9021OMG! After what feels like forever, my beloved Beverly Hills babes are back for Season 6 and I could not be happier. I go back and forth about which city is my favorite Housewives franchise (mostly depending on what's currently on the air), but my answer has always been between Beverly Hills and some other city. Hands down, Beverly Hills has the cast I most passionately care about - I can genuinely say that, with the exception of Brandi and one-season wonders Carlton and Joyce, I love every single one of the Housewives that have graced the screen across the past five seasons of RHOBH. The city also includes my all-time favorite Housewife in the entire franchise (Kyle Richards, obviously).
Before we get into the episode, we of course need to talk about the new intro and all the 'Wives taglines. First impression of the intro: the red looks are a bold new choice that I'm liking. My favorite tagline of the bunch probably goes to Eileen - it's tongue-in-cheek without being too on the nose. Quick thoughts on the others: Lisa Rinna's still talking about her lips, which comes as no surprise. However it was jarring to see her first in the lineup after three seasons of Kyle and the original Lisa alternating as bookends. I saw Kyle getting some grief on Twitter for including "Beverly Hills" in her tagline, but I actually like it when at least one 'Wife name drops the city each season. I hate newbie Erika's, who coincidentally wasn't even introduced in the premiere but her nonsensical soundbite has already given me a negative first impression of her. Year after year, Yo's taglines are imparted as a dose of preachy wisdom and this year is no exception. It's clear as crystal that she's calling out some of her so-called "fake friends" for questioning her Lyme disease this season. And Vanderpump's was snarky and witty, but I was left thinking "really? Out of everything you chose to talk about dogs?"
Let's jump into the premiere, shall we? The episode starts out at Villa Rosa where Lisa Vanderpump is waiting for LA Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. Apparently, she's been asked to throw out the opening pitch at the Dodgers' LGBT night thanks to her constant support of the gay community. Being British, Lisa doesn't know the difference between a baseball and a coconut as the Dodgers' catcher helps her practice throwing the ball. Ken interrupts to give Lisa a few pointers, telling her to pretend the catcher's glove is Brandi's face. In case you're keeping track, that's the first mention this season of the disappearing bad girl - you can take the B out of Beverly Hills, but she'll never really be gone. LVP says in her interview that she simply doesn't cross paths with Brandi anymore. After years of being a victim of Brandi's nonsense, Lisa is more than happy to not have anything to do with her former BFF-turned-enemy.
Meanwhile, Lisa Rinna has been asked to do a "Where Are They Now?" segment on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The hustler has done so many things over her 25+ year career, does this mean she's officially made it? Interestingly, the longest job she's ever had over the course of her career was her three-year stint on Days of Our Lives. And yet, even with all the various jobs she's had in showbiz, Lisa Rinna is worried that her tombstone will say "she wore a diaper." There has to be somewhere to go from a Depends commercial right? Rinna's like a Hollywood cockroach, people - there's just no getting rid of her.
We also catch up with Eileen, who's back on The Young and the Restless for a stint as the iconic Ashley Abbott. Having been in the soap opera world for more than 20 years, Eileen is a consummate professional - she even does her own mascara in hair and makeup! In her current scandalous storyline, her character is involved in a little love triangle with her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend. Ironically, Eileen tells us that she was involved in the same love triangle story in 1983, but as the daughter in the situation, and we're gifted with a flashback scene to prove it.
We finally get some Housewife interaction as Kyle and Lisa V. meet for lunch at Villa Blanca. Kyle has been busy since the end of last season - not only is she buying a line of $75,000 sunglasses for her store (suck on that, Dana Wilkey!), she also inked a deal with Warner Brothers to develop a scripted show about her life growing up in 1970s Hollywood. With familial tension at an all-time high, her extended family hasn't reacted well to this news. In fact, no one's even said congratulations yet. However, Kyle makes it clear in her confessional that this new show isn't out to hurt anyone or expose any more family secrets - contrary to what her older sisters might think, the youngest Richards sister is an adult who can make the right decisions for herself. Kyle also updates Lisa on her strained relationship with Kim: they still aren't speaking that much and Kim's checked herself into an in-patient rehab facility following her scandalous arrest at the Beverly Hills Hotel for public intoxication, resisting arrest and battery of a cop. When Kyle first heard the news of Kim's arrest, she didn't want to believe that it was true, but admits that it's easier when everything is out in the open and she doesn't have to constantly pretend the elephant in the room doesn't exist. Lisa points out, correctly, that Kyle has been a brilliant sister to Kim and has taken more than most people would have. Lisa's seen her friend be affected by Kim's struggle with addiction for years now, and says in her interview that she hopes Kyle can learn to emotionally detach from the situation a bit for the sake of her own well-being.
Eventually, the OGs' conversation turns to Yolanda's health, and Lisa admits she's exchanged texts with her but hasn't gone to visit. Kyle also says it feels weird to invite Yolanda out when she's so ill, so all she can offer the Dutch beauty are visits. In her confessional, Lisa explains that she's not exactly quite sure what's wrong with Yolanda, but backtracks quickly to say she's merely questioning her friend's symptoms, not criticizing. We can all sense where this is going...
