In Mic's TV club, senior arts writer Kevin O'Keeffe and arts writer Miles Surrey will watch an episode of a TV show with no regard to how familiar we are with it. The next morning, we'll dissect it in a conversation with one or two other Mic staffers. This week's show: Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, with guests Alexis Kleinman and Jordan Appugliesi.
Kevin O'Keeffe: Last week, when we launched Mic's TV club, we tackled a show that each of us were equally unfamiliar with: HBO's new show, The Young Pope. This week, we're tackling a series deep into its seventh season — and, to get an even grander scope, 48 seasons into the franchise in the United States alone. That's right, we're tackling the world of the Real Housewives, in Beverly Hills.
Each of us is coming to this, the eighth episode of the seventh season, with slightly different experience levels. I watched Beverly Hills a while back and am still obsessed with lead housewife Lisa Vanderpump's spinoff, Vanderpump Rules. Miles, is it safe to guess that you've never watched a single episode? What did you think of the show? Which of the housewives did you like — or hate?
Miles Surrey: This may come as a surprise, Kevin, but I have never watched Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or anything in this grandiose television powerhouse. So heading into this episode, all I knew was that there would be drama. On that end I suppose it delivered for me?
There were several mentions of a "game night" that went wrong, which has me deeply curious as to what could've happened that evening that would bring these women's friendship to the brink of destruction. But if I had to choose a favorite housewife, I'd have to pick between Kyle Richards and Vanderpump. (I think her name is Vanderpump? Is Vanderpump her last name?)
Kyle is — from my extensive RHOBH experience — what I'd call a low-key Beverly Hills housewife. She's just as comfortable turning in for an early night as she is being supportive to a friend (Erika Jayne) at a concert in Mykonos. Vanderpump, meanwhile, is admittedly super entertaining and really steals any scene she's in. Kevin, I can never agree with you that Vanderpump Rules is a better drama than Game of Thrones. However, I understand her appeal.
What about you, Jordan? You're an expert on the show, no?
Jordan Appugliesi: My history with RHOBH is very recent. I just binged all of the seasons at the end of last year, but still have to watch the sixth season. So this season has been my proper introduction to Erika, whom I've become obsessed with.
I think RHOBH is one of the franchise's best entries (next to Real Housewives of New York). This episode was enjoyable, if forgettable, but usually, after a game night episode, everything pales in comparison. The housewives that continue to stand out for me this season are the two new ones: Dorit and Eden. I agree with Alexis about Eden, who is desperate to fit in but she came in a little too hot, and has yet to find her groove with the girls. Dorit is really a love/hate housewife for me, in that I hate her storyline but love her outfits.
KO: I must ask, for Miles' and my benefit: Jordan, what is a game night? They seemed to all talk about it in such hushed, wary tones.
MS: Was there an animal sacrifice at Vanderpump's home? Did they kill one of her ponies at game night? Can I create Real Housewives fan theories?
JA: There have been several game nights before in the series and they've always ended up being some of the most dramatic episodes. This season's was nothing in comparison to the game nights past.
Alexis, did you know what game night was?
Alexis Kleinman: I had no idea. I've watched a lot of Housewives in my time, but generally don't keep up with them while they're airing. I'm a rerun gal. I've seen most of the previous seasons of RHOBH, but haven't watched this season. I do, however, listen to the podcast Bitch Sesh, in which they discuss the Housewives episodes, so I'm somewhat aware of what's going on this season. The ladies of Bitch Sesh love Erika Jayne, and now I understand why. She's hilarious.
I could not figure out who Eden was, or what the hell her problem is. It seems like she's a featured player who's dying to be a main cast member, and I don't love it. I feel like if I were rich, I'd be a lot like Vanderpump, in that I'd wear tacky jewelry and have absurd pets.
KO: I love Lisa Vanderpump to death because of Vanderpump Rules and her Ariana Grande-esque hairstyle in confessionals, but I think this episode had me coming out an Erika Jayne fan, too. What did you all think of her performance in Mykonos of her new single "XXpen$ive"? That was a goddamn trip.
JA: Erika as Erika Jayne is really a blessing to this show. Sometimes it feels like she is in another show, her own show, an Erika Jayne's World spinoff, but I'm here for it. I'm also here for her song "XXpen$ive," whenever she wants to put it on iTunes. I'm also now obsessed with her second confessional look that debuted in tonight's episode, which is very Erika Jayne, Disney Princess. I'm also here for her back-up dancers and the fact that she performed at a club in Greece at 3 a.m. and seemed unfazed.
AK: It seems like Erika Jayne paid to perform at that club. It all seemed pretty sad. The only gig she could get was a 3 a.m. club spot in Mykonos? That being said, she seemed to be having a grand old time and not be taking any of it too seriously. I loved that. The song is just bad enough to be iconic.
