Rarely does a Real Housewives come with a building, terrible tension the way this one did. We knew everything was eventually going to teeter over into catastrophe, but not being sure just which moment would spark the fire, we waited...
Camille was having a party. Remember last week when she had her employee-friends over for casual kitchen dinner and she talked only of herself and her problems with Kyle and then she decided she was going to have all "the girls" over for a little evening of fun and frivolity? Well it was time for that and she needed to make some phone calls. She called the Maloof, who was busy dealing with the fact that she'd hurt her husband's plastic surgery nose during martial arts, because that's just the kind of maloofy problems you have when you're a Maloof. Just a typical Maloof concern. "Oh yeah, another martial arts thing, that's all. Yeah, it's the silicone in his nose. Mmhm. Yup, just another Saturday." The Maloof said she would come to Camille's party because what the heck else is the Maloof doing? She's barely been on the show. So why not. Camille called Kim, who was busy standing at the bathroom mirror rubbing her face with a cotton ball dipped in astringent, trying to wipe something off, something that just wasn't coming off, and it was making her feel nervous and like she had the yellowjackets in her insides again, and outside there was a weird breeze and she could hear the wind chimes from her neighbor's porch, and she was just wiping and wiping, her skin raw and burning, and then the phone rang and Kim almost fainted from the shock of the noise but she collected herself and picked up the phone with a trembling hand and said "H-h-... hello?" and it was Camille, inviting her to a party. No gloomy news, nothing anxious or bad. Just a party. "Sure, of course," Kim said, letting the cotton ball drop out of her hand, done with it for now.
Camille called Taylor, who was just standing in the kitchen, smiling at nothing, and she smiled more and said "Yes." Flush and firm, quick. "Yes." Camille tried to call Lisa but apparently Lisa has a hilarious outgoing message thing that makes it sound like Lisa just has a bad connection and can't hear the other end so Camille kept trying and saying "Hello? Can your hear me?" over and over and when she finally figured out that it was a joke, a cold angry flash rippled over her face because, after years and years of it I'm sure, Camille does not like jokes that make her seem dumb, no sir, no way no how. So she said to Lisa's answering machine "Oh how funny. That is so funny. I think that is great." Very convincing. And then, of course, it was time to call Kyle, and it was tentative and awkward and Camille tried to school Kyle on what kind of attire one should wear to a cocktail party, and that had the potential to make it a bitchy phone call, but both parties wisely hung up before they got into it. Kyle, did, however, say that she would be bringing a friend, and not just any friend, Faye Resnick, as in the Faye Resnick that was all caught up in that O.J. Simpson business back in the last century. So that was sure to be... something. We didn't know what.
So dinner was on. Plans were set. The air hummed with anticipation, with a nervous energy, a string plucked and vibrating. The birds, sensing something, flocked together and flew away, east into mountains and deserts, north toward the rain. Fleeting to somewhere, anywhere else but this darkening place.
The ladies all got themselves prepared, the Maloof in various Maloofian ways, Vanderpump as a Vanderpump would. Taylor opened a small locked drawer in her dresser with an old key and took out a box. She opened it, and an intense glow came spilling out. Inside the box was a small bit of sunshine that her husband had bought her years ago when they were courting. Every once in a while she took it out and put a little bit on, just to brighten her mood, cheer up the day. She dipped her finger in, rubbed the sunshine onto her cheeks, a dab under her eyes, and she felt good. Kim was scratching a spot on her arm, scratching and scratching and scratching, trying to figure out what to wear and it just felt impossible. Impossible! Dammit, ohh dammit. Scratch, scratch. Eventually she decided on a boring black dress and it made her upset but it was too late now so she'd just have to deal with it. Kyle had a her hair lady over, a woman whose entire face is made of brass, and they discussed, of course, the matter of Camille, and would there be tension, and Kyle tried to say no, but you knew that she knew what we knew, that there would always be tension, that that is why they existed, why the cameras were hovering nearby, why there was to be a party that night at all. Kyle had been selected to be a combatant, and she was just trying to deny the danger for a little bit longer. Can we blame her?
Camille went into her enormous closet with her sad, sad, sad friend D.D., who I believe is maybe married to Nick the tennis guy? Am I getting that wrong here? I don't know, whoever D.D. is she is just the saddest, sad in a different way than Kim is sad. D.D. is that mean kind of sad, I guess you'd call it thwarted. She's so frustrated by the boundaries and high walls of her life, so angry at her "friend" Camille with her famous husband and cavernous seaside palace, so jealous of perky blonde hair and smoothed-over features. D.D.'s features are sharp and sunken and dull and sallow, her hair does nothing but lie slack and boring, she's skinny, but not sexy skinny, just bony and fragile, like a spinster librarian. Ohhh D.D. hates Camille, maybe wants to murder Camille, but she also loves the way that spending time with Camille makes her feel special, makes her feel like some kind of bigshot. So she hews close to her dreadful "friend," Camille who says she collects lingerie, that it's "like candy." Wait, what? Do people collect candy? I'm sure someone does, someone collects everything, but that's not like a regular thing to collect like stamps or baseball cards. I'm mostly unconvinced that Camille ever knows what she's talking about. Like, ever.
