Last night was a good old-fashioned Western in the rolling hills of Beverly. There were cowboys and showdowns and horses and homes on the range and even some wenches in fancy corsets. But when high noon came none of the little dogies could get along.
Before we can get to the anniversary of excess that is Kennedy Armstrong's birthday party, first we have to talk about the fallout from last week's bombshell revelation by St. Camille of Grammer that Taylor Armstrong says her her husband Russell beats her. Oh, on that day the angels did sing and the heralds, with their brassy horns, announced the coming of the archangel, and her name was Camille. She came down from heaven in her filmy robes and laced sandals and turquoise jewelry that was a gift from her acolyte DeeDee after a trip to Taos, and she said the God's honest truth right there at Lisa's tea party (thanks, right wing crackpots, for ruining this merry occasion for all eternity). She said that Taylor tells everyone that Russell beats her but she is still with him and no one sees the evidence, so what the fuck is going on?
Taylor gets all upset that Camille brought this up "in front of other people," and by that she doesn't mean Lisa and Kyle and Adrienne. She means Bill, Craig, and Frank, the guys who are holding the fucking cameras in that damn room. Taylor is pissed that Camille let that particular cat out of that particular bag. But please, she can not be upset. She's been flinging that cat at anyone who will listen for years. I mean her abuse was the fart in that room. Each of those women smelt it and they were sitting there quietly hoping that Taylor would excuse herself, but she didn't. No one did anything. They just sat there in the noxious stench until Camille finally said, "It smells like shit in here, guys!" Good for her. Open that window and clear this Dutch Oven out.
Not only did she open it up, but she stormed out of there with her giant purse full of victory and two little clouds under her feet carried the angel Camille up to heaven. That is how you end a fight. All Housewives everywhere need to take notes about how to do this. You drop your bomb, and then you clear the room. You don't wait until someone is snatching at your weave to run away. You do it before they can gather their wits and strike back. That is how it is done. Camille did God's work that day, and then, before things could get too heated and her emotions got the better of her, she left. Brilliant. Best move ever, Camille.
There was still the matter of Lisa and Taylor, however, and after Camille left the room, they had to resolve the fight that started this whole thing. But once Camille had let the stink out, Lisa was free to say, "You told me these things about Russell and that's why I didn't like him, and I couldn't trust you, Taylor. That's why we haven't been able to be friends." Taylor, having a new villain in her life, then said, "Oh, OK. We're friends now. Everything is better." Everyone at home did exactly what Kyle Richards did. "That's resolved now?" we all asked? What the fuck? After Taylor had all that anger towards Lisa and then it's just like, "Oh, no big deal. See you later. We're besties! Pinky swear on it!" There was a real pinkie swear. It was the saddest fucking thing I ever saw. It was sadder than a grown woman saying she has to go tinkle.
Then there was a lunch to talk about everything and then Kyle still wasn't done talking about it so her good friend Faye Resnick came over to discuss fabrics and Kyle made her talk about abuse and whether or not she should get her friend to leave her husband. Faye had some great insights into what it's like for an abused spouse and told Kyle how to deal with it and what they could expect from Taylor and Russell and I was just waiting for her to throw down her fabric samples and scream, "BECAUSE OJ SIMPSON KILLED MY BEST FRIEND!!!!" but she didn't. Also, now Russell is basically OJ Simpson. Way to honor the dead.
We know that everyone was going to Kennedy's birthday, but Lisa VDP was not there. No, she was dealing with her daughter Pandora's wedding. First Pandora was all, "Mummy, you have to come to my bachelorette party in Vegas, Mummy." And Lisa was all, "Um, I do not want to be the old lady hanging out with a bunch of screaming 25 year olds and grinding with a bunch of strippers. I think I'll stay home." That is exactly the correct decision, Lisa. This is not a Real Housewives decision, because any other Housewife would have been all up in there ordering bottles of Grey Goose and dancing on the banquette with her daughter like she was trying out of Mama Drama, but Lisa is not an average housewife. She is a mature grown up who makes sound decisions, and that makes me love her.
The one sound decision she did not make was to appoint Kevin Lee as her wedding planner. What the fuck is even up with this guy? He is like a Tumbleweed Crayola crayon that spent far too long in the sharpener in the back of the box and then was brought to life by some evil sorcerer to torture brides until the day he dies. Do you have the feeling that Kevin Lee talks these people into these decisions not because he wants them, but because he realizes how incredibly ridiculous they are and that, on their wedding day, they will be totally embarrassed by what he's done. Like he convinces Pandora to get this insane wedding invitation and then as soon as she turns around he's like "Hahahaha, cackle cough spurt. I have done it again!"
