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Real Housewives

RHOBH Ssn 6/Ep 21 - Reunion Part 1

Glenn Rowley

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After a grueling season full of confrontations, manipulations and scandalizing accusations, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills finally sit down with Andy Cohen to rehash their dramatic and fascinating sixth season. In the first part of the three-party reunion, the ladies of the 90210 debate everything from O.J. Simpson and the fabulousness that is Erika Jayne to the end of Yolanda's marriage and the shocking allegations made against her Lyme disease. Read on for my full break-down of all the drama from Part 1...

On the Couches

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First, let's overanalyze the seating arrangement on the couches. This was going to be fairly controversial regardless of where anyone sat, and about halfway through the season I wondered if Bravo might actual break out three couches to make clear the real alliances in this season's almost maddeningly complex dynamic. Essentially, Bravo's job was to place three different loyal pairs in the most effective formation possible: Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards, Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson and Yolanda Foster and Erika Girardi, with Kathryn Edwards as a kind of free agent. Ultimately, they settled on the left couch being Lisa V, Kyle Eileen and Erika and Lisa R., Eileen and Kathryn on the right. It's interesting to note that with LVP in the prime spot next to Andy, this marks the first reunion in six seasons that Kyle hasn't been seated in the coveted position. She also has the somewhat unenviable position of acting as a buffer between sworn enemies Vanderpump and Yolanda. Yo's placement is also somewhat surprising - some viewers speculated that she would get one of the center spots on the couches because of how her storyline dominated so much of the season. (The third spot on the left couch is also the seat she's occupied in three of her four reunions on the show...it would've been downright revolutionary to see her on the right couch for once!)

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However, looking at the bigger picture, Yolanda is in the place that actually makes the most amount of sense. In just one season, Lisa Rinna's lips have gotten her promoted from the very end of the right couch all the way to the center spot next to Andy. As her unwavering ally and BFF, it's expected that Eileen is next to her with newbie Kathryn rounding things out on the end. After how much gossip Lisa Rinna spread throughout the season about Yolanda, her Lyme disease and the dreaded m-word (which we'll get to in a minute), there is absolutely no way Yo would be sitting anywhere on that side of Andy.

Ranking the Housewives' Looks

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The ladies of Beverly Hills are giving us some serious springtime vibes for this reunion, and my vote for best dressed easily goes to Erika for her glittering gold Balmain minidress. The seductive songstress's style has been absolute perfection all season and she continues her hot streak at the reunion by looking like she just walked out of an Erika Jayne music video. The others are a mixed bag. Lisa Vanderpump looks fabulous in her metallic Tom Ford dress, but gets docked points for it being a near-exact copy of Erika's confessional look from the season as Andy so shadily pointed out. Lisa Rinna's dusty pink Victoria Beckham frock would've looked lovely on its own, but pales next to Eileen's bright pop of red. Green is certainly Kathryn's color, but the cut of her dress is more than a bit conservative for a Housewives reunion - a friend of mine thought she looked like she was going to traffic court. Kyle's look is a total miss for me - the horizontal stripes of green cut her in the most unflattering places and she's too short to pull off the style. Love her shoes though. As for Yolanda, I get that she was going for something slightly edgy and abstract, but I'm almost positive that dress was thrown together with ACE bandages and nylon material. Erika wins the award for best dressed far and away. 

The Business of Being Erika Jayne

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The newbie is also the first 'Wife in the hot seat as a package of clips from the season plays dedicated to the double life of Erika Jayne - devoted wife by day, pop vixen by night. She points out that being on the show has brought her alter ego a whole new level of notoriety - when Erika Jayne once existed only in the gay nightclub scene, she's now being broadcast into living rooms across America on a weekly basis. Even forty-something women are coming up to her on the street and asking her to "pat the puss." (For the record, Erika didn't invent the dance move, it comes from the music of Caribbean and Jamaican dancehall.) However, there's also a whole other side to Erika we didn't see this season. The woman who gave us "PAINKILLR" also happens to be a mother to a twenty-something-year-0ld police officer in the LAPD. Erika explains that she and her son are both completely supportive of each other in their respective careers.

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After showing Andy and the ladies how to "pat the puss," Erika also takes some time to defend herself from some of the incredibly misdirected haters. When one viewer calls her music videos pornographic, she claps back that while poor Mary from Provo, Utah may have given up in life, Erika Jayne has not. Yaaaas hunty! As for anyone who questions the dynamic of her marriage to famed attorney Tom Girardi, Erika insists that being respectful to her husband does not mean she's "subservient" to him. Besides, it's been working for over 17 years now so the relationship basically speaks for itself. Bye haters!

The End of Yolanda & David

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Switching gears, Andy turns his focus to Yolanda for what's sure to be the first of many times during this reunion. Addressing the biggest elephant in the room, Andy tries getting Yo to open up about the demise of her marriage to super-producer and musical legend David Foster. However, while citing her chronic illness as a major contributing factor in the end of their marriage, Yolanda remains fairly tight-lipped about the actual cause of the couple's divorce. She has only good things to say about her ex, insisting that people shouldn't criticize him for seemingly abandoning her in her time of need.

