didn’t know, and even speculate about whether Tom was of sound mind.
And because Sutton was on one end of the spectrum, Rinna’s 180-degree POV complimented the stance by showing another side. Even though Rinna is generally getting heat for her actions this season (and last…), we can’t forget that her over-the-top opinions and pot stirring nature are why she’s a good housewife—she’s an exaggerated character with strong opinions, and that gives the viewers something to talk about and the cast something to fight about. Without someone like Rinna (or Sutton) initiating conflict, we’d be watching a season where everyone’s hunky dory… yawn.
And bless Rinna for giving us a B-storyline between Garcelle and herself (ICYMI: Garcelle questioned why Rinna didn’t take that same gumption to defend Denise Richards the season before as she did with Erika). Rinna’s stance—which yes, is not the side most Bravo fans agree with taking—gave Erika a
partner in crime blindly loyal friend, reminiscent of vintage Kyle & LVP.
Rinna and Sutton aside, the closest we got to confrontation was Garcelle saying “that’s not what you said the other night” to Dorit, after Dorit said to Erika that she didn’t want to pry into the legal situation. I hardly can imagine Garcelle stepping up to initiate that dialogue without Sutton, just given Garcelle’s later commentary on how she felt she didn’t fit in. And need I remind you, SUTTON was the one who called the everyone-but-Erika is-my-reputation-affected meeting at Dorit’s house, that so nicely gave Garcelle a Dorit soundbite to reference.
So TYSM, Sutton and Rinna. Even though Erika brought the headlines, you arguably made this the best season of RHOBH since PantyGate.
We need to talk about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Specifically, the upcoming tenth season, and how there might actually be drama (for the first time in a while). While we don’t yet have a premiere date for the new season, it should be back in the first few months of 2020, and some recent social media posts provide some important clues about what we can expect. Specifically, Brandi Glanville freaked out on Denise Richards on Twitter over the weekend, and we’re trying to get to the bottom of what caused it.
Back in October, we discussed the sources saying that Denise Richards was absent for a lot of filming due to prioritizing other projects. While there was talk at the time that Denise could be demoted to a recurring cast member, that seems not to be the case. We have photographic evidence that Denise already filmed her intro for the upcoming season, so she’s not going anywhere. But with former housewife Brandi Glanville back in the picture this season, it looks like Denise isn’t going to have a smooth ride.
Though Brandi made an appearance on RHOBH last season as Denise’s friend, it appears that their relationship has severely deteriorated in the last few months. Late on Saturday night, Brandi tweeted that she “just got ‘Denised.'” After my initial delight at the messiness of this, I started racking my brain about what this could actually mean. Denise has only been on the show for one season, and she didn’t do anything particularly messy, so what is “Denising” someone?
I just got “Denised”
— Brandi Glanville (@BrandiGlanville) December 29, 2019
One person replied asking if it’s what Denise did to Heather Locklear (had an affair with her husband), but honestly, that seems unlikely. First, Brandi Glanville doesn’t have a husband, and second, the Heather Locklear situation happened more than a decade ago, and it feels like Brandi is referring to something more recent. Brandi followed up that tweet with another one, which we can assume is also targeted at Denise.
Seriously bitch???? You wanna play-
— Brandi Glanville (@BrandiGlanville) December 29, 2019
Okay, so there’s obviously something big going on between Brandi and Denise, and there are some rumors that get at what might have caused it. As Brandi filmed more scenes for the show in the last month of filming, reports surfaced that she told an “extremely damaging” secret about Denise’s husband Aaron, and that “the information was so damaging and scandalous that Bravo is having to run everything through their legal department before they can air it.”
