‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ season premiere recap

I’m conflicted about the crass mash-up of the season premieres of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules.” On the one hand, it’s annoying that the shows are stitched together in such a way that not only does the Sur gang bleed into a considerable portion of the lead-in, the formal intro to “Vanderpump Rules” doesn’t come until eight minutes into the second hour, presumably long enough for viewers to be sucked into the drama of Stassi and company. Whether or not you intended to watch both shows, no one likes to feel like they’re being conned into doing it.

On the other hand, pairing “Vanderpump Rules” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” makes sense for reasons that extend beyond extending Lisa Vanderpump’s brand. The first show really does seem like the before to “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”‘ after, a snapshot of what some of the women were like before Botox, rich husbands and book deals. The reality is that “The Real Housewives” franchise is less “The Women” than it is “Mean Girls,” and “Vanderpump Rules” just drives home that point. When Jax sighs that working at Sur is more like high school than high school really was for him, he’s not wrong. The girls are just as petty as they probably were when they were teenagers, but now they have more resentments and, I’m sure, access to a lot more alcohol to bring the crazy.

Still, let’s start with “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” The promos suggest there will be cackling, surgery (hopefully plastic and not life-threatening, though those can be one and the same), fighting and fabulous dresses. We do get two new Housewives, though, and they come bearing their own none-too-catchy intro lines. For Carlton, it’s the cryptic “In my world, money doesn’t talk; it swears.” Joyce chooses the less weird “You can never be too young, too thin, or too honest.” Carlton is a witch, which is not a way of saying she’s a witch that starts with the letter B or anything, but an actual witch. She also named her kids Cross, Mystery and Destiny. She becomes irate if anyone thinks these names are anything less than beautiful, to which I would suggest she may have wanted to name her children anything other than Cross, Mystery and Destiny. Sounds to me like two strippers and a bad mood.

Anyway, Joyce is a beautiful Miss Universe runner-up, which clearly means the other Housewives are going to deeply resent her as soon as they can find a reason other than her looks. Her “baby” is a film producer who likes to wander around naked, which absolutely disgusts Carlton, as she has a vivid imagination. I’m thinking Carlton may be too sensitive for this show, but then, she does make out with Brandi in the season preview, so maybe she’s just disgusted by the thought of naked men.

The new kids are trotted out during Kyle’s party to fete Beverly Hill’s 100th birthday on behalf of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. The organization gets a massive plug on the show by pitching Kyle on membership, but ultimately comes off as a bunch of ancient, boring relics who probably like to talk about their knee transplants and soft foods. Still, it makes Kyle feel special to be a part of something, and that’s what’s important, isn’t it?

Kyle seems especially prickly this season, taking everything that comes out of Lisa’s mouth as a dig. While Lisa has that very British way of taking the piss out of her friends, and she’s hardly a wide-eyed innocent, most of what we hear Lisa saying in this episode doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. But Kyle feels betrayed, she feels insulted, she feels she’s being condescended to, whine, whine, whine. Lisa seems too busy trying not to bump privates with her “Dancing with the Stars’ partner Gleb to really care what Kyle thinks, and that may be the gravest insult of all.

Kyle’s also still holding a grudge against Yolanda, and Yolanda is none too fond of her either. This all stems from the reunion special in which Kyle called Yolanda a liar. So, it seems it’s going to be a lot of bickering revolving around Kyle this season, so, um, yay?

In other news, Brandi is getting a new house and her real estate agent/boyfriend is the guy she was accused of having bathroom sex with last season. So, that had a happy ending! In other news, Kim has a very untrained dog. I guess Kim doesn’t have much going on this season. 

So, that’s it. We can’t have too much “Housewives” drama, lest the show steal the thunder of “Vanderpump Rules.” Le sigh. Though there is very little difference between the bitchy, petty, childish behavior of “Vanderpump” and “Housewives,” I find “Vanderpump” a little more depressing. For starters, the “pretty young things” of “Vanderpump” aren’t that young, which makes their behavior more troubling. As Kristen likes to remind everyone, she’s 30 years old, and she’s an ADULT, not a CHILD, which only makes the case that, actually she’s more child than adult. It’s the kind of thing a teenager might say. When a grown-ass woman says it, it’s just sad.

The “Vanderpump” gang is pretty, yes, but lacks resources. While “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” has had its share of emotionally unstable and addicted players, we’re always confident that, when the ladies want help, they can afford it. They also have an understanding, to some limited degree, of what should be kept behind closed doors (at least, whenever possible). They understand their brand, what the television show can do for them, and how to use it as a bully pulpit. On “Vanderpump Rules,” there’s the sense that these men and women aren’t that savvy. Like their elders, they want their fifteen minutes. Unlike them, they don’t seem to care so much about controlling what the cameras see. It may be slightly real (albeit only slightly — when Kristen curses and pouts at the Chamber of Commerce party, Lisa chooses to give her a two-week suspension, which no boss in her right mind would choose over firing her bratty ass), but it’s also more dark.

Maybe all of these struggling bartenders and waitresses will be able to turn their time on the show into Kardashian-level fame. More likely they’ll find their famous for being infamous, which doesn’t usually lead to a wide range of employment. The premiere ends with Scheana, who just wants friends but doesn’t understand that trying to pit the other girls against one another can only backfire, comforting her drunken boyfriend. He’s gotten into a fight with Tom Schwartz, who seems too normal to be on this show, then burst into tears. Lisa’s daughter Pandy has been hanging out with the hired help for some reason, possibly to open the door for more crossovers, and everyone is wasting what should have been a pleasant evening bitching, crying and generally reminding viewers why your 20s suck. While it’s good to be reminded that money doesn’t buy happiness (or manners, or friends) from watching the “Housewives” franchise, “Vanderpump Rules” reminds you that you can also be miserable and hateful while living in a crappy apartment with maxed out credit cards, too. 

Did you watch the season premiere of both shows? Which one do you like better? Do you think Brandi was a bitch to point out Scheana’s gray tooth, or was Scheana just being oversensitive?