For the last five seasons, I have used the following words – both in writing and in the baffled crevices of my own mind – to describe the kind of person Kristen Doute has willfully decided to portray herself to be onscreen:
· Candidate for lifelong intensive therapy
· Amateur voodoo priestess
· Professional stalker
· Woefully misguided pseudo-human
· A hunk of organic matter completely devoid of self-awareness
· Sole person to blame for why we as a society know of the repulsive existence of James Kennedy
· Batshit crazy woman forever trapped in a stunted adolescence of her own creation
· The person I'd least like to be trapped in an elevator with anywhere, including Trump Tower
I realize that those descriptors aren't exactly the finest illustrations of my own kindness or compassion or the most effective way to show female solidarity, but I tend not to strive to find an element of sisterhood when I’m not quite sure the other thing in the equation is of my species. For years now, Kristen has chosen to get paid to go on television and behave in a manner slightly more unhinged than that one student I had who used to think he could communicate with the phantom people sitting in the empty desks. That guy was certifiably nuts, but he was also a good person; he rarely to never rhapsodized about the joy he would feel if someone got plowed down by a Mack Truck driven at full speed. That guy never slept with someone his best friend was in love with and he never then went on television with every single person in the bullshit scenario and expected the secret to stay buried. And even on the days I assigned long and complicated research papers, that guy never once recommended that I go suck a dick.
But it’s a new year and I always feel mildly generous in the waning days of January, so perhaps I should consider that I haven’t given Kristen all the credit she deserves. Sure, the stored bitterness she is prepared to haul around forever probably weighs more than her spleen, brain, and pancreas combined and – despite the fact that she is currently in the most perfect relationship that has ever been witnessed by someone who’s manic – she would probably still attend Ariana’s funeral in the dress with the plunging neckline she once wore to go “pick up her mail” at Sandoval’s apartment. Still, maybe it’s time for me to accept that Kristen is so much more than a poster child for the insane. Maybe it’s even time that I come to terms with the truth that she is, at her very core, a renaissance woman who not only has perfected the art of psychosis, but comedy as well.
We will eventually get to the stunning portion of the show where Kristen is reborn as a comedienne, one who is just like Carrie Fisher and Joan Rivers so long as your measure of similarity only requires that, for a time, all of them had a uterus. But first we must deal with the fallout that follows every single trip ever taken on this series. It’s not enough that we as viewers had our faces psychologically smooshed into the smelly squalor that was that RV; now we have to discuss the experience. Before we get into the details of exactly which strand of fungus ended up growing in that portable shower or why Stassi saw a bathing suit with a turtleneck and thought purchasing and then wearing it was a good idea, first we get to find out that Lisa is creating a puppy apparel line. Upon seeing that every item of clothing Lisa is designing is swathed in layers of tulle, my very own puppy took one look at the television and then one look at me and announced that she is moving out – and taking my valuables with her – if I ever try to shove her snout through one of those itchy-looking v-neck sweaters. But there is more to focus on than just doggie attire. Lisa is out to choose a new dress for her SURvers and she picks one that Lala definitely will not have to wear undies with and that, my friends, is a gigantic relief. With that humongous business decision crossed off her To Do list, Lisa then inquires about the trips both Schwartz and his fiancé recently returned from and they both swear they had the best time and that they are positively exhilarated about getting married soon. Katie even ends up inviting Lisa to her bridal shower and my faith in Lisa is restored when she agrees to not really come to the event, but to “swing by” instead. Then Lisa hits it out of the shady ballpark when Katie explains that she will not be at work later because she will be very busy watching Kristen’s sketch comedy performance and Lisa responds by blithely saying, “She’s the least funny person I know.” I appreciate a woman who speaks nothing but the truth, even while she outfits her dogs in yards of hot pink marabou.