Let's talk about this invitation, shall we. Kevin brought in some couture invitation maker or some shit, but it was really his sister-in-law Karen and her friend Marleen who bought a shit ton of rubber stamps once at a swap meet and now make invitations in their home. He's like "You can make whatever you want." They look at a few samples and says, "This is what you want!" and holds up this giant box that is covered in CVS wrapping paper or some shit and it is just atrocious. "It is a box. Pandora's box! Get it?" Oh yes, Kevin Lee, she fucking gets it. This girl has heard every sort of permutation of Pandora's box joke for her entire life. Her brother would stand in front of her with her dukes up and say, "Come on, Pandora. Box!" When she moved into her first tiny apartment in the West Village her friends said, "Welcome to Pandora's shoebox." And when her boyfriend...well, who needs to make the obvious Pandora's box joke? Hm? No one. So why does Kevin Lee want to go making it with the invitation? (Also, the postage on that stupid box will cost $20 alone. That's $4000 just on postage for the damn invitation. Pandora will rationalize it and say, "People will keep the invitation. It will be like a momento." No. No one will keep that fucking invitation. They will be clogging the landfill before you're even down the aisle.)
Lisa, being a sensible human being from the real world, knows that Kevin is completely ludicrous. That he is a what one of those ladies in the "Same Day Service" poster in the dry cleaning place's window would be like if it came to life and you dressed it as a gayer Michael Jackson, but she always caves. She always lets the Lee monster get its way. Lisa, can't you see the dark forces gathering against you. End it now!
Oh, shit. I can't believe I forgot about our little visit to the home of Kim Richards and Pumice. That was totally like being a Child Protective Services worker and inspecting their home, right? Anyway, we get there and Kim is talking to the pile of rocks with a face painted on it that we call Pumice. They live together in a different sad ranch in the Valley. As they're decorating Sad Valley Ranch, Kim finds something that she thinks would be great over the mantle, and it's a shitty metal sculpture of the Golden Gate Bridge and she's like, "Let's hang this ship over the fire place. What? No, it's a ship silly. What are you talking about a bridge? In San Francisco? This isn't made of rice and it's not a treat. It's not a trolley. Really? A bridge? You don't say. Let's put it over the fire place."
Except the problem is there is no sheetrock over the fireplace, it is all made of stone. Why are going to hang a metal sculpture over a stone wall? It looks horrible. Then Kim says, "What did you say? That's not a wall? Those are your family portraits? Oh, there's your Great Aunt Volcanic. That is your Uncle Igneous. Oh, and don't forget about Great Grandpa Geode and his sister Magma. Oh, you have such a big family. They all look so strong and tough. We'll just hang this boat over your family photo. Doesn't that look amazing?" No, Kim, it looks like shit. Hey, as long as you're happy living in a room that looks like it was furnished by the left overs from a yard sale in Valencia, then we're happy for you.
OK, so everyone goes to John Wayne (Gacy) Memorial Malibu Cattle, Horse, and Buffalo Preserve for Kennedy's Second Annual Birthday EXXXtravaganza! When Taylor gets there, nothing is set up, it is just an empty field where a bunch of tables and chairs and balloons and bouncy houses should be. Like her Oklahoma family, she saw this open prairie and she had a vision. One filled with Ace Young from American Idol, a trackless train that runs on Pixie Stix, and Fantastic Fig, the evil sorcerer that brought Kevin Lee to life. She would make it rise, this beautiful Brigadoon, she would conjure it up from the mist. After a few kerfuffles with various and assorted workmen with mango-scented names, it was all set and the various and assorted crises averted.
When it was all over Dana, the party planner, saunters in like, "What? Am I supposed to be working?" The funny thing about Dana is that she is like that page in a magazine where you see a model and she has a little line pointing to each of the things that she's wearing and it tells you who made it, where she got it, and just how much it cost. She's like a walking version of that.
Kyle shows up and so does Adrienne, who tells Kyle about her latest ridiculous beef, which I'm saving for next week. So dumb. Kim Richards shows up all the way from the Valley, which is a seven day journey, but she rode the ship over her mantle through a wormhole and got there in an hour and a half. Brandi shows up too with her human crutch Cari, because in the trailer park they're from, no one can afford a y at the end of her name. Everyone "in their little group" (read: Housewives) was there.
How do we talk about this birthday party? Oh, there is just so much to say. It was sad. It was acting just like the weather where it was kind of sunny and bright but there was just this pall over the whole thing, a deep misty fog that sticks to your hat and condenses on the chairs and makes little droplets roll down them. I am of course talking about Russell Armstrong, who is now dead. Here he was, at his daughter's fifth birthday, giving her a horse, ordering people around, making them pose for photos with their fake smiles. Trying to bring some sunshine to the day when the clouds would not clear. They would never clear. How do you talk about Russell? How do you talk about Kennedy, who didn't even want this party? At every turn she was like a Popple that folded in on itself. She didn't want to talk to anyone or be on camera or have any attention. It was just all so sad.
Speaking of sad, Brandi was under contractual obligation to make up with Kim Richards so she went over to her and Dana and said, "Hello," and was very nice and sweet and tried to get past their silly differences, whatever they were. She tried to open the door so she could apologize, but Kim stonewalled her. It is a move that she learned from her boyfriend Pumice and it was quite effective. She just froze her out entirely. Yes, so mature Kim. She did the same thing to Leif Garrett after he told her that Tatum O'Neill let him go to third base, and that was it. She never talked to him again. Not even when she ran into him in rehab three years back. She's just done.
