‘RHOBH’ Reunion: Is Lisa the Target of ‘Character Assassination’?

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The epic three-part reunion of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” started last night, with Andy Cohen doing his usual job of shining a red-hot light on each of the cast members in turn, all under the guise of reader e-mails that just happen to ask the very things that Andy himself wants to know about.

First of all, Kim Richards wasn’t there, because she was still doing her rehab stint when the reunion taped, but Bravo teased a separate interview where she admits she’s an alcoholic. That should be interesting to watch.

And, yes, a fair amount of the first hour was devoted to the suicide of Russell Armstrong and the abusive relationship Taylor Armstrong was in with him. But the most surprising part of last night’s first reunion episode was how much venom was directed towards Lisa Vanderpump, who during the season seemed to keep herself above the fray during all the craziness.

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Except, when you really examine it, she didn’t, did she? She’s the queen of the snarky, condescending, behind-the-back remarks on the show, and she had plenty of them. And last night, it seemed like all of them came back to bite her on her ample “donkey booty,” as Cohen called it. Former neighbor Adrienne Maloof seemed to be the most offended party; she was still sore over Lisa not having her daughter’s bachelorette festivities at her Palms casino in Vegas, didn’t like Lisa’s wise-ass tweet about her dog, and she also was hurt when Lisa called one of the shoes she designed the “Maloof hoof.”

But the really interesting moment was when Adrienne accused Lisa of selling stories to Radar Online. Her evidence? The reporter told her so, which Camille Grammer confirmed. Really, ladies? That’s your source? Think about this logically for a second: Why would Lisa, who supposedly has more money than everyone in the cast who isn’t Adrienne, sell stories to a tabloid for a few thousand bucks? And, why would you believe a reporter who is trying to dig some dirt without, you know, confirming it with someone who is supposedly a close friend?

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Lisa looked genuinely hurt by the accusation, saying that she was the victim of “character assassination” on the show. She tried to apologize for the “Maloof hoof” remark, goaded on by Kyle Richards, who claimed multiple times that the two were “close friends” right before accusing her of being manipulative or pointing out one of her other personality flaws. The only ammo Lisa seemed to have was that Adrienne was allowing her beleaguered chef,  Bernie, to insult Lisa on camera when Lisa wasn’t around.

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Oh, we didn’t forget about Taylor. But what is there really to say at this point? There was some leftover sniping between Camille and Taylor about her on-camera bean-spilling of Taylor’s stories about Russell’s abuse, and Lisa recounted a horrible, expletive-filled text message that Russell sent Taylor. We also found out that Adrienne thought the season should be aired, to bring Taylor’s story to light, but the recently-divorced Camille thought it shouldn’t air. In the process of talking about that, she implied that her ex, Kelsey Grammer, was verbally abusive to her, which Taylor seemed to latch onto, even if it didn’t compare to what she said Russell did to her.

It does seem like Cohen is going to make the abuse, divorce and suicide a theme throughout the reunion, if the highlights are any indication. One thing is for certain: it’s going to be tough to hear about Taylor popping her jaw back in place juxtaposed against the usual “RHOBH” catfighting and back-stabbing. And we’ve barely heard from Brandi Glanville yet!

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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