Sometimes they descend from the ceiling, sometimes they seep up through the floorboards like vapor, sometimes they’re just sitting on the couch of some shitty restaurant with a buzz on waiting to cackle and harangue you. Yes, I’m talking about ghosts. Last night’s episode of Real Ghostbusters of Cross Stream Station was haunted. It was like Turn of the Screw and The Woman in Black all rolled into one. It was like Ghost except there was no pottery, just the frail broken egos of our heroines and the returning favorites that producers threw in there so that we could get a chuckle.
Last night we got to visit with Kevin Lee, Lisa’s old party planner that launched a million “chi chi chi chi chi” GIFs; Dana Wilkie, a sad soul that is stuck on this side of the great beyond because she refuses to let go of her $25,000 sunglasses; and Adrienne the former queen of the Maloofs, who was dismembered by her own people, a race of mole people that live below the mountain. They were all back and whistling on the wind, causing candles to flicker, Ouija boards to hover, and Nicolas Sparks to think up stupid endings to his movies that have to do with the ghosts of ex-wives planning a bachelorette party for some skank who is going to marry the ghost’s widower.
But before we can get to all them, the ladies were still in Paris. The screen told us it was their “last evening in Paris,” which sounds like it should be an indie with Julie Delpy, an old dirty flick with Marlon Brando where he uses butter as lube for anal sex, or a sequel to one of the Sisters Richard’s neices more popular adult videos. But no, it is finally the end to their boring trip to the City of Lights. Even for us it feels like that last day of vacation where you had a lot of fun but you are just exhausted and you can’t wait to be back in your bed and get back to your routine and finally have someone to just speak English to at the cafe when you order your coffee in the morning. It’s like a pre-jet lag kinda feeling.
Nothing much happened other than Yolanda Bananas Foster gave Brandi a pair of jade green gladiator stilettos that look amazing on her but won’t look good with one single outfit in the entirety of the universe. Seriously, what do you wear those with? Yolanda bought them for Brandi because she felt bad that she didn’t have anyone to be romantic with in Paris. After all Lisa could think of Ken, Kyle could think of Mauricio, Yolanda could think of David Foster Wallace, and Kim could think of that one pill she thinks she hid in the frame of a painting in her living room that has her name on it when she finally lands back in the States. But Brandi? She has nothing. Only shoes. She only has her material possessions to keep her warm at night, and Yolanda feels sad.
While they were on the boat eating their dinner, the lights suddenly started to flicker and a chill washed through the air. There was a distinct “OOooHHoOOOOoOoooHhhHHHooooo,” sound all over the boat and everyone looked around until they saw the specter of Russell Armstrong standing in the corner covered in chains. They were the heavy chains of greed. “Ladies, before this episode is over, you will be visited by three ghosts! This will change how you all look at everything! Behold the ghosts and despair!”
“Well, that was odd,” Lisa said and shrugged it off and tucked back into her filet mignon as the Seine bubbled slowly beneath them. But little did Lisa know that she would be greeted by the first ghost, the Ghost of Housewives Past! Yes, it was Kevin Lee, a scarecrow that purchased one of Michael Jackson’s old faces. Kevin, as we all know, planned Pandora’s wedding last season and, well, he’s a card. I love the dynamic that Lisa has with him, where he demands opulence and she pretends like she’s the salt of the earth and then finally gives in and lets him serve cocktails with platinum flakes in Swarovski encrusted champagne flutes. Kevin is there to plan Lisa and Ken’s housewarming party which will also be their vow renewal ceremony, a rite of passage that only happens on Bravo reality shows.
Lisa doesn’t want to go through with this charade or renewing her vows, but Ken and Kevin think it is romantic so she goes along with it. This ghost convinces her that what she said before doesn’t matter, that the ceremonies held long ago, in seasons past, don’t matter. What matters is the present. Lisa learns from this ghost to stop living in the past, stop holding onto her grudges and petty resentments, and move towards a blissful state of grace and acceptance – with antique linens and $250 a plate hors d’oevres.
We now interrupt this retelling of A Christmas Carol to present the newest episode of At Home with Yolanda Bananas Foster. On this week’s episode, Yolanda goes to a photo shoot with her husband, David Foster Wallace for an “Asian magazine.” She gets all dolled up and finds a dress and gets her makeup done because David only has an hour between playing piano for Barbra Steisand and recording with Rod Stewart and Andrea Bocelli (who is a man, baby), so he can only spare an hour for a photo shoot. Yolanda wears a dress with nude illusion down the front of it so it looks like her boobs and cooter are hanging out and David Foster Wallace pretends he hates it but he really loves it. He loves it when they lie down on a carpeted staircase and pose longingly and it is such a sad and awful thing that it looks like something that would be on the cover of one of those plastic surgery magazines in your dermatologist’s office that you are scared of but also want to look in so you can try to figure out just who the hell makes such awful tacky horrible rich people nonsense. And then David is off once again, and Yolanda is there to clean everything up and take her Asian modeling magazine back home to work out 17 times.
