This week, we don't see much of new housewife Yolanda, but no matter. What we do see is enough to convince me that she's going to be a force for crazy for the rest of the season. Really, even if the rest of the wives dove head first into talk therapy to emerge as sweet and bland as packets of single serve artificially flavored apple cinnamon oatmeal, we'd still be plenty amused watching Yolanda spin around in circles trying to rationalize her inescapable nuttiness. But, as we know, the other housewives are just as catty and ridiculous as ever, so unleash the crazy!

First, Kyle and Adrienne shop for $300 kids' clothes. Not $300 worth of kids' clothes, which might be several clearance racks at Target, but $300 for a single item that did not appear to be made from shark fins and endangered leopards. Since Adrienne has to get something for little Portia, she just whips something pink off the rack, hands it to the sales girl and asks that it be wrapped up, possibly with a jar of rare 19th century viruses or a first edition of "Twilight." Seriously, there's rich and then there's the kind of wealthy that just makes you want to hit someone and steal their Birkin bag, and I think Adrienne might be in the second category. 

But Adrienne and Kyle aren't really at this ridiculous children's store to shop. They're there to discuss Lisa. Why oh why won't Lisa talk to her, Adrienne wonders. Gee, I would guess that accusing a restaurant owner of selling stories to the tabloids on national television would be pretty irritating in that hey-don't-ruin-my-damn-business kind of way, but Adrienne doesn't get it. Kyle, however, does. She doesn't think Lisa owes Adrienne an apology, and she really wishes the girls would bury the hatchet. Tsk, tsp, why is Kyle being so darn Zen this season? Doesn't she have a sister to fight with?

Taylor is trying to let everyone know that, even though her husband killed himself and left her with nothing, she's doing just fine, thank you. She's gained back some weight, mostly in her lips, and even though she's broke she can still hire a woman to make Mexican food for her friends. Adrienne, Paul, Mauricio and Kyle come over, and everyone gushes about how fabulous the soggy enchiladas are and how lovely Taylor's home is using those soft, soothing voices usually reserved for truly crazy people, which seems about right to me. 

Taylor announces over dinner that she has a favor to ask. Now that (harumph) she works (harumph) to raise money for domestic violence charities (harumph, harumph), she'd like Mauricio and Paul to enter a race in Sacramento for which they will wear women's high heels. I'm not quite sure why this announcement required that Taylor clear her throat so loudly that she might have dislodged a cavity or a small chunk of lung, but it does. Everyone seems hugely relieved that she's not asking for money and eagerly agrees to help out, even though the race is the same day at Portia's all-important birthday party. 

What follows is a very long and not very interesting segment about Paul and Adrienne buying drag queen footwear for the race. I'm sure they think they're hugely amusing in the way that teenagers think their antics are wildly funny even when they're just sitting in the parking lot of a 7-11 drinking warm beer, but the truth is, not so much. 

More amusing is watching Yolanda micromanage her daughter Gigi while the 17-year-old is at a modeling gig. Gigi, to her credit, doesn't stomp her feet and scream, "MOM, YOU'RE EMBARRASSING ME! STOP IT!" but I wouldn't have blamed her if she did. Yolanda believes her advice is very valuable, because about forty years ago she used to model. So, that gives her license to tell her daughter to go back on a diet right after her birthday party, and to put in some eye drops, and to fix her make-up so she doesn't look like a damn Asian. Oh, Yolanda, so charming. She's just so helpful! And not psychotically delusional and controlling at all! 

While Paul and Mauricio toddle through the not-very-competitive race in Sacramento, which required they take a private plane to Sacramento. I'm still not sure why they couldn't just write a big check and be done with it, which is what most rich people do, but I guess this seemed like a fabulous opportunity for very tepid comedy. Mauricio's shoes are tight! They walk past a guy in a dress! Oh, the wacky hijinks that are so startling and edgy to people who never get out of the car in West Hollywood!

Meanwhile, Kyle is running around the house yelling at people to make Portia's birthday party magical, dammit! The pony guy brought BROWN unicorns! Their poop didn't match the green of the tennis court! The bounce house was only the size of a one bedroom apartment when she specifically requested a two-bedroom suite! The nerve! I actually think she got a small version of Disneyland's Dumbo ride trucked in for little Portia, though Kyle will probably tip it over and scream that she wants REAL elephants that FLY for her little princess!

Anyway, once the guests start arriving, it becomes pretty clear that no one really gives a crap about Portia having a good time, because the housewives all cluster together and start freaking out and/or talking about one another. First, Lisa and Ken arrive, look around nervously for Adrienne and Paul, mention they can only stay a moment so that Lisa can make out with the llama, and then split. Camille makes an appearance and seems hugely relieved that she doesn't have to pick a fight with anyone and can just have a drink. Brandi skittishly enters the house, worries that she won't have anyone to cover her back in case of a knife fight, and keeps trying to find excuses to go while Camille and Kyle beg her to stay. When Taylor comes in and dramatically hugs Camille while pointedly ignoring Brandi, Brandi heads for the door as fast as her little high heels can carry her. It's odd how conflict-averse everyone is this season, but I'm sure that will change in a few episodes. 

Dana, last season's price tag obsessed flameout, shows up to laugh awkwardly and speak loudly. The only real shocker is that Kim arrives, even though she'd made plenty of excuses to Kyle as to why that wasn't likely to happen. Everyone tells her how good she looks, and Camille tries to guide her through an upbeat discussion about her ex. "So, you're not together? But you respect each other, RIGHT? And you're both happy now, RIGHT? And you're really fine, RIGHT? RIGHT, KIM? Look at the camera and BE POSITIVE, dammit!" Finally, Adrienne and Paul show and begin bitching about how Lisa and Ken booked out before they could have a heated conversation. Because everyone loves a good fight in the bouncy house right before they get butterflies painted on their faces, right?

Taylor is so thrilled not to be the scandal du jour, she babbles to anyone who will listen that Yolanda said Brandi said that she slept with EVERYONE in Beverly Hills! Isn't she HORRIBLE? Isn't she TRASHY? Wasn't SHE JOKING? My God, I can't believe this stupid comment won't die. 

Throughout the party, Kyle keeps trying to get warring factions to put down their arms and hug, but no dice. It's so upsetting to Kyle, because her life would be SO much easier if everyone got along! Jeez, when did her friends become so darn selfish? Those Beverly Hills bitches!

What did you think of the party? Do you think Lisa is right, or is Adrienne? Do you think Taylor and Brandi should make up? 


Liane Bonin Starr is an author, screenwriter and former writer for Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and a lot of other places. Her last book was called "a scandalously catty, guilty pleasure" by Jane magazine. Expect the same from Starr Raving.