Now, that's one way to start a season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
All eyes were already going to be on the Bravo reality show following Lisa Vanderpump's dramatic (and drawn out) season nine exit, then during filming of season 10 rumors started swirling. Everywhere you looked, there was something new about Denise Richards. And after months of rumors about Denise, Brandi Glanville and whether or not they had any kind of sexual relationship after Denise married husband Aaron Phypers, RHOBH tackled everything head on in startling fashion. It was nothing short of an expert move.
The premiere of RHOBH featured Denise, Kyle Richards, Teddi Mellencamp, Erika Girardi, Dorit Kemsley, Lisa Rinna, newcomer Garcelle Beauvais and friend Sutton Stracke all enjoying New York Fashion Week. Kyle had a show that many of her costars walked in because of course it was time for Kyle to have her own fashion line and subsequent fashion show. Everyone was getting along, enjoying each other's company. There was a refreshing lightness that RHOBH hasn't had in some time, not a hint of the storm to come later this season…until the very last scene. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills broke the fourth wall in such a startling and enjoyable way.
It felt like a scene straight from HBO's The Comeback. Lisa Kudrow starred in and co-created the comedy that followed sitcom star Valerie Cherish turning to reality TV to help reignite her career, for her comeback. Valerie often struggled with the cameras following her, she tried to control the reality captured by the film crew she welcomed into her home, often calling for her producer not to use certain scenes by shouting, "Jane, Jane!" In an effort to continue her profile, Valerie even joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for a very short time, Lisa Vanderpump guest starred in the season two premiere that gave viewers a taste of what Val was like as a Housewife. She bristled at the drama and situation she found herself in and called for Andy Cohen, destroying the scene. Sound familiar?
In the real Real Housewives of Beverly Hills premiere, Bravo gave viewers what they wanted and teased the drama involving Denise, when she stopped filming with her cast mates and her own Valerie Cherish moment as she called out "Bravo! Bravo!" in an effort to end the conversation and trash footage while filming a scene with her costars.
Pulling back the curtain on the cast confessionals, showing the likes of Kyle and Lisa Rinna discuss what's to come with Denise and the rumors, while not giving too much away was the smartest move RHOBH producers could make. It served to tantalize the season ahead, acknowledging the elephant-sized rumor, while not giving too much away. With social media and gossip sites, there was no way the rumors were going to stay contained and adhere to the show's structure.
"We're on camera, don't say a f—king word," Denise warned Aaron in the preview.
Cameras pulled away to show Kyle and Lisa Rinna retouching their makeup, talking to producers and even talking to each other on the phone.
"You sign up to show our real lives. You can't hide anything. Do I think it's comfortable to talk about my daughter's eating disorder? No, but that's life…Denise has a secret and no matter how hard you try, the truth always comes out," Lisa Rinna said in a confessional.
The icing on the cake, on this reality TV gift came when viewers heard a producer off-camera ask Denise, "So, Denise. You ready to talk about all this?" The only response viewers got: a mischievous smile that only a seasoned Hollywood pro like Denise Richards could deliver.
That's how you handle story that took on a life of its own.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on Bravo.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)