And let's just... I mean, don't you just hate her? Just hate her face? That weird reptilian, hood-lidded face, the way she bobs her head down when she's fakely laughing after having said something backhanded and bitchy, the way she breathily powers through to the next part of the sentence. It's always something bitchy said in hurried manner followed by a little fake giggle, a head bob, and then quickly saying something like "anyway" or "but yeah.." as if we're going to think her so smart and clever, such a rapier wit. Oh Camille! The way you deliver such zinging, subtle bon mots! Remember that Simpsons episode with the country club and someone has just said something mean to Marge and her new/old friend Evelyn says "Don't worry, Marge. Her idea of wit is nothing more than an incisive observation humorously phrased and delivered with impeccable timing." (Such a brilliant line.) Well Camille is the opposite of that. I mean, that's still Camille's idea of wit, the definition, but in practice she never says anything incisive or humorous and it is always terribly timed. Why? Because Camille is not a smart person, not in the least, but she's swaddled herself in so much moneyed bullshit that she thinks she's bought a brain or something, thinks she's bought sophistication, vampired it out of her husband, received it by marriage osmosis. And of course she's wrong about that, she's wrong about everything. She's just so terrible, such a half-formed dragon, such a smooth-skinned cave monster that's found some jewel eyes and smooshed them into its skull. I don't like her, guys. I just don't.
So with that sentiment in mind, let's begin the party! It was a lovely day in Malibu, golden sun beginning to set over an ocean the color of the Wakefield Twins' eyes, Camille's grounds all lush and green. Before any of the other guests arrived, D.D. was there, standing close by her friend, wanting to establish early and often that she and Camille are tight. And Camille had another friend there, pre-party. And this friend was a delight. Her name is Allison DuBois, a name that might sound familiar, because as was mentioned many, many times, Allison is the inspiration for the television series Medium, the favorite TV show of nursing home common rooms where everyone's asleep across America. Yes this was very exciting for Camille, a real-life famous psychic at her party. D.D. was, of course, seething with jealousy, but she tried not to dwell on it too much lest Allison pick up her negative juju and say something to Camille. Earlier Camille had gone to lunch with Taylor and she'd mentioned that Allison would be there and she said, with a trilling throwaway laugh, that she sure hoped that Allison didn't get drunk, because she gets a little feisty when she's drunk, and with Kyle there, who knows what could happen. So essentially Camille desperately hoped that Allison would sic herself on Kyle and Camille could just sit back and play innocent while they went at it. It was a terrible deadly plan, but here it was in action, Allison already eagerly tucking into the first of many enormous martinis, ones that were quite potent to hear the girls tell it. That nervous energy in the air frenzied and pulsated and then there was the clacking of heels and the shuffle of tight skin, and the other girls were there, Taylor and the Maloof and company in a friendly white limo, Kyle and Faye of course in a black one, an obvious nod from the producers. Here is the dark, follow this person.
At first things seemed somewhat OK. They stood outside for the cocktail hour, Taylor cooing over Camille's mansion, saying "This is why you never leave!", which was an interesting detail, that Camille doesn't often leave her house. I think she likes to be on her turf, doesn't trust the outside world not to rip back the curtain and expose her desperate interior. So anyway, they were all drinking cocktails and of course D.D. had to try and control the situation, assert her status, by saying, out of nowhere, "Do you know the show Medium? It's about her, it's about her," pointing to Allison, who pretended to act all "What? What? Who? Me? Oh please, oh brother" about it but then she eventually nodded her head in that tight "Yup, I'm... a prettttyyy big deal" kind of way and she said "Yeah, Patricia Arquette plays me..." as if it was the most incredible awe-inspiring thing you'd ever heard. And look, no beef to Patty Arquette or anything, but like it's not that big of a deal for heaven's sake. I mean, Medium? Has any sentient adult ever actually watched the show on purpose? I feel like it's always accidental, or for lack of other options, like you're on vacation at some cabin in Michigan or something and the TV only gets three channels and one night that's the only thing on, some rerun of Medium, and you watch it mostly ambivalent, saying "Oh... I think that's a ghost..." at one point, and your friend or companion or sibling or whoever shrugs their shoulders and says "Yeah... probably," and about thirty minutes in you both silently but collectively decide to open another bottle and maybe just get a little drunk because there's another episode of Medium on after this and you're just not really sure you can do a whole 'nother one. You know? That is probably how most people watch(ed) Medium, so no, Allison, it's not like some amazing incredible thing. Though clearly she thinks it is, oh she really really does. I wonder if she foresaw the show getting canceled this year? Do you think she saw that coming?
