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.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is having its best season in years. The scandal revolving around Erika Jayne and her soon-to-be ex-husband Tom Girardi is salacious, shocking, and downright nasty. I know that thanks to Erika’s scandal, this season is a lot more interesting than most. However, after seeing a few of her social media posts, I felt the need to speak up. Erika, you might have brought the heat, but you refused to play the game that we know as Housewives. Let’s get into why her uncontrollable behavior, her constant lies and deflections, and lack of a moral compass to the victims of her husband’s alleged crimes could’ve been the downfall of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills this season.
Let’s start with the fact that Erika is paid a very cute coin to participate in this show willingly. She knows what her job entails and her behavior is hypocritical considering that she, along with the Fox Force Five, held Denise Richards to the fire last year for running away and lying all the time. While Erika might not run away from a conversation, she has made some of her castmates want to jump out of their skin and run into traffic after having a conversation with her. See, Erika doesn’t know how to be a grown adult and have actual conversations about what’s happening in her life. Instead, she cries and whines and flies off the handle when confronted about an issue. When Sutton confronted Erika at Kathy Hilton’s dinner party about her inaccuracies when recounting Tom’s “accident,” Erika went ballistic. First of all, who screams at someone at a dinner party? Let alone at Kathy Hilton’s house. Second of all, Erika knew she was going to be confronted with this, because this wasn’t her first time having this type of discussion with Sutton. How can you pretend to be surprised when none of your stories add up? Especially when you’re adding allegedly at the end of every story. You mean to tell me that Tom (allegedly) got into an accident (allegedly) and broke his hip (allegedly) and injured his brain (allegedly). Your son (allegedly) found him in a ditch (allegedly) in the middle of the forest? “Allegedly?” Girl, this is The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, not mad libs.
Let’s also address the fact that none of Erika’s stories make sense. Every time she talks about her situation, she adds new details—a telltale sign someone might be lying. First, she said Tom was found in a ditch in the middle of the forest. She goes on to say that she refused doctors’ orders for him to go into surgery for an “ankle-related injury” because his brain injury could be “affected” by the anesthesia, which was later disproved by fellow Housewife and anesthesiologist Dr. Tiffany Moon. Then, she tells us that Tom’s house was broken into (which was true) but then she says that the robbers attacked him and that her son went over to help and then ended up in a car accident on his way back home, due to snow. Not just any car accident, oh no, it couldn’t just be ANY car accident; she tells us that her son flipped over five times in the snow. Strangely enough, there actually was snow in the LA area at the time, but it seems doubtful that it was really enough to cause a big car accident. See, Erika can’t seem to keep up with her endless stories. She adds the word “allegedly” at the end of every story that she was “there” for. She constantly twists the narrative to make it seem like anyone who raises any eyebrows to her situation is a villain and that she is the victim here.
Speaking of victims, let’s talk about the actual victims in this case. Tom Girardi is being accused of some downright disgusting shit. Allegedly (I got you, Erika), he took money from burn victims, orphans, and widows (it makes you feel sick) and from just about a good chunk of his clients. Supposedly (we love a synonym), Tom used this money to fund his extravagant lifestyle, which included the lifestyle of Erika Jayne. Now, here is where Erika loses people. Erika refuses to show any sympathy; instead, we get many scenes of her crying about how f*cked up her life is. As Garcelle said in a confessional, “What about these poor victims that have nothing and now have less?” Girl, I promise you if you can afford to live in LA, pay for glam, and pay for extravagant and rather expensive outfits amid these lawsuits, then you’re good. You might not be where you once were, but you’re not the actual victim here. On another note, you’re not the reason why the show is spectacular this season. If it wasn’t for Sutton and Garcelle constantly questioning your lies, we would’ve been stuck watching you push out a narrative that we know isn’t true. If it wasn’t for Kathy Hilton and her quick one-liners, the whole season would’ve revolved around you giving us the same old rehearsed confessional reads that you give us every season. You didn’t bring your A game this season; the success of the season isn’t because of you.
