Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

So I’m watching, for the first time, THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS and they’re showing these sprawling mansions – giant McHearst’s Castles, and at first you think – wow, wouldn’t it be great to live in one of those? And then you watch five minutes of these women and you realize you’d rather live out on the street in an empty Maytag box.

Oh. My. God.

I don’t understand. Television is not allowed to broadcast snuff films; how can they get away with this?

For those who have not seen it, this reality series follows the lives of six middle-aged Beverly Hills women who between them have had 46 plastic surgeries. They are:

Taylor Armstrong – a blonde with so much collagen in her lips that she looks like a bass.

Lisa VanderPump – British woman who must’ve told her doc to make her look like Diana Rigg but forgot to specify the young Diana Rigg.

Kyle Richards – Was in Disney’s ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN when she was four. Has been getting elective surgery ever since. Although to be fair, looks the best of the group.  Once the others figure that out she'll be ostracized immediately.

Kim Richards – Kyle’s older sister. Former child star who has appeared in HELLO LARRY and numerous Disney movies like ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN. She’s the one BHH who is not married. Her ex considers the divorce proceedings “Escape From Witch Mountain”.

Adrienne Maloof – Family owns casinos and sports franchises like the Sacramento Kings. Has managed to save a lot of money by actually marrying her plastic surgeon.

Camille Grammer – Former, uh… dancer. Married to Kelsey Grammer at the time this show was shot. I've met her a few times at FRASIER parties.  She always seemed very sweet.  Had no idea at the time she was an absolute certifiable loon.

Their bios on their home web page all make a point of saying how philanthropic they all are and how much time they devote to charities, but who are we kidding?  That's so you don't round up the villagers and march to their homes with torches and pitchforks.  These are the most self-absorbed, entitled, self deceiving, narcissistic six women since Marie Antoinette.

Here's what happened in the episode I saw. It’s probably not the latest; I caught it Thanksgiving night.

They’re all in New York (except Adrienne) for Kelsey’s opening of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. Adrienne is back home because her uncle died and she had to yell at her husband for wanting a one-hour break to get a drink with his friends.

Back in the Big Apple, Camille and Kyle have had a big fight. Kyle called Camille the BHH equivalent of the “C” word – “insecure”. Much tension at the table as these coiffed hens picked at their pasta. At least I think it was tension. With all the Botox, it’s impossible to read expressions.

Now the big question: Should Kyle still attend the theatre opening? And to make the decision even more excruciating, she finds a dress she’d like to wear.  So we're talking "Sophie's Choice" here.

Meanwhile, Kim is upset because she’s the only one not married. This haunted her in her suite during their recent Vegas trip. She asks the others to try to set her up. Let’s see who they come up with. When does Bernie Madoff get out?

The real star of the series is Camille because she may just be the craziest person ever on television. Joan Crawford was the picture of mental health compared to her.

Every time Camille opens her mouth she says something deliciously insane. She claimed that all women are jealous of her because she’s married to a celebrity. (I guess they’re no longer jealous). As for Kyle, specifically, Camille spelled it out in detail. "In terms of pecking order, my husband is higher on the list. There's a big difference between that (being a celebrity and Camille listed all of Kelsey’s awards) and the local Beverly Hills Realtor." Damning words indeed from a former Playboy bunny.

At home Camille reads THE ART OF WAR, and surrounds herself with hairdressers, nannies, and some bootlicker named Nick. She talks to Nick about Kyle, "Her behavior was pernicious and I'll leave it at that." Of course, you’ll leave it at that. You don’t know what the word means.

Kyle tries to leave a voice message for Camille apologizing, but Camille found that disingenuous and pneumtramonoulicroscopicsilicovolcano,

Come the night of the gala opening, Kyle does attend. Hey, she paid for the dress. There’s a scene after the show where Camille goes back to Kelsey’s dressing room and he couldn’t have rushed her out of there faster if he had a hooker (or Kyle) under the desk. Frasier was more civil to Lilith.

Look, I feel bad for anybody getting a divorce. Especially when there are children involved. I can’t take sides in this case, even though I’m fond of Kelsey. I’m sure both are to blame, and the timing couldn’t be worse for Camille, so I wish them both well.

But this show is a one-hour justification for the Russian Revolution. These magpies with diamond rings the size of drinking tumblers, appear so unhappy in lives that most women would kill for.  And so one asks the question:  Are they really that superficial, that vapid; that disconnected to the real world? Or does their vain and silly behavior mask a legitimate fear?

