Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: has it lost its luster after Russell’s suicide?

When someone close to you dies, everything kind of seems like it stops. It’s hard to pay attention or care about all the other details in life because they suddenly seem insignificant. That’s kind of how I felt about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season premiere in the wake of Russel Armstrong’s suicide. What’s more is that all the petty infighting and extreme superficiality that make up the show are hard to stomach when you realize the toll it took on one of the castmembers. Russell made the decision to take his own life, and that was his alone to make. When you’re watching the events that lead up to his suicide, it’s not possible to get the same kind of voyeuristic enjoyment out of them. I’ll probably continue watching this season as I want to see what happens when Brandi Glanville is finally introduced. It was very hard to watch the season opener, though.

First off, the show opened with only the most cursory coverage of Russell’s death. We’ve heard that they were going to do some kind of “suicide special,” and that they’d re-edited the show to remove Russell. All they did to cover the news of his suicide was to have all the women except Taylor gather at Lisa’s house and discuss how it affected them. That scene lasted less than five minutes. Everyone was crying except Lisa, and then Kyle summed up the producers’ stance on his death by basically saying life, as in the show, must go on. She explained during the sit down that “Plenty of men, their wives leave them and they don’t kill themselves. You cannot feel responsible for that. Nobody can, it was his choice.” Later she narrated, “For me, it’s very hard to move forward because it’s such a tragic situation. And so many people have been left hurt by it. And as difficult as that is, life goes on. It has to.

They put up a disclaimer before the show that “The events depicted in this series were recorded before the death of Russell Armstrong” and that was it. Then they launched into a madcap recap of last season and it was like we were thrust back into their stupid world where people can get mortally injured and no one is supposed to think twice about it.

I started a recap of this episode, but I’m not going to bother including it all here. The big scene was an argument that Kyle had with Lisa’s husband, Ken, at a dinner party thrown by the Maloofs. Taylor opened up to the group that she was in therapy with Russell to try and save their marriage and then Ken said a bunch of dumb cliched sh*t about how he would never go to a psychologist. “I want to try and sort it out myself… If I had to see a therapist to make my marriage better I would feel weak.”

Then Taylor took off to the bathroom crying and Kyle tried to comfort her. In the bathroom, Taylor delivered the best line of the night. “You’re carrying a little dog all dressed up in clothes. My husband’s in therapy and that’s weak?” I only wish she had said it to Ken’s face. Then Lisa came in to put on her lipgloss. It was a bitch move considering how many freaking bathrooms there are in that house. Lisa narrated that Taylor was “manipulative” for crying. It was incredibly rude, and she should have apologized to Taylor for the fact that her husband was an asshole to her. Back at the dinner table, Kyle tried to defend Taylor to Ken and then Lisa got all pissy and they left.

The rest of the season is going to be a lot more fighting and a lot more overspending and I honestly don’t think I’ll watch all of it. Again, I want to see Brandi but I don’t need to see these bitches fighting about nothing among themselves and with their husbands. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

There’s another new star worth mentioning. Adrienne got a little dog named “Jackpot” and they’re trying to set up some kind of rivalry between Jackpot and Lisa’s dog, Giggy. Jackpot is adorable, but it really made me wonder what happened to that beautiful German Shepherd that Paul bought Adrienne for her birthday. She probably hates that dog just like she hates Paul.


There was one humorous moment when Kim walked into the party in a bejeweled pant suit. Is it country and western, just really fug, or both?


Update: Here’s the video of the intro where they discuss Russel’s death.

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38 Responses to “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: has it lost its luster after Russell’s suicide?”

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  1. edi says:

    Adrienne and her house is so tacky/trashy that I can’t get over it. That’s really something to spend millions of $$$ to look that cheap.

  2. Jezi says:

    I think everyone was waiting for Brandi to make an appearance. I was really irritated with Ken’s comment. It takes a strong man to admit there are issues and willing to seek therapy to resolve them. There is no weakness in that. Adrienne and Paul’s bickering was awkward and annoying.

  3. Kirsten says:

    Adrien had to give the german Shepard away because it was scared of her boys and a scared dog can be a bad thing. She said she gave it to a good home. What surprised me the most this episode was how likable Camille is starting to become!

  4. LeeLoo says:

    I don’t think you’re the only one who feels that way, CB. It’s all fun and games until someone dies. I think there is going to be a lot of fallout for the RH brand over this. Bravo is trying to do damage control at this point mainly to prevent Russell’s family from suing them, the problem is I don’t think they are paying attention to the affect this is having on fans of the show. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of backlash before this season is over.

  5. Christine says:

    I agree with you. I used to love this show, but the opening was pathetic. I’ll never waste my time watching this again.