I wish Erika had shown more sympathy toward the actual victims. I wish she didn’t go out of her way to attack anyone who contested her unbelievable stories inundated with inaccuracies and faulty timelines. You can’t proclaim to be “the people’s champ”, when you can’t even tell “the people” the whole truth. If you couldn’t speak your truth due to legalities, then you shouldn’t have signed up for another season of the show. But then again, it is “XXPEN$IVE” to be you, especially with all the money you’re going to have to pay back to these poor victims. Allegedly.
Image: Nicole Weingart/Bravo
There’s nothing that brings the internet together like a good old fashioned scandal. Whether that’s Hilaria “how you say cucumber in English” Baldwin, the O.J. trials, or Tom and Erika Girardi vs. everyone they’ve (allegedly) f*cked over.
As of late 2020, Erika Jayne/Girardi officially transcended the reality TV world into mainstream news and pop culture after she filed for divorce from Tom and the couple was sued for allegedly leveraging their breakup to embezzle money. And even though the Housewives franchises are no stranger to legal scandals (Teresa Guidice, Lynne Curtin, Jen Shah, etc.), Tom’s reputation and the sheer gravitas of the situation has catapulted the story into major news outlets like the LA Times and CNN — but most importantly, it’s being featured on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Up until this season, Erika Jayne was the Kourtney Kardashian of RHOBH: boring AF (Kim said it, not me). And sure, unlike Kourtney, Erika has been interesting to look at, but beyond that she’s been cold, reserved, and truly an enigma wrapped in a riddle and (allegedly stolen) cash.
IMO, getting to feature the divorce/lawsuit this season is the best thing to happen to RHOBH in a looooong time. Over the past few years the franchise has been littered with trivial storylines like PuppyGate that drag out for 10 episodes longer than they should, so bringing in an actual scandal to basically be the eighth cast member this season is bringing much-needed dimension and depth to the show. Otherwise, you just know the entire season was going to be ViolateGate (Sutton vs. Crystal). Yawn.
And I commend Erika on what she’s given us so far in season 11. She’s basically the Faye Resnick we never got — divulging her perspective on the lawsuit, commenting on Tom’s declining health, and sharing her real feelings about her and Tom’s relationship now that she doesn’t have to protect him. Her storyline this season has seriously resurrected the franchise from the brink of irrelevance, lacing it with a hint of true crime-ish elements combined with a more open and off-the-cuff Erika who’s actually pulling her weight within the cast.
And that leads me to my hot take: let’s keep The Pretty Mess on RHOBH as long as she’s still being… well, pretty messy.
If I’m getting too far ahead, there are CliffsNotes below to get you up to speed. But if you already have your PhD in the Erika/Tom scandal like me, feel free to skip the summary and get straight into my open letter to Bravo on why they should keep Erika around for season 12.
Erika’s Involvement in the Lawsuit(s)
About a month after Erika filed for divorce, Edelson PC filed a class action lawsuit against Erika and Tom, alleging that the couple embezzled settlement funds meant for victims who lost family in the 2018 Boeing plane crash. The lawsuit also claimed that the “‘divorce’ is simply a sham attempt to fraudulently protect Tom’s and Erika’s money…”.
On the heels of that, Tom’s former business partners filed a separate suit against him, claiming that Tom kept funds over $315,000 that he owed them for his own gain.
And although all this shadiness was allegedly orchestrated by Tom, the scandal is being framed in a way that implies Erika is guilty by association — and not just because of the allegedly opportunistic divorce, but also because her company EJ Global received over $20 million in loans from Tom’s law firm.
That $20 million was probably spent on her glam squad’s room and board during cast trips alone (kidding) (not really), which makes it all the more sad to know it could have been used to pay victim settlements — and all the more infuriating considering it did not belong to Erika in the first place. And that’s a sentiment the judge agrees with, after ruling that specific victims can go after Erika for up to $11 million to replace the amount Tom never paid them.
