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Real Housewives

Faye Resnick: Morally Corrupt or Misunderstood?

Glenn Rowley

faye-resnick-rhobh-season-3

For the past six seasons of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Faye Resnick has been a lightning rod of criticism and controversy nearly every time she's appeared onscreen. After a couple of seasons away from the cameras, the sometimes-Friend of the Housewives has returned in the current sixth season and ignited a firestorm amongst 'Wives and viewers alike. However, after all her time on the show, the question needs to be asked: does Faye deserve the bad rap she's received or is she simply being misrepresented? For this week's feature, I'm looking back on Faye's intermittent appearances on RHOBH to figure out the answer.

Season 1

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Faye's first appearance on RHOBH was during Season 1's now-iconic Dinner Party From Hell. Three quarters of the way through the season, Camille Grammer hosted the meal at her palatial Malibu estate that would set the precedent for all subsequent dinner parties in every city of the Housewives franchise. Besides the 'Wives, Camille invited her best friend Dedra Whitt as well as psychic medium Allison DuBois to the dinner party and Kyle Richards brought along Faye for support. All season long, Kyle and Camille had been butting heads over an off-hand comment Kyle had supposedly made off-camera questioning why anyone would be interested in Camille without her (soon-to-be ex-)husband Kelsey. Kyle denied making the comment, calling Camille "insecure" and "such a f***ing liar," which escalated the feud between the two. Needless to say, by the time the infamous dinner party rolled around, the two weren't exactly on the friendliest terms.

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All in all, the Dinner Party from Hell started civilly until Camille requested an explanation of who exactly Faye was. At the far end of the table, Kyle began explaining that Faye was a longtime friend of her family's, but Camille cut her off to declare that she knew where she'd seen Faye before: posing in Playboy after the O.J. Simpson trial. (A little background: in the 90s, Faye was Nicole Brown Simpson's best friend and was even living with her up until a few days before her gruesome murder. She became a key player in the subsequent media frenzy and trial, turning her into something of a household name at the time.) In her confessional, Camille dubbed her "the morally corrupt Faye Resnick" and the nickname stuck like glue. I mean sure, Camille had posed for Playboy at one point too, but it was for the Book of Lingerie and she wasn't coming off the murder trial of the century, OK? From there the dinner party descended into chaos, filled with contagious fighting and cruel, alcohol-fueled "readings" from an e-cigarette puffing medium we'll never forget. Know that.

Season 3

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After a few appearances in Season 2 (she was there when we met Brandi Glanville at the "wedge but no bra party"), Faye's presence on RHOBH increased in the third season. The primary source of drama that year surrounded the feud between Brandi Glanville and Adrienne Maloof involving secrets Brandi had made public about Adrienne's family. (In fact, the information was so private that Bravo was legally barred from sharing it on camera, though we later learned through the media that the secret involved the surrogacy of Adrienne and Paul Nassif's children.) As a friend of Kyle's, Faye was present at numerous group events at the time and when Kyle threw a small dinner to break in her newly-renovated dining room, Faye was on the guest list. Adrienne, however, was not at the party. Following her massive blow-up with Brandi in the episode prior, the tension was at an all-time high and she chose not to attend. Naturally, the explosive drama was the night's topic of conversation and Faye took it upon herself to go head-to-head with Brandi and defend the absent Adrienne. 

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What Faye said made perfect sense as she called Brandi out for her history of hitting below the belt and turning on her cast mates for seemingly no reason. However, going on the attack made Brandi look like the victim in the situation and as the blonde bad girl excused herself from the table and left the party in a flurry of tears and "poor me" platitudes, Faye was left looking like the bad guy. Sensing they had a potential pot-stirrer on their hands, Bravo promptly promoted Faye to official Friend of the Housewives status - adding her to an already gigantic cast. However, and this I will never understand, viewers responded overwhelmingly negatively to Faye on the show, inexplicably siding with Brandi even though Adrienne and her family were the real victims. In fact, when Faye wrote her first (and only) blog for Bravotv.com to tell her side of the story and again defend Adrienne, it was so unanimously reviled by fans and inundated with negative comments that the blog post was taken down, never to be read again - and with it, Faye's role as an unintentional villain was cemented in the Housewives lexicon.

