Oh Brandi, honey, why make life harder on yourself than it need be? The
Truth Trauma Cannon looked lovely in blue, with her hair parted fetchingly to the side, yet her eyes were puffy and her body tense like a deer on the side of the road. She hadn’t slept and her oft-mentioned anxiety had reached level orange. She had come ready to fight Lisa, but simultaneously wanted a hug and cup of tea from the older woman she at once idolized and hated herself for doing so.
Their first spat came when Lisa wondered why would Brandi waste time suggesting on her podcast that Lady Lisa had once lived in the Valley. Brandi said because it was true, she knew it was, what with her having spent $9.99 to look it up on the interwebs. Brandi, you must learn some type of ritualistic routine—go for a walk, eat a taco, watch an episode of Friday Night Lights—when your pettiness takes hold. To her the jab felt warranted because Lisa used to tease her about living so far out in the sticks. Lisa said it was a joke, just like the jokes Brandi used to make about sleeping with Ken. We have the same personality, said Brandi. Lisa checked that quick, insisting regally that they may share a sense of humor but certainly not a personality. This cut Brandi to the core and you could see the flood of emotions swirling on her blushing cheeks. The vulnerable bruise of a woman looked ready to burst into tears and rake her nails down someone’s cheek.
There was a silly, harmless montage of Kim, who spent her first season sober but in high spirits. She loves turtles, and reserves the right to worship them and God whenever and however she pleases. She looked delighted when a viewer wrote in praising Kingsley and then dumbstruck when the viewer rapped her on the head for not having a boyfriend. Let the woman be. As Tina Fey once so wisely said of Taylor Swift, “She needs some Me Time.” At one point Andy asked her if the show had been and Kim praised it for keeping her sober and accountable and in some sense giving her a sense of self-worth. (Sigh.) “I love feeling important and making people smile and laugh. You guys have saved my life,” she said. ” Wow, that’s great,” said Flat Andy, in an emotionless monotone.
Joyce and Brandi made a lot of noise, about tampons and gaygents and donkeys and Sochi. It was largely unbearable, to everyone but Carlton who loved Brandi going for Joyce’s jugular. Though Carlton did voice a wish that Brandi hadn’t brought it to the group that the two women had made out in a pool. Rather than air that for the Bravo audience, she would’ve preferred to share that news with her children in her own way, in her own time, i.e.., “Mummy’s made out with a girl.”
Brandi summed up the problem with this season, perhaps with much of “reality” TV in general, when she later described the source of her beef with Lisa. She didn’t appreciate it when Lisa would act so concerned about her drinking or her various decisions on camera. If she thought it unwise for Brandi to slug directly from a bottle of booze at the end of long night why couldn’t she pull her behind a scrim and tell her to knock it off. Why couldn’t she impart life lessons on off-shooting days rather than treating her like a lost lamb on TV? Perhaps it’s inevitable, even shrewd, to think so definitively in terms of on camera and off camera personas but that leads to viewer manipulation and image consultation and storyline fabrication. Worse yet, it’s boring and gross.
At the end of the hour Yolanda, who’d spent much of it complaining that Lisa hadn’t ministered to her in her time of need, proved once again that she is the grown-up in the room. It took a while but she managed to articulate to Lisa that it wasn’t so much an apology she wanted but the sense that she was being heard and taken seriously. Valid! Then she did something wholly uncharacteristic for this series: She spoke with genuine self-awareness about herself, acknowledging that she couldn’t have been easy to get along with these last two years. “Maybe I was boring or grumpy and yes, I might have been sensitive about things that I usually wouldn’t be sensitive about or I might not remember things correctly.” Lisa jumped in with delicious timing. “Yes, see, I was there every day holding your hand,” she said. The woman might not always be able to take a joke but she sure is funny.