I also couldn't believe she went into confessional wearing a tiara. It's just perfect.
MS: OK, so I need to talk about one lyric from Erika's new single: "My kitty is like a python." We need to unpack this. Pythons eat cats, for starters. (Sad but true story: My friend from Hong Kong believes her cat, which ran away, was eaten by a python that was spotted in her neighborhood.) Also, snakes are all muscle and no bones. Cats have many bones.
However, if we appropriately assume "kitty" is a reference to a vagina, this is also very upsetting. Pythons constrict their prey, so this is essentially saying that her vagina is going to crush a penis.
But the beat was good, I guess? Alexis, Jordan, am I wrong for thinking that line was troubling?
AK: Maybe she said her kitty "likes" pythons?
MS: That makes more sense!
JA: To quote Erika Jayne: How many fucks does she give? Zero!
AK: Did anybody else notice Mario Lopez at Dorit's party?
MS: Did anyone else notice Mario Lopez and his excessive hair gel use at Dorit's party?
JA: No, because I was busy bowing at the altar of Camille Grammer, who is basically a wallpaper friend of the housewives this season and I'll take it.
MS: Kevin told me she was married to Kelsey Grammer, who used to appear on the show?
KO: I miss Camille so much! I love season two-era Camille when she decided she was just going to tell everyone what she thought. Then she did it too much and had to leave. But her being there did remind me of how much I prefer many of the original housewives.
I'm not sure what Eileen adds to any of this. I find Dorit kind of off-putting, but at least she's contributing drama with Lisa Rinna (who also seemed to have some drama with former housewife Kim Richards at game night?). Eileen seems useless.
AK: I couldn't pick Eileen out of a lineup. She added nothing to this episode.
JA: You're both right. Eileen is pretty much there to be a sidekick to Lisa Rinna, which is fine but not very eventful or entertaining, and she's not really convincing me of a contract renewal this season. I got more from Camille's brief cameo than Eileen. There is an underlying tension between Rinna and Kim Richards that's gone on since season five and came back to the surface at game night, where the two kind of went off on each other.
AK: Is it OK to keep a baggie of loose pills in your purse? Asking for Lisa Rinna.
JA: Whatever Lisa Rinna wants, Lisa Rinna does, which has made her a kind of great housewife. My major issue this season is Eden coming in and confronting Kim about her drinking problem after all of two episodes. Speaking of Kim, I could watch Kim Richards do two things for the rest of my life: enter a room and do accents.
MS: How many seasons could this show conceivably go on for?
AK: They could do this show literally forever. They keep replacing the housewives as they get boring, so it could be a rotating cast for all eternity.
JA: I think RHOBH has some life left in it, but this is where the Housewife franchises get interesting. Adding Bethenny Frankel back to RHONY gave the show a new life that was unexpected. She basically renewed the show for, like, another five seasons. No one in the current cast of RHOBH is all that interesting, and all the drama isn't compelling enough like it was in seasons one through five (with the exception of four, maybe).
KO: The Real Housewives of Orange County has been on for 11 seasons and shows no signs of slowing down. Vicki Gunvalson, one of the original housewives, is just keeping the lights on, starting drama with whatever blonde they throw at her.
JA: RHOBH has been really good at always turning someone into the villain at any given time. This season seems pointed just at Dorit, and she doesn't seem up for the job.
MS: But we now know Dorit is good at lying to everyone but Vanderpump after hiding Boy George in her living room. (God, that's an amazing sentence.) Could be something, I think?
JA: Totally, Miles. I think she studied the Housewives handbook really well before coming on. We'll see what she can deliver.
KO: Jordan, since you're a fan: What from this episode would you use to convince someone to watch more? What's the hook here?
JA: I think Erika's trip to Greece with Kyle kind of shows how friendly the housewives can be with one another. I know most don't go into a Housewives season looking for friendship or to see women get along, but it was a sincere moment that I think shows it's a bit sweeter than some of the other series.
KO: Alexis and Miles, what do you think? Would you watch more after this? I'm not sure I would; it's far less compelling on a narrative level than Vanderpump Rules to me.
AK: I didn't love this episode, and I don't think I'm going to keep watching this season. I'll be happy to watch the drama unfold at the reunion, which I see as sort of a best-of episode with extra fighting and sparkle. I will be watching Erika Jayne music videos on a loop all week, though. Thank God for her.
MS: Sadly, I won't be watching more. I am, however, happy to know who Vanderpump is, and I'd be tempted to watch an episode of Vanderpump Rules in the future — but please, don't quote me on that. (Even though this post is going on the internet.)
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern. Mic's TV club will reconvene next week to talk about the CW's new series Riverdale.