We now interrupt this episode of At Home with Yolanda Bananas Foster to show you a previous unaired episode of Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles. On this episode, a woman named Fetch (who isn’t going to happen) is tasked with selling her mother-in-law’s gigantic $23 million dollar estate. The MIL (in The Knot message board parlance) is one of those people who spent $7 million on fully grown trees so that she wouldn’t have to look at little saplings, she wanted a huge arbor in her back yard and she would pay for it full grown. Anyway Fetch has her friend’s husband, who is an actual broker not some bored housewife who thinks she can sell a house or three, over and they tour the house and decide how much they are going to sell it for. Fetch keeps calling him Maurice even though his name is Mauricio. Or is it? Do Kim and Fetch know something the rest of us don’t? And how will these two get along with the other homosexuals that are on this show? Find out next time!
Now we’re back to our regularly scheduled program and the Widow Armstrong is going to have lunch with a mysterious friend! She’s going through a bad break up, and we see her brunette head over the back of the couch. Who could it be? Who ever could it ever be? It is Dana Wilkie, the Ghost of Housewives Present and the break up that she is trying to work through is her breakup with life. Dana was so devastated that she wasn’t cast as a full-time member on the show that she drowned in a shallow puddle of her own tears. That is why her man left her and her Lamborghini (I mean, who really has one of those?!) is gone and no one has heard from her in ages. It’s because Dana (aka Pam) is dead.
Poor Dana doesn’t even know it. Taylor shows up to lunch and Dana is already three mojitos in to her afternoon, because Dana has not been living since 2004 so she has no idea that people have stopped drinking mojitos. Dana is essentially the girl who stayed too long at the party. We all have a friend like her. She was having such a good time in her 20s drinking all the trendy drinks and carrying around her white (vomit) Birkin and sleeping with every guy who had a fancy sounding job that she never bothered to change. She never bothered to grow up. “I drink a lot and I’m OK with it. I [dirty word for whore around] a lot and I’m OK with it!” she slurs, defending her choices, not to the Widow Armstrong and the world, but to herself, taking another swig hoping that the burning in her throat will set the emptiness inside her on fire and singe it out of her, filling her back up again.
Oh Dana, so sad talking about “everyone in our group” as if she is still a Real Housewife. Oh Dana, so sad talking about her hatred of Brandi, who stole her slot on the show by being authentic and real and rude and wonderfully awful. Oh Dana, so sad and deluded thinking that she still has a chance, if she drinks enough and smokes enough and croaks her throaty laugh enough it will bring her back to life. She tries to keep it light and fun, she tries to be the life of the party, but then it hits her like a pall, it comes over her like a stench of darkness and she leans forward and her brown casts a shadow over her face and suddenly she is like a Sybill speaking the truth to the Widow Armstrong, “Listen to me, dearie, and listen closely. They will not help you. All these women do is love themselves. I’m not sure if they have any room in their love for themselves to love you.” She picked up the giant crystal lighter from the coffee table and tremulously lit another cigarette and as she inhaled it’s as if she imploded into herself, gone as quickly as she appeared, leaving behind just a whisp where she once sat.
The Widow Armstrong learned her lesson immediately. She had become Dana, she was drinking too much and relying too much on this show for her identity. If she were ever cut from the cast, she would be dead too. Maybe it was time to mend her relationships. At Kyle’s party she let the lesson that Dana taught her (and, really, is Dana in any position to be teaching anyone lessons?) take hold, and she apologized to Yolanda Bananas Foster for treating her and her husband shabbily. She explained she was put off because her good friend had been married to David Foster Wallace. The funny thing about Bananas was that she didn’t say thank you and move on — well, she did, but first she had to teach the Widow Armstrong a lesson about how awful she had been. Oh, Bananas, don’t you know it’s best not to change things?
We’re getting ahead of ourselves. It is time to talk about the party for the opening of Kyle Richard’s Sleeveless Shirt Emporium and Crab Shack. Yes, it’s her store of glittery frocks that is now open to the public somewhere in one of the finer shopping districts in the L.A. suburbs. It is actually called Kyle by Alene Too and it is right between Amanda by Johnny Five and and Dress Barn. Kyle is there presiding over the store in one of its signature gowns which is a mix of a floral pattern, draping, a peplum, sequins, gold plating, and some sort of layering that was totally lost on me. It was made out of 17 rag dolls boiled down in a cauldron.
