During the first season of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Kyle was my favorite, hands down. She seemed far more grounded than, say, Camille (who sneered at poseurs who only had two or three houses and no islands or gold encrusted toilets in Aspen). She came across as fun, bubbly and, yes, concerned about her sister Kim, who seemed flakier than a lard-based pie crust.
Of course, we now know a lot more about Kim's flakiness (raging alcoholism tends to make you a tad unreliable), Camille (whose divorce from Kelsey Grammer made her plenty more sympathetic, especially once she revealed the weird sexual kinks she tolerated without laughing) and, of course, Kyle. Oh, Kyle.
This season, it's been hard to be a Kyle fan. She's walked an odd tightrope, trying to stay out of fights while asking leading questions of her castmates that seem designed to start them. Her tearful interactions with Kim have started to feel staged and uncomfortable, especially when Kyle thinks the best time for a heart-to-heart with Kim about her sobriety is in the changing room of her new store while the opening gala is bumping along outside, complete with an open bar. Then, there's the growing divide between Kyle and her former bestie Lisa. It wasn't hard to see Lisa's point of view when she complained that Kyle eagerly jumped up to defend, say, Adrienne from any insult, but passively sat back and watched the fireworks when Lisa was in the hot seat. Yes, Lisa can take care of herself, but Kyle was a better friend to an empty chair (given how infrequently Adrienne actually showed up to events) than to a real person.
As my colleague Melinda Newman said, "Kyle is the ultimate mean girl," the high school diva who made other girls cry by leveling pointed barbs before swearing she was just joking around. I'm not sure I'm ready to give up on Kyle completely just yet, but after the season reunion show, it seems like plenty of her castmates are.
In the second part of the two-part reunion, Lisa very delicately called her former bestie a liar, admitting she was more inclined to trust Yolanda's version of events at the Paris airport than Kyle's. Maybe Lisa just didn't want to think Yolanda had called her full of bleep, but the fact that she didn't trust her former buddy was pretty damning. Kyle protested repeatedly that she wasn't a liar, but it didn't make much of an impact. Lisa then named all of the Housewives she trusted -- Yolanda, Brandi, even Kim (who also claimed Yolanda called Lisa a piece of bleep in Paris) and Taylor. Kyle? Yeah, not so much.
The discussion became more and more disjointed, until Brandi eagerly pointed out Yolanda was so good to Kim in Paris she carried her luggage and her poop-smeared pillow. How did she know it was a poop smear? She smelled it, of course. This really disgusting moment brought to you by... Brandi, Lisa's new BFF!
Needless to say, Kyle did not seem overly optimistic about a future for Lisa and Kyle as close pals.
Really, there wasn't much Kyle could say during the episode that someone didn't quickly dismiss. Kyle always thought Paul and Adrienne's bickering was just playful! Lisa doesn't exactly roll her eyes, but she makes it clear Kyle must be a little dense, as Paul and Adrienne had been having problems even before the first season started. Lisa would never, ever say, "Duh," but you can tell when she'd like to.
Later, Brandi admits she doesn't think Kyle is really rooting for Kim to stay sober. Kyle bursts into tears, as this is the MEANEST THING BRANDI COULD SAY EVER! But really, I can see where Brandi might get that impression. Kyle seems alternately aggravated by Kim's flakiness and distrustful of her sobriety. Kyle kind of treats Kim like a poorly trained monkey or a Robert Downey Jr. circa 1990. Luckily, Andy plays Al-Anon counselor in the episode and gets Brandi to apologize to Kyle, Kyle to apologize to Brandi, and everyone to apologize to Kim. But Brandi's words seem to hit home with Kim, and I get the sense she feels like Kyle isn't exactly in her corner, either. Granted, I would get really tired of being in Kim's corner sometimes. Now that she's sober, she is deeply offended by almost anything and feels everything is meant to hurt her, including rainy days, burnt popcorn and creaky lawn furniture.
When Kyle's husband Mauricio comes out to join the women, he doesn't really do much to improve Kyle's image, either. When Andy brings up the debate between Mauricio and Brandi at the Moroccan restaurant, Mauricio is initially dismissive of Brandi's complaint that he was hostile and aggressive. When she finally explains to him that she was hurt because she likes and respects him, he apologizes for being "passionate" and tells her he likes her, too. So... Mauricio needs a compliment to say he's sorry?
At the end of the show, Kyle says she really hopes the air has been cleared so that everyone can become better friends. I don't believe her for a minute. As much as Kyle's tried to play the Zen master this season, she's been more like a feral cat watching birds at play, hoping someone breaks a wing and even dragging along a bigger, angrier cat (Faye Resnick) to get in some swats every once in a while. Beverly Hills may be her town, but she certainly makes me want to drive through it quickly.
Do you think Kyle is a mean girl? What did you think of the reunion? Do you think Brandi was wrong to bring up Kim's poop-smeared pillow, by the way?
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