Last week, we learned Bravo had gotten Beverly Hills housewives Lisa Vanderpump, Camille Grammer, Kyle Richards, Kim Richards, and Adrienne Maloof together and filmed a special where the tragic suicide of Taylor Armstrong’s husband, Russell, was discussed. We were told that producers didn’t tell the women what to expect before the gathering because they wanted the conversation to be “just a way to get their reactions to what happened,” and it was assumed that there would be enough footage from the dialog that Bravo would cut one episode out of its season and replace it with a full hour of the housewives talking about the suicide (we believed this because The Los Angeles Times had a source who referred to it as a “special”).
Last night was the season premiere for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and it opened with shots of all the women and their husbands walking into Adrienne’s house, sitting down, and then talking about the death of Russell Armstrong. Initially, it seemed like Bravo (wisely) decided to push the first episode back one week and instead air the special as the season premiere. But then four minutes into the show a disclaimer appeared that said, “The events depicted in this series were recorded prior to the death of Russell Armstrong,” and then the first episode of the second season began. You can watch the first four minutes of the show below.
Here’s the thing. Kyle Richards is right in saying that even though Russell’s death is tragic and absolutely horrific, life must go on. So in that regard, Bravo’s decision to only spend four minutes addressing the death during the show’s season premiere might be an effort to further that point. However, four minutes of talking about suicide doesn’t really convey that Bravo understands the magnitude of what happened on one of their shows… especially when before his death, Russell claimed that reality TV ruined his life because it put pressure on him to maintain a luxurious lifestyle for the cameras. It would have been in the network’s best interest to facilitate a much larger discussion on the impacts of participating in a reality TV show, the tough economic climate, and even how if you’re having suicidal thoughts that there are places you can go to get help, and so it’s kind of terrible that they spent less time talking about someone’s decision to end their life than it takes to get through any Lady Gaga song.