It is an age-old reality TV trope to promise that the newest season of a show will be the Most. Dramatic. Season. Ever. But the most recent season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills came pretty darn close to delivering on that unspoken promise as the ladies dealt with the fallout of the legal troubles surrounding cast member Erika Jayne and her husband Tom Girardi.
And now, the first trailer for the upcoming 12th season of the series suggests that its diamond-toting stars will not be toning down the drama anytime soon, much to the sadistic delight of fans.
The nearly-three-minute clip ramps up the anticipation by beginning with ominous quotes narrated by the disembodied voices of the women. “Be very careful, because she’s not who she says she is,” warns Lisa Rinna. “It’s my life to burn down,” says Erika. The familiar brown and yellow Beverly Hills sign from the opening credits appears on screen, a comforting beacon that we are returning once again to our hellish, Botox-filled, diamond-encrusted television home. (What’s that? You think I may have an unhealthy attachment to this toxic reality TV show?)
The 11th season was primarily about the scandalous revelation of the embezzlement and fraud lawsuit against Tom Girardi, husband of housewife Erika Jayne. Not only did the former lawyer allegedly steal millions of dollars, but he took it, as Dorit Kemsley famously pointed out with disgust, from “orphans and widows,” to fund his and Erika’s exceedingly lavish lifestyle. The “XXPEN$IVE” singer filed for divorce from Girardi, and the other women began to question how much she knew while grappling with their own feelings about the horrific allegations in real time — all of which played out in front of the cameras.
Once again, the ongoing legal battle seems to take center stage in the new season. “You want to be on the side of the victims because you think that’s cool,” Erika snaps at co-star Crystal Kung Minkoff, making absolutely no sense at all. “What I’m telling you, I don’t give a fuck about anybody else but me.” Cool flex, Erika! Very sensible defense strategy.
But there are also plenty of other juicy plotlines in store. Things are not all hunky-dory for fan-favorite “friend of” Kathy Hilton (mother to Paris, sister to OG housewife Kyle Richards). She appears to be feuding both with Erika and with her own sister at different points throughout the season. There are hints that Erika has a substance abuse problem, with Rinna expressing concern that her BFF is mixing alcohol and antidepressants. We also see a frightening glimpse of the burglary of Dorit’s home, during which she and her young children were present.
On a tragic note, the trailer also shows Lisa Rinna reeling from the death of her beloved mother and frequent RHOBH guest star, Lois. “I’m trying to figure out how to live without my mom,” she says, looking fabulous in spite of the tears in full glam and a sequined marigold yellow dress. “I’m in a lot of pain, you guys, and I’m doing the best I can.”
The trailer also introduces two new cast members, as well. Diana Jenkins, a Bosnian war refugee and the wife of a wealthy banker, guns for a villain edit. (Literally, she says the words, “You need a new villain? Here I am” with enough ice to build an igloo.) Sheree Zampino, one of Garcelle Beauvais’ closest gal pals, is also joining in the “friend of” capacity. In a randomly relevant twist, Zampino happens to be Will Smith’s ex-wife—too bad filming took place before this year’s Academy Awards.
In between the drama, the trailer still promises plenty of classic RHOBH fun in the form of watching the women spend the same amount of money that it would cost to buy a small house on one designer handbag.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills returns on May 11.