There are several reasons I hate writing about the Real Housewives reunion specials. First of all, nothing happens. Well, things happen – apologies are made, hatchets are buried and then dug up again to plunge into someone else's back, Andy Cohen gets pushed by a raging Italian lunatic. Things happen, but it's all just them sitting there. There is so little to say. Also, there is so much screaming, so much nattering about who wrote what on who's blog and who Twittered what about someone's Facebook. I don't care about any of that. And none of these ladies have any proof about their allegations. We just want to know who won.
And we know that the second half of the RHOBH reunion is going to be boring. How? Well, it's only two parts, which is a death knell in these three-hour days. And there haven't been any exciting promos promising us that Andy Cohen is going to be attacked (by a human, bird, or other organism) so you know it's going to be tamer than Gretchen Rossi's hair after a Brazilian Blowout.
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So, yeah. Who won this season? Who gets to say that they are the champion? Well, here is my ranking of the women in order of who came out on top. The truth is, well, we all lose a little bit.
Yolanda Bananas Foster: I am as shocked as you are, but YBF won this season. How? It was a combination of a clear vision, a no-nonsense attitude, and an ability to hold people to account for what they said and did while still managing to seem like a sane, rational human being, something that is in short supply among these lizard creatures. Yes, she didn't spend a lot of time interacting with the women. Yes, her husband, noted clacking skeleton and woman bedder David Foster Wallace, is right up there on The Worst spectrum with Faye Resnick and malignant melanomas. But she came from behind at the end of the season and stood up to the whole rabid pack of hyenas at Adrienne's vodka party and then stood toe to toe with human foot fungas discoloration Faye Resnick at Lisa's housewarming. She's acquitted herself nicely at the reunion and will be a splendid addition to the cast. And did you see her fridge?
Brandi Glanville: This isn't so much a second place as it's a tie with YBF. I'm not quite sure how Brandi stays on top of the fray while being on the bottom of the dogpile for most of the season. I guess it's her authenticity, which shines like one of the stripper poles she rode down to everyone's delight. Yes, she handled some situations very wrong, but most of the animosity leveled at her because of her square-off with Adrienne was for her telling the truth. Everyone loves the truth (espeically when it's juicy). Then Brandi was chased by an awful rich woman and her screaming accomplices, which definitley got her some sympathy. She also formed some strong bonds on the show and was loyal to her friends. Even the Sisters Richards say they like her now, so that's headway. I think the thing that works best for Brandi though is that she's always playing defense. My father once told me the best offense is a good defense, and I had no idea what he was talking about until I watched this show.
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Lisa Vanderpump: Lisa's fight with Kyle was totally bogus and as dry as a piece of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of a table three days ago, but it was her refreshingly honest friendship with Brandi that carried the season. She was both sister and mother to our favorite blonde, standing by her side when the evil munitions marched against her, but then scolding her in private for her temper and crass language. They are quite the perfect balance. But better than anything, the two have a sense of humor with each other, something that all the other women seem to be lacking.
Kim Richards: It may look like she's in the middle of the pack, but she really made a big stride forward this year. Her storyline wasn't, "God, how messed up is Kim?" it was, "God, when is Kim gonna get messed up?" which is step in the right direction. She didn't attend every event, but she interacted more with everyone and played a central role in some of the bigger conflicts. But still, watching Kim is like staring at an open wound and marveling at how slowly the healing process takes. She and Kyle have a relationship as frayed as a rope cut with a spoon and she is so far from being whole that, well, maybe she shouldn't be on TV. If only I could stop watching her and thinking about her and formulating sad scenarios to test her will in my imagination. But she got her catch phrase, "I love turtles," and mixed some creepy chicken salad, so yay! Kim, for all her sad eccentricities, is joining the world of the living.
Kyle Richards: Kyle's biggest sin this season was picking the wrong side. Well, actually it was not picking a side at all. When the lines were drawn between Team Brandi and Team Maloof, she said she wasn't taking a side, but kept talking for Adrienne since she wasn't there to defend herself. So she didn't want to take a side, but then she took the wrong side. That and her whining that Kim just wouldn't get better the very second she left rehab didn't do her any favors. And remember, Kyle, no one likes someone who won't make a decision. That's why we all hate bisexuals.
