Last night's episode of They Shoot Housewives, Don't They? was one of those off-the-rails corkers that only comes around once in a blue moon on these shows, so naturally they're splitting it up into two installments.
Last night we got the first taste of what will likely come to be known as the Game Night Massacre and I think we should just get right into it. First off, do they have shoes on the planet that Dana is from? I mean that is one alien who just cannot walk in a damn pair of human shoes. She has the weirdest physicality I've ever seen. Remember in Men in Black when Siobhan Fallon says that there's an alien wearing "an Edgar suit"? Well Dana is an alien wearing a Dana suit and she is not doing it well. All that galoompfing and near stumbling. And the way she sits, all floppy and leg-spread. I mean, I have to admit it is kind of admirable, the way that she's brassy and brazen and clearly has no pretensions about putting on a fancy country club lady act the way these other wives do. Dana is just a balls to the wall, go for broke bulldog and she doesn't care who knows it. I respect that about her, the way she dares to inhabit her body the way that she wants.
What I don't like about Dana is how everything else is so put-on and rings so false. The brand-dropping is funny and jarring, yes, but I can't help but feel that she's doing it on purpose. She's trying out tics and character traits that she hopes will get her noticed. I mean, who knows. Maybe she really is so ridiculous as to say "I can barely walk in these Fendis," but there's a big part of me that doesn't buy it. And the way that she's so instantly chummy ("I love you" to a person she's just met) could be the sign of a seriously socially weird person, or it could just be that she's so eager to be in the thick of this show, to be part of its grain and fiber, that she's just painfully forcing the issue. Maybe those two things are one in the same, but I still think that she wouldn't be acting like this if she weren't on the show. And that's too bad. While the character is fun, it's still a character.
Anyway, this is all to say holy christ what sort of weird, echoy den of loneliness does this alien weirdo live in? Her house is high atop a hill and there is no furniture. It's just big empty rooms with a few chairs and an old sofa from a palace's rec room. I really would not have been surprised if at some point last night one of the girls opened a closet and inside it was a For Sale sign with dirt still clumped on the stakes and a dead realtor covered in open house info sheets. Dana clearly does not live in this bizarre house. Clearly something terrible happened here and I both want to find out and never want to know. Dana, though, ever brazen, is convinced that she'll get away with her crime, so she had the girls over for Game Night. Taylor was supposed to host but she was feeling all frazzled, so Dana, some kind of event planner for a Grammys party once or something (Dana, singing a Janet Jackson song to yourself under a bridge is not a Grammys party), said she'd totes have the girls over, would do some sort of big games theme and everything. It would be grand.
Everyone got very excited for the party, though of course they got very nervous too. They were so nervous, in fact, that they had to have like twenty lunches just to discuss everyone before they went to the party. Kyle talked to Adrienne, Adrienne talked to Brandi, Taylor talked to Dana, Kim talked to a spot of light on the wall of her bedroom. All of this, of course, only served to heighten their apprehension, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go to this stranger's mountain house full of strangers, but Andy Cohen was standing off screen holding an enormous elephant gun so they had to do what he said. Perhaps the most nervous was new girl Brandi, because she made a total fool of herself at Adrienne's kiddie pool party — letting her son wee on the grass, calling herself Super Slut, saying the terrible filth word cock, making an off-color joke about Dana's fiance cheating on her — and just didn't get good vibes from the other ladies. Except Adrienne. Adrienne she was cool with. They had a little sit down together in which Adrienne ordered them both milkshakes and cappuccinos and then sat there moving her milkshake around while Brandi, admirably, sucked the damn thing down. "It'll be fine," Adrienne said, not touching her milkshake (she was probably full from the plate of tomatoes she and Kyle had shared for dinner in an earlier scene — I swear all these women eat on this show are plates of tomatoes). "I'll be there." Yeah, Adrienne will be there. No worries.
Except, oops, worries! Sensing a grand opportunity for some tension, Andy Cohen hired Jeff Gillooly to go hobble Adrienne so she couldn't make it. But Adrienne kindly waited until the party had gotten underway before she called Dana and told her the news. By then Kyle and Brandi, natural enemies, had already arrived and the look on Brandi's face when she got the news that Adrienne wasn't coming was the look of a thousand miserable childhood sleepovers, a million parents driving away from the summer camp and saying see you in August, a billion newly quiet dorm rooms in a strange new state while you sit and wait for the dreaded roommate. Brandi's face told a story of being utterly alone and perfectly terrified. Turns out, she was right to feel that way.