  6. pebbles says:

    I still like Kim though, and yes, @ Kirsten, I think that Camille is looking more friendly this time around. I have no idea why Paul and Adrienne stay married. She has said that “bickering” is how they communicate. Okay, but if that kind of nonsense is going on around the kids, then I feel sorry for them. It’s as if Adrienne can’t stand Paul. So leave then, Adrienne, with all your money and stuff. And Lisa has to really get over her jealousy of Taylor and Kyle’s friendship. This isn’t middle school. You can have more than one friend, Lisa. Chill.

  7. Sam says:

    Kens opinion is his own and he gave it,just like everyone else at the table.
    His opinion that HE would feel weak is a statement about him, not Taylor.
    The proceeding tears and woe is for me behavior from Taylor shows that she is weak.
    If she was so fragile and sensitive about the therapy she shouldnt have given up that information.

    I am also really looking forward to Brandi. I think Kyle, Lisa and Taylor are in for a lesson in how to bring the real drama.

  8. garvels says:

    I didn’t watch but I do agree with Celebitchy with regards to how difficult it is to watch this show after someone has committed suicide. After reading this summary it seems like Lisa definitely is on to Taylor’s manipulative games. I really think Taylor should be written off the series.

  9. dorothy says:

    It was the same old, same old. Couples fighting over trivial things, people getting their feelings hurt. I do usually love Lisa and her husband, but whats up with bringing a dog to a party, much less the table. Very, very poor taste indeed.

  10. Lindsay says:

    I agree the opening was so weak. It was so generic and to me almost as bad as pretending nothing happened and the show is only about the past. However I highly doubt the show itself pushed him over the edge. He didn’t leave any sort of note so everyone is just guessing. I think the show brought out to many skeletons he wanted to stay buried. Other people who lost money with him were also understandably mad that not only was he throwing a crazy expensive birthday party for a young child but flaunting it on TV. Reality TV has been on long enough to know that any past issues will become public. If you are so embaressed by your past start making amends or don’t chace fame.

    Also agree with someone, don’t remeber who’s, assertion was his ego was tied up with success and a Stepford trophy wife. He very quickly lost both. It seemed he was so determined to be a successful venture capitalist or nothing and when his dream fell apart and Taylor started speaking up, it was too much. All this along with preexisting psychological issues that based on what we saw last season, made him isolated and controlling. On top of whatever made him physically abusive to his wife.

    The show may have caught the eye of previously screwed over investors inviting more law suits than he may have had to face. The show also could have boosted Taylor’s ego to the point that she could say no and stand on her own two feet. Basically did the show add to the power keg, yes. Did it cause it? No.

  11. brin says:

    I’m waitng for Brandi….hope the ratings soar when she comes on!

  12. ol cranky says:

    I didn’t watch because, frankly, I was absolutely disgusted at the stories of them doing some sort of suicide special.

    That being said, the truth as we saw last season is that Taylor is extremely manipulative and continues to lie even when presented with the truth (though why Kyle kept being on Taylor’s side was beyond me). Whitewashing her as a poor woman desperately seeking therapy to repair her relationship with a man we now know committed suicide – while ignoring the fact that she has shown herself to be manipulative, self-serving, selfish and completely irresponsible (going to extremes in her spending to keep up appearances despite serious financial problems) is offensive.

  13. Lindsay says:

    Slightly off topic – that monster wedding ring Taylor wore hade to be fake, right?

  14. gee says:

    These shows all started off fun, but they end up with viciousness and it’s very unsettling.

  15. Kellie says:

    I like Ken and Lisa.

  16. Chrissy says:

    Kellie, I’m with you. It seems as if they are editing it to really make Ken and Lisa look bad this season. Anyone else see the irony in Ken saying he thought he would seem weak if HE went to therapy and then then Taylor going to CRY about it in the bathroom? She should have confronted him then and there if she thought it was a dig at her. So stupid to go cry about it.

    As for Ken’s comment, he was only talking about himself. Not other people in general. And the dude is a BRITISH older guy!! I cannot fathom any of the older Brits I know (male) EVER going into therapy. The whole “stiff upper lip” stuff didn’t come out of nowhere. By the way, I have no problem with therapy. I had to go to it to deal with post-partum depression and we have gone to marriage counseling as a couple. But I have no problem with other people saying it isn’t for them. I certainly didn’t take offense to it when Ken said it.

    Still can’t stand Taylor. Funny how Kelsey’s ex really isn’t interesting anymore. Adrienne came off soooo nasty to Paul in this episode!!!! Wonder what’s going on there ….

  17. the original bellaluna says:

    NONE of these RHW shows should be on air. Trashy, tacky, tasteless; every single one of these interchangeable plastic surgery monsters on these RHW shows.

  18. april says:

    Adrienne and Paul’s bickering while they were hosts was despicable. You would think they would have more class. As well as the dog drinking the champagne at the table. It does appear Adrienne does not like her husband. She can only be with him for not more than 2 hours a day. She definitely has the upper hand in that marriage.