So yeah, things were immediately awkward with Allison and you could tell she was getting drunk, she had that scary twinkle in her eye, and by now the sun had almost nearly set, covering the world with sinister black. The girls stumbled inside for their formal sit-down dinner and then the real tension began. It began because Allison was being drunk and loud and crazy, smoking an electronic cigarette of some kind, one that emitted some kind of real smoke, and she was holding it like it was a cigar or something, and she brought it out with this bizarre like "Heyyyy lookee here" expression, like nodding her head as if she were some guy in a 1980s music video who just had a hot babe appear on his lap so he nods his head as if to say "All riiiight, party time!", giving a thumbs-up to the saxophonist. You know what look I'm talking about. That's the look Medium gave when she pulled out the fake cigarette, or maybe it was the look of a nerdy kid who has friends over while his parents are out of town and in an effort to impress the other kids, he gets into the liquor cabinet and is like "Look what I've got.... liquor," in a let's-do-this-thang kind of way. Basically Medium is completely bonkers and thought that everyone was going to be pretty impressed by her fake cigarette and the way she held it like a dick or a hoagie. No one was. Everyone was scared. She was unpleasant.
But in an effort to engage her, Lisa and Kyle started asking her about her psychic abilities. What could she see? How did she see it? Lisa asked, hilariously, if her grandmother (or regular mother?) was present at the moment. This all seemed to piss Allison off, though it maybe pissed Camille off more. She said it was because she didn't want Allison to feel like she needed to perform, but I wonder if it was more because Camille didn't like the attention being taken off of her, even though that's kind of why she'd invited Allison in the first place, to be the scapegoat, the attack dog. So in retaliation for Kyle (and Lisa) needling Allison, Camille turned to Faye and said "Who are you? Who is Faye? Oh, wait I know! I saw you in Playboy. You looked... great." And it was extreeemely awkward and just another example of Camille being an incredibly shitty person. Not that Faye is some unimpeachable saint, but like... Faye hadn't been doing anything up to that point, really. She was maybe being a little assertive here and there, a bit of an "alpha female" to quote the insanely gifted Allison DuBois, but up to that point she was being mostly reasonable, but then Camille went and sank her basilisk fangs into her anyway because Camille is a wretched, nasty bitch.
Then the drama lurched into full-swing. Kyle started hammering away at Allison to give her a psychic reading, so finally Allison did. She said "Your husband is going to stop loving you once your kids grow up, so just be prepared for that." Hahahahaha, what??? Look, I know Allison knew that Camille had beef with Kyle, and I know that Allison wanted to make Kyle feel uncomfortable, I understand all the bitchy social motivations behind saying that. But, like... Way to amp up your credibility! With conveniently nasty things that "came through" about your friend's archenemy. How terribly serendipitous, that Kyle's future is doomed and that Allison has foreseen it. I mean, if you're going to trust a psychic, trust a psychic that went to ASU. And whose stories of helping out law enforcement agencies have all been denied or declared unhelpful by said law enforcement agencies. And, most importantly, always trust the psychic who is willing to discredit herself (further) by crafting convenient future visions that are mean toward a girl she doesn't like. That's the psychic for me! Good work, you pathetic quack. You make other psychics, who are all complete quacks themselves, look like Oracles at Delphi. Drink more martinis please!
Kyle obviously reacted badly to that future vision, and then Faye started mixing it up, yelling at Allison, and D.D., and Camille, the thing with New York came back up, everyone started screeching and clawing at themselves. Allison kept drinking and drinking and drinking and coyly puffing on her magic cigarette, Kim put her head in her hands and closed her eyes tight and wished herself back into her mother's womb, saying over and over again in her head I wanna be a little, little baby. Just a little baby, safe inside momma. Taylor could feel the sunshine wearing off and she was starting to get nervous. The Maloof and Lisa just rolled their eyes and wished they were home with their husbands. The yelling went on and on and on, Allison talking about Kyle having "done nothing" with her life, therby implying that Allison had done so much. Which, ha. Allison spent her entire life lying and bullshitting, which is in some ways worse than doing nothing. Oh, and she went to ASU, so I'm sure that was fun for a while, those were some good years of doing something too. Eventually Kim heard Taylor say something about Camille and insecurity and that set Kim off, remembering the fight they'd had in New York about who said what, and Taylor, all the sunshine's power gone now, was like "No no, you need to stand up and walk away, stand up and walk away," and Kim said "Why don't you just go pump up your lips more," or something, and I'm sure Kim immediately regretted saying it, would dig her fingernails into her scalp extra hard that night before she went to bed as punishment. At that point Taylor, the Maloof, and Lisa all decided to leave, Camille seemingly shocked that they'd just get up and go during all this fun.
