“I’m so excited I finally get to, like, hang pictures in my own house again.”
Even if we hadn’t seen the title card, in which she flips her hair and shrugs self-effacingly in a tight black dress as her name swooshes by, we’d know from the scrubby brown hills of the San Fernando Valley and the slightly off-kilter music that it was Kimmy Richards time on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Kim is hunched over, Gollum-like, on her living-room floor with her manservant Milton, surrounded by a volume of picture frames usually not seen outside an Aaron Brothers, deep in the kind of monomaniacal project mode that is all too familiar to us by now. She is organizing them by child. Milton isn’t really helping so much as looking on, slowly realizing that this is not a group activity. “So this is Kimberly … Whitney … Kimberly …” Kim recites each child’s name slowly and deliberately, as if she’s going through flash cards the night before a big exam.
Kim pauses on a photo of Brooke, her firstborn. “Oh, my Brookey,” she croaks.
“Beautiful,” Milton says. “Just like mom.”
Kim’s face lights up as the music pauses for a few catty plucks of pizzicato. “Youthinkshelookslikeme?”
“I think she looks beautiful,” Milton says carefully.
With the subject of physical appearance now broached, Kim proceeds to deliver the most breathtaking segue perhaps ever uttered on reality television.
I look at myself in the mirror sometimes, and there’s all these changes going on inside my body, and outside, and all around my life, and I’ve decided I’m going to do … my nose.
Please be aware of the fact that if Bravo were to cut together and air a feature-length supercut of every scene of Kim Richards at home, it would win 90 Emmys.
Kim then tells us how she arrived at this decision via an elaborate reenactment of the consultation she had with plastic surgeon Dr. Grigoryants. In this dialogue, she portrays herself as an impish diva who is “in the mood to do something,” while the doctor is the calm, somber voice of reason. “What about — just the eeyyyyess?” Kim purrs, pulling back her eyelids in case the doctor didn’t know what part of the body she was referring to. Then, as the doctor: “I really can’t. It’s just not right.” Kim-as-Kim coyly shrugs one shoulder. “Mmm,” she looks off to the side, her golden hair falling across her face. “Whataboutma’nose?” she says in an alarmingly suggestive slur. There is a long pause as Kim-as-Dr.-Grigoryants pauses and takes this in. Then: “Your nose I could do!”
All the while, Kim continues to sort through images of her children, gazing up worriedly as Milton starts arranging the frames in the hallway. So much time has passed, so many memories, so much time wasted — is a hallway full of photographs all she’s taking away from it? She holds up a picture of her youngest, Kimberly, grinning into the lens with a full set of baby teeth. “Will you look at what a ham she is?” Milton takes the photograph and nods. “All my kids are hams. What’d I do?” It doesn’t matter that Milton perhaps doesn’t appreciate the picture with the same complexity of emotion that she does; right now she just desperately needs someone else to tell her that her past is real, that the life in these pictures is the same life she’s living now, that there’s some order to all of it. Because who knows what could happen to her if she loses sight of that?
“Hmm, OK. Nose’s gotta go.”