Do you love Bravo, but have a hard time keeping up with the drama of the Real Housewives, London ladies, and the denizens of “Summer House” and “Watch What Happens Live”? We watch them all — so you don’t have to. Here are this week’s Bravo highlights.
Breaking news! The new cast of “Dancing With The Stars” was announced today, and everyone’s favorite Housewife Erika Jayne will be one of this year’s dancing celebrities. We cannot wait to see if she incorporates any of her signature moves into ballroom style — we’re so here for it, in fact, we might have already started a countdown clock…
The reason “The Real World” remains a somewhat compelling show even in its worst seasons is that there’s something inherently fascinating about watching college-aged kids make terrible decisions, no matter how old you are. Most of us can remember envying the “Real World” kids, in all their drunken, hooking-up glory, and as we get older, it’s fun to remember our own youthful foibles as fondly as we can. The problem with “Summer House” is that it’s basically “The Real World” — only instead of actual young adults, it’s emotionally-stunted thirtysomethings with nothing to say, which ends up feeling like the show’s putting undue pressure on these people to do something they cannot do, which is: Be interesting to watch.
Like every other episode so far, this is what is up:
- Lauren and Carl like each other, but Carl thinks Lauren likes him too much — and instead of talking to her about it, hooks up with other girls in order to try and force her hand, then feels bad about self-sabotaging.
- Lauren, for her part, pretends she’s not that into Carl — not for the sake of dignity, but to make him feel bad that he overreacted and hooked up with other girls.
- Kyle had a great girlfriend named Amanda who he broke up with so he could be a free agent this summer, but every time he hooks up with another girl he feels like crap because it wasn’t Amanda, and on the few nights he sleeps alone he… Also misses Amanda. (We miss Amanda too, for what it’s worth, but we don’t feel like commiserating with Kyle about this, so it’s more like being whined at.)
- The actual couple in the house, Lindsay and Everett, fight all the time, because they are in a competition to see who can get more attention for the great injustices constantly coming their way
We wouldn’t really say any of these plots moved forward this week: just that they continued to drearily unfold. Everett did something gross, like spend the night out of the house without telling the truth about where he was, and then Lindsay gets upset that he slept in the same bed as multiple people, including girls, whether or not anything happened — not that lying about it makes him look any better, or that any of this makes them seem more admirable or fascinating — but it is, apparently, interesting enough to make a TV show about.
The main problems with this show is that no one’s emotionally honest with one another. They seem fine opening up to the confessional cameras, but as soon as they have to communicate with one another they either clam up or explode with rage: Everything is simultaneously high stakes and zero stakes, which isn’t college-age or even high school-age drama: It’s how actual middle schoolers act. Or at least how we can remember acting — today’s middle schoolers are probably way more sophisticated and mature than these folks.
“Summer House,” for all it wants to be scandalous, is PG-13 at best -- that can get pretty tedious. And so while Stephen can sometimes be a pill, he definitely speaks for us -- he completely got us with his laugh-out-loud exasperation this week.
'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'
Much of this season has revolved around sobriety; specifically, the sobriety of Kim Richards, or really: What Lisa Rinna's opinion is about Kim's sobriety and Eden Sassoon’s compulsive need to connect with the sisters over where Kim is at with her sobriety. This week's episode ends with some pretty heavy confrontation at Kyle Richards’ cheesecake party for Carnie Wilson (just go with it), where Rinna finally fesses up to telling Eden that Kim was near death... Then softpedals it, saying that she was coming from a good place.
Which is pretty much the new "No offense, but…" -- it doesn’t really matter what place you were “coming from” when you say hurtful things. Nobody will ever care about your motives. You can say whatever you want to say, but going back and owning it doesn’t oblige the other person to forgive you, or have any effect on their feelings about whatever terrible things you said in the first place. In this case, Rinna can't exactly clarify the actual truth -- she was being overdramatic as usual, and desperate for attention as usual, and overstated her case because she rarely feels heard -- because she doesn't know this about herself... Which we know in turn because if she did, she would not do these things!
So Kim is still legitimately angry, and while Rinna keeps insisting she’s ready to move on, Kim doesn’t seem as inclined to let it go. Luckily, she brought her sponsor -- who says that Rinna seems to be coming from a legit place, but it’s totally fine if it takes Kim time to reconcile with that. The show also reveals the bombshell that Kim and Kyle both actually knew Eden’s sister Catya before she died (it’s actually been covered in the media that Kim and Catya began the partying days that led to their addictions together)... Which adds another layer of sadness and awkwardness to Eden’s attempts to connect with the sisters Richards. Heavy stuff, every now and then.
Luckily, the editors did give us some funny moments to compensate for all the turmoil: A caterer brings a tray to Eden who reluctantly accepts a tiny crab cake and then takes a comically large pretend bite of it. Like, the hors d’oeuvre was fully a foot away from her mouth. Later, when the caterer returns, Eden declines brightly saying that she already ate one. Well, you ate the air adjacent to it, sweetie, but... A for effort. Eileen also gave us some amazing unintentional comedy when she sees Rinna is about to confess to Kyle that she actually said all the stuff she’s been denying saying: Eileen slowly and exaggeratedly gets off the couch where she’s been sitting next to Rinna and leaves the room in the most obviously-sneaky, obtrusive manner possible... And then there's Lisa Vanderpump.
But for our money, nothing is funnier than Lisa Vanderpump’s sheer delight in poking at Rinna in the above clip. Maybe if it was directed toward someone else it would feel a little mean, but after a season of Rinna’s unallayed Rinna-ness we can’t help but feel a little grateful that at least someone is holding her feet to the fire, even if it's the self-appointed Lady Sheriff of Beverly Hills.
'Watch What Happens Live!'
Unlikely Bravo superfans are always entertaining. For real, if you haven’t listened to the amazing Housewives podcast “Bitch Sesh” with Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider start a few months back, with the Michael Rapaport episode: He’s probably more well-versed and invested in the Housewives universe than even we are, and that’s saying something... But Dale Earnhardt Jr. (?!?!?) takes it to the next level.
There is honestly little on TV this week quite as fascinating watching Dale Earnhardt Jr. very earnestly offer his opinions on moments from “Vanderpump Rules” and “Southern Charm” ... and even dish on which Tom from “Vanderpump Rules” follows him on Twitter. It’s nice to know that no matter how divisive things can get, even the most unexpected people can bond over stuff as silly as these shows we love.
& A Bonus Clip!
Bravo often has little behind-the-scenes clips on its site: Some are worth a watch, and some aren’t, but this one is simply transcendent as Kyle Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, and Erika Jayne critique old talking-heads looks with their current stylists.
Kyle and Lisa have a longer history, so there are some deep dives. Erika Jayne, of course, has only been around for a season -- but even if she had been there since the get-go, you know she would have always been on point. Watching her dissect her looks with her creative director Mikey Minden is flawless entertainment... Just like Erika Jayne herself. Honey, we wish you luck!