It turns out that tonight’s episode of Vanderpump Rules is titled Jax Cracks – and having such a ridiculous rhyming gift bestowed upon me obviously means that I need to immediately deliver a speech expressing my sheer gratitude.  (Full disclosure: I’m coming off having Oscar fever, so I’ve been making acceptance speeches all day long.  The guy at Starbucks looked incredibly confused when I thanked both him and my third grade teacher for my non-fat latte.)

But on to my appreciation for Jax Cracks:

I’d like to thank the programmers at Bravo who realized long ago that the population at large would literally watch anything as long as it’s run as part of a marathon.

I want to acknowledge Andy Cohen for being the closest thing to an Evil Genius ever seen outside of a comic book and for helping to usher in a society where the sound “NeNe” all of a sudden has a terrifying meaning that makes toddlers and grown men alike cower in utter fright.

I need to take a moment to recognize the former and the current Housewives for lowering the bar of personal exploitation until that bar began to reside in the flaming depths of hell and for illustrating the potential repercussions of what could befall an entire family due to a proximity to fleeting reality television fame.

I want to thank the cast of Vanderpump Rules, who have collectively and systematically refused to see the negative outcomes inherent in baring one’s life to both a camera and an incredibly judgmental audience.  Thank you, Vanderpumpers, for having absolutely no guile whatsoever.  

I’d especially like to single out two members of the cast.  Jax, while I have no idea what finally makes you crack – as per the episode title – I’d like to venture that it’s either gazing at yourself in a reflective surface and having a moment of clarity wherein you realize just how vile you are or that the titular cracking came about because you applied a medicated ointment somewhere you should not have.  Either way, thank you for proving that evil does exist in human form and for serving as televised evidence that any decent looking person can become hideous when his heart and his mind are bleak and charred.  And Kristen, while I hope that one day you seek out some psychiatric help – perhaps a live-in mental health professional who manages to get your health care provider to include tranquilizer darts as part of your insurance plan – and that you begin to search for a life that won’t lead you to one day permanently residing in VH1’s Sober House, I must ask that you refrain from getting help until after this season ends, because I need shit to write about. 

I’d like to express gratitude to the men in my life who have enough confidence in their virility to banter with me about this show – or who have at least smiled politely and told me that we could talk after the show ended and managed to not laugh directly in my face as they said it.  

Finally, I’d like to thank my mother, who always told me that I could do anything (except appear on a reality show) and that my talent could take me anywhere (except to a house lined in cameras for a reality show) and who is so beautiful that more than one of my suitors has looked at her and then at me and sighed a great sigh of relief.  Her genetics allow me to forgive her for refusing to watch the programming on Bravo and therefore having no idea what it is that her youngest daughter writes about.

Thank you all so very much for this honor!

Okay, so I got a little sidetracked there, but it was fun to pretend I was on a stage somewhere and not back at Sur where we learned in the first thirty seconds of this episode that Jax has no idea how many days are in a year.  We also discover that he allegedly told Kristen to keep her composure at Scheana’s wedding instead of hauling off and punching her boyfriend directly in the face before the cake was served, but I’m a little suspicious about that particular reveal.  I think that if footage existed somewhere of Jax teaching Kristen etiquette, we would have definitely been shown some of that fabulousness.  I’m therefore far more likely to believe that Jax said absolutely nothing about to Kristen about her ready-to-brawl behavior and is telling Sandoval and Ariana that he did say something because he is a pot-stirring sociopath who spreads gossip along with disease and, now that Kristen is officially no longer working at Sur, Jax needs some allies and figures he can snag some by dangling terrible tidbits about a girl everyone fears before their weary eyes.

It’s not the worst plan Jax has ever had.

Elsewhere in the restaurant, Kristina is setting glasses on top of a table and asking the stars above why she is not yet in the opening credits of this fucking show when karma shines upon her by bestowing a miserable Katie into her eyeline.  

“How was the wedding?” asks Kristina hopefully, the lilt in her voice betraying her very real need to hear some very bad news.

“It was actually really nice,” responds Katie.

“Don’t say that,” Kristina actually moans.  “I want to hear all the bad things.”

Kristina has a point here.  It’s not a good point, but it’s a point.  See, if she doesn’t hear viable gossip and stories about the people who actually star on this show, how can she possibly run to tell Stassi all that she has learned, thereby giving herself somewhat of a storyline?  Why can’t Katie tell her that Scheana not only wore a crop top as she walked down the aisle but that she also peed in the champagne and then had tantric sex with a guy who might or might not have been her uncle on one of the bluffs that overlooked the exact spot where Schwartz gave his girlfriend of four years a ring on a string?

Why is the universe so unfair?

But none of us should worry about Stassi.  If she can’t get some good dirt from Kristina, she will just go to Peter!  And as she and Peter meet up for grilled chicken wraps and gossip and to keep Stassi somewhat relevant, I made a mental note to remind myself that Kristina is all kinds of useless.

