‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ is one of the best present on tv. Sure, actually.

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

To those that would snicker, you’re lacking out. Oh, how you’re 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 name Erika Jayne. Her 82-year-old husband, legendary lawyer Tom Girardi, stands accused by the feds of embezzling tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from purchasers.

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

Tom, Erika claims, immediately had dementia. It was the one means, she mentioned, that he may have executed such a sophisticated Ponzi scheme.

In fact!

Nonetheless, 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 though he was unconscious for 12 hours.

No one is aware of about that, she mentioned, though that may have been newsworthy.

Someday later and really lately however Erika’s unsure when — as a result of they’re getting a divorce and never talking, besides Tom calls her day by day — 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 automobile 5 occasions whereas driving by means of the California snow.

Tom Girardi
Erika Jayne claims her husband, Tom Girardi has embezzled hundreds of thousands of {dollars} on account of his dementia.

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

That is a few of the best dialogue ever. It’s additionally a few of the best battle ever, watching the opposite Housewives determine 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).

The high-level battle is whether or not to go in opposition to 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 ladies 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 imagine it. To cite RHONY MVP Bethenny Frankel, you may’t play good and silly on the identical time. Erika’s a self-proclaimed hustler good sufficient, she as soon as mentioned, to cross the bar with out going to legislation college.

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

Certain, different housewives have been accused of fraud, and one actually 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 problems, 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 Pressure. In my subsequent life, I wish to be on it.

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

“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Bethenny  Frankel
“Actual Housewives of New York” alumni Bethenny Frankel lately got here beneath hearth making “transphobic” feedback on her “Just B” podcast.

Probably the most weak individuals you possibly can think about, and he charmed them as he stole their cash, funneling $20 million into his spouse’s quixotic vainness 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 acquired caught.

However Erika — Erika’s actually not sorry. She gained’t even fake to be sorry. How may a Hollywood swamp creature not know higher? Kris Jenner’s only a cellphone 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 means of social media, Page Six, countless recaps and podcasts and Reddit threads, an ABC Information documentary on Hulu, an exposé within the Los Angeles Occasions that one Housewife declared too lengthy to complete however completely surprising nonetheless, and numerous different boards.

Nobody believes Erika Jayne besides maybe 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 exhibiting a non-public dinner by which Erika’s tales had been mocked by the husbands.

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

Over at New York journal, a whole bunch 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.

Talk show host Andy Cohen with Erika Jayne.
Discuss present host Andy Cohen needs to take advantage of the recognition of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” as a lot as doable.
NBCU Picture Financial institution through Getty Photos

But Erika gained’t learn the room.

After the scandal broke, she posted a cartoon drawing of herself almost nude, burning on a cross, sporting earrings that learn “widows” and “orphans” — a reference to the Lion Air victims. She extra lately Instagrammed near-nudes whereas calling her followers “gullible.” Rihanna, an infamous RHOBH super fan who tapped Erika as a Savage X Fenty ambassador, rapidly 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 he or she positively, intentionally wore non-waterproof mascara on digicam so her tears would look much more dramatic — against the law in opposition to 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’t afford to warmth her pool.

Erika Jayne achieved one factor: her lifelong aim of turning into well-known, no matter the cost — 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 gasoline after buying at Goal.

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

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

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