Bravo TV

Finding Dorit: The #RHOBH Character Who Has Viewers Talking

finding dorit

I frequently hear complaints that a reality television character is offensively over the top. However, week after week those same folks lamenting are the ones tuning in to the program they gripe about. It is the outlandishness of various cast members that keeps us riveted to shows, despite our efforts to deny that fact. Let’s face it: For a majority of us, without the contrast of these obnoxious personalities we would not be watching — or more precisely, “hate watching.”

Last season on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Dorit Kemsley came across as a troublemaker…with a grating quasi-English accent to boot. Arguably, the latter offense maximized the phony vibe this nouveau riche, pretentious and ostentatious Housewife gave off from the start of her Real Housewives tenure. Dorit comes across as privileged, entitled, showy and exceedingly effusive, while at the same time there is something fishy about her and her husband PK. We keep watching as we try to figure out who this person is and what makes her tick, what is authentic versus what is for show. If you fancy yourself a Real Housewives anthropologist or an armchair psychologist, the act of dissecting Dorit…finding Dorit….comes instinctively as she’s a rather baffling character.

“Isn’t she from Connecticut?” we all asked one another last season, and shortly thereafter, awkward photos from her high school days surfaced. In no time at all, they were circulating widely throughout social media. There she was in the graduation shot from her all-girls school class, 1990s poof curls and that signature reddish brown lipstick that marked its territory (all of our lips) during that decade.

Dorit Lemel high school.png

Dorit’s undying and overboard professions of love for her questionable cad of a husband PK – who looks much older and is noticeably less attractive than his wife – and their taunting of Erika Jayne for unintentionally flashing her undies (AKA “Pantygate) pitted many a RHOBH viewer against her last season. Camille Grammer was once labeled “The Most Hated Housewife” and Real Housewives of New Jersey‘s Siggy Flicker may have LITERALLY taken the cake, but Dorit wore the gold plaited crown on RHOBH. Some viewers have decided that she is the “worst Housewife” in Real Housewives history.

dorit gold leaf hair.jpg

But, she’s pretty.

The many looks, the cakey maquillage, the expensive designer duds, the lavish affairs, the ever-changing hair (about a dozen wigs so far this season alone) combined with absurdity and superficiality…Say what you will, but it all earned Dorit a fawning following last season. If Boy George – who is purportedly managed by PK and inexplicably seems to live with the Kemsleys – can appreciate Dorit, then so can many others. Testament to that is the fact that her Instagram blew up after her inaugural season. For some, there was a certain allure to Dorit and her bloviating manner. Then this year, she returned and turned up the level of brashness full force. Viewers have recently expressed that they’re fed up seeing her gunning for the most stable – and entirely-too-normal – new cast addition Teddi Mellencamp. When the most laid back Housewife was called “psycho” by Dorit, viewers expressed that she had surely lost her marbles.

The question with Dorit is: How far is too far? How much will RHOBH fans be able to tolerate? Viewers seem to have sharpened the focus even more upon hate-watching the Housewife this season. Some have even begged Bravo (via the various social media channels that exist) to fire her.

Based on what we are seeing of Dorit this season, many of us have questions:

Is that indeterminate accent a put-on? Or is it the sort that was legitimately acquired from being married to a Brit and exposed to his diction day after day?

Does Dorit always act as if she hasn’t seen her children in over a decade? Why does she prance them around in front of her friends as if they’re show ponies before a live audience?

What exactly does PK Kemsley do (besides manage singer Boy George – although maybe that is enough?)? More specifically, how does the couple afford their sprawling mansion?

There have been allegations that the house we see them in actually belongs to businessman, investor and philanthropist Sam Nazarian. What we do know is that the mansion is on the market, currently listed with Mauricio Umansky’s real estate company. Is it merely a salacious rumor about Nazarian owning the house, or is it fact? In short, viewers wonder: How much about the Kemsleys is a facade and how much of the glamor and glitz is reality beyond “reality TV”?

