Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: The Battle of Palm SpringsS

They came back last night. Though we taped the windows and stuffed towels under the doors, they still came seeping in. Through unknown cracks in the walls, secret holes in the floorboards. Damn these sneaky, oily Housewives!

Ohhh they were so oily last night, weren't they? The oiliest. Who did what, who was where? Let's take a look.

Depressingly, Linda-Sue Vanderpump or whatever her name is, is proving to be the most boring of the H'wives. She doesn't really do much except spend money while looking like a 1980s "classy lady" from a soap opera. Why are those types of "classy ladies" always in soft-focus and wearing big, heavy, chunky earrings and half-closing their eyes? When I was a kid I always figured those kinds of "classy ladies" shopped exclusively at the Filene's in the Chestnut Hill mall and always smelled like the make up and perfume area, you know that sort of clinical yet floral mixed-perfume scent, that smell of people hiding boring things. That's basically who Lurlette Vintnerdump is. She is what I thought a sophisticated woman was when I was six.

And, just as those ladies always were (on my mom's soaps they were always just standing in rooms with faint piano music plinking away behind them, they were always relaaaxed in this dull, sleepy way), Linda is so very boring. What did she do last night? She bought expensive food products. Literally that's all she did. First she needed a cake or a chocolate of some sort for some asshole. That asshole really likes shoes made by Louie Buttons. The trademark of Louie Buttons's shoes is that he puts a red bottom on 'em, so you know for sure that that's a pair of Louie Buttons foot-garments walkin' on down the boulevard there. So Lorna Skitterslumps had the cake-chocolate people make a shoe-cake that looked like Louie Buttons shoes, complete with red bottoms. (Interestingly enough, Brian Moylan has a minor stake in a pornography website called RedBottoms.com.) She was so pleased with their work that she had them make another thing, an enormous $1,000 chocolate Easter bunny for a visit to Palm Springs. And that was Lacey Frittermumps's entire episode, basically.

The reason for the Palm Springs trip was an invite from the Weird Sisters, Kim and Kyle. Oh man. You know how people will say "Oh, they fight just like sisters!" about two old friends or something? Well, I was watching the show last night and looking at Kim and Kyle and I said "Oh, they fight just like assholes!" Really, forget their sistertude. They're just assholes. They're both enormous horrible assholes. Kim is emotionally injured and needy in an aggressive way, while Kyle is blunt and condescending. Yes, sure, it's probably really hard to talk to Kim without sounding condescending, with all her pointy stupidity, but Kyle just does not come off well.

They were in Palm Springs, something of an Easter tradition in the Richards family it seems. They carted all their kids down in their enormous suburban assault vehicles while Kim tried to tell us a story about how she and her kids have a great time on the drive down. Unfortunately for Kim those whirring picture devices that follow her around were actually working, so we saw, with our eye bones, that the kids weren't interested in any kind of fun family singalong. No, they were plugged into their computerphone devices and Kim was just muttering to herself mostly, the mountains outside looming coldly. And once they got to Palm Desert, everything was awful too. Kim was upset because one of Kyle's kids had been staying in the house the week before and things were a mess. Kyle was upset that Kim was upset. Kyle was also stressed because her boring classy lady hero, Linette Porterstump, was coming for dinner. Yeah, for some reason Kyle decided to invite the woman over for dinner the day they drove down, which seems crazy. Plus Linda is always so elegant that Kyle was worried her little shitshack out there in the scrub desert wasn't gonna be enough. "More grilled beans?" she'd say to Linda, a grilling fork piercing the charred tin can of kidney beans just taken off the hibachi.

So the girls had to go to the fancy grocery store to buy impressive food to impress Lysol. When there, they just kind of wandered aimlessly while bickering. Kim was making her famous Sad Lady Potatoes, which needed very specific ingredients. "Here we go," Kim said, throwing an enormous novelty sized tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter into the cart. "No, I think you should buy real butter," Kyle said disdainfully. "No, this is what I want. This is my recipe." Screech, record scratch, whaaa. "This is my recipe, that calls for a Victorian person's bathtub full of chemically whipped butter-product." Good work, Kim. Good recipe. Kyle tried so hard to get her to buy real butter, because she knew that Linky Lemonlumps doesn't truck with fake shit (except fake faces), but it was to no avail. The sisters bickered some more in the aisles, tossing various random food items into the cart, arguing about how to say "salsa." "It's not like you're Mexican," Kim said to Kyle when Kyle corrected her for saying "salza". And, like, yes, Kim. "Salsa" is such a hard word to say that it's completely understandable that a non-Mexican would mispronounce it. Why is Kyle trying to be all ethnic by saying "salsa"? Now, pass me one of those kwessadillmas. At the end of the shopping spree, they'd spent five hundred dollars, all so Kim could make her potatoes.