Why This Sh*t Is Interesting
What punches up the entire storyline is the juxtaposition between the way the media/lawsuits are framing Erika, and how she’s portraying herself on RHOBH.
While the lawsuits suggest that Erika had some part in/knowledge of Tom’s shady dealings, the RHOBH version of Erika is acting as if nothing illegal happened. In fact, she’s enraged that people dare speculate that the divorce timing was suspect, saying during the latest episode, “What’s being said is just, I mean, it’s insane. That my divorce is a sham, but nobody cares about the facts.” She also explicitly said the divorce wasn’t a ploy to hide assets while FaceTiming Kyle and Lisa. THE TEAAAA.
I’m the first to admit that she’s in a sh*tty position, mostly thanks to Tom. But we can’t forget that Erika is a performer by trade with an alter ego that even Danielle Staub couldn’t pull off. We’ve seen her transform from the world’s best poker player to a puss-patting, bodysuit-wearing, loud and bright singer/dancer. All this to say, her time on the stage and those two episodes in The Young and the Restless prove that she has the chops to act the part that her PR recommends.
And as much as I love to analyze what’s strategy and what’s not, at the end of the day I just want good TV. So Erica sharing those tidbits about the lawsuit hit hard, as did the comments about her and Tom’s pre-divorce relationship. For the past five seasons, we’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews of Tom “styrofoam cup” Girardi. Not a peep of indiscretion or disagreement, and not even Kim Richards piped in threatening that she had dirt. But Erika has finally, finally expressed several iotas of emotion and raw stories about their relationship this season, and whether those are her true feelings or a narrative suggested by her PR team (or Mikey), it makes you wonder, what other dirt is she going to spill, now that she’s not protecting Tom?
And we’re going in the right direction. So far this season, Erika has detailed his heartless goodbye, admitted she was pissed he didn’t come see her on Broadway, and even expressed her fear about her public perception post-divorce in the last episode when she said, “I don’t want his actions to absolutely kill what I have created.”
And there are logical reasons why Erika is being more real. For one, she needs that Bravo paycheck more than ever, especially after detailing her fears about the attorney fees in the latest episode. Now that she literally needs this job, it’s in her best interest to involve herself in the storyline and bring some actual juiciness — whether that’s Tom related, post-divorce dating stories, etc.
Another reason to keep her on the show is that despite the accusations, Erika’s still proving it’s expensive to be heeeer-er-er-er by boarding a PJ and sporting a $189k ring. That’s some major BDE when you’re in the middle of an embezzlement lawsuit, and some very Jen Shah-esque energy that makes for ridiculously entertaining TV.
And while Erika’s attorneys briefly dropped her and then took her back (for reasons we can only speculate), her castmates have continued to show their support and allegiance to Erika, both on the show and on social media. From Kyle and Lisa dancing to “XXPEN$IVE” and most of the ladies wishing her a happy birthday publicly, they clearly don’t feel a need to distance themselves at all. Truly women supporting women, in the words of Ramona Singer.
Thanks to Tom, Erika’s part of a truly impactful scandal that I’m 100% sure will be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. With that being said, capturing Erika’s perspective on the RHOBH is a fresh, deep, real storyline that’s captivating AF. And because court cases take forever and Erika can only say so much right now, Bravo can easily milk this content well into next season as well. Not to mention, Erika will definitely be opening up with some new storylines about post-Tom life in an effort to stay relevant (and liquid… with those big lawyer bills).
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Summer has arrived, and that means you’re probably in the process of planning numerous exciting parties and gatherings. A friend’s birthday park hang? A long weekend at a family lakehouse? A beach day that will require leaving the house at 8am? So many fun things to do, but wtf are you supposed to drink? I always struggle with the rosé vs. seltzer vs. liquor conundrum, so I decided to make a fun little guide to steer your beverage choice in the right direction.
