This week marks an incredibly significant anniversary in the Real Housewives universe. Five years ago today, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills took an overseas trip to Amsterdam (courtesy of Dutch-born Yolanda), and before long, Kim Richards and Lisa Rinna engaged in the epic (literal) throwdown where Kim alluded to Rinna's husband (TV's Harry Hamlin) having some skeletons in his closet that Lisa wouldn't want revealed, at which point Rinna flipped out, broke a wine glass, and nearly choked her to death.
This week marks the 5 year anniversary of #RHOBH's iconic Amsterdam fight, which aired on March 3, 2015! What do you think is the most iconic fight in Housewives history? pic.twitter.com/yWlZBqixo1— WWHL (@BravoWWHL) March 4, 2020
It was amazing. To set the stage: Kim Richards and her sister Kyle were founding cast members of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and their early tension was soon revealed to have been in part about Kim's drinking problem. Over the show's first four seasons, Kim struggled to get on the right side of her issues, while maintaining an arm's-length approach to discussing it with any of her castmates. In Season 5, soap stars Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson joined the cast, struck up an early friendship with Kyle, and began poking around the edges of the Kim Problem. Which is to say, they began to question Kim's hard-won sobriety when she did things like show up at Eileen's house for poker night clearly inebriated. Yet every attempt to engage Kim on the issue (on-camera, at least) was met with evasion and hostility.
And so, we arrived in Amsterdam, after a private flight where Lisa Rinna once again broached the subject of Kim's alcoholism, trying to commiserate with the story of her own family's struggles with addiction. Kim wasn't having it, and when Rinna obliquely brought up the subject of family members' addictions at an otherwise placid Amsterdam wine lunch, all hell broke loose.
It's impossible to pick out just one favorite moment from this encounter. It's Housewives at its finest, missing only a tossed prosthetic leg to complete the effect. Rather than simply present my pick for best moment, I'm going to rank the top ten. My criteria for ranking is a) how memorable the moment is, b) how outrageous the moment is, and c) how applicable the moment is to gifs and image macros. Is this a wildly indulgent and over-specific tribute to one brief moment on a Housewives show, you ask? To that I say why don't you get out of here, you beast!
Kim's already on a roll by this point, having shouted down Eileen, and Kyle is mortified. She has no idea she's only seen the tip of the iceberg. But she's also a veteran of these Kim meltdowns and is looking to play defense, which is why she's holding her napkin in front of her like a matador.
Here's where you knew Kim was ready to draw blood, as Eileen steps in to defend Rinna's prodding, and Kim turns on her like they're in a stage production of August: Osage County. Kim pointed dead at Eileen, and when she did, her claw-like index finger stretched almost all the way to Eileen's eyeball.
Since it comes in the wake of "you beast," this exchange between Kim and Eileen often gets lost. But the schoolyard charms of exchanging basic, unvarnished "I don't like you" declarations is refreshing. The extra credit comes if you keep listening to Kim, who says she's never like Eileen, "from your hair to your face to your attitude."
An underrated moment where Yolanda, host of this trip and the person who had encouraged everybody to go around the table and say something true about themselves or others (great plan, Yo), sits in the center of her two great friends, Kim and Eileen, hissing angrily at each other, hands clasped in prayer, looking as serene as the Virgin Mary.
You know those moments in the Friday the 13th movies where you don't see anyone but the camera is advancing and the music is going "ch-ch-ch-AH-AH-AH"? That's how it feels when Kim picks up on Yolanda's perfectly innocent mention of the word husband in order to pivot to throwing around innuendos about Lisa's husband Harry Hamlin.
After Kyle unsuccessfully tries to back Kim down, Kim turns on her sister for not supporting her enough. This is pretty standard fare for a Richards' Sisters scrum, until Kim breaks the unwritten rule and brings their other sister Kathy (Kathy Hilton, who married into big hotel money and is the mother of Paris Hilton) into the argument. Kathy, says Kim, would defend her, because she's a "real" sister. There are certain taboo topics on Housewives shows, and when they're broached, all hell breaks loose. Ironically, Kim's alcoholism was one of those topics until a frustrated Kyle let loose with it at the end of Season 1. By bringing up Kathy — who refuses to participate in Housewives and has had friction over the years with Kyle over what she reveals — Kim goes way below the belt on her sister.
Okay, these top four are the real Moments of this scene. After Kim smacks down Eileen and turns on Kyle, Rinna tells her the way she's acting is unacceptable. So Kim, very much a cornered animal at this point, literally looks to the nearest object on he table (the bread basket!) and suggests that Rinna eat a piece of bread and "calm down" (hilarious since Kim has been the sole aggressor so far). This is a sideswipe at the longstanding rumors of Lisa Rinna's eating disorder, but it's delivered in a classic Kim Richards quasi-devastating delivery, where her words would slay if she could only get them out of her mouth succinctly.
Showtime! Having already pushed her luck in invoking the husbands, Kim gets more direct with Rinna, warning her not to continue this conversation if she doesn't want some nebulous scandal to come out about Harry. Well, at that, Lisa Rinna's switch gets well and truly flipped, and we get the legendary "Don't you EVER come after my husband" threat from Rinna, who backs it up by 1) reaching across the table for Kim's neck (!), and 2) smashing a wine glass on the table in front of Kim, who persists in yelling "Everyone will know!"
It was so hard to choose between the top two on this list, in part because the gif of Kyle fleeing the café, briefly turning back because she maybe forgot something, and then an instant later deciding it's not worth it and dashing right out into the Amsterdam daylight. It's Kyle in a nutshell (conflict-avoidant and overly dramatic at the same time), and it's the rare time that anyone has fled a Housewives scene without making it look like a self-righteous stomp-off.
Truly, though, nothing could beat the beast. While Kim's fight with Rinna got the most out of hand and her fight with Kyle cut the deepest, Kim and Eileen's unvarnished animosity towards each other yielded the best moment. While Eileen tries to shame her, Kim fights back and – again, seeking the right word, landing on the wrong word, and somehow coming out the end more iconic anyway — snaps, "I've had enough of you, you beast!"
Now, some background on Eileen Davidson before we get to her response. Eileen is a Daytime Emmy-winning soap opera actress whose work in the '90s as Days of Our Lives villain Kristen DiMera was formative for your writer here. Through the years, Kristen lied and deceived. She married a priest, she chose to leave Marlena locked in a cage in her father's dungeon, she later schemed to sleep with another priest who was the first priest's stepson. Kristen was the best. For the better part of this decade, Eileen split time between Days and The Young and the Restless. Soap opera performers memorize reams and reams of dialogue, all to be filmed at record speed. Eileen Davidson is at the top of her game. She is trained, accomplished performer in the very specific, melodramatic soap opera style.
So when I tell you that Eileen brought her decades of soap opera experience to her following line, believe me it's true: "Beast?!," Eileen breathes, with wounded affront, "how dare you!" and then comes the next line that doesn't always get as much love but for me gives this moment its rightful spot the edge in the first place: "You came into my home!" It is the single greatest line delivery in Real Housewives history.
Eileen didn't have the easiest first year on RHOBH. She got in Lisa VanderPump's crosshairs, Brandi went all superfan on her and tried to get her to throw a drink in her face before turning on her, Kim and Brandi showed up drunk to her home. Ultimately, she was probably not cut out for the manufactured friendships that the Housewives life requires. But for one brief, shining moment, she knew how to make a scene.
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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, Eileen Davidson, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, Lisa Rinna, Reality TV