Are they all secretly and justifiably terrified that there will be a sequel and none of them will be in it? THE REAL TROPHY WIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS.


Rich Adam said...

I admit I haven't seen the show, but had it bad for Kim Richards, when we were both 13.

Can a Krista Errickson appearance be far behind?

Brian said...

The real question is not what this show says about these women...

...but what this show says about a society that supports it - and a half dozen others of the same name/vibe.

Jonathan said...

When ever I watch one of these Housewives shows or another show that show that revels in women behaving badly (e.g. Bridezillas), I can't help think if men were acting this way they would be decried as unacceptably abusive and as borderline violent. Actually, come to think of it, this is probably why the NFL won't allow a reality show like this about it's players. But why is it that society finds it so comical and amusing to watch women go after strangers, loved ones, and each other with unrepentant venom?

Lizbeth said...

Ken, your timing is impeccable as ever. I was home sick yesterday and somehow caught a marathon of RHoBH (the first time I ever watched).

OH MY God...I am obsessed and sickened at the same time. I simply couldn't look away.

All that money and that's the best plastic surgery these women can get? Is the stuffed trout look really in fashion in LA?

I actually feel sorry for these women. Most of them seem to share the same vacant, lonely expression. No matter how much money they spend primping or shopping, they still seem miserable. And their unattractive older husbands seem to treat them like spoiled children they can barely stand to look at, let alone converse with.

As for Camille Grammer -- what a crazy narcissistic looney bird. She complains about being in Kelsey's shadow and then makes sure she mentions her husband every 40 seconds. And when she isn't mentioning his name, she is referring to one of the 20 homes they own.

I almost felt sorry for Camille(another poor trophy wife dumped for a younger model) until I realized Kelsey must have been a saint living with this woman.

My favorite Camillism-- upon touring her "tiny" 3500 square foot apt in NYC she complains that she "can't live in such cramped quarters."

Then again, I guess life does get cramped with 4 nannies, a house manager, assistants, hair stylists, and Nick (the tennis pro/best friend you constantly make goo-goo eyes at).

You think growing up in Jersey City she'd have appreciation for her lavish lifestyle instead of being such an insipid stereotype.

Of all the housewives, I'd say at least Kyle and Lisa (the brunettes) seem to have some maternal skills...decent, loving spouses...and some recognition of the Hollywood phoniness surrounding them.

Either that, or they're better actresses than the rest.

Laura said...

OK I will admit to watching a few episodes. My most revolting Camille moment was when she was complaining to her mother about how hard her life is and how tired she was after her vacation in Hawaii - barely acknowledging how her mother is currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer!!! As a 4 yr breast cancer survivor (hell as a human being) I was flabbergasted. She is disgusting.

RCP said...

This may sound simplistic, but anyone is going to be unhappy if they're looking outside of themselves (spouse status, money, size of house, price of car, constant cosmetic surgery) for validation. This may be why the US ranks low on the list of people who feel they're happy in life, while those who state they're the happiest live in countries with little material wealth - or who otherwise don't spend every waking hour chasing after it.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that by comparison the Orange County Wives make their Beverly Hills sisters look like emotionally deep, charitably generous, intellectual giants.

Tim W. said...

Why anyone who would appear on a reality show completely mystifies me, especially if you don't need the money, which obviously is the case with these women. Apparently these people don't care in the least how they're portrayed, as long as they're getting famous. Anyone who would voluntarily open up their lives to public ridicule just for the purpose of getting famous deserves the sad lives these people seem to lead.

And I agree with Brian. While the people on the screen are sad, the fact that so many people watch these types of shows to make them successful says a great deal about the society we live in. And it's not good.

Anonymous said...

Your description of Camille as "sweet" reminded me of when I was 19 and in my first serious relationship with a 30-yr-old. His friends described me as "sweet" ... I had to grow up a bit before I realized it wasn't much of a compliment. Heh.

Pat Reeder said...

I've never seen this show, or any other similar "reality" show, since the clips alone repel me. But I do recall Camille Grammar because I have the reruns of "Frasier" on every night behind me on my office TV as I finish up work. She once did a cameo as a woman playing Eve at a costume party, wearing a skintight leotard. Frasier was trying (unsuccessfully, of course) to pick her up.

I remember thinking when it first aired that she had to be someone he was related to or was trying to get into bed because she was the only "actress" I ever saw on that series who couldn't read a line in an even remotely convincing fashion. Her awkwardness and amateurishness amid so much brilliance stand out in that series like the obvious mistake that Hopi Indians deliberately put into sand paintings so they won't be perfect and offend God.