Over at SUR, Brittany tells Scheana that her mother is on her way to Los Angeles and that means she needs to clean every inch of her apartment and also hold a quick prayer session with the goal that her boyfriend will act human and not prove himself to be the person he truly is in front of the woman who gave birth to her. While Brittany runs out to buy the sage, Lala shows up. Sandoval and Ariana have not seen her since she blew off Ariana’s birthday and now they would like some answers. “I’m going to be honest with you guys,” Lala begins – and somehow she doesn’t burst into flames after saying it. Instead she explains that she has no desire to be around people like Jax who hate her, and I get that sort of sane reasoning. Sandoval has a point, though, when he asks why she didn’t remove herself from the invite list, but to be totally frank with you, I had a hard time listening to Lala’s excuse because she began by referring to herself once again in the third person and I’d rather blow someone who legitimately believes that Donald Trump will make America great than listen to anyone speak about herself in such a bullshit manner.
Also: Sandoval has decided he’s done forever with Lala and explains that decision by telling Ariana that he doesn’t need people in his life who are going to fuck him over. Um, Sandoval? Have you met your good friend, Jax? He’s the one who fucked your former girlfriend while you were still with her and then refused to apologize for it? Remember?
It’s comedy time, everybody! Kristen is about to perform at the Improv with her theatre troupe! Allow me just to say this: Kristen’s hair looks really pretty. Now allow me to say that a generic sketch about dick pics is not all that funny, though the blurred-out large color photo of Jax’s penis struck me as somewhat impressive in terms of girth. As for the man with the cock of the hour, he thinks it’s messed up that Kristen claims to be such good friends with Brittany and she is still willing to blindside her with a close-up of her boyfriend’s balls by showing it off onstage, but this scene right here shows us everything. This scene right here illustrates exactly what kind of friends these people are to one another. Who’s jealous?
Also: not a teeny tiny bit of me believes that Sandoval was able to recognize Jax’s dick because he knew the shoes in the picture were Jax’s.
Also: Jax probably would make an excellent dildo model. And now the annual compliment I feel I must pay the guy to be viewed as fair is officially complete.
Needing to flex her combative muscles so she can one day gain the strength to tell her miserable boyfriend to go fuck himself, Brittany decides to practice on Kristen. She calls her over to inform her that she was offended that Jax’s penis was an honorary member of Kristen’s theatre troupe that evening, but since she has no idea what it means to be a good person, Kristen patently refuses to apologize. I can only hope that Brittany allows her mother to drag her back home to Kentucky where maybe finer people exist. But before her mother gets there and maybe brings her daughter a backbone, Brittany invites Stassi and Kristen over to her apartment so they can all listen to the podcast Stassi recently recorded with Jax. Now that his apartment is populated entirely by women he’s slept with, Jax confronts Kristen about his surprise appearance at last night’s show and she finally sort of apologizes after Stassi remarks about how this group of friends is so very forgiving. I’m not gonna lie – I burst out laughing when the Queen of Any and All Grudges announced that forgiveness is the quality that this group of people is known for. Personally, I just figured it was the amount of money they spend on Valtrex.
Since it’s in all of their best interests to find someone to collectively hate so they can pretend to ignore that they really all loathe one another, the talk quickly turns to Lala. Turns out Kristen stalks Lala’s Snapchat – because of course she does – and she reveals that James was just on it even though he claims not to like her anymore. And right here is when the most bored group of people who exist in our society formulate a plan. They will sit James down and get him to spill the dirt on how Lala is dating a married man so Stassi can certify her as an official skank and so Kristen can do her cardio for the day by laughing great big belly laughs as she watches someone’s life get annihilated in front of cameras. These people are fucking monsters.
Speaking of monsters, Lala shows up at James’ apartment to find him reading a book and offering her ice cream. She is horrified that her dear friend who clearly has a problem with alcohol will not do a shot of whiskey with her, but what James is horrified about is how many lies Lala tells him. She claims she spent the time she was supposed to be in Sonoma at the Beverly Hills Hotel and that her mother paid for it and the only one who saw her naked there was her dog. James – like the rest of us – knows the girl is full of shit and she doesn’t make any of it better when she asks if he’d like to hop in the helicopter that’s whisking her and some of her friends off to a palatial house in Malibu that has its own helicopter landing strip. “Who’s paying for that?” inquires James, a man slightly less repulsive when he’s not breathing out a steady stream of tequila spittle. “That’s just how things work in L.A.,” Lala explains to him and I have to wonder if she heard the great roar of laughter created by every woman and gay man watching this show across this vast nation.