Thank goodness I didn’t thank her in my acceptance speech.

Stassi is excited to get together with Peter so she can hear about all the shit that went down at a wedding attended by people she claims not to care about and she is rewarded with the Tale of the Punching Kristen, an event nobody at the event actually saw but one they all continue to talk about in detail.  Peter explains that Kristen has become more and more unhinged since the night she waltzed into Sur with Miami Girl to confront Sandoval, and Stassi reveals that Kristen has been texting her recently in the hopes that the two of them can get together.  Obviously, there comes a moment during dinner when Stassi gets to maintain that she is so beyond all of these people, but she is curious to see what Kristen is currently scheming about because only a normal person texts an old friend to meet up for benign reasons; somebody like Kristen texts an old friend in an effort to construct a thread of misery that even our most learned psychiatrists have no idea actually exists in the depths of the human psyche.

“Kristen is a car crash in slow-motion and I am so curious and I need to watch it,” says Stassi, and I know just what she means.  It’s while she is uttering a sentence like that one that I am reminded that Stassi is no dummy.  She might be an asshole who I believe could very well shrivel up and die if she didn’t have omnipresent cameras pointing at her face and producers telling her how very important all of her opinions are, but she knows quite well who around her is sane and who is not and she apparently also knows how to dispose of a body, and a girl like that could actually be very helpful in a certain kind of crisis.

Speaking of a crisis, Lisa sits down with James at Sur.  James folds napkins and looks particularly ridiculous as his hair swoops alarmingly to the left as though it is at half-mast since his relationship with the girl who slugged him went downhill.   James explains to Lisa that he was beyond drunk at the wedding and that he’s a little insecure about his relationship with Kristen and Lisa tells him that perhaps Kristen is not the right woman for him.  Now listen:  I know that Lisa might get a lot of shit for getting involved in this scenario and I’m sure that Kristen used this scene for as much ammunition as she could lug with her to the recently filmed Reunion.  But the truth is that you cannot really claim that Lisa should not get involved when she is the producer and the star of the reality show that you have all signed contracts to appear on.  Plus, everything that Lisa says to James about his questionable choice in mates makes excellent sense, so Kristen can suck it and really, what we should all be most concerned with is the fact that James says that he is happy with Kristen “every day,” which clearly means that young James has lost his mind entirely and maybe that’s why he makes such problematic style choices.

Also a sign that his rational mind has now ceased to exist like he’s a former Manson follower, James meets up with Kristen the next day.  Both are wearing black – they’re in mourning, you guys! – and James immediately launches into an apology for getting upset that Kristen is still completely in love with her former boyfriend and leaving his face open for two of her punches. He tells her that he has evaluated his actions and that he loves her and she lets him know that their relationship feels tainted now.  He then attempts to explain to the delusional woman sitting sullenly before him that it’s difficult for him to watch her obsess about Sandoval constantly, but that’s a charge that Kristen will not accept.  See, she’s obsessed with everybody knowing the truth – that Sandoval cheated on Ariana months and months ago with that chick from Miami – and her total desire for the truth is what she is obsessed with, not Sandoval!

Quick reveal:  if you can burn calories by laughing, watching Kristen maintain that her quest for truth was at the root of her insanity just made me go down two sizes.

Fear not, though, single people of the world:  neither Kristen nor James is back on the dating scene because these horribly damaged creatures have made up and declared their love for one another and the world makes sense again, as long as you look at it through a haze of tequila.

At another bar, Sandoval, Ariana, Schwartz, Katie, and Jax meet up for drinks before their shift at Sur.  As the group talks about the wedding, the ring on a string is brought up and even his adorable glasses can’t stop Schwartz from looking like a douche for handing over to his engagement-obsessed girlfriend a ring not meant for that particular finger.  He is apologetic and looks like he genuinely feels badly for causing Katie pain, but the same look does not appear on Katie’s face.  No, as Schwartz explains that it is his financial instability that is causing him to not move forward with the engagement, Katie looks like she is trying to stop herself from lunging across the table to rip her boyfriend’s eyes from the sockets behind those cute frames and then wearing his corneas on a string instead of that bullshit ring.  She restrains herself because her name is not Kristen, but it seemed touch and go for a while there.

Also discussed at the table is that Kristen, her friend (!) Rachel, and Carmen went out recently and Carmen and Kristen got into a fight with a stripper, who mistakenly decked Rachel.  You know – it was just a typical night out for Kristen who throws down with strippers like I get pedicures, but her behavior has become so alarming that even Jax states that she might need some help.  And when Jax is the one commenting on your questionable and fleeting sanity, it’s pretty much a sure thing that you are teetering on being clinically fucked.

