I rewatched this and I noticed a few new things. Spoiler alert: none of them are in Denise’s or Aaron’s favors, but all the players involved were wrong on some level:
They flash-backed twice to Denise saying “I will be mindful of them being in earshot of all of us,” “them” being the kids. Clearly Dorit’s daughter being right behind her while she was cussing up a blue streak didn’t fit into what Denise said. Dorit was sitting two people away from Denise in a small, intimate gathering. I would think part of being “mindful” would mean that she could crane her head to the left and the right before saying all iterations of “fuck” at a children’s party. She was professing one standard while exhibiting another. That is the definition of a hypocrite.
Dorit didn’t have to make the specific request that Denise not say “fuck” over and over in front of her very little daughter. Denise said she was going to be mindful of the children’s presences. Those were her words. Is there anyone who doesn’t know it’s not good to say “fuck” and “fucking” in front of little kids? Does Dorit have to explain to Denise that she doesn’t want her to drown her daughter in the pool also? If Dorit had gotten all up in arms about it, I would take Denise’s side. I would say that’s what happens when you shoot a Housewives show at your home and alcohol is served. Shit happens sometimes. But Denise was still wrong. She was not being mindful of the kids. Yet she got a pass on this from everyone except Teddi, who got a tongue-lashing.
The most disingenuous part—the part that really bothered and kind of shocked me though—was that Denise is putting this all on Sami. She said, “I wasn’t even going to say anything until Sami said something to me and I was like ‘oh shit’.” Meanwhile, there is no footage of Sami saying anything other than they overhead them talking about threesomes and stuff and it was really funny. What Sami said verbatim was, “Mom, we were dying of laughter, it’s fine.”
If Denise doesn’t like the way the women were talking in front of children, fine. She can say that. What she doesn’t get to do is lie by omission and make it bigger than it was. I would have 20x more respect for Denise and I would be so much more on her side if she had said, “in all honesty, Sami said she heard it and it was funny for her, but I was kind of embarrassed that I even had to have that conversation with her about threesomes in the first place and I wish we had established better boundaries.” Sometimes you have to give an inch to get a foot, and Denise clearly didn’t get that memo.
I’m not going to entertain any conspiracy theories that there was other footage of Sami being embarrassed on a grassy knoll and this was swapped in to save the reputation of Denise’s daughter...the way I look at this is that I have to go off the four corners of the episode or there is literally nothing to discuss.
I think a lot of this is being told backward, especially by Aaron. And I am kind of ashamed that there is not one woman smart enough to set him straight. Aaron was saying “what is your problems” when the one with the main problem was his wife. Aaron got to skate on that one because everyone was so worried about how they were being perceived to say, “hey, wait, bud, you’re not making sense.”
Prior to the barbecue, the women’s collective problem was the idea that Denise perhaps didn’t want her kids around them, which is what they said at Garcelle’s event. But no one confronted her about that particular issue. I think they were wrong; they were a little embarrassed and ashamed that they were talking loudly about sex with teenagers in earshot and they didn’t immediately calm down. It seems like their party line is, “yes, we fucked up, but we’re good moms.” They probably did a little Monday morning quarterbacking and thought that Denise is all over TV—reality TV, not just Wild Things—talking about happy endings and big dicks, so they thought they were free to say those things in front of teenagers and when they were stopped short by Denise, they were a little like, “what the fuck?” And there pride was too strong and they had to dissect it and it looked petty. That was about their biggest mistake as a group before the barbecue.
I am not excusing them; they were wrong, but this is what I think was going on with them before the barbecue at Kyle’s. It was hashed out too far and too long, and I wish someone would have just spoken from the heart and said “I’m embarrassed and part of my embarrassment is manifesting in looking at ways that you have exposed your kids to inappropriate sexual situations, and I’m trying to think it through.” (Then again, if Eileen were there, she would have said that, and she got all kinds of shit for talking in “therapy terms” during her tenure—and I was one of the people who thought she was laying it on a little thick—so sometimes there is no winning with these women, even with me, so I have to be honest about that). But I do think someone should have said something genuine to Denise, especially if they were going to spend so much time trying to trap her in her own web. What happened to Rinna’s “own it!”?
It is just my opinion, but I think it is more objectively wrong to curse violently, like “fuck this” and “you’re shitting all over me” in earshot of kids than it is to talk about sex acts within earshot of teenagers.
Having said that, I’ll say this for the 90th time because I feel like this keeps getting confused—Denise has a right to set any standard in her house she wants. She can mandate that everyone has to wear magenta eye shadow or they will be escorted off the property (Rinna would like that one) and that should be adhered to, but right besides house rules, there is common sense. I don’t think it can be discounted that Denise was serving alcohol and filming a reality show that has sexual overtones in her backyard. Same goes for Kyle. She also shot a reality show with alcohol in her backyard, and that’s probably why no one did make a big deal when Denise and Aaron were doing so much cursing. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
At the restaurant the night before the barbecue, Aaron laid out the standard to which he supposedly adhered: “ It’s so simple. Don’t be rude and crude when there’s kids around.” He would later go on to totally fall below that standard.
On the way to the barbecue, it was clear Denise was pissed and she was on a mission. Just the fact that Denise said, “I won’t be eating” and that she wanted to go to a restaurant because all the women would be fighting meant she wasn’t going there in good faith. She shouldn’t have gone. She should have just went to another restaurant with Aaron if she didn’t want to be with these women. No one was putting a gun to her head and making her do her job.