Sam Nazarian

WIKIPEDIA, Sam Nazarian

Erin Martin, a writer for Reality Tea and host of the Pink Shade podcast says that Dorit reminds her of former RHOC Alexis Bellino, just “a smarter version, with a British accent and bad wigs.” Martin further elaborates: “Like Dorit, Alexis was totally fake with HUGE boobs and had a gross husband like PK. She and her husband both turned out to be lying about their financial status the entire time. They were broke and were renting everything they showed off. This is very much like what has been alleged to be the case with Dorit and PK.”

erin martin twitter

TWITTER, Erin Leah Martin

Then there is the question of: Is Dorit for real when she makes a big deal? We see it this season when she makes a whole stink about the cup from which she takes a drink. We want to shove each glass up her….

And as you know from the show, there’s one for wine, another for champagne, one for red that should never be utilized for rosé…and so on….

wine glass dorit

BRAVO TV, “The fact that I know a wine glass from a champagne glass is etiquette,” Dorit told Teddi in an earlier episode of RHOBH, “Sorry, I know it.”

Dorit is a very particular woman and she makes her preferences and thoughts known without much filtering. After all, she was responsible for making last season’s “Pantygate” a huge debacle, and this season, the focus seems to be on “Lategate.” Her costar Teddi Mellencamp was miffed that she arrived an hour after their scheduled meeting time, but Dorit is the one who refuses to let Teddi’s annoyance with her go. She remains unapologetic for her tardiness, claiming instead that Teddi is uptight.

Danny Pellegrino, host of the podcast Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino had this to say about the Dorit of last season and the Dorit we’re seeing now:

Danny Pellegrino

FACEBOOK, Danny Pellegrino

Dorit didn’t impress me much on her first season of RHOBH, and she’s not impressing me now. The problem, I think, is that she is a solid ensemble player, but she has become the star and villain of the show in her second season. I don’t think it’s necessarily her fault that the storylines have revolved around her. Unfortunately, I don’t think the other women gave enough for production to latch onto, and it’s forced Dorit to take center stage. These shows are soap operas, and every good soap opera needs a villain. Dorit has taken on that role, but she’s not a strong enough villain for us to root against (or for, if you love the drama a villain brings).”

“Because of that, she ends up coming across as simply annoying, like a discarded Batman villain. If the show had a stronger villain, someone like Brandi Glanville or season 1 Camille, I think it would come across better because the audience wouldn’t be relying on her to drive the story as much as we are now. Lisa Rinna seems to want to take a backseat this season after spending so much time filling that role previously, and Lisa Vanderpump  and Kyle are coasting by on their seniority. The tardiness storyline that is driving this season is so incredibly weak for a series that has dealt with domestic abuse, alcohol addiction, squabbling sisters… In another season, that storyline would be a great little B-story that audiences would love because it would be campy, over-the-top and the right amount of ridiculousness. Unfortunately, Dorit being tardy has become the A-story of the season, it’s leaving viewers upset and it’s hard to point the finger at anyone but Dorit since she’s the tardy one. “

“The one thing I do really appreciate from Dorit is her fashions. Her choices range from ridiculous to flawless in any given scene. Even if you don’t like her, it’s fun to see what she’ll be wearing, and that’s not something you can say about any of the other Housewives, save for maybe Erika. I hope for Dorit’s sake that someone else (or multiple people) step up next season to drive the storylines so that we can appreciate Dorit in smaller doses than what they are giving us now. As is, I think a lot of us are rooting for Dorit to get off our screens so we can get some more meat in the drama. It is entirely possible that Bravo is looking to move away from that type of show, and giving us more lifestyle porn with tiny bits of drama, instead of dramatic catfights and table flipping. If that’s the case, I think it will turn off a lot of fans. Lastly, I think we can all do without PK entirely. I think all fans are in favor of him appearing even less than Mr. Girardi.”

The 80s icon and famous pop star Boy George recently chastised an Instagram user for not being able to appreciate a campy woman. Is that where many of us are going wrong with regard to Dorit? While some viewers have stated that they can’t wait for her to leave the show already, I’ve referred to this season as “The Real Filler Scenes of Beverly Hills” and feel that Dorit spices up an otherwise boring show. I have not been able to identify many “storylines” since the current season began.

So, even as Dorit offends and irks, I feel she is delivering necessary drama through her erratic and mind-boggling antics. There is no denying that her questionable behavior has fans talking, tweeting and weighing in…albeit, to their own chagrin. I’m not sure where we would be without her, or who would still be watching if she wasn’t on our screens.