On last night's episode of the Ladies of the Canyon we dealt with more nuclear fallout, everyone still reeling from the tragedy of Game Night and trying to figure out where their now-blasted lives would go from here.
The two ladies who were not there for the start of the war, British lady of the snows Lisa and goblin queen the Maloof, began the episode, with Lisa giving Maloof a fun and funky cooking tutorial. They stood in the Maloof's cavernous cooking room (to call it a kitchen is to belittle my single counter and stovetop, and yours too, so I will not call it a kitchen), and Lisa embarked on teaching the Maloof — a creature of ease and luxury, a person for whom things are done, not one familiar with the doing of things — how to prepare a chicken. Not a full chicken, it didn't seem, but some sort of small gaming hen, the Cornish kind perhaps. I'm sure that Lisa and her hounds had been out hunting that morning, Lisa stalking through the underbrush in her thick leather boots and tweed clothing, shotgun bent over her arm, a crisp Los Angeles wind at her back. And so there were her kills, lying dead and unfeathered on the marble countertop. The Maloof started swatting at hers with her hand saying "Cook! Cook!" but Lisa gently stopped her and said "No, no, that's not how it's done." She told the Maloof that the bird needed cleaning, so the Maloof took it to the sink and slathered it with soap and began cleaning it, until Lisa said "No, no, you don't clean it like that," but the Maloof could not understand. Clean means soap! Soap means clean! Lisa said "No, you just don't do it like that. I mean, you might as well put it in the dishwasher." That didn't sound like a bad idea to the Maloof so she reached for the handle of the dishwashing machine, but Lisa slapped her arm away. "No, Maloof. No. Bad."
Eventually they managed to get their birds clean and scoop out their organs and all that pleasant but terrible business and then put them on baking sheets and threw them into the oven. The Maloof's servants watched, Downton style, from a doorway, as the birds burned and turned to ash in the oven, but the women did not notice. They'd at least accomplished the brave task of preparing them for cookery, so they did not need worry about what happened to them now. The Maloof smiled proudly and raised her goblin scepter into the air and issued a great cry of "Malooooof!" as her goblin people do when they have had a great victory, and LIsa murmured "God save the Queen..." and poured herself some tea. Well done, adult humans! You put a chicken in the stove! A task! An accomplishment! The gods can't touch you now.
The next scene involved Kyle bitching more about the Game Night fiasco, moaning away about Brandi and what she done and all dem things she done said and whoosienot. Whoever she was with, I think it was Maloof and a curiously silent Dana, didn't much care to rehash this old tale, but Kyle is just so thrilled to have a plotline again, giddy with the realization that she's now the center of attention two seasons running, that she can't help herself. She's going to blab away about Brandi until the Danas come home. Because oh boy Kyle loves a lead role, loves to get her own Witch Mountain. This is Kyle's thing and you'd better get out the goddamn way because Kyle's going to run with it. Her time! This is her time. So, the other ladies shrugged their shoulders and let Kyle prattle on and above them the sun wheezed and groaned and struggled to still light and warm this place, this place it once loved but now does not recognize. All of these bugs, squealing away. Used to be it was so quiet. A dinosaur roar, a volcano rumble, but that was it. Now it's all of this. But, like the two ladies far beneath it, the sun simply sighed and let Kyle yammer on.
Back to Lisa! In case you forgot (but how could you!), Lisa's daughter Pandora is getting married to a slick, suave, boyish serial killer, and so much preparation is needed. There are so many parties to plan, one such party being that thrown by one Prince Mohamed, the aging prince of some distant emirate who claims to be Pandora's godfather. Lisa informed us that no, in fact, this Mohamed isn't really Pandora's godfather, but he is deeply, deeply rich and so Lisa will take it, she'll accept the kindness the way any manored lady of the kingdom should. Mohamed, along with his addled and glass-featured child bride, who sat wordlessly next to him, the dim flicker of a memory of a farmhouse in Illinois running through her head but then being chased out by all of the prince's brainwashing, laid out a lavish plan for the affair. He gave Lisa a tour of his mansion, a gaudy and oddly dark place full of crumblingly ornate Middle Eastern designs and decors. "We should have a camel," he said to Lisa, who cooed in agreement. Though of course internally she thought the idea of a camel rather tacky, she could not say so to Mohamed, lest she offend his grace. Lisa the secret chav knows not to anger the true royalty. So at some point this horrible engagement party will happen, there will be camels and dancing girls and three serving ladies will disappear and when asked where he's been Pandora's fiance will say that he was just taking a work call, and even though later that night Pandora will look at his cellphone and see that no calls had been made in the last several hours, she will choose to believe him, choose to ignore the single spot of red on the white cuff of his shirt, the strange caked mud on his shoes, the scratch just below his eye. No, he's fine. It's fine. Everything's fine. A party! Thrown by a prince! What a thing!