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The Widow Armstrong: If she wasn't present at the Dana/Pam drunken lunch that appeared from heaven like a GIF gift from the reality TV gods, then she would have been completely worthless all season.
Adrienne Maloof: Oh boy did Adrienne, the Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under the mountain) lose this season. She lost it spectacularly and in so many ways. First of all she went on the attack against Brandi, a fan favorite, which is never a good idea. Secondly, she proved to be the worst kind of rich person by using her money and her lawyers to intimidate Brandi. Then she lied about it and got caught in her lies but still wouldn't confess. There was all that drama about leaking stories to the press and all the hemming and hawing about her "secret" which wasn't very secretive at all an which no one really cared about. Let's not forget her disappearing act where the other women had to defend her or that she left brown self tanner stains on Lisa's couch and then didn't apologize for it (which is perhaps the greatest . She threw a horrible vodka party, she tarnished Brandi's name, and then she showed up at Lisa's party the day she got served her divorce papers and got mad at Lisa for not coming over the comfort her. It was wrong. It was all wrong.
But then the worst of all, as Andy Cohen pointed out last week, she opted not to come to the reunion. This shouldn't have been a reunion, this should have been a tribunal where this monster was made to answer for her war crimes. She should have been forced to tell the truth and give us some satisfaction, but she never would have given us the former and robbed us of the latter. This is how we will remember Adrienne, as conniving, cowardly, abusive, and just dead wrong. She loses, now and forever.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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You know when you tuck into a big old pile of ice cream or frozen yogurt or a combination cherry and cola flavored Slurpee that you mixed yourself from 7-Eleven, and you are so excited by your sweet treat completely void of any substantive nutritional value whatsoever that you eat it too fast and you get that crippling headache that makes you double over in pain and push on your temples like you are going to force your brain out of the top of your skull? That's how I felt watching last night's Real Shrieking Harpies of Ghost Hill Mansion finale and reunion spectacular. It was just so much so fast and you thought it was going to be delicious but then....OH....TOO MUCH!
That's what happens when you put it all together, I just can't even make my brain process all that fighting. This week I'm just going to ignore the reunion pretty much altogether. (Obviously Brandi, Yolanda, and Lisa won over an overly shrieky Kyle and Kim who cares more about showing up for a Master Cleanse or not then, you know, things that actually matter. Taylor, well, she is just such a non-entity on this show she might as well be a billow of smoke from a candle you just blew out. Lisa did lose points when she accused Kyle of using her and Adrienne so her husband could sell their houses, but otherwise she came off as likeable while the others were like screech monsters.) Yes, that's right, no more reunion talk. I'm just going to address the episode and we'll tuck into the entire reunion next week after the second part. Deal? Deal!
OK, after the interloper Faye Resnick of the Morally Corrupt Resnicks, interrupted Brandi and Yolanda's discussion with Fetch and they walked off, they had another discussion with Fetch about the text that Brandi sent her that said she and her husband should cheat on each other. Brandi explained that it wasn't that serious, and that she gives shitty advice, and Fetch said she wasn't mad so it was no big deal. Yolanda, being the bad ass bitch that she is, told Fetch, "Well, then don't talk about people behind their backs if there's no problem." I love that Yolanda Bananas Foster does not know what show she is on, but that she also calls everyone out on their shit. There is no getting away with social niceties in order to diffuse a situation with YBF.
Then we cut to Taylor for her only scene in the whole show, and she was talking to Linda Thompson, the ex-wife of David Foster Wallace, Bruce Jenner, and a string of other reality television stars all the way back to Ken Roberts, the original host of Candid Camera. Yes, she is that old. (She reconstructs her face once a decade using baby seal fat, paraffin wax, and a secret ingredient she stole from the late Dick Clark's nightstand.) Anyway, Taylor was on her sixth glass of rosé and she slurred to Linda, "Lishin. You're my friend and the reason Imma so mean to Yolanda is because you're my friend. And I love you. I love you soooo much. I want you to be my friend forever. Are you my friend? You're mys friend right? And you'll never hate me? But that's why I wanted to hates Yolanda, s'because you hate her and it was soooo mean what she did. No. Nooooo. Really. It was mean. It was awful. And I love you. You're my friend. Are you my friend? Is it OK for me to like Yolanda? I'll always love you more, because you're my friend." It was like the worst case of beer tears outside of a Syracuse sorority house.