Phillip B said...

No upside on this.

Ken, if you were to portray any group women as this self-absorbed, entitled, self deceiving, and narcissistic in sitcom form -- wouldn't you be the one being chased by torches and pitchfork?

Only in the guise of "reality" can this ooze through the popular culture. I'd suggest you literally can't make stuff like this up, because it would not be acceptable.

Have you ever been approached -- or tempted - to work on an "unscripted" show?

Kitty Sheehan said...

Oddly enough, my husband discovered this yesterday while on the treadmill. He came back and told me, in great detail, almost the same synopsis as yours, Ken.

I have no choice but to think he's watching this to remind himself how lucky he is not to be married to one of these plastic empty-headed ninnies with the emotional intelligence of seventh graders.


Ian said...

I thought for sure that this was a put-on until I realized, mid-way through, that you weren't making it all up. I mean, "Lisa Vanderpump?" That's like something out of a bad "Three and Half Men" spec. Next you're going to tell us she goes to Dr. Poopshute for colonics...

Debby G said...

Camille Grammer has no job, two school-aged children, and four nannies. How screwed up are those kids going to be?

Sergio said...

Hi Ken. I just wonder what do you think about Fox suing blogger/screenwriter PJ McIlvaine for 15 million dollars, just because she (re)posted Fox scripts on the Internet.


Anonymous said...

Didn't Kelsey impregnate a woman who is the same age as his daughter? Hasn't he cheated on every one of his wives?

D. McEwan said...

Yikes! I see I was justified in never watching any of the Real Housewives shows. If I wanted to see a real housewife, I'd get married. These shows exist for two reasons only: to provide clips for The Soup (which is the only place I've ever seen even 5 seconds of this show), and to encourage homosexuality, as they make me glad I'm gay, and ought to turn any other sane man watching it gay also.

Bandit said...

I don't have cable and am unable to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (oh, I could probably watch it on the Internet or something if I felt like trying, but...c'mon).

I was paying someone a visit last night and happened to see an episode of Orange County Choppers and what a trash heap that is.

Funny thing about it was the whole hour seemed to be about the conflict between the owner and his sons, and I couldn't shake the feeling that it was all kinda phony and they were probably sitting at home laughing about it. Sitting at home on a giant pile of money.

Also, it was on TLC, which at one time stood for The Learning Channel, and lemme tell you that show - and the midget show, the Palin show, the Cake show, the Sister Wives - that's about as far away from learning as you can possibly get.

Or course "Hoarders" is on A&E, and I can't figure out if that spectacle is entertainment or art. Perhaps both. Possibly neither.

Anonymous said...

i don't find kyle narcissistic at ALL..
she seems wonderfully well-adjusted & GAWGEOUS ...
not too much botox going on ..like her alot \& great style !
even kim who i don't like has a very natural look ..
if she wasn't spineless she'd be very pretty ..
don't know what to say about sausage lips ..
vile creature ..eeewwww..
& lizard face is a skank ..
the word shrew comes to mind ..
ugly women LAWWWWWWWD!

l.a.guy said...

I can't bring myself to watch any of these shows, but in grudging defense of the ladies; the "reality" of these shows are subject to a lot of manipulation by the producers who are understandably trying to make them interesting to watch. I know people who have worked on a few of them and it is not uncommon for the producers to create situations meant to provoke reactions that would not make anyone proud. Add in some clever editing and you could make Mother Theresa look like Camille Grammer.

On the other hand I doubt if a truly well adjusted intelligent adult would comport themselves the way you have described, regardless of who's pulling the strings. So I guess my point is yes, they're likely all self-absorbed, vein, throughly dis-likable people. But probably not as dis-likable as the show makes them out to be.

YEKIMI said...

I don't have cable so I don't have to suffer through trash like this. In the meantime, a headline and a Friday question: 'The Walking Dead' Lets Go Of Writers; Considers No Writing Staff For Season 2. The executive producer/director/writer Frank Darabont apparently plans to use "freelance" writers. Your thoughts on this? Plausible or is he another Hollywood fool looking to save a dollar?

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

I've never seen any of these shows, but the whole concept makes my head spin. The only thing sadder than the fact that these women think they're to be admired is that there probably are people watching who admire them (my fellow political junkies will remember that Paula Jone was in awe of Susan Carpenter MacMillan, thinking she was like a real life Joan Collins!).
Even if you're watching them ironically, STOP!