If you’re planning a day of drinking, just choose which Bravo show’s vibe you want to emulate, and then go with the corresponding drink. This is a totally scientific list, so make sure to choose carefully… or just say f*ck it and drink four different things in one day—what could go wrong with that choice?
‘The Real Housewives of New York City’ – Overpriced Vodka Soda
Nature is, as they say, healing, and that means it’s time to get back out there and spend $14 on a barely drinkable vodka soda. Now that you can finally return to the bar scene, you’ll need all the bottom-shelf liquor you can get to suffer through small talk with finance bros and guys who think their stories about their cryptocurrency investments are a little too interesting. Pro tip: if you want your vodka soda in a wine glass, just ask for The Ramona!
‘Southern Charm’ – A Beer That’s Been In The Sun A Little Too Long
Patricia has long made fun of Austen for his startup beer company, but if TropHop isn’t available near you this summer, any beer will do. Grab a six-pack, a 30-rack, whatever—just make sure it doesn’t get too cold. Your warm can of whatever your boyfriend has lying around the house will go down nice and mediocre, just like this franchise that’s several years past its prime. It’s not fresh, but it’ll get the job done, I guess.
‘Summer House’ – Anything In A Can
If your local liquor store carries Loverboy, that’s obviously ideal, but any alcoholic beverage that comes in a can (excluding beer) will automatically make you feel like a Summer House tenant whose main objective is to cause drama. An ideal day-drinking choice, these drinks go down like water, because they sort of are, and you’ll definitely arrive at dinner sunburnt, tired, and ready to eat everything in sight. Just save a sandwich for Lindsay, we don’t need to get her activated.
‘Vanderpump Rules’ – Cheap Tequila
Nothing says “I wish I was still 23” like choking down a sh*tty tequila shot in your friend’s kitchen, and that’s the exact vibe that the Vanderpump Rules cast has given off for the last few seasons. Just be careful to pace yourself and drink water, because you don’t want Hot Girl Summer to turn into Tequila Katie Summer. No one wants to deal with your rage texts, I promise.
‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ – Expensive Tequila
What’s it like to invest in liquor that you can actually sip without wanting to die? I’d love to know one day, but if you’re already there, congratulations. I still think about Denise’s classic Casamigos reposado order on a daily basis, and you know these women don’t touch anything that’s not top-shelf. Goals.
‘Top Chef’ – Red Wine
Ok, I see you Miss Adult! While your less-mature peers are still pounding tequila shots, you’re having a chill night at home, cooking dinner with a luxurious glass of wine in hand. And not just any wine—you’ve probably assessed which red will pair best with whatever you’re making for dinner, and Padma Lakshmi would be impressed. Congratulations on having your sh*t together this summer.
‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ – Champagne
We all have that one friend whose entire personality is built around “popping bottles,” and honestly I respect the dedication. If I have too many bubbles, I get a headache that lasts approximately 3-5 business days, but you might be the one who’s over there chugging Veuve like it’s nothing. A nice champagne buzz always inspires 1) fun times and 2) messiness, and the women of RHOP are constantly bringing both. Cheers!
Images: Heidi Gutman/Bravo; Giphy (7)
After 13 long years, we finally got our first Black Housewife on The Real Housewives of New York, Eboni K. Williams. I was so excited because I finally got to see a Black woman on one of my favorite shows ever. However, I quickly noticed that the fan reaction to Eboni being cast wasn’t necessarily about her and what she could bring to RHONY. Rather, people were excited that someone would call out the ignorance on the show. I had the same sentiment when Tiffany Moon was casted on The Real Housewives of Dallas and when Garcelle Beauvais was announced as a cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Adding diversity isn’t going to automatically solve the ignorance within your shows, nor is it the responsibility of women of color to solve the issues for you.