At first things were just awkward. They sat in a weird room in a little semi circle of chairs and stared at a pile of game-themed desserts, and four breadsticks, lying on a pool table. There was a bartender in a little corner of the room, and Dana kept galoompfing back and forth to fetch people drinks. The ladies sat there uncomfortably, Dana saying they had to wait to go to the other room until everyone had arrived. This little idea was kind of sad, this formal cocktail room idea that Dana had, because her formal cocktail room was just a strange chamber populated by a few chairs, an unnecessary bartender, and four breadsticks. Again, it's obvious that Dana does not live in this house. But oh well.
Upon hearing that Adrienne wasn't making it, they realized that the only person they were waiting on was Kim. Oh Kim. Poor, terrible Kim. The creepiest/saddest thing about Kim's problems are not how bad and evident they've become, but that despite how plainly worse they've gotten, she, and her sister, act like nothing in the world is wrong. I know that's what lots of addicts do, but most addicts don't go on reality shows and sunshinily talk in interview about footage of their latest bender. I mean there Kim was, sober and chipper, explaining to us what was happening as we saw her stumble into Dana's house, call her Pam and then try to pass that off as a joke, near fall into a chair while clutching a mysterious iced coffee concoction, and babble on about nothing. No, interview Kim. You can't just say "Dana was very nice and totally got the joke." You clearly did not know her name! And continued to not know her name for a lot of the evening. And, y'know, continued to say other strange things and make loud comments about Dana's (admittedly highly suspicious) lack of furniture and untidiness and hide a woman's crutches. Like, you cannot just not address that stuff. You can't just say "It was so nice to meet Dana." OK, fine. But what about the obvious fact that you had an invisible lampshade on your head. You can't just elide that. It is your major detail right now!
Sooo, yes, the party. Everyone kinda stared side-eyed at Kim but no one said anything, because how do you really say anything. Kyle, making some effort, was determined to escort her sister to the bathroom every time she went, which was a lot of times. Kyle helped Kim with her makeup (because Kim had "done it in the car," maybe her house lost power again) several times and talked with her about things both silly (the cleanliness of Dana's bathroom mirror) and profound. The profund thing was sad and disturbing. Kim basically did a little monologue, saying "I think I'm having an anxiety attack. I think I am. I haven't slept or eaten in seven days. In seven days. I'm having a panic attack, my heart is beating out of my chest. I can't understand what people are saying. My ears don't work. I can't focus my eyes on anyone either. I can't see things that are there and I see things that aren't. The other day I thought I saw a bird in the house so I went around and I opened all the windows to let it out but then I think I just let more birds in. And then, I swear this, the sun didn't set for a whole day, it just stayed there all low in the west, staring at me, making things hot. Didn't you feel hot on Thursday? I felt hot on Thursday. And then the swimming pool drained and filled back up again and the trees lost their leaves and I woke up under the bed. Anyway, I'm fine! I'm fine. Where's my coffee drank?"
It was a troubling little look into the headbone of Kim Richards, and I just worry for that place a whole lot. She's not in a good way, not at all. And I know that they were at a party and everything and, selfishly, Kyle didn't want to be embarrassed herself, but really Kyle should have been like "We need to go home." But instead she stayed and let everything get worse. Kim kept making trips to the bathroom, at one point shooing Kyle out and saying "Can't I just do one thing on my own?" Subtle, Kim. This sent Kyle back to the main room where she recommenced her eye-rolling at Brandi, which made Brandi very uncomfortable, which made Dana talk even louder and laugh even louder while she tried to figure out whose side to take. At this point they'd moved into the the living room, which was just two ratty old couches moored in the middle of an otherwise empty living room. Well, OK, there was a coffee table, on which sat a bunch of full glasses of wine or champagne that went untouched the whole time. I'm guessing Dana forgot she put them there, maybe to welcome guests as they arrived, and now they were warm or flat so who cares. A sad little party prop, those forgotten glasses of wine.
