‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ is the best show on TV

Spare me your status dramas, “Sopranos” re-watches and streaming snobbery. The very best factor on tv proper now’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

To those that would snicker, you might be lacking out. Oh, how you might be lacking out. That is the best modern-day morality play since “Breaking Bad,” besides it’s all actual.

On the coronary heart of this season is one Erika Girardi, stage title Erika Jayne. Her 82-year-old husband, legendary lawyer Tom Girardi, stands accused by the feds of embezzling tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} from shoppers.

Erika, a 49-year-old mob moll wannabe who by no means revealed a lot about her life, all of the sudden has many tales to inform.

Tom, Erika claims, all of the sudden had dementia. It was the one means, she mentioned, that he might have executed such a sophisticated Ponzi scheme.

In fact!

Nevertheless, Erika additionally mentioned Tom’s sudden dementia was really festering for years, together with that point he drove off a cliff, broke his ankle, and referred to as for assist regardless that he was unconscious for 12 hours.

No person is aware of about that, she mentioned, regardless that that might have been newsworthy.

Someday later and really not too long ago however Erika’s undecided when — as a result of they’re getting a divorce and never talking, besides Tom calls her daily — Tom, who can also be going blind, fought off an intruder and wound up needing eye surgical procedure whereas her grownup son, who’s within the LAPD, flipped his automotive 5 instances whereas driving by way of the California snow.

Tom Girardi
Erika Jayne claims her husband, Tom Girardi has embezzled thousands and thousands of {dollars} resulting from his dementia.

“So yeah,” Erika mentioned in a current episode. “I’m under a lot of stress.”

That is among the best dialogue ever. It’s additionally among the best battle ever, watching the opposite Housewives resolve when to defend Erika or deflect from her lies and when to surrender. The low-level battle is job safety, which can be slipping away for sure determined housewives (taking a look at you, Lisa Rinna).

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The high-level battle is whether or not to go towards the present’s stars and exhibit precise integrity. This has paid off properly for the underdogs, newcomers Sutton Stracke and Garcelle Beauvais.

Erika Jayne
Erika Jayne is fueling all of the worthy suspenseful drama on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”.
Getty Photos

“Housewives,” in some ways, is “Survivor.” Nobody eats, however the settings are extra glamorous.

On a present the place fakery is the premise, obscene wealth and materialism valued above all else, and cosmetic surgery leaves many of those girls actually and metaphorically two-faced, “own it!” and “just be honest!” are the mantras. It’s wonderful. You couldn’t script Erika’s dialogue, as a result of nobody would consider it. To cite RHONY MVP Bethenny Frankel, you’ll be able to’t play sensible and silly on the similar time. Erika’s a self-proclaimed hustler sensible sufficient, she as soon as mentioned, to move the bar with out going to regulation college.

So which is it? Your husband of twenty-two years duped you this entire time? Otherwise you’re getting a divorce to cover property whereas serving to him declare dementia to keep away from jail?

Positive, different housewives have been accused of fraud, and one really served time, however we’ve by no means seen a case of this magnitude or a housewife this sociopathic — and that’s saying one thing. Character issues, particularly delinquent, are virtually a job requirement. Con artists and fraudsters are drawn to this present in disproportionate numbers, and I’m satisfied that the FBI has a secret Actual Housewives Process Power. In my subsequent life, I want to be on it.

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What’s not in dispute right here is that Tom Girardi, most well-known for successful the $333 million class motion lawsuit often called the Erin Brockovich case, stole from shoppers together with a younger burn sufferer and the surviving relations of the 2018 Lion Air crash.

“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Bethenny Frankel
“Actual Housewives of New York” alumni Bethenny Frankel not too long ago got here beneath fireplace making “transphobic” feedback on her “Just B” podcast.

Probably the most susceptible folks you possibly can think about, and he charmed them as he stole their cash, funneling $20 million into his spouse’s quixotic self-importance profession as a middle-aged sex-bomb singer whose catchphrase is “pat the puss.”

That Tom doesn’t appear sorry isn’t any shock. He’s a thief and a liar who lastly received caught.

However Erika — Erika’s actually not sorry. She received’t even fake to be sorry. How might a Hollywood swamp creature not know higher? Kris Jenner’s only a telephone name away. It’s the abiding thriller of the season.

Defiance performs properly within the Housewives meta-verse, till it doesn’t. Erika’s storyline has torn by way of social media, Web page Six, countless recaps and podcasts and Reddit threads, an ABC Information documentary on Hulu, an exposé within the Los Angeles Instances that one Housewife declared too lengthy to complete however completely surprising nonetheless, and numerous different boards.

Nobody believes Erika Jayne besides possibly Andy Cohen, who solely cares about scores and pop-cultural relevance. However the producers and editors are signaling their full and utter disbelief, permitting Erika to hold herself in numerous testimonials — her hair and make-up decompensating since giving up the $40k-per-month glam squad — whereas displaying a non-public dinner during which Erika’s tales had been mocked by the husbands.

That’s when you recognize the bottom has shifted: The husbands get within the ring.

Over at New York journal, tons of of commenters convene after each episode, dismantling Erika’s tales whereas castigating recapper and EJ loyalist Brian Moylan. It’s the form of ethical outrage that accompanied Watergate.

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Talk show host Andy Cohen with Erika Jayne.
Speak present host Andy Cohen desires to take advantage of the recognition of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” as a lot as potential.
NBCU Picture Financial institution by way of Getty Photos

But Erika received’t learn the room.

After the scandal broke, she posted a cartoon drawing of herself practically nude, burning on a cross, sporting earrings that learn “widows” and “orphans” — a reference to the Lion Air victims. She extra not too long ago Instagrammed near-nudes whereas calling her followers “gullible.” Rihanna, an notorious RHOBH tremendous fan who tapped Erika as a Savage X Fenty ambassador, shortly dropped her.

Pop star Rihanna was a giant fan of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”.
Getty Photos for Savage X Fenty

Whether or not Erika is complicit, we could by no means know. However she’s not horrified that she married a monster. And she or he positively, intentionally wore non-waterproof mascara on digicam so her tears would look much more dramatic — a criminal offense towards actuality TV.

“Look at my life!” That is Erika’s favourite on-air lament.

Oh, the woes: She had to surrender “the Lambo” (gag). She has to drive a Vary Rover. She lives in a tiny home now, simply 10,000 sq. ft in Hancock Park. She will be able to’t afford to warmth her pool.

Erika Jayne achieved one factor: her lifelong aim of changing into well-known, regardless of the price — whether or not that meant leaving her 3-year-old son behind to chase sugar daddies and stardom in L.A. or pumping her personal fuel after procuring at Goal.

And so we’ve probably the most reviled American determine since Bernie Madoff: a grotesque illustration of the COVID-era wealthy not getting it whereas the remainder of us attempt to make sense of all of it.

Our reward, after Wednesday evening’s finale, is an unprecedented four-part reunion. Erika, wouldn’t you recognize, takes all of the credit score for that.