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Due to her upgraded role on the show, Faye continued to appear at major events throughout the remainder of the season. She took an absent Kim's place at the tea party thrown by Lisa Vanderpump which devolved into a screaming match between Adrienne and Brandi over who was suing who, and had a front-row seat to their next confrontation at Kyle's annual White Party. While Faye wasn't invited on the cast trip to Paris, she helped Kyle celebrate the opening of her store, Kyle by Alene Too (which Faye designed) and reveled in filling the ladies in at the launch party for Adrienne's new vodka line on some of Brandi's naughty behavior at the White Party. (Apparently, the bad girl of Beverly Hills had a little less-than-fully-clothed sexy time with a stranger in Kyle's daughter's room in the middle of the party...) She even got her own confessional look by season's end! If a Friend of the Housewives' job was to show up to events and stir the pot, Faye was certainly doing a good job of it. 

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At Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd's 30th anniversary vow renewal, which served as the Season 3 finale, Faye did a quick job of inserting herself squarely in the middle of the drama. In the wake of Adrienne and Paul's announcement that they were separating, she faced off once again with Brandi over the self-proclaimed truth cannon's role in the demise of the marriage. Further, she warned Yolanda Foster that she was being manipulated by the former model, and when Brandi demanded she "be a lady" and leave the conversation, Faye delivered her most quotable moment of the season: "No matter how many Chanels you borrow, you will never, ever be a lady." She followed that barb up by asking Brandi how she felt about breaking up a family, thereby placing blame squarely on Brandi's shoulders for adding undue stress to Adrienne and Paul's relationship. Later, Faye took aim at Lisa Vanderpump, accusing the queen bee of getting Brandi's mouth to do most of the dirty work for her in her season-long vendetta against Adrienne. Obviously, Lisa was insulted by this suggestion and turned around to accuse Faye of being Kyle's mouthpiece when she happened to use a chess analogy to describe Lisa's behind-the-scenes machinations. Inevitably, the entire cast joined the conversation, arguing over who fights whose battles and whether Brandi was playing tiddlywinks in Portia's room at 1 a.m. the night of the White Party. Tiddlywinks? Talk about a random reference for the season to go out on...

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Faye wasn't invited to attend the Season 3 reunion, likely because of the negative response from viewers about her, but that doesn't mean she wasn't a hot topic of conversation at the sit-down. In a segment from the Secrets Revealed episode, Brandi, Lisa and Kyle went at it over whether Faye really was her friend's mouthpiece during the season. Lisa insisted that Faye must have been on Kyle's payroll, but Kyle fired back that Faye was her own person with her own opinions. And further, Kyle swore up and down that she had never needed a mouthpiece in her life - clearly evidenced by the past three seasons - so why would she start now? Without Faye there to defend herself, however, I suppose we'll never know the full story. Then, following the overwhelming backlash she received from fans, Faye all but disappeared for the next two seasons of the show. 

Season 6

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Cut to Season 6, where things start to get reeeeeally interesting. After a couple years away, Faye returned to the show this season - not in any official capacity, but as Kyle's friend - redesigning Kyle's new closet and coming to events. Somewhat serendipitously, a new wave of public interest has brought the O.J. Simpson trial back into the forefront of pop culture, likely fueled by the murder trial's 20th anniversary at the end of 2015. Just as Faye starts popping back up on the show, new Housewife Kathryn Edwards joins the cast. It turns out that at the time of Nicole Simpson Brown's murder, Kathryn was married to Marcus Allen, who was one of O.J.'s best friends. During the year-long trial, Faye capitalized on her first 15 minutes of fame by partnering with Mike Walker, a gossip columnist for The National Enquirer, to write Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted. In the scandalous book, Faye alleged that Nicole had an affair with Marcus Allen and that Kathryn turned a blind eye to the dalliance. Both Marcus and Kathryn denied the accusation, but it became a part of the media's narrative as the nation followed along on the edge of its seat. Tell me that all of these moving pieces coming together is just a coincidence...