Cut to Yolanda holed up in the tiny condo she's been living in for the past nine months, an IV in her arm as a naturopathic doctor administers some type of treatment. Her estate in Malibu was simply too much to maintain and relocating to the condo proved convenient since it's in the city close to all of her doctors. Since being diagnosed with neurological Lyme disease in 2012 (which coincided with her first season on the show), Yo has been facing a monumental battle for her health for the past three years. She readily admits that it can be confusing because at times she looks pretty much normal but is still so sick inside. Yolanda has flown all over the world to try radical methods in search for a cure, including stem cells, ozone treatments, holistic antibiotics and plenty of alternative treatments not accepted by the FDA in America. Yo's friend Angie, mother of Australian pop star Cody Simpson, pays her a visit in the middle of her treatment and Yolanda tearfully opens up about how hard it is to miss so many major things going on in Gigi, Bella and Anwar's lives while she's cooped up with her brain barely functioning. It's heartbreaking to watch Yolanda cry as she tries to explain that she's always kept such high standards for herself as a wife and mother, but has had to accept the fact that she's not that superhuman person anymore.
The big day arrives for the Dodgers' LGBT night and Lisa V. is left wondering why in the world she signed up for this. She shows up to Dodgers Stadium with Ken, Giggy, Pandora and Jason in tow and is presented with a personalized pink jersey from the team. Strutting out onto the pitcher's mound in her bright pink pumps, LVP is worried she won't be able to throw the ball far enough. Plus, if she screws up, it'll be on YouTube for the rest of her life. With no time left to procrastinate, Lisa winds up and gives it her best toss...and doesn't make it to home plate. However, this baseball thing could've been a complete disaster so all in all, it went better than it could have.
In an effort to let go, Eileen is redecorating her house. Following Brandi's rude comments last year comparing her home to American Psycho, Eileen looked at her house through the eyes of a visitor and decided it was time to declutter. Not that she's giving Brandi any credit for that decision, but she refuses to be the lady who dies in a house fire because she couldn't get past the pile of antiques in the corner to make it out the door. In the midst of taking down her dining room curtains, Lisa Rinna calls to check in on Eileen. Just prior to filming, Eileen's father-in-law, TV actor Dick Van Patten had passed away, leaving a huge void in Eileen's family. Because of the family tragedy, Eileen can't make it to Lisa's upcoming birthday dinner, but sends her love to her buddy.
The rest of the 'Wives and their husbands convene for Lisa Rinna's birthday party. The birthday girl wearing a one-sleeved print dress, Kyle in tiny black hot pants and Yolanda arrives with a bouquet of peonies and Angie in tow. The women are a bit taken aback by Yo's appearance at the party - in an all-white ensemble, she's not wearing a single drop of makeup and does not look good at all. Ken goes so far as to compliment her on her appearance and say in the next breath how terrible Yo actually looks. Conversation at the dinner turns to Kyle and Lisa V.'s upcoming trip to Tuscany with Mauricio and Ken and Yolanda also explains that David isn't there because he's in Seattle for a charity function. (Everyone will surely be looking for hints of trouble between the Fosters in the wake of their divorce announcement the morning before the season premiere.) All of a sudden, Yolanda is hit with a wave of exhaustion and excuses herself to go to the restroom. Naturally, the second she leaves, conversation at the table turns to her shocking physical appearance. In her confessional Lisa Vanderpump questions Yolanda showing up to the party at all - if she's really that sick, why not just stay home? What the hell is going on in Yolanda's life?
However, Yolanda insists that she wanted to come support Lisa Rinna and wish her a happy birthday, but like an overheated car her body starts shutting down and she excuses herself to leave. Just as she and Angie exit, Lisa Rinna's husband Harry Hamlin finally shows up to the party. As Harry and Lisa banter about his number 10 (actually 16) place in her speed dial, a special delivery arrives from Eileen and Vinny and the whole group toasts to the memory of Vinny's dad. As Yolanda and Angie head home in their limo, I'm left wondering if Angie was being considered as a Housewife and simply didn't make the cut. Rumors flew last summer that she was joining the cast but I'm struck with the impression that she was too much of a stereotypical mom to join the ranks of the most glamorous Housewives cast.
The next day, Kyle and Mauricio discuss the situation with Kim in their kitchen. Kyle understandably feels torn about her relationship with her sister - not much had changed from how they left things at the Season 5 reunion. Kyle admits that she doesn't know if Kim will ever change or if their relationship as sisters will ever get better either, and recognizes that for anything to change, she has to be the one to make it happen. After decades of keeping things private and dancing around the issue, it's a relief to Kyle that everyone's finally being honest about Kim's situation and having authentic conversations. Still, there's a little voice inside Kyle's head telling her she's being selfish for not jumping into the fray and immediately running to Kim's rescue. Mauricio points out that sometimes the only way to help someone is by giving them tough love, and maybe that's what Kim needs now. In her interview, Kyle tearfully explains that she's always tried to be there for her sister, even when it has felt like Kim didn't want her help or support. Kyle tells Mauricio that she wishes she had a magic potion to just fix everything, but recognizes that after all the damage that's been done, the relationships in the Richards family are going to need time to heal.