And, I can't tell from that small picture which one of these gaudy blow up dolls you're comparing to Diana Rigg, but I think you owe Diana Rigg an apology. I'm kidding. Mostly.

WV: chree: how a "Real Housewife" speaks French

rashid1891 said...

this is good site

Roger Owen Green said...

I've never seen 5 minutes of any of the "Real" Housewives series, but thanks for confirming what I pretty much suspected: that if I did watch one of them, my brain would fall out.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear Camille using the word "Machiavellic?"

lauram said...

Any of you have kids? I watch these with my 11 yo daughter from time to time. You can tell a kid over and over that money doesn't buy happiness, but seeing it is something else entirely. That's what these shows sell - superiority. Yours. Seriously, would anyone in their right mind want to change places with any one of them for a second?

D. McEwan said...

"YEKIMI said...
I don't have cable so I don't have to suffer through trash like this."

I do have cable, and yet I don't have to suffer through trash like this either. Even when you have cable, viewing a program remains voluntary. Not once has Time-Warner come over to my home and forced me at gunpoint to turn off TCM or BBC America and watch a "Real Housewives" show.

But without cable, no TCM. I must have TCM.

Matt Patton said...

This show sounds something like a real-world equivalent to Claire Booth Luce's old play THE WOMEN, which a bunch of girls in my high-school drama class did a staged reading of (I've never seen the film version and have no plans to). The plays sounds a lot like the TV show, although none of the characters seemed QUITE as vapid. Luce's point was that women who do little more than sit around and spend their husband's money and worry about losing said husbands (and therefore both their incomes and their reflected identity) can never be happy; they need to be able not only to support themselves, but establish an identity based on their own interests and accomplishments, although as I remember the point sometimes got lost beneath all of the screaming and hair-pulling. The ending, where the heroine eventually becomes just one more member of this useless, unhappy pack was meant to be rather sad; indeed, the only character who wasn't utterly unpleasant and pathetic is the gold-digger who borrows the heroine's never-seen husband. She at least has survival skills.

Doktor Frank Doe said...

farbogenI've not been able to watch ANY of this stupidity beginning with the "C"s of Orange County. It's not a reality series, it's a documentary, and these bitches are so screwed up it's just pitiful. Imagine how many have/will fall from grace as this economy worsens? Now THERE'S a reality series, "The real women of the Maytag box. Imagine after years of botox to see one of "those" faces crawling out of a fairly wet cardboard mansion under a 101 freeway overpass, it's a horror flick too!

You know, this is beginning to sound like a pitch Ken...

Cheers kin said...

Camille? The plastic fantastic Bimbo with the spastic colon? THAT Camille? The same Camille incapable of carrying her own two children because of same spastic colon. Yet, Camille has NO reservations... nary a concern even, it seems with injecting her face with enough Botox and fillers du jour to remedy 80% of the greater west side. And sugar, those lips?! Why?? Why, Mommy, why? Not to mention enough missile plastics Tits-R-Us material to give the collective colons of North Korea an itchy twitch AND a spasm or two. DEPENDS UNDERGARMENTS anyone?! Advertising dollar well served here. Lemme tell you something, Ken. I better never hear you call me sweet. All my parts are real, with the exception of my haircolor. Camille will never look as good as me naked. Nor fully clothed for that matter. Camille looks embalmed. Turn the channel. The pornage, the pornage. Philanthropic women? Yeah, right-o. But I digress. What was my point?! Was Kelsey R E A L L Y married to this gas bag? Sincerely, Cheers.

i could be a bob said...

Kim Richards is in it? I have to tune in just to see how she's doing. Like poster Rick Adam, she was crush #1 when I was but a lad.

cadavra said...

Ken, I'm surprised you didn't mention the rather relevant factoid that the Richards sisters are the aunts of...Paris Hilton!

Andrea said...

I don't think these women not all specially camille or whatever. she said that Kyle is a miserable human being, I think that she really needs to get a grip on reality. But since is not her reality we watch some one like her on TV how sad. No one is jealous of you honey if we go by looks on TV you are very ordinary looking Blond tall good body oh yes and money, nothing special in LA Ohhh but personality wow do you think that counts here??

Shannon said...

I would absolutely love the show if Camille would just drop out. If I have to look at that self absorbed lunatic who openly flirts with anything with a member between his legs I am going to vomit. She needs to crawl back into the hole she came from. Four nannies please, she is obviously useless to everyone around her.