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When Kathryn was introduced on the show part-way through this season and her connection with O.J. Simpson was discovered, one of Kyle's first questions was, obviously, whether she knew Faye. Kathryn vehemently denied ever meeting her and explained that 20 years of bad blood remain between the women over what Faye wrote about Kathryn in her book. According to the new 'Wife, neither her name nor her ex-husband was ever mentioned in any connection to the tragedy until Faye's book dragged them into the frenzy. Needless to say, she didn't view Faye in the most positive of lights. Yet, with Kathryn starting to hang around Kyle and the other women, it was only a matter of time before she came face-to-face with the nemesis she had never met. Little did she know that opportunity would come sooner rather than later. 

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In just the next episode, Kyle invited all the ladies - including both Kathryn and Faye - to a small BBQ at her house. Upon learning that Kathryn was on the guest list, Faye insisted to Kyle that she held no ill will toward the other woman, but had no desire to bring up the past and force such a sensitive conversation. Kathryn, on the other hand, was ready for a fight. After building a war up in her head between herself and Faye, she confronted her enemy at the BBQ over what she saw as the giant, 20-year-old elephant in the room. However, as I broke down in my episode recap, Faye was having none of it and politely refused to engage in the confrontation, saying there wasn't much left to talk about at this point and issuing a blanket apology at the table to anyone she had offended or hurt. This effectively took the air out of Kathryn's fired up sails, though it didn't stop her from contending with Kyle the next week over whether Faye was a good person.

Who is Faye Resnick? 

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So, is Faye Resnick the "morally corrupt" villain she's been made out to be or is she a casualty of editing and viewer misperception? This may not be a popular opinion, but I'd say that based on what we've actually seen on the show, I'm leaning towards the latter. Hear me out, though. The biggest thing that makes me stop and consider is the number of Housewives who have spoken up in Faye's defense. It's well-known that Kyle is my all-time favorite Housewife, so I may be a little biased but I'm confident in saying that she is a good judge of character. As she stated at the end of the BBQ, Faye is the friend Kyle knows she can count on at 3 in the morning and has been through thick and thin with her. On top of that, numerous other 'Wives including Kim Richards, Eileen Davidson and Camille Grammer have all defended Faye in the media. Camille even publicly apologized for the "morally corrupt" moniker, saying in a recent interview with Bravo's Daily Dish that she wishes people would stop using the insult to describe Faye, whom she's gotten to know and developed a friendship with in the intervening years. The list of 'Wives who don't like Faye include the following: Brandi Glanville and Lisa Vanderpump. Does that tell you anything?

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The fact also remains that - when you actually break it down - Faye has never actually done anything on the show to warrant such a negative backlash. The Dinner Party from Hell was the very first impression that viewers got of her, and let's face it, no one came out of that night unscathed. When it comes to Faye's involvement in Season 3, I have to say that I largely agree with her. No, she didn't always handle things as properly as she could have (i.e. the Chanel bags low blow), but I side with her for sticking up for Adrienne in the feud with Brandi. I was on Team Adrienne from the beginning and I think it's safe to say that with hindsight, a lot of fans would now agree with me that Brandi was in the wrong. Whether we'll see more of Faye this season is something we'll have to wait to find out, but until then we can be sure to watch Connie Britton's riveting portrayal of her on FX's The People vs. O.J. Simpson...or just binge from The Dinner Party from Hell all the way through to the Moulin Rouge party. Who's up for a marathon? 

What do you think of Faye's time on RHOBH? Let me know in the comments!