This tweet from the beginning of December certainly suggests that Brandi was up to something:
If you sign up for a reality show any & all skeletons you have in the closet WILL come out eventually you can’t have secrets & expect to keep them EVER !!! so it’s just best to be honest #own it
— Brandi Glanville (@BrandiGlanville) December 1, 2019
While these rumors about filming don’t always turn out to be 100% true, it’s clear from the tweets that for whatever reason, there’s bad blood between Brandi and Denise. On Sunday evening, Brandi tweeted her most cryptic and accusatory message yet, suggesting that someone *cough* Denise is trying to blackmail her with some kind of slut-shamey information about her. Brandi is pretty much an open book, so I tend to believe her when she says all her skeletons are out in the open, but you never really know.
1-blackmail is illegal
2-I have no skeletons in my closet (they’re all on the internet)
3-slut shaming is soooooo last year
— Brandi Glanville (@BrandiGlanville) December 30, 2019
Honestly, while blackmail and slut-shaming are obviously never okay, I’m nonetheless kind of excited to see what could possibly push Denise Richards to this point. Last season, she wasn’t afraid to make shady comments or get into arguments, but we never saw her truly go head-t0-head with anyone. Whether you want Brandi Glanville back on the show or not, you know that she likes to fight dirty, and it should be interesting to see her get into it with Denise.
But while we’re discussing RHOBH rumors, it sounds like Brandi isn’t the only one who has issues with Denise. Allegedly, the other housewives have been less than pleased about Denise’s spotty attendance during filming this season, and it could become a main issue on the show. A report from Reality Tea claimed that Kyle Richards planned to make Denise the main target of the season, much like what happened last year with Lisa Vanderpump. According to the report, Kyle told Brandi about the plans, and Brandi then tried to warn Denise. Sounds like she didn’t take it too well, hence all the shady tweets from Brandi.
And even though filming for season 10 has concluded, it seems like the drama is continuing between Denise and the other ladies. A couple weeks ago, Lisa Rinna called Denise out on Instagram for skipping a party at Dorit’s house. In true messy Rinna fashion, she masked her shade as concern for Denise’s wellbeing. Subsequently, Camille Grammer called Lisa out on Twitter, saying she should’ve reached out to Denise privately, rather than “throw your friend under a bus.”
You guys, I hate to get my hopes up too soon, but RHOBH might actually be good this year. With Brandi back in the mix, and Rinna seemingly back to the messiness of her earlier seasons, it looks like we might finally get another taste of what made this show so great in the first place. At the very least, it seems like we won’t have to sit through 14 episodes of arguments about why Erika didn’t wear underwear that one time. And for that, I am thankful.
OK, I have to vent. I am a huge Housewives fan, probably bordering on unhealthy. But the heart wants what it wants. Last week, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills finished their ninth season with a three-part reunion. Normally after a reunion, I feel a sense of closure or find myself Team *Insert Housewife Name Here* but this time, nothing. Completely empty. When I say that it felt like the longest season ever, that’s an understatement. Every episode felt like a filler episode. The entire season was made up of a storyline that felt so forced and over-produced, it almost made it unwatchable (I am trash so I will literally watch anything Bravo puts in front of me—even if I’m not happy about it).
At one point, these women were trailblazers. A breath of fresh air. We had a cast of complex characters who gave us wish fulfillment on a level we had never seen on a Real Housewives franchise. When Beverly Hills first aired in 2010, the Housewives were still relatively new but picking up momentum. The women didn’t know how to produce their own storylines. Instagram didn’t exist. Twitter was still so new, and no one really knew how to utilize it. All they had were Bravo blogs. It was a different time. So how the hell did we get here? How can a franchise that gave us so much betray us like this?
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills first aired in 2010, and I specifically remember this because I had gotten my wisdom teeth out that December and watched the “Dinner Party from Hell” episode. Allison Dubois smoking an e-cig while reading Kyle Richards still haunts me to this day. What a journey that was on pain meds. Anyway, I digress.
We started out with a bang. We were introduced to Kyle and Kim Richards, who are sisters (and Paris Hilton’s aunts, NBD). We saw their complicated relationship throughout the first season and that all came to a head when the two sisters got into an explosive fight and Kyle outed Kim as an alcoholic. Everyone gasped. This was not something they had been public about or even brought up on the show until this point. We tackled the breakdown of Camille’s 14-year relationship to Kelsey Grammer. She often would project her own feelings of being inadequate without Kelsey onto the other ladies, which gave us “You’re such a f*cking liar Camille”.
