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There are those moments where your life changes in an instant and you don't see it coming: a mugging, an accident, the phone call that a family member has died. You were just having a wonderful day and then—slam—something snaps and all the gears come tumbling out of the watch in a comical and tragic disarray. That's sort of what happened to Taylor and Russell last night. The carousel finally stopped.
OK, let's get to the White Party. The episode started off with Adrienne not wanting to go to the White Party, Kim fretting that everyone was going to hate her when she got to the White Party, Kyle worrying that she wasn't ready for the White Party, Brandi trying to figure out how to get her tina for the White Party, and Brandon worried that he was going to run into Justin and he hasn't seen him since the break up and now Justin is sleeping with Troy's best friend Jason and it is going to be totally weird and if he takes G then he's totally going to end up hooking up with Justin again and then Jason and Troy will get all mad and then Michael will post it on Facebook and everyone will know about all their drama! Oh, sorry, I got my White Parties confused. This one has nothing to do with the gay circuit party. It did sound like the Housewives were having some #GayPeopleProblems there for a second. This isn't about a circuit party, it is about some party Kyle throws in her backyard that she and the Housewives have mythologized into some glamorous annual event that everyone wants to attend when in reality it is just a really really really fancy barbecue. So, it's just like the White Party. Got it.
We start with Adrienne telling Paul (in what was obviously a set up conversation by the producers to give some context to what was going to happen later) that the dearly departed Russell Armstrong sent a little prayer to St. Camille Grammer. But it wasn't really a prayer, it was a heresy. He told her that, because she said that Taylor told her that Russell beat her on camera that he was going to sue her. Naturally St. Camille freaked out because no one wants to be sued, especially because she's embroiled in a lifelong battle with her arch-nemesis, the Satan of Kelsey, for her little children. She can't give him any reason to win the children! Adrienne is all freaked out because if Russell is going to sue Camille then he'll sue any of them and won't it be weird if they're at the same party? It will be just like that time Lisa brought her friend Mohammad who has some sort of lawsuit against Russell to Adrienne's house for her shoe fashion show and...nothing happened.
I never would have pegged Adrienne Maloof as a master manipulator. It seems like she's just Maloofing through life doing her best to keep everyone in line and being the sane voice of reason, but man, her inner Machiavelli really Maloofed out last night. She called up Kyle on the afternoon of her party and was like, "Here's the deal. Russell is going to sue Camille. We're next. Don't invite Taylor to your party or no one is coming." Then she hung up the phone, collapsed into an overly ornate chair whose back was seven feet high and stroked a hairless cat in her lap and smiled as the gold highlights in her hair glinted at the brilliance of her scheme.
Kyle, whose hair was being set in curlers as she freaked out about her house not being ready for the party (oh, Kyle, you have a staff of gays who know more about white and parties and white parties than you do, just get pretty and relax and let the geighs handle it, MmmmmmOKrrrrrrrr) and she gets the call and now she is really freaking out. She calls Lisa and Camille (who won't discuss this on camera) and Taylor (who is not answering) and Kim, who doesn't pick up.
That's because Kim is in the middle of having brunch in a hotel room that someone rented for her and her daughters to have a fake meal the day of the White Party. They're eating muffins and croissants and danishes and everything else they smuggled up from the free continental breakfast table in the lobby and Kim's daughters Kimberly Jr. and Whitney are all freaking out because Kim is insisting on bringing Pumice—her boyfriend that is either the Rock Eater from The Never-Ending Story or a boulder with a face drawn on it with lipstick and eyeliner pencil—to the White Party as her date. They do not think it's healthy that their mother has an imaginary boyfriend and that she pretends he gave her a "promise ring" that she wears like an engagement ring. Whitney says, "Ugh, Moooom," her voice going up at the end of every phrase like the curling of a ribbon, "Promise rings are so oveeeeeeer. Not even Selena Gomez wears hers anymorrrrrrrrrre." Kim told them that if they didn't like it and if they didn't like Pumice that they should just keep it to themselves and be nice. Oh, get ready for irony to come back and slap you in the face, Kim.
Now the party is starting and the guests are starting to arrive and no one has talked to Taylor and she's still coming and Kyle is freaking out. She grabs her husband MMMmmmm's hand and says, "Feel how fast my heart is beating right now." God, that is so annoying. Can't you just say, "My heart is beating so fast right now." Why would you lie about that? Why do you need to prove that?
St. Camille floats in on a cloud with a dozen singing choir boys behind her carrying stained glass windows. Her number one acoylte D.D. is beside her and throwing rose petals at her feet. She looks angelicly chic in her white coat dress. Kyle is freaking out and asks Camille what to do. "Oh," Camille says and just flits her hand in the air as if to whisk the whole thing away. St. Camille is above the concerns of these mortals. She does not care how they figure it out, they just better figure it the fuck out.
Lisa shows up and after telling each other how good they look, she and Kyle freak out about Taylor. Then Adrienne shows up and says, "Listen. You need to tell her she can't come. That's it. I decide. Here's how you're going to do it."
Suddenly, everyone's heads turn when they hear a noise. It is Kim. She's there holding her rock boyfriend Pumice in her hand and tossing it in the air menacingly while staring at Brandi. "Hi Kim," Brandi says, trying to be nice. Kim just stands there, tossing her rock staring at Brandi. "I don't like you," Kim finally says. Oh, Kim. Like a boat whose moorings snap in a hurricane, there is nothing secure in Kim Richards' life, except her hatred of Brandi. She hangs onto it like Bette Midler and Shelly Long hang onto the cliff on the poster for Outrageous Fortune. That is all she has.