Let’s be honest, Eboni, Garcelle, and Tiffany weren’t hired because they were close friends with the women on their respective shows. Bravo noticed that there was a severe diversity issue within the franchises. I mean, it’s not like people of color don’t exist in these cities, although many of the white women in these franchises have friend groups that are, for the most part, very, very, white. So, when you throw in a person of color, it’s bound to change the dynamic a bit. However, casting a woman of color for the sole purpose of diversity doesn’t do any justice for these shows, especially when their white castmates aren’t aware of their internalized ignorance.
Let’s take Garcelle Beauvais for example. Beauvais, an actress and talk show host, is the first Black woman ever to be cast on RHOBH, and many people, including myself, were very excited. RHOBH is known as the Housewives franchise that represents opulence, glamour, and women simply existing in luxury. It’s not often that you get to see a Black woman simply exist without stereotypes being pushed upon her. Beauvais seemed to feel disconnected with the ladies, though, and later stated that it was possibly because the ladies did not want to feel the wrath of Black social media had they come for her. (Also, yes, I know she missed some events, but Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna have also missed events, and one complained then.)
Beauvais’ disconnect with Kyle Richards especially was a point of contention. Things got extremely heated between the two when Richards accused Beauvais of not paying a $5,000 donation. Beauvais was rightfully upset, especially since Richards waited until the reunion to bring this up. This was problematic because there is a common stereotype that Black people do not pay their bills on time or do not have as much money as they “flaunt. For Richards to bring up the donation not being paid in a public forum feeds into that stereotype. Does this make Kyle a racist? No. Did she subconsciously feed into a microaggression? Yes. But more than anything else, it shows me that the women, especially Kyle, did not get to know Garcelle on a personal level. Had Kyle done that, regardless of the tension between the two, she probably would have reached out to Garcelle directly to eradicate the issue at hand. Now, because she did not, the conversation about her microaggression had to be had.
Eboni K. Williams, an attorney and notable news anchor, joined RHONY as its first Black cast member. Eboni is brilliant, fashion-forward, and has a remarkable personal story. Yet, I felt like the only thing people wanted to talk about when she was announced to be on the show was her dynamic with Ramona Singer. Singer, who is known to be rather standoffish, came into controversy this past summer due to her COVID and All Lives Matter comments. While Singer did apologize, some people felt as though she was not reprimanded enough publicly. While Singer’s comments were reprehensible, it is not the responsibility of Williams to educate her. Williams has been asked constantly about her dynamic with Singer, rather than her whole dynamic with the cast itself. While the topic of race has come up this season, and personally, I think all of the women (so far) have done a great job of listening and wanting to learn. However, I do think there is something that needs to be pointed out. RHONY, for 12 years, centered around white women, so if Eboni makes a criticism or observation about her dynamic with white women—such as confronting Ramona about her comments on “the help” or sparring with Luann over supposedly implying the other ladies don’t have an education—it’s not so much a dig, more so her perspective as the only Black woman in a group with only white women. This might come as a culture shock to some of the women on the show and viewers; however, as a Black person who is sadly used to being the only Black person in a room, expressing our dismay or observations isn’t meant to start an issue, but to authentically express our feelings.
Dr. Tiffany Moon, an anesthesiologist and entrepreneur, is the first Asian woman cast on RHOD. Tiffany’s case is a bit different from Garcelle’s and Eboni’s. Dr. Moon was cast after the controversy surrounding cast member Brandi Redmond. Redmond came under fire after a racist video of hers resurfaced of her imitating and mocking Asian women. Suddenly, when Dr. Moon was cast, there was this unspoken pressure for her to speak to Redmond about this video. Why is that Tiffany’s responsibility? Why is it that the other cast members, with the exception of D’andra Simmons, coddled Redmond instead of publicly reprimanding her for her actions? It’s apparent to me that while Dr. Moon might have been someone the producers of the show were thinking of casting already, but it wasn’t until Redmond’s video that the actual casting took place.