All the ladies “from our group” were there and they were all wondering where the last one was. Where could she be, this thing that has been so long absent from all their lives? Finally, she arrived — shining like a bone jutting out of carrion, it was Adrienne former Queen of the Maloofs. She was there looking stunned and lost, telling everyone how pretty they looked and ignoring everything that was wrong, ignoring the sham that her marriage had become, the travesty that being open for the cameras would cause. She was the Ghost of Housewives Future and she looked like a blank gravestone on which every other Housewife saw her name. This is the destruction that will come for all of you if you hang around too long: lesson be learned!
Speaking of lessons, Kim Richards is finally learning a thing or two about her sobriety. Paris (the city, not her niece) taught her that not everyone is going to trust her, that the people in her life still have that fear of what is behind the door when she doesn’t answer. After a passive aggressive call from Kyle to make sure she’s going to be on time to the store opening (Kim’s brilliant response, “Haven’t I been on time all year? Aren’t you the one who is late now Hardy-Tardy?”), the Sisters Richards go aside for a little tete-a-tete. We see Kim’s tiny heart-shaped tattoo on her right shoulder blinking at us like it’s an eye that sees both the past, present, and future. It’s the mark left on her when she was kissed by her demons.
Kyle asks Kim why she’s been behaving so oddly, and Kim says that she got home from Paris and slept for two days, the darkness coming over her once again and she didn’t know to get out of bed and open the blinds. Then she looked at her medicine. “What I thought was my water pill looked a little bit different. So I went and put in my contacts and really looked at it and it was a slightly different color and was fatter than usual. That’s when I realized it was that pill I was taking last year that caused me to be so out of it. I was taking it again by mistake.” Yes, that is how Kim explains it. I’m sorry, but that sounds like some crazy addict excuse to me. Does she not keep her pills in their own separate bottles? Does she just have a Ziplock in her medicine cabinet full of tablets and she just pulls a few out based on what matches her outfit and swallows them? Please.
But Kyle buys it. “It makes a lot of sense,” she says, snapping back into that old role of the enabler, of letting herself be swayed by Kim’s half-truths. But maybe Kim is telling the truth, maybe it’s time that we all trusted her a little bit more. At least Kim learned from Lisa’s cracks in Paris that maybe she doesn’t deserve to be given carte blanche to do what she wants. “I don’t deserve all the trust right now,” she says, and she’s right. She hasn’t been very clear with everyone about what happened or what is going on, she just puts on her brave face to the public while she’s holding on tightly to her sobriety. It’s not as easy as she makes it look, as she wants everyone to think it is.
Finally she tells Kyle what really happened. “Seven months ago I was lying on a bed and I knew I was going to die, and I didn’t want to die but there was nothing I could do to stop it. ” I had a vision of Kim lying in her bed in just a soiled T-shirt, the covers clumped around her and the slats from the afternoon sun striking against her face. It was sad. It was so, so sad. Kyle rebutts with the old, “Every time the phone rang I thought they were going to tell me my sister was dead,” as she can only see Kim’s pain through the lens of her own suffering. This wasn’t about Kim’s death, it was about Kyle’s grief. Kim says she can’t promise she’ll be sober forever, but she’s trying. She’s trying her damn best and Kyle accepts that and offers her help. Kim knows that when Kyle says to “call her,” that it won’t help, it will never help, but sometimes even the acknowledgement of support is as good as support itself.
Kim leaves the party and gets into her limo, which she sort of feels is a waste now that she can always drive herself home from a party. Well, at least most of the time. Oh, how she used to love a party. Kim thinks of all the times she had, doing blow in bathrooms at clubs and sipping wine at gatherings large and small. Sure, she remembers the bum times too, crawling on the floor hoping that there was a little bit of powder in the grout she could rub on her gums, but even those don’t seem so bad from far away. She remembers that she used to say yes to everything. That was Kim. Yes, she wants to go out. Yes, she wants to meet guys. Yes, she wants another drink and to go home with a stranger and maybe take a pill if he offers it to her. Yes, she always used to say. Now it’s the opposite. She rolls down the window and looks out at the night, dotted with establishments with their lights on: convenience stores that sell bottles of beer, restaurants with their wine lists as long as her arm, and bars, oh the smelly comfort of a bar where she could have whatever she wanted as long as she wanted and just teeter back to that limo and collapse back on her bed until the sun streaked through the blinds in lines across her face. No, she thought to her self. No, no, no, no, no. That’s what she’s trained herself to say forever, even when it’s hard. No, she says. She has to say. No.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]