In the living room it was time to play games. The first game they played was Celebrity, which is basically charades with words. You just describe a celebrity and your team guesses it. Good game. Of course Brandi somehow ended up on Kim and Kyle's team, which made for awkward guessing. Kim and Kyle kept describing celebrities in ways that only they would get, like "We were invited to her party recently" (Paris Hilton) or "I dated him once" ("Tommy Howell!" Kim cried, referring to C. Thomas Howell. Bleak. And also amazingly coincidental that all the names put in the Celebrity hat were people that Kyle and Kim had personal experience with! Incredible how that happens!) This was a shitty little cliquey thing to do, and it did not please Brandi one bit. She could also hear Kim blatantly talking about her, as she was mere feet away and the barren room had an echo, and was then offended when the game shifted to some kind of I.Q. test thing and Kyle was like "Ohhh, you first," jumping up and pointing at Brandi. (The "dumb blonde," among... almost entirely other blondes.) Kyle had gotten a little carried away by Kim's free-formness and was being pretty dang rude. All the other ladies were just like "Uhhhhhhhh" and didn't know what to do.
There was a lull in the games and half the crew went to freshen drinks or shovel strange powders into their nose, leaving Brandi and Camille alone to talk. Brandi was like "So, uh, Kim's wasted?" and, to my amazement, Camille actually played it really cool and was just like "I don't know, it's not my business," and then when the Richards sisters cattiness was brought up Camille was all, "Yeah, it's hard, I mean they're sisters..." She was very diplomatic and sane and it was very surprising! Well done, Camille! After that moment of respite, everyone came stumbling in and the terror began anew. Dana had decided, it seems, to side with Kim and kept telling Kim that she loved her and all this stuff. Brandi once dared to use the new "joke" and call Dana Pam and Dana freaked out and said "Only Kim calls me that, it's our little joke!" and it was just like eaassssy, Jennifer Jason Leigh. Ease it up. Let's just cool out. Brandi was, understandably, frustrated and finally just up and called Kyle and bitch and Kyle freaked out and Kim freaked out and then Brandi said to Kyle "Your sister is clearly trashed out of her fucking mind," and this got both Richards sisters on their feet, pointing fingers and yelling. And then the episode ended. Well, first Kyle called Brandi a slut and Brandi said yes she was a slut and it was sad and embarrassing and Kim flopped around on the couch only to somehow muster the energy to stand up a little while later, but yes, mostly the episode was now over. Oof, yikes.
I feel bad for Brandi, in a weird way. She's obviously terrible, but she did not deserve the half-drunken/stoned double team that she got with the witches Richards. That was unfair and Dana was a jerk for not policing it better in her "own home." Also, Kim. Stealing crutches. Really? I like that we still don't really know where the crutches are, do we? That's a fun, dark mystery. Where are the crutches? When will they come back into play? Will they come back into play? Maybe Brandi will just sit there, immobile, forever. After everyone's stumbled off home and Dana's turned off the lights and sneaked away through the bushes out back. Maybe she'll stay there until the police break down the door while trying to find a missing realtor. Brandi, having drunk all the warm and flat wine on the table by this point, will look up and croak "Crutches..." I'm really hoping that's what happens next week.
Another thing that happened this episode was that Lisa had her daughter and her boyfriend and his parents over for dinner and the boyfriend announced that they'd gotten engaged while on a trip to New York. And man, that guy is a weird, showboating son of a bitch, huh? The last time he was on the show I sort of thought he was this all-American nice guy with a zesty streak of confidence in him. But now I see something else. I see something darker and more crooked. His plainly handsome features now seem a bit more sinister, like he uses them to sell a lot of lies. I mean, he might be a murderer? It's possible he's a murderer. It's possible he's Clark Rockefeller and those parents were actors. There's a strange coldness, a farawayness to him that troubles and intrigues me. I've got my eye on you, bub. I know you're up to some angle. Alls I ask is you let me in on the grift, that's all. Cut me in, man. And please don't murder me.
Lisa, at least, is very happy with the union. It seems her kids are growing up. Earlier in the episode she gaped in awe as her son Max ended a phone call with his girlfriend with "I love you too." Love! The young man in love. And now a daughter getting married. My my time does move fast in America, doesn't it? My my how things do change so quickly.
And, you know, some things stay the same. Last year we had a drunken party that went horribly awry because of a wasted weirdo, this year we have a drunken party going horribly awry because of a wasted weirdo. It's all been done before! It's a cycle! A circle. A ring. Oh do you like it? It's from Tiffany. 50k. Yeah. Isn't that something?