*Cue everyone’s shocked face*
As the seasons went on, we watched Taylor Armstrong (who was a main cast member since the beginning) go through an incredibly difficult time. Taylor was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with Russell Armstrong, and that was well documented on the show. We would often see Taylor with a black eye covered by a heavy side bang. She eventually left the show after trying to cope with her husband’s suicide and the legal troubles that followed. Adrienne Maloof’s possible surrogacy was brought up, and she threatened legal action against fellow castmate Brandi Glanville. Lisa Rinna joined in season five and repeatedly came for Kim Richards and her sobriety, claiming she was worried for her. Yolanda Hadid struggled with Lyme disease. I’m telling you, a lot has happened.
But something has felt off for the last few seasons, and during this last reunion it became very clear that Lisa Vanderpump and other cast members would often discuss what they will bring up and what not to bring up on camera, which left viewers frustrated. Understandably. And I am in no way Team LVP, but my frustration reached a serious high when, at the reunion, Andy Cohen (the king of Bravo) asked the ladies some questions about some of their own financial issues that had been going on while filming, which they never discussed. The women were quick to dismiss these claims and brushed it off. Instead of confronting these things throughout the season, we went to another Boy George concert and discussed Dorit bringing a dog to a shelter for 10 episodes. Come on. Thank god for the shady producers who blessed us with some BTS footage of a woman chasing Dorit and Lisa Rinna around a pool asking her about her ongoing lawsuits, but again: why wasn’t this shown during the season?! This is why we watch!
In the earlier seasons, the Housewives didn’t cherry pick what they wanted to show; they just lived their truths. Even though at times things could get incredibly dark, I appreciated it. They put themselves out there in a real way, showing the good and the bad. But as the seasons went on, the Housewives began to manipulate the production aspect. They started to discuss details about the upcoming season with the other women prior to filming: what parties to throw, how to perfectly time their engagements and weddings to make sure they happen while filming (or maybe aim for a spin-off). They would orchestrate drama to cause friction with the other Housewives in an attempt to make their adversaries look bad to the viewers. And even though the ratings were steady, for many viewers the franchise itself is at an all-time low. That’s saying a lot considering one of the most notorious housewives, Lisa Vanderpump, had quit and didn’t show up to the reunion. You would think when a cast member dramatically departs a show after nine seasons, we would be on the edge of our seats. But nope, we got nothing.
I really don’t know what will come of RHOBH. I am excited to see which cast members will go (looking at you Erika), and which ones will stay, and who they will bring on. It will be interesting to see the dynamic especially now that Lisa Vanderpump is gone—will they set up someone else as the protagonist? Hopefully. And either way, I will be watching. What can I say, Bravo has me in its clutches.
Images: NBC; Giphy (2)
Passing a celebrity’s house is obviously more exciting than seeing a real historic landmark, but now the two are actually the same thing. I mean, yeah the Colosseum is nice and all, but if we’re passing through Calabasas on a random Sunday, we’re obviously looking for every Kardashian in sight and won’t rest until we see Khloé on her way to the gym.
So, when Mansion Global recently reported that Taylor Swift’s $25 million Beverly Hills mansion was soon going to become an actual historic landmark, we weren’t that shocked. The original house was built on the property in 1934, and Taylor bought it last September and completely transformed it. I mean, the Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission approved the house as a local landmark. Looks like she had some time on her hands post-Calvin Harris.
T. Swift isn’t finished with the renovations just yet, though. It turns out she’s restoring aspects of the 11,000-square-foot home to its original model, like adding its 100-year-old double-hung windows and preserving the original moulding on the staircase. By the time it’s done, the house will literally be an ancient landmark with a shit-ton of work put into it. Plus, rumor has it she’s also renovating her Tribeca apartment, too. Is she bored or something?