Denise was lying when she said she wasn’t upset with anyone at this table from Santa Barbara, because she had been to a facial where she was bitching about it and then she called Teddi a “shit fucking stirrer” about Santa Barbara. So she was given the opportunity to give her side and say why she was pissed, but she was being passive-aggressive in denying it and then throwing stones.
Lisa asked if Denise was more concerned about the friends being there and Denise replied “both.” The fact that you can’t be “both” more concerned about your daughters’ friends hearing sex talk and more concerned with your daughters hearing it being an impossibility aside, Denise clearly had an issue with them.
At the barbecue, Denise made that comment about not bringing her kids, namely Eloise, around “this group,” and Teddi and Dorit asked her directly what she meant and she was just silent. Teddi asked again and Aaron jumped in mansplaining (I don’t really know how to define mansplaining, but like Justice Potter Stewart, “I know it when I see it,” but if that is going to detract from my argument, please just substitute “explained condescendingly” for “mansplain”) and asking what the issue was.
And I think this is where it got really stupid, because the person with the issue—as I laid out above—was Denise at this juncture. It could have/would have been so clean if Denise had just come and said Eloise had a play date, and acted pleasantly and if anyone brought up the sex talk, then Aaron could have swooped in to make all of his self-righteous and demeaning comments about moving on and being honest and talking about something else.
They played their cards wrong, because they were on different tangents. That’s why I said I think Denise should have just skipped the barbecue and gone to a restaurant like she wanted. If anything, Aaron should have gone to the barbecue alone. But it’s dissonant when one spouse walks in with a puss on her face and an attitude and passive-aggressive digs and the other spouse is going in to ask the other women what their problem was. If Denise could have refrained from having a problem, it would have packed a substantial punch. Good teamwork geniuses.
Something that keeps gnawing at me is that Erika was Denise’s biggest cheerleader last year. She was fan-girling all over Denise like an embarrassed teenager. She took all these pictures of Denise as Bond Girl in the Bahamas and said that her sexual fantasy is Denise and Aaron. I don’t think it’s as simple as to say, LVP left, they needed a new target, so that was Denise.
I don’t think Erika would have just gone after Denise—I think she would have gone after any other woman on the show before Denise—just because LVP isn’t there. Something is different about Denise this year. I think she’s much more image-conscious than she was last year and she’s setting new standards and being more abrasive and saying she’s “fucking Denise Richards” which she never would have said last year and I don’t think Erika is merely “going after” Denise. I don’t think Erika is suddenly jealous of Denise this year when there wasn’t an inkling of jealousy last year (aside from the fact that it’s my opinion that Denise has more to be jealous of with regard to Erika than vice versa. I’m just going off what I witnessed, not my ideas). I think Denise is acting like she’s suddenly above them and that may account for the change in attitude of the cast toward her.
Denise seems like she’s above it all this year. Erika has been a stuck up bitch in the past, but I never got the impression she had an ego about her fame aka Erika Jayne. If Erika had to leave Garcelle’s party early, she would have just been like, “baby girl, I’ve been up since six and I’m so exhausted, I’ll see you tomorrow, love ya, bye.” I don’t endorse the hokey overly familiar shtick; it’s not my style, but it wasn’t cold. I feel like Denise felt this sense of entitlement about leaving Garcelle’s awards party early that was expressed like, “don’t these bitches know I don’t have time for this shit show and I have to work. On my soap opera. Because I’m Denise Fucking Richards.” It’s not something she’s said verbatim—there’s no smoking gun moment—but for me the subtext is there, and that could be why they are turned off to her and channeling it into some controversy over sex talk at a barbecue and who said what when.
I think it’s even more thoroughly ridiculous for Denise to take this superior attitude when this is not a show full of shrinking violets either. Denise may be the most famous I guess, but she’s got no other superlative to claim. She’s definitely not the richest, the prettiest, the skinniest, the youngest, and I don’t think she’s that funny or cool or nice this year either. So even though it’s disguised in jeans, I think Denise’s ego has taken a turn and that could quite possibly be what the women are reacting to. Every single one of them has said something about her, including Garcelle. The same couldn’t have even been said about LVP at the same point last season. So, giving the wisdom of the crowd its due, I think there’s something up with Denise that the cast is sensing and reacting to, albeit in a very bush league, immature way.
I have said in the past that I get the sense that Denise is a good mom. I remember hearing about her taking in Charlie’s children with Brooke, etc. But that doesn’t give her a pass, let alone a pass for life. I watch this show and judge it episode by episode. If someone is behaving badly, I’m not going to excuse it because she picked up Eloise so many times she got hernias. I wouldn’t even know what the point of watching the episode would be if I had my opinions made up ahead of time.
If Denise turns it around again next week and pulls out a win, I’ll be the first one to say it, just like I said I think she won last week. But everyone has to earn it through making good points and sophisticated moves. I’m not just going to hand it to someone because they happen to be a good person. It’s not that kind of show to me. It’s the opposite of that kind of show. It’s a bunch of women competing to be alpha bitch, and Denise could have achieved that if she’d gone into the barbecue with a game plan with her husband, instead of acting like a surly child. Maybe next week will be a better week for her. I’m not sure it could be much worse for her than this week.