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Lisa Vanderpump takes a turn subbing in as the reunion's host by peppering Yolanda with a string of questions about her relationship with David. Was the marriage crumbling during filming? Did she know or was she blindsided? Was David the reason she was crying the night of her dinner party at Wally's? Yolanda insists that nothing happened until November 2, the night the couple got in a disagreement weeks after filming had ended. (Keep in mind they announced their divorce on December 1, 2015.) Andy does get Yolanda to admit to being blindsided by the end of the marriage, saying she would have preferred to get completely healthy and start working on their issues. Yo tries to put a pin in the discussion by saying she doesn't want to analyze her marriage, but does admit that if she had been healthy, she and David would probably still be together. The other women all express their dismay at the sudden end of Yo's marriage as well, with Erika refusing to comment on whether Yolanda confided in her out of respect for their friendship. As for what her future holds, Yo predicts that she won't ever get married again - the most important thing to her now is getting to the finish line of her recovery from Lyme disease and supporting Gigi, Bella and Anwar as they take over the worlds of modeling and fashion.

Kathryn vs. Faye Resnick & the O.J. Simpson Trial

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Up next in the hot seat is Erika's fellow newbie Kathryn, who arrived eight episodes into the season in a cloud of O.J. Simpson-related controversy. Though she's now married to Donnie Edwards, the undisputed hottest husband in the Bravoverse, the former model was once married to Simpson's best friend and teammate Marcus Allen. Because of this connection to the Trial of the Century, Kathryn had a scandalous history with Kyle's friend and recurring cast member Faye Resnick. To refresh your memory, here's the quick backstory. At the time of the grisly double murder, Faye was best friends with Nicole Brown Simpson, and had even been living in her guest house up until a few days before the killings took place. During the trial, Faye published a scandalous tell-all about Nicole's life titled Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted, n which she alleged that Kathryn's husband Marcus had an illicit affair with Nicole, to which the rookie Housewife turned a knowingly blind eye. Because of these scandalous allegations, both Kathryn and her then-husband were unwillingly dragged into the trial and the glaring spotlight that came with it.

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This long-brewing history between the two women came to a head when Kathryn joined the show, putting her at odds with both Faye and OG Kyle. Despite how her friend came across on the show, Kyle sticks up for an absent Faye on the couch, insisting that viewers (and her fellow 'Wives) don't know the real Faye at all. Andy stirs the pot by saying that Kathryn seemed to chicken out over confronting Faye at Kyle's BBQ, but the newbie states that she merely decided to be the bigger person and rise above the more than two decades-worth of ill feelings between the two. Kathryn maintains that what Faye wrote about her took a toll on her life, her marriage and her friendships, but a protective Kyle shoots back that while she may think she had a hard time, the new 'Wife has no idea what Faye has gone through. However, Kathryn suggests that Faye brought it on herself by writing the book in the first place, and refuses to back down or "discount" what she experienced by being dragged into the ordeal. Then Kathryn drops a bombshell: she and Marcus were actually married at O.J.'s house after he and Nicole had divorced! The conversation moves on to Kathryn joking about Lisa Rinna having an eating disorder and opening up about her father's suicide, and it looks like we may never get any final resolution to this gripping and fascinating O.J. drama...

Munchausen Manipulations

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Finally, Andy brings up the season-long storyline of Yolanda's illness and the Munchausen accusations that were brought up by Lisa Rinna early in the season. After showing a package of clips, Andy opens the topic up for discussion and the 'Wives immediately jump into Yo's "sick selfies" on Instagram and debating who said what and when. However, one thing all the women want to clarify is that they never doubted whether she had Lyme disease, they just wondered if other things could be contributing to it. Yolanda concedes that when a friend gets sick it's normal to ask questions, while also calling her battle with Lyme disease her "full-time job."

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Lisa Rinna is forced to address her comments during the season that Yolanda using her illness to her advantage and immediately starts backtracking. However, despite Rinna suddenly trying to be copacetic about the situation, Yolanda says she is cautious about her friendships with the women and claims her frenemy had absolutely no basis for spreading the gossip and lies she did all season. To Yolanda, the women's constant questioning and throwing words like "Munchausen" out into the universe called into question her personal character and integrity on a global platform in front of millions of people. And as we know from her Season 5 tagline, to Yolanda "character isn't what you have, it's who you are." However, Lisa Rinna tries once again to shift the blame by pointing the finger at Lisa Vanderpump for manipulating her into bringing up the Munchausen issue. In fact, she's brought a folder of evidence to back up her claims against LVP, including a list of phone records to show 10 calls between them in the early part of the season.

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The most unintentionally hilarious moment comes when Yolanda incredulously asks Lisa Rinna how she possibly could have faked her medical records if she really had Munchausen. Yolanda, darling, just head down to Orange County and ask Brooks Ayers. It's not that difficult but millions of viewers will catch you on it and your reputation will be forever ruined. Lisa Rinna continues to get riled up against LVP, revealing that the entire plan was set in motion at her birthday party in the season premiere. According to her story, when Yolanda showed up without any makeup and Lisa Vanderpump's husband Ken commented on how bad she looked, Lisa Rinna's husband Harry Hamlin jumped to Yo's defense by stating that she was sick and admonishing the cast to stand by her. At that point, LVP apparently snapped her fingers and proclaimed "there goes our f---ing storyline." Never mind that this story directly conflicts with what Lisa Rinna said on Heather Dubrow's podcast early in the season, Lisa Vanderpump obviously denies the story, pointing out that cameras were there the entire night and would've caught the moment on film had it happened. The two Lisas continue to argue back and forth until Yolanda can't take it anymore, tearfully walking off set and barricading herself in a dressing room as Part 1 of the reunion ends...