See, Kim, life is like a mousetrap and it sets up the bait and you grab at it at the worst moment and it snaps back at you, crushing your neck with its cruelty. Kim, who just told her kids that if they have an opinion about someone they don't like to keep it to themselves, is being a total See You Next Tuesday and Every Tuesday for the Rest of Your Life to Brandi. I'm sorry, but Kim and Kyle have just terrorized Brandi for no good reason, just like at this party.
Brandi did everything right in this situation. She explained what seems to be the truth calmly and in a low voice and didn't let Kim drag her into a fight. She explained that, yes, she was overly bitchy to Kim and Kyle at Dana's little casino night party, but that they were mean to her too, something Kim has never apologized or showed any remorse for. Now here is Kim pointing her finger in Brandi's face and just standing there trying to provoke an argument and looking like a jerk, tossing that rock in the air over and over. At one point Kim says, "I don't even want to talk to you," but she is still standing there waiting for Brandi to respond or something. If you don't want to talk to her, Kim, then walk the fuck away! Just ignore her. But no, she stood there in Kyle's house, with her high pony dragging her brains up into a point, and terrorized Brandi for no good reason until Kyle ran over and said, "Knock it off. I don't need that right now."
She does not need this right now because Taylor and Russell are pulling up in a limo in front of the house. Notice how everyone was worried about how the two of them showing up at the party would be awkward and then all they did was sit around and obsess about it until they got there, thereby making the party incredibly awkward? Snap goes the mousetrap.
Taylor and Russell are riding in the limo and it makes me think of last year at Kyle's White Party when Russell ate hamburgers and stood in the corner like a lump with a pulse and then he left Taylor there all alone and then she felt lonely and she took a piece of cake in a box and stood at the end of Kyle's driveway with her cake in a box waiting for her car to pick her up, the night closing in around her and the stars losing a bit of their luster. Remember that? Well, Russell gets in the limo this year and he's talking about how he's ready to have F-U-Double N and drink the whole bottle of vodka, but his face looks like one of those comedy masks that hangs on the wall of a theater dork's bedroom. He's a man who is putting on a brave face for the camera, a man who is painfully trying to sculpt his public image. He is a man who is now dead and he is joking about getting drunk at a party so he will look good. Your television sobs at his very image.
Then they get to the party and Kyle whips out of the house, her dress trailing behind her like a bandage coming unraveled on a windy day. "I'm sorry," she sobs. "We have a problem. You can't come in." She tries to explain the situation, but she's too emotional, a slave to the tears. This is exactly where Adrienne wanted her, her emotional puppet. She Maloofs in and takes control. "Here's what's going to happen. You're going to leave." That's a paraphrase, but that is the message she was sending for realsies (yes, I just said that for realsies).
The whole thing was just a cackling klatch on the front lawn. Taylor wasn't even sure what was going on. Russell, again with his mask on, tried to explain that he sent St. Camille a nice letter, but, as people do when their god is threatened, they all jumped at him and said it was not nice. That it was, in fact, very mean and threatening, and they were all worried. Oh, Russell was working so hard to keep it together, to put on his brave face, but when the gurgles from these people came at him when he got out of the limo, he just shut down. He knew it was over. He could hear it in slow motion, the metal clang of the springs on that mousetrap bring that bar towards him. He could see it coming, but couldn't stop it, he could only stand there and listen as it happened to him. Taylor gets all passive aggressive and snarls through her smile. "Fine, we'll leave even though we just flew in from Vegas just to come to this party."
You think it's over, you think they'll get back in the limo and shake their heads all the way home. But it's not. We learned at Lisa's tea party that Rule #1 is to not go back to into a fight. Last night we learned Rule #2: do not run after the fight. Kyle chased Taylor into her limo to continue. Kyle, let it go. Let everyone cool off. Your party is ruined, and it won't be saved no matter how much you make your mascara run. Did she not learn anything from last year? Did she not remember chasing Kim into a limo and they both imploded, competing black wholes ripping everything apart, the universe falling to pieces one galaxy at a time? Do these people not watch their own damn show?
Kyle goes weeping into the limo and tries to defend Camille which is both brilliant and incredibly stupid, saying that she just repeated something that Taylor had told her. She's thinking about saving everyone from a lawsuit, but she needs to think about saying Taylor from Russell, if what Taylor says about Russell is true. Taylor tells Kyle that Russell knows what Camille said so he knows what Taylor told her and it's all about him hitting her. Basically, they are all peering into the door of the limo confronting Russell about whether or not he beat his wife. This is how it happens. This is how it goes down. It's not nice and neat and a structured confrontation, it's messy and teary and snot filled and just sort of spills out on the front lawn with the neighbors staring into the spotlights from the picture windows in their living rooma. This is life, real and messy and unexpected and unspooling. This is life, snapping another of its billion traps.
And Russell is ruined. He can't defend himself from these people, he can't defend himself in front of his wife, he can't defend himself from the world. He is that lump with a pulse at the party again, no matter how hard he tries, things never go his way. "Just let us go," he croaks, the most sad, defeated end to a fight we have ever heard. "Just let us go," he said, as if it was a spell that would undo all these bonds they created, the ties to these people and this life, the shackles of fame with the benefits of it right under their nose on the other side of their cell, but just out of their reach. "Just let us go." He would erase it all—he will erase it all—because it is all too much. This is life. And now it's over.