If you’re wondering how wealthy Americans might spend those hotly-debated tax cuts, just tune in to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. These ladies may not have been the Republicans' secret weapon in this week’s midterm election nightmare, but their own private voodoo economics left us equally baffled.
Moms Kyle Richards and Taylor Armstrong threw extravagant parties for pre-school-age daughters. How desperately we hoped that New York housewife Countess LuAnn “one-hit-wonder” de Lesseps would show up to growl, “Money Can’t Buy You Class.”
Instead, cash registers sang between each commercial break. We could only shake our heads in disgust and remind each other that, well, “elegance is learned, My! Friends!"
LuAnn, are you planning a West Coast tour? You may no longer have access to your ex-hubby’s fortune, but we’re certain some of the ladies of 90210 need lessons in etiquette.
Duck-billed Taylor’s husband Russell might be homely and controlling, but he sure is loose with the cash, especially when it comes to 4-year-old daughter Kennedy’s upcoming birthday party. We haven’t yet seen Taylor at work in what Russell calls her “little company” so we have to assume that he’s footing the bills. That seems to suit Taylor perfectly.
The episode opens as Taylor is buzzed into Alan and Layna Friedman’s über-tacky jewelry store in Beverly Hills. Alan wears peculiar rose-colored spectacles and a heavy gold “fly” wallet chain as he and Layna give Taylor the guided tour. She spots their new Barbie line, and thinks it’s “timeless.” And priceless, apparently.
Taylor grabs up 25 cheap ($95 each) necklaces as party favors, a sapphire for daughter Kennedy, and leaves having spent $5,775. A fourth birthday comes only once, and who knows how soon after “beauty treatments” begin in that household. Enjoy it while it lasts, Kennedy!
The full party tab swells to around $50,000. It doesn’t buy Taylor class, but it does buy the services of a celebrity planner ($12,000), an assortment of weird teapot and tea-cup live flower arrangements ($6,000), some pink tents, a lower-echelon music band, and a staff of princess-clown-mimes. Oh, and of course an open bar. What 4-year-old wouldn’t love that? Next stop for the these little girls: Valley of the Dolls.
As a creepy Mad Hatter does tired card tricks with a live cat on his shoulder, it’s inevitable that somebody is going to take a dump on this pompous affair. We were thrilled when it turned out to be little Kennedy, who decided not to play along. She’s indifferent to the sapphire, which Taylor shows off proudly to her mostly adult guests. Wisely, Kennedy covers her ears at the birthday song composed just for her: “Beau-ti-ful, just li-ike your Mom.”
Who can blame her? The melody is entirely forgettable, the lyrics are way too Mommie Dearest, and the sapphire, well, she can't wrestle it away from Taylor long enough to examine it. We heartily recommend she review Mervyn Le Roy’s 1956 classic The Bad Seed about the murderous little Rhoda who wouldn’t have stood for Taylor’s shenanigans one damn second.
Our favorite Beverly Hills housewife, straight-to-the-point Kyle Richards, doesn’t show. She’s across town having a party for her 2-year-old, Portia. By comparison it’s a sedate affair, despite the petting zoo, installed amusement park choo-choo train and other ridiculous diversions. Kyle drops a mere $12,000. But at least the kids are enjoying hot dogs, onion rings, and the live Alpaca.
Serenity only lasts so long in Beverly Hills, however. Sister Kim shows up late after she promised to help out. Doesn’t $12,000 buy a little domestic assistance? And who’d ask constantly-off-kilter-Kim to help out with anything?
Never mind. Kyle can’t resist every opportunity to tell guests just how late Kim arrived. Talk about The Bad Seed. Let’s hope these former child stars aren’t left alone together on a dock with a pair of wooden shoes.
Adrienne Maloof-Nassif shows up at Taylor’s, or rather Kennedy’s birthday party, but she plays it cool, like she’s popped too much Ativan. We’re wondering if she’s cut out to be a real housewife. No neuroses, no drama. She has too many staff members for that!
Cool Brit Lisa VanderPump-Todd shuttles between parties, and then has one of her own, a simple luncheon at a nondescript restaurant. Her lovely, accomplished daughter Pandora is there with gorgeous boyfriend Jason who has our Gaydar registering at least a seven out of 10. Might Jason be happier with Cedric, Lisa’s resident gay? Only time will tell. But the real gift at lunch is a surprise appearance from Max, Lisa’s adopted son.
Lisa recounts how she brought her children up in the English and French countryside before everything went wrong when they arrived in “toxic” Beverly Hills. Apparently, Max had a little weed problem and he likes to play the guitar. Sounds like most teenage boys to us. He’s well-mannered, a little shy and very cute. He doesn’t have that glazed-over, where-are-the-Oreos look that NeNe’s son Bryson maintains on Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Of course, nothing on this show says “trouble” like Camille Grammer. She has a fleet of nannies to take care of the children she did not give birth to herself. Why risk stretch marks?
Camille’s desperate to prove her independence from über-famous hubby Kelsey, no matter how many miles — or men — she has to put between them. While Kelsey’s swishes around New York, starring on Broadway in La Cage aux folles, Camille’s off to their private home in Kona.
We can understand why she might find Kelsey’s absence empowering, we wonder if Andy Cohen put her up to a shoot in Hawaii so he could check out the local coconuts. And we’re all for a Hawaiian escapade, but why not bring along last week’s luscious eye-candy Nick? Instead, she flirts in the hot tub with her friend’s fat-slob husband, Dan. What’s next, Camille, a little “lime in the coconut” or a little “sex on the beach”?
We shudder to think what —and who — might be next.