It came as no surprise that A) Linda was horrified by absolutely everything at the girls' Palm Desert retreat and 2) Kim's potatoes were the saddest Sad Lady Potatoes I've ever seen. They were just pale lumps of potato lying on a plate with a few things sprinkled on them. Those are her special potatoes, that's her famous recipe. ("Kyle asked me to make my potatoes.") "Here, I boiled some potatoes sorta and there's some other shit on there, eat up." Good thing Linda brought her emergency purse caviar with her. Otherwise she would have stahhhhved!

Later on it was time for one of the daughters' 20th bday. It was Kim's daughter, I'm pretty sure. So they were all still in Palm Butts, and they decided that they'd go have a spa day with the girl and her friends. Trapped in the desert with your emotional Hindenburg of a mother while strangers prod at your face? Great birthday! To kick things off there was a brunch on the roof of the spa. Ohhh because everyone is sooo into brunch. BRUNCH: Who doesn't like it. BRUNCH: It's what's for dinner. Gawd I am so sick of BRUNCH as a concept. As a thing. Kyle guzzled mimosas (mimosae?) while Kim sipped iced tea and whined about her child. See, Kim is a little mommynuts for the kids. She's very needy and lonely, so it really made her mad that her daughter wanted to spend the summer away from her, in Houston. "Her dad's there and she has lots of friends there and her boyfriend's from there," Kim rattled off. She was trying to win us to her cause, but I just kept thinking "Then why doesn't she live there!!!" I mean, Houston sounds great for this girl! Dad, friends, boyfriend? Perfect! But no, something is gravely yet vaguely wrong about this situation so Kim is upset. She wanted to talk to Kyle about it, because Kyle is a good human being. A good human being who had earlier said, while speaking to Kim's daughter, something about how the girl's mom was lonely and miserable because she wasn't married and all this business and it was just such a mean and direct and inappropriate thing to say about someone to their own daughter. But Kyle doesn't care. You gotta break all the eggs to try to make an omelet, I guess.

Kyle told Kim that she was being selfish, that the girl should be able to go to Houston, where her favorite dog is plus her dialysis machine and her entire life, y'know, just incidental stuff, to have fun for the summer. Kim said no, it was important that the whole family stick together that summer. Which really meant, it is important that no one ever does anything that doesn't involve Kim that summer. Or ever. Never do anything that isn't Kim-related, please. So the sisters mouth-farted at each other back and forth about this, Kim saying that her sister never takes her side, Kyle saying that her sister never does anything that a normal human adult should be doing, and you just knew that it would never end. Meanwhile the birthday girl was just standing there sullenly, looking out over the vista of baking desert, feeling in her stomach the familiar queasy rumble of her mom's special potatoes beginning their terrible second act.

So that was that and it was awful. They are awful. You know who else is awful? Camille Grammer. Oof maloof is she awful. She did this thing last night where she was talking about decorating her New York home, you know where she was going to move while her husband did Broadway, and she said "We have the house in Malibu, and a house in New York, and [fucking obnoxious smirk] Hawaii, Colorado, several properties in Hawaii." And that smile! That nasty, stupid, bragging smile. Which you are NEVER supposed to do on Housewives! You are never supposed to tip your hand that much, by actually smiling while describing "your" wealth. That is just such a no-no! But she did it. The wife of the actor broke big time.

Anyway, her story this week was of epic Who Cares proportions. Basically she likes to pretend that she is some sort of television producer. "I'm the ideas woman," she said. And I thought of Jennifer Coolidge in A Mighty Wind saying thing about "I give him a spark and he turns it into a fire!!" Camille is basically that. Humming along. She tromped down to Kelsey's office, a barn on the property, after telling her "house manager" (what is she, a regional theater?) to keep an eye on things. There she met a writer she'd made drive all the way up from LA (much like she made the designer of her NY house fly in from New York "for the afternoon") so they could talk for fifteen minutes about some show they were pitching to Nickelodeon. Apparently Nickelodeon felt that the material was a little more adult than they were aiming, so it might end up on Nick at Nite instead. Camille just had to call Kelsey during his intermission to give him this crucial information. "Uh huh," he said. "Yuh. OK. Well, I gotta go... do this Broadway show that I'm in right now, so..." Camille smiled. She breathed deeply. Hers was a happy life. And it was never going to change.