Luckily Kyle stayed an extra little while, yelling at Camille, Camille doing that infuriating calm-voiced thing, Kyle getting more and more annoyed. Camille told us in an interview: "I don't know what Kyle's problem is. I think it might in some way have something to do with jealousy. I think jealousy is a huge part of it." So from "might in some way have something to do with it" to "a huge part of it" in like three seconds. Then Camille said "I mean, I hate even saying that it's jealousy." Ohhhh shut UP Camille. You're not even trying to hide the fact that you absolutely LOVE thinking that people are jealous of you! It's your main reason for living! It's your primary fuel source! Thinking that people are jealous of her is what gets Camille through the day, it is her faith and her foundation. Because, yeah, of course, everyone is jealous of reptile weirdos who never leave their tacky mansions and are in loveless, failing marriages and probably don't remember their kids' names most of the time. Gosh, everyone is so jealous of that all the time! Oh, plus Camille is friends with the Medium lady! You know, from Medium! Who went to ASU! You've heard of her and you are so jealous. Meanwhile, you've done nothing. Not a thing. Not one thing.
After she'd had enough, Kyle stormed out. Kim of course stumbled into a plant while trying to say goodbye and everyone just shook their heads at her. Outside, Kim and Taylor had a few more words and then it was time to get in the limos and, oh man, Kyle shoved everyone inside the white limo and sent her sister, just her sister, off in the black one. "Your house is nearby," Kyle said and Kim was powerless to stop her, just got into the limo by herself and watched the other girls drive off. Kyle was mad at Kim for starting shit with Taylor rather than just letting things be, so she was punishing her. She complained to the girls about the terrible evening and then said "Let's get drinks at the Beverly Hilton!" and everyone cheered and then it cut to poor sad Kim all by herself, calling Kyle over and over and over again to no avail. She was fidgety, couldn't stop moving, couldn't stop calling. "Ohhhhhhhhhh" she said, that needy whine she makes when she can feel the spiders crawling back into her brain. "Ohhhhhhhhhh..." She dialed her phone furiously, not to call Kyle, but someone else. After a few rings someone picked up. "Dr. Maplethorn? It's me. It's Kim. I need to talk. I'm having a Crisis Moment. I said, I'm having a Crisis Moment and I really need to talk and if you can't talk I'm going to go home and sit in hot water again, I swear to god I will. Ohhhhhhhh." She paused, listening to the other end. "Uh huh. OK. OK. OK. Thank you. Thank you Dr. Maplethorn. Twenty minutes. Your office. Thank you. I feel better all ready. Thank you. Driver, we're making a stop." The car zoomed off down the freeway, thankfully towards Kim's savior and rescue, the indefatigable Dr. Maplethorn.
Meanwhile back at Camille's the three monsters, Camille, D.D., and drunken Allison, were still at the table, bitching about Kyle. Well mostly Allison was bitching drunkenly about Kyle. "She's just a low bitch and that's why bitch is a one syllable word because that's all they can understand. Kyle can't even spell the word "friends" so it's not like she has any." I mean, Allison went to ASU, so she's absolutely in a position to mock other people's intelligence. That just makes sense. At this point even Camille and D.D. looked uncomfortable, so turned off by Allison's hideous, slurring, swear-filled tirade. Earlier in the night Allison had said that it was OK to be bad, as long as it was in a safe place, and that people should want to be a bad, a bunch of women should want it if they're hanging out together and having fun. It was a sentiment met with uncomfortable silence then and now we could see why. Because bad, well this kind of bad anyway, isn't terribly becoming. It's ugly and depressing and embarrassing. Allison with her fake cigarette puff and her enormous slurpee martini, yelling about some lady she'd only just met. Clearly too drunk to drive, would have to stay over.
I'll bet the next morning Allison woke up, her head feeling like a dying star, splayed out on an outdoor chaise lounge, her fake cigarette lying on the ground next to her, a film of dew dampening her clothes. "What the..." she said, sitting up and getting nauseous, realizing she was only wearing one shoe and couldn't find the other one. The stale taste of sugary drinks in her mouth, some vague recollection of yelling something at someone. "What'd I..." And it was like she was back in Phoenix, one of those college mornings, the sun so harsh and frying, everything sore, her hair a tangled clump. She couldn't remember anything from the night before. Hardly a thing. What was the last moment she had? Standing on this balcony with Camille and the other one, the loser, pouring a drink for herself. What had happened next? Shouldn't she have been able to see it happening before it happened? And thus she'd be remembering that vision, and not the actual events? She didn't know anymore, so far down the rabbit hole with this psychic lie at this point. So far gone.
She wished she really could see the future! She wished she knew that she was actually going to be OK, that life wouldn't always be such a sham. She wished, she wished. Mostly, though, she wished she could find her shoe. Right then, that's what she wished for most of all.