What does it mean to gossip “correctly”? What does it mean to throw a dinner party? To build a house? To make a joke about yourself as a spider?
These were some of the existential and slightly silly, yet incredibly grave, questions which framed the conflicts on Tuesday’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. As the season winds down, it is more and more narrowing in on two groups of castmembers: Those women who seem to be looking for drama in every single moment, and those women who, despite the whirlwinds of conflict, keep their heads mostly screwed on straight.
Consider the former: Lisa Rinna, who has stood supportively at the side of every other woman in the cast this year, at some point or another, took the opportunity of a beach stroll with Eileen Davidson to basically unload on Yolanda Foster.
What for? Better to ask: What not for?
“I think she’s more manipulative than anybody,” Rinna said of Foster, having indicted her for crimes including poor time management and … illness-related privileges?
(If the two have beef that rises above Rinna’s well-documented knack for discussing whatever will get her the most scenes, that hasn’t been captured very well this year.)
Except in retelling Davidson on Tuesday, Rinna spun some new chapters:
Actually, she said, Vanderpump was the one who manipulated Rinna into even bringing any of it up to the other women in the first place, and Vanderpump and Richards had been talking about the Munchausen gossip between themselves, too.
“I’ve allowed myself to be used as a pawn,” Rinna told the camera.
Davidson, an excellent listener to even those in the throes of madness, had a slightly different take for the camera: “To bring [Kyle and Lisa] into this? Wow. That’s inflammatory.”
She nodded along, listening to Rinna, and said that, while Rinna said she felt “painted into a corner” by Foster’s Lyme disease, Davidson did not herself feel that way. And Davidson said she was not ashamed to admit she gave Foster the benefit of the doubt, given her illness.
“No one else has to agree with me at all,” Rinna said, adding, of Foster, “My gut says, ‘Run for the f—ing hills, lady.’ ”
Meanwhile, far away from sandy beaches and once the sun had set, Erika Girardi hosted a dinner party gone awry – thanks to Kathryn Edwards, who was finally made to answer for her decision to tell Vanderpump that Girardi told her that Vanderpump was a manipulator, a spinner of webs.
Edwards wasn’t really having any part of it however, and Girardi declared the dinner party a huge mess, having only gotten Edwards to go so far as to say she partially told Vanderpump what Girardi said to “get a reaction.”
They picked up their conflict later, when all the women were working on a house for charity.
What was interesting, in that fight, was to see how both Edwards and Girardi were playing dual roles, as both people who fixate on drama and as people who can sort out their own lives.
There was cursing and finger-wagging and Girardi seemed more upset in that moment than she has all season, and there was not generally, it seemed, a lot of super clear communication about the issues.
But then! Edwards apologized. She realized what she thought was something minor had actually been hurtful and offensive to Girardi, not the least because Girardi felt it had preemptively damaged her relationship with Vanderpump and Edwards.
And so all was momentarily well. Edwards and Girardi hugged. Girardi promised her a second chance. They took care of themselves. The house stood next to them, still upright.
Davidson, who’d encouraged them to talk through their issues, had encouraged them in just this way: “Instead of it being like a big mystery – talk to each other.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.