    I think Ken was just talking about himself with the “weak” comment and Taylor was being overly sensitive about it.

    Jackpot the dog was adorable. As far as the housewives, I think Adrienne is beautiful.

  19. bluhare says:

    @Original Bellaluna: Couldn’t agree more.

    I think it’s easy to forget that these things aren’t just cheesy soap operas, that there are real people involved, including a five year old child who now not only has to deal with her mom’s show trashing her dad, but now his suicide.

    But what I don’t get is why didn’t he have life insurance?

  20. Lindsay says:

    @ Bluhare at the end they were struggling. Life insurance that cover suicide is more expensive. In almost every policy there is a waiting period so you can’t buy life insurance the day before. They did a study of 515 people that were stopped from jumping of the Golden Gate Bridge (the most common place to commit suicide in the US) and over 30 years later only 6% ended up taking their own life. If you are planning taking your own life you usually aren’t giving much thought to those you leave behind and any delay may stop you. In general though it is irresponsible to be the breadwinner and not have something in place for your children and wife – especially if you are leaving her in a mountain of debt.

    I don’t understand why Lisa gave such a made up sounding excuse or why her husband through out an opininon that could be taken the wrong way. He has nothing invested in their happiness and marriage so he should have been supported or silent. She was clearly in a fragile state. Why kick her while she is down? Just be cause you have an opinion doesn’t make it right or worth saying.

  21. Tomas says:

    I find these vanity riddled famewhores and Bravo thoroughly disgusting, couldn’t they have just let the dead man rest in peace?!

  22. Home Fancy says:

    Before I say anything else, I have to say I went into this episode trying to like Taylor…. and failed miserably. I’m sorry, even with everything she’s gone/going through, she is still just EW.

    As for Kyle and Camille, I have completely changed my mind about each of them. Now, I can’t stand Kyle and really want to see Camille do well.

  23. Home Fancy says:

    Now that I read the rest of the comments, I want to add that I feel like Taylor never really liked her husband, married him for him money she THOUGHT he had (and that’s why she made all those comments last season about needing her own business in case “something happens” with her and Russell), and I was not 100% sure I totally believed her “Russell abused her” claim. I don’t even believe her that she ran into Cedric– I think it was her way at further driving at wedge between besties Lisa and Kyle so she could horn in on Kyle. Seeing how manipulative she is, I wonder if she wasn’t somewhat abusive herself. I still think Russell would’ve taken his own life whether the show was part of his life or not. It’s a shame people around him weren’t close enough to him to recognize the warning signs. And I hate that “suicide is selfish” copout that Kyle hinted at. No one can know his state of mind.

    Kim is cute as always and I LOVE that hokey 80s country star outfit. I also still like Lisa and her husband, even if they are being set up to be this season’s villains. But the Maloof’s chef’s reaction to Lisa was priceless. And I don’t think I like the Maloofs much anymore either.

    I thought the lamest, hokiest part of the “suicide special” was the feeble “If you or someone you know is considering suicide…” at the end. Gimme a break! It was so not genuine and rather embarrassing. But I will still watch the show.

  24. Az says:

    Adrienne’s house is just as bad as Teresa;s house in New Jersesy… so tacky and tasteless! Except Adrienne’s house isn’t budget and in Adrienne’s house everything has been paid for, including the house!

    How has no one said anything about Chef Bernie? “If it comes to my food or the dog, step on the dog”. That was priceless.

    AND OMG when Ken let the dog drink from his glass and then he drank from the glass. I almost died out of sheer disgust. I won’t let anyone drink from my drink (if someone asks me for a sip, I just hand them the whole thing, the only exception are my kids). Just the thought of backwash makes me sick… I just can’t… and this is HUMAN backwash. Can you imagine DOG backwash? Oh God. Just… no. Disgusting. SO disgusting.

    Between Rachel Zoe and Sons of Anarchy, TV should be way better tonight…

  25. lin234 says:

    @Home Fancy- you hit the nail on it’s head!
    Taylor told everyone that Russel caught her eye in a restaurant and she chased him for months and eventually got him to marry her. It’s so obvious she married chased him for the money she thought he had. She played a huge role in overspending to keep up with the Jones like that $60,000 birthday party she threw for her daughter but it was geared more towards the adults.

    Taylor manipulated the drama between Kyle and Camille plus Kyle and Kim. She pitted them against each other and sat back to watch it go down. When Kim tried to tell that Taylor was the instigator, Taylor threatened Kim with a beating out back. She has never admit she is wrong and Lisa was smart enough to figure her out.

