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A ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Civil War Has Commenced

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Bravo
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Bravo

Her job was on the line. Her friendships had fallen. Dorit had one shot, and one shot only, to save her diamond—and she came into the reunion with a look inspired by Dune to do just that.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has kicked off its best reunion in years, as alliances crumble by the wayside and make way for a long-awaited civil war. The tension surrounding the group has finally bubbled to the surface, and it starts with Dorit ambushing Kyle after a season of passive aggression.

Exposing a text the Beverly Hills OG sent her the day before the reunion, Dorit enters the arena gloves off. It’s an essay-length plea from Kyle for Dorit to put their issues on ice at the reunion. And Dorit’s response is a resounding no, instead showcasing the text to Erika (and production) to expose Kyle’s manipulations.

Now, I’m a Kyle Richards apologist, but Dorit is right to see the text as calculated. She’s also right to disregard the peace treaty, and instead use it as ammo. It’s ridiculous to ask Dorit to pretend everything’s hunky dory, and would create a snoozy reunion. As a veteran of this platform, Kyle is well-aware of that.

Bravo’s resident parasite (B*th*nny Fr*nk*l) has taken to TikTok to denounce Dorit’s act as a cruel invasion of privacy, acting as though showing a text on screen is new grounds for this franchise. She should rewatch her own city, as a third of the RHONY Season 10 reunion was devoted to Bethenny and Carole Radziwill reading each other’s texts to catch the other in a lie.

Annemarie Wiley, Dorit Kemsley, Erika Jayne, Kyle Richards, and Andy Cohen.

(l-r) Annemarie Wiley, Dorit Kemsley, Erika Jayne, Kyle Richards, and Andy Cohen.

Griffin Nagel/Bravo

That’s to say: Maybe Dorit was being a bad friend to show the text to production, but this is what it takes to be a reality star. It’s kill or be killed out here; showing a text is child’s play.

Once the ladies find their way to the couches, it doesn’t take long for the drama to start. While Kyle sidesteps Erika’s Watch What Happens Live comments that Kyle needs to be “eviscerated” at the reunion, since Erika’s such a good friend (surely not because she’s her only ally left), she’s not as quick to forgive Dorit.

Dorit is hurt by comments Kyle made to downplay their friendship, but Kyle feels she was justified, given Dorit’s incessant poking all season. Is it the chicken or the egg? Did Kyle pull away because Dorit prodded her, or did Dorit inquire about Kyle’s life because she felt a growing distance? I feel it’s a bit of both, but I’m more sympathetic to Dorit here. Kyle is hard to be friends with, as she applies a set of rules to others (her infamous “open and honest” slogan) that she doesn’t care to apply to herself.

Kyle may say “You are very important to me. I love you very, very, very much,” but it’s not too convincing when she says it through gritted teeth and thinly veiled anger.

The ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Finale Goes Nuclear Over Kyle Richards’ Separation

Next up, Garcelle airs out her grievances with Dorit after a season-long feud. It all kicked off in Vegas when Dorit got defensive over Garcelle’s reluctance to trust the group, and has only disintegrated further since, following a series of “unconscious Karen” behaviors, as Garcelle put it. And it’s a label she stands by, despite Dorit’s insistence she isn’t racist.

Dorit made sure to show up to this reunion in a culturally ambiguous outfit to remind us she is a child of the world. No, you can’t prove in a court of law that this outfit is insensitive, but there’s something just a bit off there. Yet it’s so humorously bizarre, it’s hard to even take seriously. It’s a wonderful amalgamation of the Dorit Kemsley experience.

The two don’t find resolution, though, as neither is willing to give the other the benefit of the doubt. The truth is, Garcelle doesn’t like nor trust Dorit, and that’s unlikely to change. Once you’ve developed that ick with a person, it’s hard to go back. And Dorit certainly doesn’t help that, given she’s guilty of every microaggression of which she’s accused.

Housewives superfan Annemarie, who must’ve won a BravoCon raffle to appear on this show or something, chimes in with her perspective. When she first butted heads with Sutton over her esophageal issues, Sutton asked Annemarie to stop yelling. And you know who had her back that night? Dorit, not Garcelle.

It’s a bit apples and oranges, but does offer a fair point. Did Garcelle overlook Sutton’s microaggression because of their friendship? And, did Dorit only stand up for Annemarie due to her grievances with Sutton? Probably.

It’s an interesting moment of friction, as Garcelle swats her away. Annemarie and Garcelle shared very little screen time this season; really, they were probably the duo with the fewest interactions. Yet, their different experiences as Black women in this group could provide a nuanced discussion, one this reunion does not have the ability to pull off. Unfortunately, Annemarie’s entire arc is a “what could’ve been.” But we’ll get to that in a moment.

 Andy Cohen and Sutton Stracke.

(l-r) Andy Cohen and Sutton Stracke.

Todd Williamson/Bravo

For now, I’d like to highlight the blissful ignorance of Dorit posting “the only bubble I live in is a love bubble” in response to Garcelle calling her out for her privilege. Dorit’s incapable of putting her foot anywhere but her mouth, and on this cast full of calculated women, that’s needed. She kind of shines as the cast punching bag.

We hop next into a sex package, which is no doubt filler, but does lead to this all-timer Andy Cohen quote: “Kyle, in Season 10 we saw you very finicky about the implication that you and Teddi were romantically entangled. Now that you’re scissoring Dorit and saying that you would date a woman, what changed?”

