Is a Beverly Hills Barbie plastic to the core or might she have a heart of gold?
Charity was the watch-word this week on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And as we near the holidays, it’s a perfect time to reflect on which wives are naughty, which wives are nice, and which wives are just huge phonies.
We’re more than a little cynical about the charity of Bravo’s Real Housewives. How could we forget New Jersey housewife Danielle “Garbage” Staub’s pathetic attempt to upstage a baby with a neuroblastoma? And it seemed that every other week New York’s Jill Zarin was shelling out more money for booze, appetizers and promotional signs for Zarin Frabrics than ever made its way into the coffers of a 501(c).
We were ready for the girls of 90210 to roll out a red carpet of shameless hypocrisy and self-importance. We were wrong.
Take the often-vapid Taylor Armstrong, who weeks ago upstaged her own daughter, Kennedy, at the 4-year-old’s birthday party. Apparently, when Taylor’s not buying Barbie’s first sapphires and snapping provocative shots of herself in an Alice-in-Wonderland fantasy, she volunteers at the 1736 Crisis Center, which serves victims of domestic violence. The director, Tobi, was hardly shy in praising Taylor. And Taylor overcame shyness in sharing her own experiences of abuse.
“My earliest childhood memory, in blue-footed pajamas and all, was of someone literally waging war on my mother,” she confides.
Suddenly our hearts grew one size larger and we set down our sharpened quills, even when she talked about the celebrity poker tournament fundraiser. Of course, we picked them right back up when we saw her oafish husband, Russell, who bitched about Taylor’s choice of dates for the event, which prevented his friends from attending.
But how could we be expected not to say something about the Maloof-Nassifs? We’re only human after all. The duo wore the worst clothes imaginable.
At least Adrienne’s husband Shrek blended in with the wallpaper. Adrienne was a disturbing vision in head-to-toe turquoise — one more frightening than anything Scrooge ever saw. And our cynicism returned tenfold when Adrienne started cleaning up at the poker tables. “I was very lucky,” she explained after claiming she didn’t know how to play.
I can’t gamble at our family casino,” she said as she suckered everyone with her babe-in-the-woods routine.
Taylor isn’t the only one on a mission this week. As Kyle Richards begins training for the upcoming 2010 Echelon Gran Fondo in Napa Valley, it appears that she’s not messing around. After all, she’s secured Olympic cyclist Mari Holden as her personal trainer, and that has to cost a pretty penny.
At first we wondered, though, if Kyle was really serious, since the women focus more on discussing the benefits of a “full wax down there” for the 70-mile ride, and whether or not Kyle can reach for her water bottle and pedal at the same time. She’s not going to make it, we thought, even if her dreamy husband Mauricio is cycling alongside. But it’s a charity for cancer, and Kyle seems determined.
Later, Kyle is still anxious when Jodi from Queen Bee Waxing shows up at her house to help make that ride in the saddle more comfortable.
“I don’t want the Telly Savalas,” Kyle tells Jodi, trying to show that she is completely down with current waxing lingo. Her daughter laughs as Jodi rips strip after hair-filled strip from between Kyle’s spread legs.
The things some women will do for charity! We can’t remember any of the other housewives in any other city going that distance.
The big weekend of the Gran Fondo arrives, and Kyle and Mauricio celebrate their first night in Napa with a romantic dinner. There’s tension in the air, however, since Kyle seems distracted and can’t put her cell phone away. She wants another baby, she suddenly exclaims, and it’s not exactly the topic Mauricio hoped to contemplate over gnocchi and white wine.
She says defiantly that if she wanted it to happen, he wouldn’t even know. Then Mauricio jokes about a self-imposed penis-ectomy to prevent further pregnancies. What a charming night in wine country!
The next day as hundreds of cyclists gather at the start line, Kyle is even more anxious. She’s got another personal coach to accompany her through the ride, a crazy indulgence. Mauricio has a “whatever” expression on his face as they pedal the first 30 miles. And then the hills start and Kyle climbs and climbs and climbs.
Theme from Rocky played in the distance of our imagination, and we dropped our cynical attitude. When she and Mauricio cross the finish line and Kyle looks at her computer to confirm that she just pedaled 70 miles, we might have even shed a tear. It’s nothing but a completely happy ending as the announcer tells the crowd that the charming pair is the second-highest fundraiser.
We suppose not all housewives can be expected to battle cancer or domestic abuse. As the saying goes, charity does start at home. There’s no one for whom that’s truer than Lisa VanderPump. Sure, we find it grating that she harasses poor Cedric, but he does live off her generosity. And he did wear aqua jeans and a rosary to the DMV as the two struggled to get American driver's licenses.
No wonder he failed the test!
Of course, there’s little charity at the home of ice queen Camille Grammer, who is planning a little get together next week to bury the hatchet with Kyle and the girls. We know just where she'd like to bury that hatchet. After all, her hubby Kelsey has just told her he wants to live permanently in New York. Gee, Camille, what do you think that means?
But the holiday spirit of the better angels of Beverly Hills has us reconsidering the idea of charity. And with all this authentic nobility, we're a little worried that soon we might be out of a job.