Cut to the couch where all the ladies were sitting and they saw, out of the corner of their eyes, that Lisa was talking to the Morally Corrupt Faye Resnick. They all get up and clucked on over, like a bunch of chickens spotting specks of blood, and they all got their peckers out and were ready to peck peck peck until someone was lying on the marble floor in a heap of gored feathers, and someone else was the one true victor. That is what happens here. And at the center of the pecking, justifiably, was Faye Resnick.
If I haven't said this before, I will say this now: Faye Resnick is the worst. She is worse than paper cuts, cracked iPhone screens, opening the box of donuts in the office kitchen to discover someone has taken the last one and not thrown the box away, and Chernobyl. That is how bad she is. Faye was telling Lisa, at her own party, that she thought Lisa used Brandi to fight her battles. Faye was all, "I really like you Lisa and I don't want to fight at your own party, but you are awful and you use Brandi to start shit." And she said it all in this tone that suggested, "I am blameless, it's you that's the problem."
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Lisa rebutted by saying that Faye was Kyle's mouthpiece. Then everyone went back and forth saying who was who's mouthpiece, and how none of them needed mouthpieces because they are mixed martial arts fighters and they are hard core. They don't wear pads and gloves and they do not need mouthpieces. But seriously, who argues about "mouthpieces?" Who even has such a thing? Does this even exist in real life? Does this even exist in reality life? I don't think so. All of these women will speak their own minds much to their detriment, that is what got them on the show in the first place. Why would they need someone else to go around saying the things that they think? Why would they want someone else to create the drama when it's the drama that keeps them on the show in the first place? Without drama there is no camera time, and, much like America runs on Dunkin', these ladies' ego-engines run on camera time.
Everyone turned on Faye and told her that she was awful and should stay out of it, that she had nothing to do with Brandi's argument with Adrienne or Fetch or Kyle or Kim. Wow, everyone is always fighting with Brandi, huh. She is the lynchpin to this whole little grenade of dissatisfaction. But she has never done anything directly to Faye so her reaction was just completely out of line. Then Faye said that she is bored with this whole argument, the one that she started in the first place out of maliciousness, and now that she was losing it it bored her. Faye had no stats or examples to back up her stance, only her misjiggered opinion, and when that failed, all she had left was feigned boredom.
Kyle came over and was like, "Don't fight. Everyone get along. I'm not going to take a side," and I think that was even worse than taking a side. That makes everyone hate you, Kyle. She thinks that everyone will be happy with her if she stays neutral but it just exasperates everyone. Your job here is to make alliances and attack the other side and if you don't do that, then every side is going to hate you. Stop trying to do that child actor thing where you please everyone all the time forever.
Oh, speaking of which, while there was this whole "Brandi is evil, no Faye is evil" thing happening (honestly, I can't even parse this fight except to say that Faye is the worst and, while Brandi is not blameless, she was being unjustly attacked in this instance) we had to deal with Kim. Kim wanted Kyle, and by extension the audience, all of us, to remember her pain. Kim was upset that Kyle was defending Adrienne against Brandi when Brandi hurt Kim, too. Kim just got shrill and repetitive like the "plinkety plinkety plink te plink te plink te plink te plink plink" of the ice cream truck in the summer, getting ever faster and louder as it approaches up the street. "Remember what she did to me, Kyle! Be upset for me!"
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Kim, we will never forget your pain. Your pain is right there in your forehead creases and your mussy hair. It is right there in your new nose and the way that your eyes droop toward the floor when you think no one is looking. Your pain is everywhere, and it will never, ever go away. But need we remind Kim that when Brandi said that Kim smokes crystal meth in the bathroom, which is only a hair away from being true, it was after Kim had hid her crutches and she and her sister had terrorized this woman they didn't know at a house party in an echoing mansion? She caused the pain that she brought on herself.