He couldn’t even attribute this quote to Mary Beth in Fort Myers, Florida. Andy wanted all the credit.

And Kyle, you know what? As the prolific Ramona Singer once said, it’s okay to be gay, and a little feminine. Just be you! Just be you. Sutton says as much, too, when she tells Kyle no one would judge her if she does date a woman. Maybe she is already dating one, if the Morgan Wade rumors have any merit. Imagine being told just a few years ago that a cast member would earnestly (well… in a sense) tell Kyle it’s okay to be gay? It’s truly fascinating how she’s evolved this year.

‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’: Kyle Richards Finally Admits She’d Date a Woman

Now, back to Annemarie, whose reunion package proves just how thin her story was this year. Aside from one at-home scene where we learned her husband doesn’t like her much, her storyline this year was first questioning Sutton’s esophagus, and then arguing about her job title with Crystal. I’ve harped on enough about what a ridiculous edit this is—no doubt made worse by the timing of her husband Marcellus’s sexual assault allegations—but this reunion makes it very clear that even Bravo pities her.

We skip right over her home life, diving into a discussion about Annemarie’s mom, who recently passed away. Apparently, she was sick all season, though you’d never know it from what aired. While Annemarie’s still mid-cry, Andy pivots into a discussion about how the viewers hate her. It’s so jarring that it’s funny, and seems like a light apology from the network for giving her such a bad edit, while also acknowledging they will not renew her contract.

Before she can empty her cubicle, though, she has to clear the air with Crystal and Sutton. First, she offers Sutton an apology over her incessant discussion of her esophagus. The two make peace, neither having any desire to discuss the esophagus ever again. And thus, we finally put to rest the most bizarre Housewives feud in history.

Crystal has no interest putting to rest her plethora of grievances, though, standing by her claim that Annemarie misrepresented her job when they met. And Annemarie’s too tired to properly fight back, allowing Crystal to control the narrative completely. When even Crystal’s able to demolish you, it’s not good. Annemarie didn’t come to this reunion to scuffle, seemingly resigned to the reality that this is her curtain call. If everyone hated me and I figured this was my last day of work, I’d phone it in, too.

While Annemarie finally admits that Crystal never said Sutton has an eating disorder, she won’t take back that Crystal said she’s the only real socialite on the show, and the other women aren’t educated.

Annemarie backs up her claim with evidence from Crystal’s issues with Sutton in seasons past, alluding to things and then retracting them when her feet are held to the fire. While it’s not a horrible example, it just makes Annemarie look like a commentator by referencing seasons she wasn’t part of. That’s my job, and I’m not on the reunion couch for that reason! And thus, Annemarie’s Housewife dreams have died. Diamond: revoked.

Having defeated Annemarie, Crystal takes on her next challenger: Dorit, as she’s pissed Dorit called her a child bride. Dorit’s excuse is that Priscilla Presley was called a child bride, too, but that’s a very funny comparison given Priscilla was actively a child when her relationship with Elvis began. Perhaps not the best example, Dorit.

Dorit apparently had no idea she was being racist calling Crystal a child bride, and you can practically feel the eye roll from Dorit, wishing she had a How to Avoid Racism Scandals 101 handbook. I think her Season 14 plot should be enrolling in an anti-racism workshop. That will win the fans back and not be viewed as tone deaf in any way, Dorit. I promise!

‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’: Kyle Admits Her Marriage Won’t Survive

Erika, on the other hand, mumbles that the aggression seems more macro than micro. I got a good giggle out of that, as she’s just making things worse for Dorit. “Actually, wasn’t your racism very blatant, rather than covert?” With friends like these…

Crystal is two-for-two in her battles this week, and it gives hope she actually has what it takes to be a Real Housewife. Of course, this is the end of her third season, so it may be too little, too late. But, both she and Dorit are battling hard to keep their diamonds, each making a compelling case.

The episode closes out with a return to Kyle vs. Dorit. And we finally get to the crux of their fallout. Dorit tried to help mend things between the sisters at last year’s reunion, but in Kyle’s eyes, it was Dorit pandering to the fanbase.

This is something very meta that I’m glad the show’s finally discussing. The RHOBH fanbase has been incredibly vicious since Season 9, when Lisa Vanderpump left the show at the hands of the “Fox Force Five” (Kyle, Rinna, Erika, Dorit, and Teddi). Even more so in the fanbase than on-screen, there’s an “us vs. them” mentality in Beverly Hills, the latter group dubbed mean girls while the fans champion whoever’s against them.

That may be how Kathy Hilton avoided fan outrage when Lisa Rinna accused her of using a gay slur in Aspen. The fans don’t like Rinna, and they don’t like Kyle, so they don’t care about the truth. It’s easier to root for Kathy than accept that people are more nuanced than just good or evil.

It’s a discussion I hope the show expands on further, as it gives light to Kyle’s issue with not only Dorit, but Sutton, too. Part of the reason firing Rinna was a smart choice was she had a chokehold on the group dynamic, and, in her departure, genuine rifts between these former allies have been born. The “teams’ dynamic can plague the franchises—just look at the stalemate in New Jersey—and it’s genuinely exciting to break new ground.

Next week, Sutton and Kyle’s feud takes center stage, as the former friends go for the jugular. What a wonderful timeline we’re in where a RHOBH reunion is must-see TV.

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