    Lisa and Ken have one of the most loving and supportive relationships on the show. It’s clear they love being around each other after XX years of marriage. He’s obviously doing something right in figuring it out for himself without therapy. Therapy won’t work if there wasn’t really a relationship to save in the first place. Russell didn’t have the kind of money Taylor thought she married and it’s clear the show was her stepping stone to find someone richer. I have no sympathy for Taylor. Also, Camille will look good on this show because it was the only way she would come back. It’s in her contract. She probably hired a pr specialist to coach her on being more likable. I think the first season is when people are more likely to be themselves.

    I won’t be watching the 2nd season. I watched because I wanted to see the houses, trips, shopping sprees but a suicide is too much. People can say the show had nothing to do with his death but they portrayed him as the villain the first season and with Taylor getting ready to divorce him, she is manipulative enough to destroy his reputation.

  26. LondonLady says:

    Ken did not say he thought Taylor was weak, he said he would not do it- Lisa then piped in and said that she would go to therapy. Reality is that 75% of men probably share the same view. That needs to be a misnoma thats expelled, so better for them to bring it up in this season so it can generate discussion.

    That said, Kyle needs to be a better friend to Taylor in this scene and help her to depersonalise the comment. T feels attacked because she was probably getting attacked in her own home- but Ken is not the agressor. She is over reacting to something that is not happening in this scene because of the broader context in which it took place.

  27. Kelly says:

    It wasn’t a great premiere episode but I will still watch it. Russell’s suicide won’t affect my decision to watch/not watch the show. That was his choice. Taylor I have no sympathy for, she is just awful. Ken is just a gross man. It is weird but I also like Camille now, although Kyle didn’t bother me that much this episode.

  28. Kim says:

    REALLY? r people still watching any of these series?

  29. ManicPixieDreamGirl says:

    Russel’s suicide is the only interesting thing to happen in any of the real housewives shows for the past five years.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  30. Magsy says:

    I don’t know which Housewvies show has the worst shallow, overblonded, overbotoxed, goldy/schlocky/garish dressing women. This pack of jackals or Orange County Housewives. Bravo is soooo greedy they should have shit-canned this show til next year and edited it. More time could have passed and it would have come across better. This group is the least equipped to handle real tragedies and hurts. They’d rather fight over bullshit stuff that doesn’t matter. I quit watching OC and now I’m gonna skip these heffers too.

  31. wunderkindt says:

    Not so much fun anymore. . . 🙁

    Bravo should have waited a bit. Feels like exploitation of the suicide.

  32. Hootie Hoo says:

    I agree with you Celebitchy. It was difficult to watch knowing that in some way this show lead to the suicide of Russell. This is real life folks and to exploit it is just bad. I won’t be watching anymore.

  33. Trashaddict says:

    Why talk of luster when you should be speaking of stink? As in “did before”, and “will until it gets cancelled”.

  34. neff says:

    There are two, not just one, suicides associated with this show. Alan Schram, Armstrong’s business partner committed suicide a few weeks after Armstong did. Also, Armstrong left behind two other children in addition to the one he had with Taylor, (don’t know about his partner). How anyone could gloss over these tragedies just to watch useless, totally self- absorbed, undeservedly wealthy morons is a mystery to me. IMO the decent thing to do is to cancel the show forever.

    Haven’t Bravo and Cohen already made enough money from these steaming piles of dog crap Housewife shows? These shows were initially marketed as being about groups of female friends, but then quickly devolved into physical fights, screaming matches and every ugly, totally untrue, cliche about why women are too bitchy, catty, jealous, etc., to ever have the capacity to be good friends.

    My hope is that these tragic suicides will finally bring an end to the entire Housewives “franchise.” Maybe that would also be the beginning of the end of all of these hideous, but very cheap to produce, “reality” shows that have sucked the acting, writing, directing and other talent out of non-premium channel television and left viewers with junk-o-vision that caters to the worst in all of us.

  35. Katie2u says:

    I can’t stand Taylor’s manipulation of any situation involving Lisa and/or Kyle. Ken stated his opinion, plane and simple. He did not say you are weak, or that your husband is weak. Get over yourself already Taylor. My husband would most likely feel the same way Ken does. He is a man’s man, and believes he can sort out his own problems. This does not make him better or worse than someone who chooses to go to therapy. When Taylor brought it up again in the car I think Lisa handled it with class as always. If you have a problem with Ken talk to him.

  36. aloe juice says:

    I don’t need to see these bitches fighting about nothing among themselves and with their husbands. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    this is EXACTLY how i feel about the RH franchise

  37. sinjin says:

    I watched the episode where they were going to Camille’s house in Colorado, and Adrienne had the German Shepard playing with the new puppy in the bedroom. Did she give it away in the following epi?

  38. sinjin says:

    (I’m paraphrasing) Lisa said “I feel so sorry for Camille; because of the divorce she’s having to sell all her houses and she’ll be left with ONLY 2. The situation is dire!”

    I was stunned. The excessive consumption w/ seemingly no comprehension of what is happening in the world is sickening.