Let’s make this clear. No matter how many conversations Tiffany has with Brandi, Brandi’s actions are still out there. Dr. Moon cannot be the “fix” for Redmond’s blatant racism. As a viewer, I felt terrible for Tiffany, especially with the constant microaggressions and racist remarks thrown in her face by castmate Kameron Westcott. Westcott compared Moon’s native food to dog food, a rather racist stereotype. Westcott also called Moon ignorant and implied that Moon was ignorant to her own race, and even as of recently, in a now-deleted tweet, Westcott compared a clown emoji that Moon used to “white-face”. It would be an understatement to say that Westcott has internalized racism towards Asian people. This is what happens when you cast people of color for the sake of meeting your diversity quota.
It is not the responsibility of people of color to educate white people on racism. To assume that casting Black, Brown, and Asian people on your shows is the ultimate fix to the racism issues within your cast is incredibly ignorant. Especially because this creates an awkward atmosphere between people of color and white people who obviously have different experiences. To leave the POC that you’ve casted out to dry, and unconsciously force them to educate white people, is not okay. This is a call for Bravo to use its resources to educate its talent on racial biases and stereotypes, especially being a network that celebrates inclusivity. Do not cast people of color just for the sake of casting them; it’s redundant and offensive.
Images: Sophy Holland, Jonathan Zizzo, John Tsiavis / Bravo; KamWestcott / Twitter
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When it comes to TV viewing habits, we all have our own routines, and it can be difficult when anything—or anyone—encroaches on your sacred (couch) space. But unless you live alone and don’t let anyone into your space (which like, respect), inevitably you’re going to have to watch TV with others at some point. And unfortunately, that even includes watching Real Housewives with the straight men in your life. Whether you live with a significant other, are staying with your parents for a while, or just happen to be in the vicinity of any non-Bravo-watching man, just know that you are so strong. Today, we’re bringing you a vital resource to make it through this trying time: ideal responses to some FAQs that your dad/husband/male friend will undoubtedly be asking over the course of a 43-minute episode. Godspeed.
Who are these people?
When faced with a question like this, it’s easy to overshare and dive into the origin story of each Housewife, but that’s not what your dad/boyfriend/brother/pizza delivery guy who got too sucked in is asking. He probably doesn’t even know what city you’re watching, so start with broad strokes (are we watching New Jersey or Beverly Hills?), and get more specific (which woman is planning a vow renewal as a last-ditch attempt at saving her marriage?) if he signals interest. If one of the women has been arrested or married to an athlete, I recommend dropping that into the conversation at the first opportune moment.
Who’s the blonde one?
If your male viewing companion asks the name of a specific cast member, this is a fundamentally different question than a general “who are these people?” Whoever he’s asking about, he thinks she is HOT, and he’d like to look up her Instagram to see if she’s worth a thirst follow. I won’t tell you how to live your life, but if it’s your boyfriend/husband/significant other, shut that sh*t down and tell him he doesn’t need to know. If it’s your dad, just let him have this one.
Is she the one that sells alcohol?
This is a bit of a trick question. Based on the sheer volume of Bravolebrities with liquor brands, chances are whoever he’s asking about does sell alcohol. This could apply to women on nearly every show on Bravo, so it’s kind of like asking if a millennial in New York has a leopard print midi skirt. Like, probably! But he’s actually thinking of Bethenny Frankel, so unless you’re watching seasons 1-3 or 7-11 of RHONY, the answer is no.
What are they fighting about?
If he’s inquiring about the source of tension within the group, congratulations, you’ve gotten his attention. He might pretend not to care about what’s happening, but now he’s invested enough to want the backstory so he can form his own opinion about whether What’s-Her-Name was being shady to The Tall One. He’s no longer trying to grab the remote to change the channel to “check the score of the game” every five minutes, and if you do a good enough job selling him on the storylines, he might even tell you to play another episode when this one ends. Good work.