Maybe Lala should have just been honest with James, even if it was off-camera. See, had she not just alienated him with even more ridiculous lies, perhaps he wouldn’t be willing to sit down with Stassi and Kristen, two girls who literally have nothing better to do than ruin Lala’s life. I realize these women don’t work and they need a storyline so Bravo doesn’t cut them loose, but is there no shame invading their souls – even in the wee hours of the night – about the fact that they are adults who spend far too many hours plotting against people for sport? (Yes, that was a rhetorical question.) Anyway, James agrees to meet them under the pretense that they have very important things to tell him. “She says she does not like you,” Kristen tells him about Lala, something James believes instantly in spite of the fact that he knows exactly what the motivation is for Kristen revealing this information. But let’s face it: James is an imbecile and he cracks. He tells them that Lala’s boyfriend makes people sign a nondisclosure agreement before they’re permitted to hang out in one of the several homes he rents for his prostitute-sweetheart and he even shows them the NDA on his phone. Kristen all but shoves a monocle in her eye so she can get a closer gander at the legal document, but sadly the man’s name is nowhere to be found and Stassi and Kristen – the worst Cagney and Lacey impersonators who have ever lived – leave with only more suspicions burning, much like the burning feeling an exposure to Jax’s penis used to cause.
Across town, Brittany’s mother has arrived. Sherri is very smiley and she’s wearing big earrings and she knows nothing about how many brawls Brittany gets into with her boyfriend or how they make up over excellent rounds of monkey sex. Jax shows up next and he nicely refrains from pooping with the bathroom door open, but he does find himself having to explain why he is not really a churchgoer while dodging questions about how long he plans to live in sin with Sweet Brittany. Meanwhile, Katie’s bridal shower is underway and Kristen, Stassi, and Scheana are working tirelessly to make this shower an event people actually want to attend. It appears there is a ton of Taco Bell being served so even though I cannot stand these people, I’d show up for a soft taco supreme. I’ll even tell Stassi she has the best taste in swimsuits while I’m there if they throw in a chimichanga.
Also: with that Scientology joke Sandoval briefly threw out there, he should probably prepare for the website www.WHOISTOMSANDOVAL.com to spring forth from the bowels of the internet immediately.
Katie’s bridal shower is going swimmingly until Stassi decides to confront Ariana about her presence. Ariana is a groomsman, okay? She is not a bridesmaid and Stassi will simply not tolerate her being there while Katie unwraps chaste lingerie and the blowup doll Lisa buys for her. (Also: I would like to invite Lisa Vanderpump to every party I ever have and I’d like my blowup doll to look like John Hamm.) Stassi finally begins her daily confrontation after Ariana denies ever seeing or signing an NDA given to her by Lala’s boyfriend, probably because the only benefit Stassi could have seen in Ariana’s presence was the dirt she could potentially provide to fill in the blanks in the Who Is Lala’s Boyfriend storyline. The whole thing reminds me of the Who Killed Laura Palmer thing from all those years ago, except that mystery was interesting and not just because it had a dancing dwarf. Anyway, Stassi decides Ariana is lying about the contract and Katie decides that Ariana is disloyal for not shoving her fist down Lala’s throat after she called Katie fat and Ariana probably should have just stayed home because these girls are assholes who need someone to attack at every given moment. I do worry that if Ariana leaves, they all might start ganging up on Katie’s grandmother. The woman looks pretty scrappy, though; she can probably handle herself.
“I don’t get in fights with my friends,” Ariana explains to Stassi, and it’s a sentence Stassi clearly doesn’t understand in the slightest. But Ariana’s follow-up remark of “I don’t give a fuck about you,” is one Stassi is clear about immediately. And the second she realizes she has a brand new enemy to destroy, balloons fall from the ceiling and every single one of them is shaped like Jax’s dick.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Also be sure to check out her website at nellkalter.com Her Twitter is @nell_kalter