Oh, Kim. Sad, sad Kim. Before Brandi came over, she was telling Dana this story about how, when she was a kid, she would ride the horses on the Disney lot and they would all stoop down so that she could get on easily and safely, and then they would stand up and they would ride. They would be lead around by an animal trainer and, because she was on a horse wearing a cowboy hat, she thought she was a cowgirl. She was playing a cowgirl. She was a make-believe cowgirl. Then she grew up and she grew sour and the horses were taken away, but she thought she could still ride. She wanted to be a cowgirl again, so she went to another farm and tried to get on the horse and it didn't sit down for her. It was there, standing, and she was just any old person trying to get on any old horse and she didn't know how. After she finally toppled up on it and got settled in the saddle, it started to ride and it wasn't in control. It was just bounding and leaping and jostling her all around and she had to try to stay on. She had to do some actual work, and she couldn't. Her legs were flabby from years of fake riding. When it was over, she needed a little something to calm her nerves, to adjust to this hard work of being a person, and that was the start of her problems, and she never got on a horse ever again. That, in one little story, is Kim's whole life encapsulated. Fascinating.
As Dana heard that story, she told Kim there was a mechanical bull and they should go ride it. They walk over and Kyle's gorgeous husband Mmmmmm is getting on. He's all muscle and sinew, gorgeous black hair and prominent jaw, and he just rides easily bucking back and forth, his abs contracting and expanding to keep him on that horse and for one small second the sun came out and it shone on his brow. Then along ambles Dr. Maloof and he wants to ride just like his friend, and he tries to climb on with his posturpedic shoes and dad jeans, and he can't even get on the damn bull. He tries a few times in vain to get up there, slumping his body against the leather fittings. But after four attempts he gives up and turns away, giving a swat in the bull's direction, like he never wanted to ride the thing in the first place. You just wanted to be like Mmmmmm, Dr. Maloof, but a word to the wise: never follow him in anything! You will always look worse in comparison.
Then it's Kim's turn. She's not sure if she's ready. She has a hard time with horses, bulls, and money. Anything that has to do with bucks, really. But everyone eggs her on, and she teeters across the inflated cushioning and gets on the still bull, climbing up it like a little jungle gym. She sits up there for a second, looking out on the misty hills and thinking of Magnolia, the Disney horse that used to bend down for her, and then she thinks of Thundercloud, that dark stallion that ruined her on riding forever. As the bull starts to move that is what she is thinking of and she almost slides off, but then she thinks of Pumice. She thinks of her Sad Valley Ranch with the strange time traveling ship over the fireplace. She thinks of sobriety and her children and Kyle and how far away she is. She thinks of her sponsor and taking it one day at a time. She thinks of Magnolia and how it tricked her with its easy trot. Oh, how she hates that fucking horse. She thought she loved it, but she doesn't. That horse is what has ruined her life. She looks out into the crowd, sadly grasping at the bull and she sees a rock on the ground and thinks again of Pumice and she wants to show him what she can do. She finds it somewhere inside, that strength she always had, that will that was tamped down by booze and pills and tears and she gets up, slowly, fighting with each tremor and she sits upright on that damn bull. She grabs the rope and for one second she gets one hand up in the air like a real cowgirl. She's doing it. She's finally riding and she looks to where she thought she saw Ken and she sees him clapping. She laughs. It's just enough of a distraction that the next buck really gets her and she goes rolling off onto the cushion, ass over cracked tea kettle. She hits hard. "Are you OK?" Kyle asks. But when Kim turns over, she's still laughing. "Yeah," she says, getting up. "I've never been better."
Just then Ace Young takes the stage and Kim sees something she recognizes: a man with a drink trying to get that spark back, a guy chasing that dragon they call fame. Oh, she feels for him. "I wrote this with my friend Connor here—we like to call him the American Bieber. We wrote this together just for Kennedy," he says. Everyone in the audience is like "Who the fuck is this guy?" They don't remember. To the men, they've never seen him before, and to the more attractive mothers, they only remember him from ordering mojitos at the bar and trying to grab their asses while their husbands weren't looking. He starts to sing his song, "You Make Everyday a Birthday" and he just inserts "Kennedy" into the well-worn lyrics. Of course he didn't write this song for her, he wrote this song three years ago when he started on the birthday and bat mitzvah circuit and he just changes the name here or there to suit the occasion. Kennedy isn't even listening, she can't even watch, a Popple turned in and rolling on the ground that her mother holds up in the general direction of the noise. This is sadder than usual for Ace, but he thinks there are a lot of hotties here and an open bar and it looks like there might even be that one music executive, that one set of ears that will take him away from all this and make him something big again. But until then there's the bar, and the moms, and the mechanical bull, but that looks scary, a little too scary.