How do you watch this stuff?
As a dedicated Housewives viewer, it’s important to stand your ground, and not to let anyone disrespect the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve put into this journey. If a man in your life is spewing negativity, feel free to remind him of the many hours he’s spent watching Bitcoin YouTube videos, or random strangers play video games on Twitch, or *shudders* golf. We all have our different viewing habits, and trust me, there are way more embarrassing things to be obsessed with than Bravo.
Images: Steve Dietl/Bravo
With people constantly showing off their professional accomplishments, personal life milestones, and expensive purchases, it’s easy to feel like nothing in your life measures up. Let’s be clear: you’re not actually jealous of that girl from your hometown who has a husband, two kids, and a fixer-upper house by age 30—that sounds like hell, tbh—but you still feel like your life is missing something. Faced with this lack of fulfillment, others might say that you should “work on yourself,” but what does that really mean? Self-help books are boring, and who can afford to see a life coach?
Thankfully, there’s an alternative. If you need a little self-esteem boost, or reassurance that things are going to be okay, I recommend turning to The Real Housewives. As someone who has devoted thousands of hours to studying the ins and outs of reality TV, I can confidently say that there’s no more efficient cure to whatever kind of ennui you’re currently experiencing. From rich-people problems, to problems it doesn’t seem like rich people should be having, Housewives serves as a comforting reminder that being rich and kind-of-famous might not actually make your life better. Here are some ridiculous storylines that might make you feel a bit better about whatever you’re dealing with right now.
Did you let a tabloid rumor about un-adopting a puppy get blown out of proportion and rip your friend group apart, or are you normal? For everyone but the ladies of Beverly Hills, I hope the answer is the latter. We still don’t know who leaked the story of Lucy Lucy Apple Juice to Radar Online, and we probably never will, but we do know one thing: Lisa Vanderpump can hold a grudge unlike anyone else. She ended multiple friendships, not to mention her decade-long run on RHOBH, all because of a dumb rumor about a dumb (but very cute) dog. If you’re currently dealing with some drama in the group chat, there’s no need to take a polygraph or print out text messages at 200% zoom—those things are fun on TV, but you don’t want everyone to hate you. Just talk through your issues like a normal f*cking person.
The Great Hospital Smell Debacle
The Salt Lake City cast certainly had real issues during their first season. Meredith’s marriage was on the rocks, Heather’s relationship with the LDS Church left her with deep wounds, and Lisa Barlow’s pre-teen sons unfortunately had not become moguls yet. Truly, so much strife. But beyond all those boring real-person problems, we can’t forget that the season’s over-arching narrative stemmed from one grown woman saying that another grown woman smelled like “hospital”. Honestly, who has the time? Much like PuppyGate, you can likely rest easy knowing that your friend group has better things to argue about.
Kameron Westcott’s Pink Dog Food
Do you ever worry that your career has hit a dead end? Of course you do, you’re not like, Jeff Bezos. But whatever your #GirlBoss aspirations may be, they’re probably more likely to take off than Kameron Westcott’s foray into entrepreneurship. Kam was talking about SparkleDog from the moment she joined the show, and through the power of
her husband’s money perseverance, it hit the market a year later. Good for her, but judging from the Amazon reviews, the food was not good for the digestive systems of actual dogs. Oops! The food is no longer available, and Kameron has since moved on to newer, less ridiculous storylines. So if you’ve been thinking about selling your needlepoint on Etsy, or getting into freelance graphic design, even if you don’t have a rich husband to bankroll your hobby du jour, go for it! Hustling isn’t easy, but at least your hustle isn’t pink dog food.
