As they both drink their tea and stare at each other’s hairdos, Denise wants to know what she did to Erika to make Erika attack her children. I said it in the last episode, and I said it four years ago; Erika did not say anything about Denise’s kids. She was making a point about all kids in general. But if that’s not enough, Erika points out that Denise mentioned her husband’s big dick just minutes before at the same party. We see the tape. Denise denies it and says it never happened. Then Erika says she apologized for it. We see the tape of Denise bringing it up at coffee and Erika apologizing. Denise denies it and says it never happened.
Erika is right; Denise picked this fight and then is mad it didn’t go her way. All of her points are invalid, past the statute of limitations, and, worst of all, bullshitty. Erika says she has nothing else to say to Denise, and she shouldn’t. This mess, petty or otherwise, is well and truly over. This is not how I wanted Denise to return to be so firmly defeated like this, but we don’t get the Housewives we want; we get the Housewives we deserve.
Can we get to some good convos now? The first is between Crystal and her husband, Rob. It is both a testament to her solid marriage and her inability to get good at this game that Crystal’s best talks are always with her husband. She says that at Taco Tuesday, the women once again accused her of not speaking up or standing up for herself. That’s when we get the line about the group always wanting her to yell that’s in the trailer.
Crystal mentions that it’s not that she doesn’t have opinions, but she’s too distracted to talk about them. “They’re all so skinny now,” she says, with a tip of her hat to the vitamin O that nearly every Bravo employee is currently on. Crystal says that she spends all their time together thinking about their bodies, comparing them to hers, and measuring all the ways she doesn’t stack up. When they’re having conversations or fighting, Crystal is totally tuned out.
I’m so glad that she articulated this, because it’s not something that I or anyone who hasn’t suffered from an eating disorder would think of. It speaks to the disease’s insidiousness that her brain can’t even keep up with a common conversation because it’s plagued with negative chatter about her body. This made me feel terrible for Crystal and a little bit bad for making fun of how she hasn’t been doing anything this season. I’m with Rob; make her opinions heard and get out there. Maybe if the women are screaming at her, then she won’t hear her punitive superego screaming in her head for a few minutes.
Next, we move on to the Sisters Richards. Kim comes over to Kyle’s house with her crayons and markers and asks if she can paint a Kim Richards Original in Kyle’s dining room. Kim says “please.” Kyle says “no.” Kim says “pretty please.” Kyle says “no.” Kim says “pretty please with a cherry on top.” Kyle says “no,” and if she doesn’t go back to her house right now, then Kyle is going to steal that one, too.
That’s not what they are talking about, but it should have been. They are talking about Kim’s daughter Whitney’s wedding, and Kim asks if Kyle is going to bring anyone. It seemed like it was going to be a Morgan Wade conversation, but it was a Kathy and Kyle conversation. Kim wants to make sure they’re getting along before the wedding. Kyle tells us in confessional that last season, when Kathy apologized to her, she wanted that to be the end of it. But Kathy’s subsequent behavior showed Kyle that she wasn’t sorry for all the awful things she said about her in her Aspen rant.
Then Kyle asks the question she doesn’t really want answered: “What if I don’t want that relationship?” Kyle says she doesn’t want to be mistreated, nor should she be. If Kathy proved that she can’t have a relationship with Kyle without screaming at her, then Kyle should choose to opt out of the whole thing, family unity and their dead hummingbird mother’s wishes be damned. Kim can’t stand to hear that. She’s a classic middle child and wants to build consensus; she wants everyone to get along, even if it’s to the detriment of the whole family.
Now, on to our final convo, and boy, is it a doozy. Yes, it’s Garcelle and Dorit’s sit-down about race. First, let us say that it is a chic-off between these two. Dorit is giving me classic Yale prep with a sweater over a colored shirt, and Garcelle is giving me a winter-white editor’s cape over a chic black-and-white-patterned top. If you’re going to have an awkward conversation, you might as well look amazing doing it. And boy, does it start off awkward. It wasn’t just crickets between these two; it was a plague of locusts. You could cut the tension with a Hermès place setting.