This is the problem with all of these housewives fights. This is the problem with this fight in particular, a circling around once again like the constellations coming into yet another unfortunate alignment. There is no synthesis with these ladies, only repetition. They say they get over things, they say they move past it and change, but they never do. It's the same three petty grumbles echoed back and forth so many times that they just grow and grow in volume until they cause an avalanche. There is no healing here, only the picking of scabs until it gets infected and spreads to the blood and then the whole organism dies.
After this Lisa Vanderpump renewed her vows and it was sweet and wonderful that she is in so much love with her husband, but it was also all so sad. It's so sad as relief to what just happened, all the venom and hate spewed by these hissing monsters when they're all capable of such love. Lisa and Ken are capable of being sweet and charming and self-effacing and funny and so, so in love that it is just palpable. It is the only real thing on this whole reality enterprise and when they dance you think of that day thirty years ago with Lisa in a giant hat and a Lady Di wedding dress and a completely different face ,and it had only been three months since they met and everyone scoffed as she shuffled down the aisle in a million ruffles but now look at where they are today, standing together at the eye of this shit storm. That is love. That is the future.
Oh, I totally forgot the part where Adrienne, Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live beneath the mountain) arrived (OK, I didn't but I wanted to end with her). This was the last thing that Adrienne would ever do and, well, she is officially in contention with Faye Resnick for the title of The Worst. It was the day that Adrienne announced that she and her husband, Paullo the Chimp, were getting a separation and still, still she showed up at this party. Like Yolanda says, this is the day you stay home. This is the day you pull your children close to you and inhale the intoxicating scent of their warm hair. This is not the day you go to a party with no makeup on and collapse into a heap of sobs on a stranger's couch. That is not what you do.
Adrienne played it all wrong. She came in and just fell onto the first woman who would give her any attention, and they all clustered with their hardened Kleenex from the bottom of their clutches and tried to pat the moisture off of Adrienne's fake eyelashes. She didn't even try to say hi to Lisa, who was hosting the party, whose house she was in. She said, "I saw Lisa see me, she could come over and comfort me and tell me how sorry she is." I am sorry, but that is not the way things work. First of all, it's hard hosting a party and I'm sure Lisa was running around with plenty to do. Also, it was Lisa's house. You should go over and say, "Sorry I can't stay, but I'm sure you understand," and let Lisa utter a kind word and then go back to the celebration of her marriage.
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No. That is not what Adrienne did. She slinked out the back with all the attention on her, not letting anyone deflect the spotlight of her grief for even a second. "Tell Lisa that I'm sorry I couldn't stay and I hope she has a great time, I have to get back to my children" she told Kyle. First of all, "get back to" your children? You shouldn't have left them in the first place! Second of all, what? No, Adrienne, Kyle will not say hi to Lisa for you. Lisa is 20 feet away. You are in her house. You march your stupid face with the consistency of a spackel on a wall over to Lisa and you tell her your damn self like a civilized person who lives in the world, not leave like a crazy ego monster.
That was the night that Adrienne tottered back to her mountain, her big nasty ego mountain that is full of rocky crags, and when she got there, the mole people were waiting. They were all haunched over and yellow with their slitty little eyes hardly adjusting to the dusk, but they could still see here. She had abandoned them for the last time. She had gotten far too big for her own good, forgetting about her people and only involved with herself. "Go back to your holes!" she bellowed, wiping a stray tear from her face. They all flinched, so used to obeying her every word, but for the first time none of them moved. "Go back to the mountain! Get back in the mountain. Your queen demands it!" She hollered and yet, still, they did not move. "Go back! Go back!" and with that they began to lurch for her. "Go BACK!" she tried once more but it was too late, they began to run for her, their arms and feet taking turns resting on the ground as she started to run in the other direction and they all pounced, like a swarm of minnows devouring a shark she disappeared within their mass and all you could hear was the bloody squelching noises and a muffled scream.
Queen Adrienne of the Maloofs was dead, consumed by her own vanity, destroyed by what she thought made her powerful. And that is why she was not at the reunion. That is why she will never be heard from again, because she dared to be the worst kind of rich person. Because she forgot about the little people. Andy Cohen told us that her last act as a Housewife was not showing up to the reunion but that was not her final act. Her final act was walking out on Lisa, it was leaving someone else's party with all the attention on her. It was screaming in the face of her people even as they thought to murder her. That is the last choice she made. That is the last thing she will ever do. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie