Five episodes to watch while you chuck back the loosies from your scrip stash and sign some headshots for Nanny and the Professor fans.
Welcome to our new series, The Essential…, where I propose five episodes that embody the perfect madness of one special Housewife. For our inaugural Housewife, let’s dive down the dark rabbit hole that is the life and times of Kimberly Richards.
Central to the character of Kim Richards is her relationship with her sister Kyle, a Tennessee Williams play that’s been unfolding for the last half century. After an inaugural season of simmering tensions, their hurt feelings explode all over the screen in an incident that comes as close to violence as possible without actual bloodshed. Kim is an alcoholic. Kyle stole Kim’s house. The closet door is open and the bones are public art.
S02E17: “Leis and Lies in Lanai”
If the sustained leitmotif in the tale of Kim Richards is her bailing on filming at every possible opportunity, we must pay special attention to the season two trip to Hawaii, where Kim finally manages to turn up to Mauricio’s birthday dinner nine hours, two planes, and seventeen excuses later. Special love for centrepiecing Kim’s bizarre tic of calling Mauricio “Maurice” even though he and Kyle have been married for 21 years.
S02E19: “Night of a Thousand Surprises”
A truly disastrous outing featuring Kim’s controlling boyfriend, Ken. A night of slammed doors, missing drugs, and a zonked out Kim cruising around a party telling everyone who will listen that she needs to dump Ken… but always preempted by Ken wandering into the conversation to monitor her. The night ends with an abortive attempt at a truce between the Richards sisters, sidelined by Kim’s confused insistence that she’s pregnant.
S04E13: “The Curse of Carlton”
In order to acknowledge that the woman is more than her addiction, it feels right to highlight an installment from sober Kim. In this season four episode, Kim attends a fan convention. I always love footage about Kim’s child actor days, a bizarre time warp that gives perfect context to every aspect of her personality, and it’s very sweet and gratifying to watch her through the eyes of people who love her… even if they love her from her one-ep guest spot on CHiPS in 1982.
No list of Kim triumphs would be complete without her ultimate argument: the bust-up with Lisa Rinna (Why don’t you have a piece of bread and maybe you’ll calm down?) and Eileen Davidson (I’ve had enough of you, you beast!) in Amsterdam. Kim plays the dotty addict but when she fights, she goes for blood. So too in this legendary tour de force that ends in a river of tears, broken glass, and the enduring question: what did Harry do?
S02E04: “Gossip Girls”
Kim Richards ruins a basketball game.
S02E06: “Let the Games Begin” / S02E07: “Games Night Gone Wild!”
Kim Richards ruins a games night.
S05E10: “House of Cards”
Kim Richards ruins another games night.
S07E20: “Reunion, Part 2”
Kim Richards ruins a beautiful gift.