‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’: Should newly sober Kim be on the show?

During last night’s episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” we got to experience what the very rich can do when they’re in Paris. They can take cooking classes which may or may not involve sad little duck carcasses. They can shop in high end stores, take Segway tours of the city, jog by the Siene and basically have an indulgent, lovely holiday that’s boring as hell to watch if you’re not, say, getting an expensive purse, too. The lifestyles of the rich and boring weren’t all that was on display, however. We also got to see Kim fall apart, which is becoming a regular feature of the show. It’s also one that’s getting more and more uncomfortable to see.

I can definitely understand why Kim wants to be on the show. As an actress, she hasn’t exactly had a busy schedule since the 1970s (IMDB lists her last credit as dating back to 2009). She’s a single mom, and there’s probably a bit of ego involved as well. Her sister Kyle has made the show a nifty promotional tool, one that’s likely to drive business to her new store, Kyle by Alene Too. Yes, it’s easy to understand why Kim wants to be on the show. The question is, with rehab so recently in her rearview mirror, should she be?

This week, Kim burst into tears after Lisa gently ribbed her about sleeping the day away. It probably didn’t help that when she didn’t show on time for a group outing, Yolanda and Kyle went running up to her hotel room, banging on the door in a panic. They made it pretty clear they were prepared to call in the coroner for what they were sure was Paris’ latest overdose. Kim couldn’t blame them for assuming the worst, but her reaction to Lisa said a lot about her current state of mind. She couldn’t be more vulnerable and easily wounded if she arrived in the City of Lights without actual skin. Kim is sensitive with a capital S, so why on earth does she have any desire to be near any of these women (including her sister)? Yes, she gets a free trip to Paris, but if it sends her running to the nearest bar, I’m not sure it’s worth all the euros she can fit in her suitcase.

As many dramas are trumped up and overhyped on these shows, the idea of a real person grappling with a real addiction is weighty stuff, and maybe too weighty to be turned into frothy argument fodder for a bunch of middle-aged women. Lisa may have made things much worse by pulling people aside to discuss The Kim Issue while Kim only inches away, but I’m not sure she knows what else to do. The women on these shows barely know how to do their own nails, much less serve as ad hoc addiction specialists, and expecting them to handle Kim with kid gloves is asking a lot. Worse, it’s asking something that’s diametrically opposed to the show’s focus — stirring up drama, conflict, and ceaseless bickering. 

Kim, of course, sticks by her sobriety (as far as we know) in the episode, makes a new friend of an old enemy (Brandi) and even gets a gift from from her brother-in-law Mauricio. It’s all very nice, but it doesn’t make me any more sure of whether or not Bravo is being a little cavalier with someone who’s had a serious struggle in the past (if Internet rumors are to be believed). I’m not saying Kim has to stick herself in a room at Promises in Malibu for the rest of her life, but I can’t help but think a season off might help her get used to her new, sober state. Whether or not you like Kim, I don’t think anyone really wants to see a Very Special Episode in which Kyle and Yolanda knock on her door and get exactly what they expect. 

Do you think Kim should take a season off?