‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’: Our Daughters, Ourselves

The Set

With real-life circumstances threatening to make an erstwhile guilty-pleasure like the BH Housewives into something gross and dirty, it's become our responsibility as consumers of reality TV to compartmentalize. Surely, quite a bit of this second season is going to be under the pall of Russell Armstrong's suicide, but between purse dogs, snarky domestic help, and (fingers crossed!) electric-cigarette-puffing psychics, we can learn to have fun again. With this in mind, we're tackling this season's episodes in order from the moments that are most demoralizing to the least demoralizing. Let's get through this together.

Pretty Demoralizing

We didn't even want to have Taylor be the most awful and uncomfortable housewife of the episode. And she had serious competish this week. But despite our mixed emotions about what Camille said at the tea party (more on that in a second), Taylor's enthusiasm about shutting Camille out was just unseemly. Like Taylor was so happy to have the moral upper hand over someone that she was really enjoying twisting the knife.

And then there was the matter of the birthday party she threw for little Kennedy out in the great outdoors. Because Taylor feels that it's very important that her daughter commune with nature. So long as that nature is filled up with inflatable bouncy castles and mechanical bulls for mommy's drunker friends. The whole afternoon was summed up by Taylor's all-about-me speech, where she said "my daughter" a few times but never actually spoke Kennedy's name.

Ethically Troublesome

It looks like there's going to be more of this next week, but just for the record: Adrienne Maloof getting all offended because Lisa's daughter's bachelorette party isn't being held at the (Maloof-owned) Palms but instead at the (Lisa's-other-friend-owned) Planet Hollywood is just ridiculous. As often as Adrienne has showed off her disgusting level of wealth this season, engaging in what amounts to million-dollar money grubbing is as tacky as [pick any design element inside Adrienne's mansion].

A Mixed Bag of Complex Emotions

Okay. At the end of last week's episode, we cheered on Camille for stepping up her Season 2 game. But as this episode began, Camille's reasons for snapping at Taylor came into sharper forcus. Basically, she doesn't know if she believes Taylor's claims about abuse from Russell. We're still happy Camille is in the game, but it's really tough to cheer anybody in this kind of a situation.

Of course, we'll take Camille over Kyle, whose immediate reaction to Taylor and Lisa's truce was an utterly ungracious bafflement. Ellen Barkin on "Watch What Happens Live" was right (we will never get tired of typing those words), Kyle thrives on the conflict swirling around her, and can't deal with a truce being brokered that leaves her out of it.

Relatively Guilt-Free

Poor Lisa was once again stranded on a story island with Kevin Lee, Wedding Godzilla. Our Chi-Chi-Chi-Chi-Chi-est Beverly Hillsian came to Lisa and Pandora's latest wedding-planning session armed with ostentatious scrolls and some giant invitations encased in big pink-satin boxes. Pandora ultimately was captivated by sending out her invites inside "Pandora's Box." Which, if nothing else, reminds you why it's a bad idea to name one's child "Pandora."

Legitimately Delightful

Taylor's ridiculous birthday party was terrible, but two things were better than six Christmases. One was the presence of Ace Young, former "American Idol" 7th runner-up, erstwhile "Hair" cast member, and one-time heartthrob. Even better than watching Ace flirt with these Beverly Hills doyennes, angling to be the Cedric of Season 2, was the following exchange between Taylor and Kyle:

Taylor: "Ace Young is here!"

Kyle: "Who?"

And not for nothing, but Brandi once again completely charmed us as she narrated Ace's stage patter— raising his glass of booze to his crowd of adoring 5-year-olds—and laughed oh-so-appropriately.