Although Bravo opted against pushing back the new season after Armstrong's suicide on Aug. 15, the show devoted the first few minutes to showing the reactions of the various other housewives and their husbands.
"In the last two weeks after I heard about the news of Russell's suicide, I feel I've been on an emotional rollercoaster," Adrienne Maloof told the cameras in a somber segment filmed on Aug. 29. "This is the time when all the women should get together and find a way to help support each other."
The various cast members gathered at Maloof's house and shared their reactions to the news. The housewives also discussed the speculation about the various reasons why Armstrong might have taken his — namely the importance of financial status in the 90210 zip code. "It was too much pressure," Kyle Richards said.
Bravo President: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will be re-edited
Lisa Vanderpump and Camille Grammer also discussed the women's lack of a bond with Russell, who in the first season was depicted as distant and reserved in comparison to his more fun-loving wife. "I think a lot of us have some guilt about not seeing this coming," Richards said, tearing up. "For me, it's very hard to move forward because it is such a tragic situation and so many people have been left hurt by it."
However, Richards noted, "Life goes on. It has to." And so, after a quick note explaining that the season was shot prior to Russell's death, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills quickly returned to its regularly scheduled programming of dress shopping, dinner parties and lots of drama.
The only noticeable cut made to the premiere episode (an early version was sent to critics prior to Russell's suicide) was a segment in which Taylor was seen shopping for lingerie in hopes of spicing up her and Russell's sex life. However, Taylor's discussion of her and Russell's marital problems and subsequent therapy sessions remained in the episode. Russell never originally appeared in the Season 2 premiere, so it is still unknown exactly what his presence will be in future episodes.
What did you think of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season premiere? Do you think the show handled Russell Armstrong's suicide in the right way? Should Bravo have pushed back the new season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.