All of this stuff was really just preamble to the main event of this episode, which was a spa party held at the Maloof's sad, echoing mansion. The Maloof is one of the deeply bored rich, someone who buys airplanes just to crash them into the sea, who makes her servants fight each other until one is gasping and wounded on the ground but she leaves before finding out how it ends, who sits by the fire lazily tossing hundred-dollar bills into the flames, getting only the dimmest of pleasure from watching Franklin's face curl and disappear in the heat. She throws money at the hole we all call Fulfillment, is what I'm saying, and to that end she has purchased for herself an entire spa retinue, various blinking and whirring machines that only the toniest of tony places use. You won't find much of this stuff at Elizabeth Arden, is what I'm saying. Maybe not at Canyon Ranch either. This is top-grade, probably illegal in the US, experimental spa equipment is what I'm saying. She's got: Three (3) Gizzard Engorgenators, two (2) Epidermal Grafting Wands, four (4) Follicle Restorative Guns, and a whopping seven (7) Deep-Foaming Uterine Scours. It's really involved stuff that will give you the horrifying, painful, physically and emotionally scarring pampering of your life. But it's all moot, it's all useless, it's all completely no fun if you can't share it with your friends, thus a party. Thus an event.
The Maloof sounded her great ram's horn and assembled her cooking staff, asking that they put together the most lavish spa menu they could think of. One timid scullery maid raised her hand and said "What if we ordered pizzas?" to which the Maloof merely narrowed her eyes and nodded to a guard and the poor girl was hauled off and sent to the deep salt mines under the house. No, fancier! Fancier! Her timid chefs said "Oh, what if we put fucking little stupid cupcakes on forks and stood the forks up like this?" and the Maloof was greatly pleased. "A full fatted pig to whomever executes the fucking stupid cupcake standing thing the best!" she declared. In addition to the utterly dumb fucking idiot cupcake thing, there were cornucopias of cheeses and meats and savory stink-grapes, whole troughs of champale and sour meads, a bathtub full of robin's eggs, a flayed and butterflied aurochs hanging in the foyer for picking, and of course a make-your-own fro-yo station with, as the Maloof proudly pointed out, like sixteen different toppings!! It was the silliest kid's birthday party ever, all meant to mask the terrible fact that these women would all soon be strapping themselves into clanking and hissing Prolonging Gins and having their skin removed.
One by one all the girls streamed into the house, all purringly taking a glass of champagne from the confused and sad-looking boymodel who stood by the door, then heading upstairs into some sort of antechamber where they were made to strip and put on thin blue robes. Obviously the best parties are the ones where you're forced to take your clothes off and put on house garments, so clearly this was the best party. Everyone was confused and sad, and if they admitted it to themselves a little scared as they heard the wails and rattles coming from the spa room, but they are all to a woman deeply impressed by largesse, so they played along and giddied and shrilled and clapped and marched happily off to their doom. The Maloof is well-versed in all the machines, barely human as she is at this point, so she told all the girls how everything worked, helped them fasten their necks into the De-Waddler 5000, put feet and pinky fingers into the Unknobbler, affixed crotches to the Rehymenizer. They were all grateful for the help, it made them ever so comfortable. Comfort which made conversation flow.
Naturally conversation meandered back to the terrible Game Night debacle, and while I expected her to speak up, Dana was floating face down in a vat of epsom salts, so she stayed quiet. Kyle got to sort of run the show, clucking and hmming from her place of privilege, the one that tells her that really all the girls are on her side and that Brandi, who did show up to the party (though she didn't want to of course! But she couldn't turn down the Maloof's invitation of course!), is the lame outsider. It's a position that Kyle, forever backseated as a child by her star sister, heavily relishes. Oh she adores it.
Will this become anti-Kyle recap? It just might. I mean, fuck, she was awful, wasn't she? Basically what happened is like what happens in high school. In high school when there is an issue, friends all sort of group up and run back and forth saying "You should talk to her" over and over again until the two warring parties talk and usually it's gum-snappy and bracelet-jangling and eventually there are stringy teenage hugs and everything's fine by fifth period. But out here in the adult world, oh my do we know how to let things rot and fester and sour and mold. And while last night all the Wives did skitter around between Kyle and Brandi saying "You should talk, you should talk," there were no easy reconciliations to be had. Kyle clutches her supposedly righteous anger tight to her bosom like it's a child, it is so chiefly important to her. And poor Brandi is just dumb as dicks, isn't she? I mean that thing is just dumber than a sack of sandwiches. She means well, and she really is the victim here, but holy cow she is stupider than an ASU senior. Just not bright, is what I'm saying. So Kyle ends up Godzilla tromping all over Brandi because Brandi can't defend herself, and that is exactly what happened last night.