Speaking of happy lives, let's talk about an unhappy one. Taylor. She's almost as miserable and lonely as Kim is, only she has a husband to validate her. (For now.) She didn't do much in this episode other than have a bunch of clothes over. The clothes came over and she tried them on, with the help of some sort of stylist. "I like how the rhinestones complement each other on this one," she said of a garment. If you're saying good things about rhinestones, you maybe shouldn't be spending thousands of dollars on single items of clothing. Just maybe not. Just maybe go down to the Dots or the Fashion Bug and pick yourself up a big bucket of clothing and wear that. It'll cost you half as much for the bucket than it would for the single shirt, and you'll have more rhinestones than you can shake a stick at. And there's no need to partner anything that has rhinestones with a $3k Chanel bag. A plastic grocery sack works just as well with rhinestones. And while you're at it, Taylor, don't bother with that fancy car. You don't need it! Why with those rhinestones, you'd look right at home in Archie Andrews's old jalopy or a shopping cart missing one wheel. Rhinestones don't demand a lot, because they give a lot. Any stylist worth her weight in rhinestones should be able to tell you that.

The last tale of the evening is the Maloof. The Maloof was contacted by yet another in Bravo's long line of completely madeup magazines. This one was about luxury and lifestyle, so I assume it was the official magazine for Bonanza Bus Lines. Stations Magazine. With a special photo quiz section called "Sleeping, or Dead?" in which you look at photos of real Bonanza customers on various buses and try to determine if they're taking a nap or if they've passed away during the ride. It's a lot of fun! So the Maloof was very thrilled to be asked to participate. The Maloof's husband was even more thrilled because it meant he could get a weekend alone with his bride. And, I'm sorry. I just need to say something. It's going to be mean, and I'm sorry for that. But I just can't not say it. The Maloof's husband. That plastic surgeon. 1) Did he get work done to look exactly like his wife or was it the other way around? Someone got it done, I just want to know which one. And B) Is he not a scary monkey-fish monster? I'm sorry. I know that is absolutely horrible. But he looks like if Alfred E. Neuman got stung by a bee. It's just. I mean, his personality is not good either! So I'm not just being judgmental. He is sort of a... well, he's a total maloof, is what he is. And he wanted a sexy weekend with his wife. She wanted to bring the kids, he doth protested, and then the kids couldn't come anyway. Good resolution.

So zoom sputter bang they went off to Lars Viggas, where they met another beautiful couple and sat awkwardly four in a row at a bar to have a drink and catch up. Alfred discovered that the Maloof was doing the photo shoot with a male model, and this upset him a great deal. You see, Alfred knows the score. He knows what's up. The Maloof is a dynamically attractive and sexual woman, and a male model would have to be a blind gay to not want to maloof all over her. So he decided he would come to the photo shoot to supervise. The Maloof thought this was very charming and, after the wife in the other couple they were having drinks with made some very unpleasant jokes about Alfred's appearance, the Maloof took her husband upstairs and maloofed him until he couldn't see straight.

The next day was the photo shoot and, yes, the male model was quite attractive. But his name was Shaw. Not his last name, not like "Name's Shaw. Jim Shaw. And I've been killin' Injuns on this land since my granddaddy came out here from Baltimore." Not like that. Like first name Shaw. So, good for him. When Alfred showed up he sized this Shaw up and said "I'm Alfred. I'm the Maloof's husband." Shaw looked over to the old woman writhing on a couch and shrugged his shoulders. "OK."

The photos went off without a hitch, and the Maloof even got to drink some wine. Alfred didn't get mad, he just watched in teeth-bared amazement at how radiant his wife was. I suspect they are actually in love! Which is a nice thing for them. Good for them.

Am I forgetting any Housewives? I don't believe I am. I think that's all of them. I think the Maloof and her husband are accounted for, wriggling around in the Palms, knobby dinosaur skulls bumping into one another. I think we're good with Camille, hard at work in her office shack, making people come in from Brussels or Bhutan or Barbados at a moment's notice. "Oh, hi. Yes, I was wondering if you could tell me what the weather is like back in Brunei. Hot? OK, perfect! Thanks. You can go back now." She's giving that ugly little smile, that bragging bit of business that, as we all know, will be fading pretty soon. I wish I didn't feel a little giddy about that. It's not something that should make me happy. But I can't help it. Back to Boston with me, I suppose.

The sisters. I think we're pretty much checked in on the sisters. They fight. And fight. And fight some more. They don't fight like charming sisters, they don't fight like anything but two lizards who need the other dead in order to survive. There's a limited water supply, only so many flies to eat. So they fight. No one will ever win, of course. But that's not the point. The point is registering discomfort and anger at all times, no matter the cost. The world must know that they are upset! Because those are their feelings and their feelings are valid and need to be heard by everyone. It's a wonderful, exhausting way to live your life.

And of course there's Linda. I think Linda Vanderpump is safely stowed away in her chateau for now, being a fancy, classy lady, marveling at how it's always Sunday afternoon, remembering that old Filene's that's gone now. Remembering rainy days in 1989 when kids went shopping with their moms, and the piano music tinkled away, its soft pleasantness belying the fury and light of time's galling moving on.