The ladies of 90210 have returned — and I don't mean Brenda and Kelly. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are back for a fourth season.
Last night's premiere began with a very extensive series of clips from the upcoming season. Some of what's on deck: Girl-on-girl wrestling, Kyle gets a bikini wax, puppies, nudity, cast members making out in a swimming pool and a whole lot of discord.
In addition to two new cast members — Bravo's traded in blonds Adrienne Maloof and Taylor Armstrong for brunettes Joyce Giraud and Carlton Gebbia — there are new taglines all around. My favorites come from the newbies: Carlton ("In my world, money doesn't talk, it swears") and Joyce ("You could never be too young, too thin or too honest"). These two are going to fit right in.
Joyce isn't the only housewife who likes a nice body. The episode begins with Yolanda and her daughter, Gigi, at a photo shoot. Yolanda micromanages the shoot, compliments her daughter excessively and then tells us that Gigi is, in fact, just a better version of herself.
We also learn, in interview cuts, that Yolanda's been struggling with her Lyme disease for the past several months. What has Yolanda learned from her illness? Who her true friends are — Brandi is, and Kyle isn't.
As if on cue, Brandi appears on screen. Donning dark sunglasses and unable to exit a car without bumping her head, she goes to view a house she will buy later in the episode with real estate-agent-slash-boyfriend J.R., AKA the dude she maybe had sex with in the bathroom at Kyle's White Party.
What does Brandi look for in a home? For one thing, it can't have too many windows. She has a habit of walking around without clothes on. Brandi is ready for a fresh start, and her best-selling book is going to pay for it. Female empowerment, according to Brandi Glanville: "I still would like to have sex with a man. But I don't need a man to take care of me." You go, girl.
Brandi's Season 3 BFF Lisa is busy prepping for "Dancing with the Stars," but she's having trouble concentrating. She had hoped for a gay partner who wouldn't make her husband jealous, but was instead paired up with tasty, straight Gleb Savchenko. How can she focus on learning her moves when she's "so physically entwined" with her attractive instructor?
Kyle is bummed that her new store is taking up so much of her time. She thought that it could just be a fun side project, but turns out it takes actual work to run a business. Who knew? The director of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce drops by to teach Kyle what a Chamber of Commerce is. Not quite understanding him, she turns to more familiar territory and offers to throw a party for Beverly Hills' upcoming centennial.
In hopes of mending fences after a tense Season 3, Kyle asks Lisa to have her restaurant Sur cater the party. Among Kyle's first words to her estranged bestie? "You look so small. You're like the Incredible Shrinking Woman." Meanwhile, Lisa commends Kyle (read: pays her a backhanded compliment) for joining the Chamber of Commerce, which Lisa herself has no time for.
Their reconciliation goes even further awry when Lisa, in hopes of disposing with "the elephant in the room," brings up tabloid allegations that Mauricio has been cheating. Kyle isn't amused, and who can blame her? Bringing up rumors of infidelity in front of Kyle's young daughter Portia just isn't classy.
But don't feel too badly for Portia. She's next seen playing happily in her "little car," a motorized Bentley. The perks of being a Beverly Hills brat.
The other Richards sister, the affable and ditzy Kim, has traded in addiction for a giant-sized dog named Kingsley. We spend a really long time watching the two monkey around Kim's house. Here's hoping Kim's storyline this season will include some humans, too.
And then it's time to party! Enter Jax, Stassi and the rest of the Sur crew. This isn't a "Vanderpump Rules" recap, so I'll keep the summarizing of their antics brief. Suffice to say, it's business as usual — a lot of play, and a little bit of work.
The cast arrives at the event -- including Yolanda, who's still waiting for Kyle to apologize for calling her a liar last season. (In other news, Kyle spends the entire episode telling Lisa that Yolanda is a liar.) We are formally intro'd to Carlton and husband David (who BTW have three children named Destiny, Mystery and Cross — yes, really) and pageant queen Joyce, who found her way from Puerto Rico to Beverly Hills, where she now lives with her husband Michael, an exhibitionist movie producer "with a big pee pee."
The sun sets and trouble seems imminent. Brandi mentions brass knuckles. Kyle suggests tequila. And then, before anything too ugly goes down, we reach the end of hour one of the combined two-hour "Real Housewives/Vanderpump Rules" premiere and the focus shifts to the "Vanderpump" gang.
We see a bit more of Lisa and Kyle pretending to be friends, and Brandi has a run-in with "Rules" cast member Scheana ("Listen, she used to f--- my husband; I'm going to mention a gray tooth"). But as far as action goes, there's very little.
Turns out the excessively long teaser at the start of the show was completely necessary. After a snooze-inducing first episode, I'll need to rewind and re-watch those sneak peeks to remind myself that there's still plenty of drama ahead. An affair to remember? More like an affair to forget.