The girls finally brought them together and they hashed things out and Kyle demanded an apology for the meth thing, while still pretending like she didn't know what crystal meth was. ("Criminal mess? Cribble mirf? Crestall muff? I don't know!" Kyle, girl, you are doth protesting too much.) And Brandi just wanted an apology for Kyle calling her a terrible parent, which Kyle refused to give. And, to her credit, Brandi refused to apologize for the meth thing. Some other old bitch, I forget which one, was like "I mean that was a pretty wrong thing to say," and Brandi, dumb deer eyes blinking, said "Was it though?" Hah! No, Brandi! It wasn't! You were probably right! Or if not specifically right, general area right! So no, ha. "Was it, though?" Perfect. That was aces.
So these two fiends are still at war and everyone else is orbiting the conflict, trying to stick their vulture beaks in there whenever they can (Lisa is losing her grip on the bitch edit this season, isn't she?) and that's just the way of the world. Another episode down, another layer of skin ripped off and burned and turned to ashes and liquified and then smeared on their faces as moisturizer by the great and terrible Phoenix Machine. You know how it is.
The best part of the episode, though? The most spiritual and sacred part? The trampoline. The trampopoline. The trapmopoline. The trampoline! Yes, the Maloof has a big black trampoline in her backyard, and while surveying the grounds with her sister, Kim discovered it. She ran down the stairs, cucumber water in hand, and threw herself onto it. Kyle joined her for a round of sisterly bouncing, but Kim wanted to linger. She was doing somersaults and flips and whirls and whips and all manner of trampoline moves. She was bouncing away, saying to us in interview simply "Bouncy bouncy bouncy..." Kim was at peace, a body resting in bouncing motion. Oh what light! What joy! What pure, poison-free happiness. Kim floating above the Earth, and of course crashing down, of course falling prey as always to gravity, but just now not finding a hard an unbending ground beneath her, but a buoyant one, a bouncy one, one that said "Oh, here you go," and sent her right straight back up toward the heavens. A trampoline! Kim could have lived on that thing. Slept while bouncing, eaten and breathed while bouncing. A trampoline. Oh if only our insides were made of trampoline. Our hearts would keep bouncing. Our souls too, probably.
Of course eventually Kim had to scramble off the thing, following her sister back to the party. Of course that moment came. But for a minute there, at the zenith of her highest jump, Kim had closed her eyes real, real tight and wished real, real hard and it had felt for a just a second — like a jet across the sky it was so quick, this thought — that she might just keep rising. Just up into the clouds, past the birds and helicopters, past the moon, past the tired old sun, past the stars and the quasars and jumbles of dark matter, past all of it, just up and up and up and up and up until... Until what Kim didn't know. Maybe just up forever. Maybe up would last longer than Kim would last. Maybe she'd just be a body, still hurtling upward, still heading somewhere high above all the heavy stuff the world on the ground is made of.
Programming Note: As it would happen tomorrow is my last day writing for this site. I have taken a job over at the Atlantic Wire where I will be covering entertainment and other "culture," but I do not think, at least immediately, that recapping will factor into that. So this is it! (For me, at least. Brian Moylan will be finishing out this season here on Gawker.) It is a sad thing, well really a bittersweet thing, as I'm sad to lose the weekly conversations with all of you, but, to be honest, a little glad to not feel the constant burn-out of having to sit down and watch yet another show late at night for work. If you'll indulge me, I would like to briefly thank you all for being such loyal and kind readers. These recaps have been, if nothing else, a surprising and wonderful opportunity for me to stretch my legs a bit as a writer, to get real weird with it as Danny DeVito might say, and that you loyal folks have followed me down even my strangest rabbit holes is something I'm quite grateful for. I'm not sure how I can repay you the gift of your time that you've given me in reading all these things, but hopefully somewhere down the line I'll find a way. I am not departing this internet, of course. I'll be at the Atlantic Wire next week and am, if you so dare, on Twitter (@rilaws). Anyway, thanks so much! Thank you thank you thank you, seriously! It's been a pleasure.