After Dorit allows Garcelle to have the floor, as if the floor is hers to give, Garcelle tells her that she was triggered when Dorit said that she “attacked” her at Taco Tuesday and spent days trying to figure out why she was so upset. Dorit never asks why she felt that way because she’s too busy putting together the case for her innocence. She wants Garcelle — and, by way of the show, the world — to know that her intention was innocent. I don’t doubt that it was, but she still has to acknowledge that what she said had racial undertones that she might not even have been aware of.
Dorit tells her, “If that offended you in any way, I’m sorry.” This is Dorit’s problem. She doesn’t listen. Garcelle already told her that it offended her. But Dorit can’t just say she’s sorry. She can’t give that unequivocal apology because she doesn’t think she did anything wrong. She thinks her lack of malice, and I believe she didn’t mean anything negative by it, should exonerate her from being unaware of how different words hit differently with other people. Garcelle tells Dorit that you never use three words around Black women: aggressive, attack, and angry.
Dorit says, “I want to listen to everything you have to say, but I feel like I need to be able to defend myself.” Ugh, this is so annoying and is stereotypical of a particular class of liberal white person. Dorit is trying to make space for Garcelle, but not more space than she is willing to make for her innocence. Dorit is making the erroneous assumption that being accused of being a racist is as bad or worse than the effects of racism that people of color suffer on an everyday basis. There should be no defense here. Dorit should listen to Garcelle, acknowledge her role in perpetuating racial stereotypes, and try to do better in the future.
This is not what she does. Garcelle tells us this is why Dorit gets under her skin; she pretends that she wants to listen, but she’s only listening so that she can defend herself and project her purity. Dorit doesn’t want improvement; she wants exoneration. Garcelle then points out that it’s not just about her using the word attack; it’s about Dorit’s pattern of behavior.
Then Garcelle essentially calls Dorit a Karen, which, let’s be honest, we all know this woman can ask for the manager in five different languages and about 13 different accents. Of course, Dorit is a Karen. The most Karen thing about her is that she says, “This is a very serious, dangerous accusation.” Do you know what’s worse than being called a Karen? The effects of racism and countless microaggressions on people of color that Dorit is unknowingly propagating.
The thing about Dorit is she’s so busy being offended that Garcelle called her a Karen that she can’t interrogate why Garcelle would have thought she was a Karen in the first place. Garcelle then gives us examples, backed up by tape, like when Dorit talked about all the people of color that she employs and her mom’s Black best friend. Dorit’s inability to understand this is what is holding her back and continuing her problems with Garcelle. Recently, a friend of mine (also white) pointed out to me that I can have some severe Karen tendencies. First, I thought, Me? A Karen? No way! Then I realized he was right. I can definitely use my privilege and status as a weapon against other people, and I try to find all sorts of ways to justify it. It wasn’t until I realized that, yes, I, too, am a Karen, that I started my transformation away from it.
Dorit says she feels like this burden is all on her, and yes, it is. What she wants is for Garcelle to tell her that she is innocent. She wants Garcelle to say she’s not a racist. Garcelle can do neither of those things because she is not innocent. While I don’t think Dorit is a racist, I think she is inadvertently using words and phrases around Garcelle that have racial undertones. As Garcelle points out, if Dorit does that, it’s not Garcelle’s fault.
There is also a diversion when Dorit points out that she’s Jewish, as if being from a marginalized group excludes her from racism. Trust me, I’ve known enough racist gays to know this is not the case. Nice try, but no, Dorit. Sorry, but just like the rest of us, you have to look at your actions, your behaviors, and your inherited ideas and see how they may not be as innocent as you think. You have to be aware, take accountability for when you fall short, and not be afraid to make mistakes. Dorit thinks that the worst thing that can happen to her is for her to be called a racist, but she’s wrong. What’s even worse is engaging in racist behavior, not even knowing you’re doing it, and not being willing to do the work necessary to improve.