'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' — Photo courtesy of Evans Vestal Ward / Bravo

It appears the ladies of leisure on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills have received a rather large dose of actual reality.

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but this was a lesson learned the hard way when reality star Taylor Armstrong’s millionaire husband Russell committed suicide just prior to the second season airing. Bravo executives decided not to push back the much-anticipated season premiere, but they did edit some of this season’s footage.

What Bravo did not edit was a montage of last season’s footage that prominently featured Taylor’s heartbreak over her failing marriage. This leaves viewers assuming that this season will highlight their troubles after all.

The first episode began with all the women, except Taylor, gathering and discussing the tragic event of Russell’s death. None of these larger-than-life millionaire housewives saw the signs of Russell’s troubles. This is no shock to viewers. Russell never seemed very close to any of Taylor’s cohorts. He appeared at times anti-social and shy. They did, however, remark on how sad Taylor had appeared because Russell was so withdrawn from the marriage. This small scene seemed to be Bravo’s attempt at a memorial to Russell’s memory.

In the actual episode, Adrienne Maloof holds a fancy dinner at her humble digs … I mean sprawling mansion. She tries to demonstrate early in the season that she wishes to extend an olive branch to the other women in the hope that the incessant bickering will cease. However, Adrienne and her husband are the ones bickering. A rather uncomfortable exchange takes place between the two at the dinner table. The bickering borders on a brawl before dinner guest Lisa Vanderpump interrupts to calm the two down.

This sets the mood for the rest of the evening’s debauchery. Taylor is asked about her ongoing marriage counseling. She seems exhausted trying to keep it all together for her young daughter. All the ladies seem supportive, except for Lisa’s husband, Ken, who states in his thick British accent that therapy is a sign of weakness. Taylor storms away in tears.

Ken’s aggressive behavior is shocking, considering the fact that he is the type of man who doesn’t leave the house without a designer-attired dog named Jiggy. I guess his love of well-dressed pooches is no sign of weakness on his part.

This episode is just enough to wet our whistle for the upcoming season. So break out the diamonds, nosh on your caviar while sipping your fine champagne, and mark your calendars for a much-anticipated glimpse into the reality of opulence and riches on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

By Bear Adams / TV Columnist / Bear@HollywoodSoapbox.com
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John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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