Everything About Sonja Morgan
Sonja Morgan is undoubtedly a fan-favorite, but there’s something undeniably tragic about her. The moment that crystallized it for me was when Tinsley Mortimer discovered that the ice in the freezer of Lady Morgan’s Upper East Side townhouse was… yellow. YELLOW! You might not give off an air of old-money elegance, but at least you can feel secure knowing that the ice in your modest apartment kitchen is CLEAR. We’ve watched a decade of Sonja’s financial woes and failed business ventures, and even though there are some moments of glamour, aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with any of that? Between the failed movie deal with John Travolta (and resulting lawsuit), the toaster oven saga, and the multiple underperforming clothing lines, I feel grateful for my steady paycheck.
Lynne Curtin’s Literal Eviction
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that if you’re reading this, you’ve never received an eviction notice on national television. Congrats, you’ve cleared the bar set by RHOC‘s Lynne Curtin! Well, technically her teenage daughter received the eviction notice because Lynne wasn’t home, but my point stands. Even if you’re behind on your bills, living paycheck to paycheck, or have dipped into your savings because of, like, reasons, you can stand proud in your truth that the entire country is not privy to your financial status. It’s the small things!
Images: Heidi Gutman/Bravo; Giphy (5)
I love a good pop culture crossover. The Avengers coming together, Grey’s Anatomy teaming up with Private Practice, Tom Sandoval showing up in a random episode of The Hills—it sparks joy for me. Based on my personal interests, there’s nothing that should excite me more than a crossover between Real Housewives and the Kardashian family—it’s always fun when Kris Jenner shows up at one of Kyle Richards’ parties, and I nearly died when I found this old photo of Bethenny Frankel and Kim K posing together. But I have to draw the line somewhere, and Scott Disick hanging out with Lisa Rinna’s 19-year-old daughter Amelia Gray Hamlin feels like an attack on everything I hold near and dear.
We got our first glimpse of Amelia and Scott together on Halloween, when they arrived at Kendall Jenner’s ill-advised Halloween/25th birthday party together (with no masks, naturally). Scott was wearing a bootleg Ace Ventura costume, while Amelia was decked out in a fuchsia wig and a candy bra. The photos sent a chill down my spine, and I knew that nothing good could come out of this.
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Showing up to a Halloween party together is one thing, but two weeks later, it’s apparent that something is going on between these two. On Monday, they were photographed together walking on the beach, Scott with his arm around Amelia. They also recently attended a group dinner together, which like, who even knew group dinners were a thing right now? Obviously we don’t know if Scott and Amelia are dating, or just hooking up, or even just friends, but something is going on.
To viewers of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Amelia Gray is familiar as the younger of Lisa’s two aspiring model daughters, and she’s taken a pretty active role on the show in recent seasons. On RHOBH, she doesn’t exactly come across as the most mature person in the world (duh, she’s only 19), which makes Scott’s involvement even more questionable. We’ve watched over the years as Scott has struggled with sobriety, fathered three children, and seemingly grown into a family man who’s a great dad. So why the f*ck is he doing this again?
Of course, this type of age difference isn’t out of character for Lord Disick. He and Sofia Richie first began dating back in May of 2017, when she was 18 and he was 33. Right around the same time, Scott also had a brief fling with Bella Thorne, who was 19 at the time. These age gaps raised some eyebrows, but Scott and Sofia were ultimately together for over three years before ultimately calling it quits earlier this year. Since then, there’s been heavy speculation that Scott and Kourtney were rekindling their romance, especially when they posted pictures together from Kim’s cursed 40th birthday trip. Sorry for all the Scott and Kourtney loyalists out there, but with all the recent photos of him and Amelia together, it seems like Kourtney is doing her own thing.
Scott disick be like oh covid’s 19? 🧐
— cory buy furniture from me (@_averagemeat) November 18, 2020
I definitely don’t feel great about whatever is going on between Amelia and Scott, but I will say, I kind of hope we get at least one scene of Lisa Rinna grilling Scott on next season of RHOBH. But for real, let’s hope this “relationship” ends soon, because it’s just not a good look.
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Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com; bravobybetches / Instagram; _averagemeat / Twitter