Type keyword(s) to search


The Time Has Come for Lisa Vanderpump to Return to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Lisa Rinna's out, Erika's on the rocks — the timing couldn't be more perfect.
  • Lisa Vanderpump (Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo)
    Lisa Vanderpump (Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo)

    The winds have shifted in Beverly Hills. The distinct scent of pink roses wafts through the air. The yapping of little purse dogs can be heard in the distance and getting louder. It's time. Lisa Vanderpump needs to return to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

    It's been nearly four years since Vanderpump, one of the founding housewives of the Beverly Hills offshoot, left the series in a huff, after the other women all resoundingly turned on her. The confrontation was long overdue: Vanderpump's reputation as an expert manipulator of the other women had been discussed openly for years. After curdled relationships with the likes of Adrienne Maloof and Brandi Glanville piled up, she finally reached a tipping point and alienated too many people. Lisa tried to get Teddi Mellencamp to accuse Dorit Kemsley of mistreating a rescue dog, a maneuver that blew up spectacularly in her face. By this point, the women had Lisa's number, and rather than endure the rest of what was obviously shaping up to be a takedown season, Lisa decided she'd had enough rand refused to finish filming Season 9.

    Since then, Vanderpump has been relegated to her own spinoff, Vanderpump Rules, as well as less-successful attempts at launching new shows on Bravo (Vanderpump Dogs) and beyond (E!'s Overserved with Lisa Vanderpump). Meanwhile, in her absence, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has gotten… intense. Since Season 10, when the "Fox Force Five" clique of Kyle, Dorit, Teddi, Lisa Rinna, and Erika Girardi tried to tear down Denise Richards, the show has since been embroiled in Erika's legal problems, Dorit's house getting broken into, and the maybe-trumped-up Kathy Hilton scandals. The drama has gotten repetitive and boring. None of the FFF ladies will ever truly turn on one another, so it's just been a succession of new women like Garcelle Beauvais, Sutton Stracke, and Crystal Kung Minkoff being targeted by the clique.

    Earlier in January, it was announced that Lisa Rinna wouldn't be returning to the show for its 13th season. Rinna was one of the loudest voices in opposition to LVP, constantly calling her out as a liar and manipulator, all stemming from a Season 6 incident when LVP nudged Rinna to insinuate on camera that fellow cast member Yolanda Hadid was perhaps faking her Lyme Disease. Shortly after the news about Rinna's departure broke, Lisa Vanderpump tweeted:

    "Ding dong," as in "the witch is dead." You couldn't blame Vanderpump for reveling a bit in the downfall of her rival. As Kathy Hilton put it in the Season 12 reunion, it was Rinna who ran LVP off of the show. But more pertinently, Vanderpump's willingness to mix it up, even obliquely, may have opened the door to a possible return. The timing could not be more perfect — for one thing, the show needs a shake-up. Beyond getting rid of Rinna, the conflicts have gotten stale. It's been two seasons of Erika picking on Sutton, Garcelle feeling left out of the inner circle, and rehashing Crystal and Sutton's Lake Tahoe argument again. Lisa Vanderpump may be the only cast addition strong enough to knock this show off its increasingly wearying axis.

    It's probably the most advantageous time for Vanderpump to return, as well. Her downfall in her first stint truly began when Erika joined the cast. Up until then, Vanderpump's manipulative antics were largely welcomed by a fanbase that simply enjoyed watching her. But when Erika hit the scene, she became the new fan favorite, and she targeted LVP from the get-go. Vanderpump's popularity took a hit, and with that, the other women like Dorit, Rinna, and Kyle — who are weak and will flock to power and popularity — began to turn on her. Now, though, Erika is the one whose popularity has taken a nosedive. Her divorce announcement came at the exact same time that her lawyer husband, Tom, was being sued for embezzlement and bilking the widows and orphans of plane crash victims out of their money, and Erika's refusal to offer even a hint of sympathy to the victims, much less culpability, has made her look like a monster. LVP could ride right back into town and take clear aim at Erika, and fans would likely cheer her for it.

    There's also the fact that Garcelle will be appearing on the upcoming season of Vanderpump Rules, as her eldest son got a job working for one of Vanderpump's many restaurants. A side alliance between Garcelle and Lisa would be formidable, and the clash they would have with the Erika/Kyle/Dorit group would be very fun to watch.

    At the moment, there have been no rumblings that Lisa Vanderpump will be back as a Real Housewives cast member. She's been absent from announcements for all four seasons of the Peacock spinoff Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip (two of which have already aired). Vanderpump could be well and truly done with the show, content to tend to her dogs and her restaurants. Or maybe that "ding dong" is a bell heralding more than just Lisa Rinna's exit — maybe the days of diamonds and rosé are still ahead of us after all.

    Join the discussion about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in our forums.

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Bravo, Vanderpump Rules, Dorit Kemsley, Erika Jayne, Garcelle Beauvais, Kyle Richards, Lisa Rinna, Lisa Vanderpump