Back at Sur, Scheana arrives.  She’s just returned from her Hawaiian honeymoon and she looks less than thrilled to be donning a Sur dress, but she manages to look even less thrilled when she sees James, the guy who had the nerve to get punched at her wedding.  James asks to speak with her privately and takes full responsibility for what transpired.  Now, I’m not so sure why Scheana cares so much about an incident she didn’t even hear about until well after it ended, but she is still in the It’s MY Day mindset, so she allows herself to be annoyed.  That said, she also allows herself to make a rather astute comment that the reason that Kristen dates guys who are nine years younger is so those guys will be dumb enough to take the blame for her whirlwind of crazy.

At the bar, Lisa joins Peter and Jax to inform them that she needs some help at an event she and Lance Bass are throwing at Pump.  Lucky Puppy is an organization that places dogs with loving owners who have at least one string of a moral fiber within their beings, and that stipulation alone makes Lisa immediately put the kibosh on the dim light bulb that tries to shine above Jax’s head as he contemplates becoming a dog owner.  And on behalf of all of the humans and all of the canines, I think that Lisa needs to be congratulated for making the declaration that Jax should never adopt a dog.

Jax does inform Lisa that Kristen has been texting him furiously, wanting him to speak with her about her ex-boyfriend engaging in a maybe-hook-up with a girl long after Kristen and he broke up.  Lisa – being of sound mind – doesn’t understand why Kristen should care about such a thing but she does tell Jax right to his face that she knows that he loves to gossip, but that maybe in this case, he should employ a little thing called diplomacy and deal with the Kristen situation head on and finally be done with being inundated with texts from a lunatic.  Lisa’s final suggestion on the matter?  Have your talk with the mad one far away from Sur.

Jax is not the only one Kristen has been bombarding with texts.  Just as she told Peter, Stassi has continued to receive messages from the girl who used to be her friend before she slept with Stassi’s boyfriend, and Stassi is finally curious enough to find out what fractured pieces of information are crackling around in Kristen’s mind or she is desperate enough for camera time to actually meet up with the girl for lunch.

Over sandwiches and cocktails – I’d totally be drinking at that meal too – Kristen tells Stassi that all that she wants in the entire world is for Jax to admit that Sandoval has been lying and that he cheated on Ariana in Miami.  And she’s so frustrated that Jax will not just admit publicly that his best friend is a cheater!  Why will Jax not help to ruin his friend’s life?  What is wrong with everybody, wonders the person who will soon be the focus of an episode of Dateline Mystery.

“It drives me nuts because it makes me look like I’m the liar,” Kristen explains to Stassi, and here I must mention that I have personally called and have heard Kristen called a lot of things:  delusional, fucking insane, warped out of her mindless skull – you know, the typical and fully-deserved insults heaved her way.  But I can’t recall too many people calling Kristen a liar.  The issue of her glaring dishonesty doesn’t seem to be a focal point anymore, not since she finally admitted to sleeping with Stassi’s boyfriend last season after hiding the truth for a very long time.  Her being a liar is not the cause of her social banishment.  That she’s a walking and talking piece of shitty distortion seems to be why she’s not invited out for coffee more frequently.

At first, Stassi actually gives Kristen some advice about how to break Jax and get him to admit to what he knows.  Kristen needs to get him to say something incriminating in front of Scheana so there is a witness.  She needs to continue to push Jax because Jax will break.  But then Stassi does something kind of impressive, and it reminds me that I kind of like Stassi:  she suggests to Kristen that maybe Kristen needs to just let all of this bile-filled baggage go.  She tells Kristen that she has lost her friends, her job, and is on the verge of losing her boyfriend, and that – for the sake of her own well-being – perhaps she should drop the need to expose the fact that Sandoval cheated on somebody once who wasn’t even her.

It’s some solid and blunt advice that Stassi gives to a girl she owes exactly nothing to, and she does it while wearing a dark lip that she pulls off quite well.

“Kristen needs to stop pointing out the flaws in others to make herself feel better,” Stassi states perfectly, but that logic sails right over Kristen’s muddled head and she tells Stassi that she wants to just try one more time to expose a lie within a story of which she actually has no part.

Over at Pump, the Lucky Puppy event is underway, and maybe nothing made me happier than watching all of those precious doggies find owners who will love them.  I wanted to reach through the screen and grab the dog who had its tongue hanging out of his mouth as a permanent feature, but that technology has not been invented yet, which means that both Apple and Google are slacking.

Sitting together at the event, deep in conversation, are Jax and Sandoval.  Jax tells Sandoval about how Kristen has been in constant contact with him recently and that it’s all about the Miami situation.

“Should I just ignore her calls?” Jax asks Sandoval.

“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk about me to Kristen at all,” Sandoval tells his stupid friend, and he reiterates that both he and Schwartz have felt rather betrayed by Jax because of his continuous habit of telling tales about the men he claims are his closest friends in the entire world.

Jax puts his head in his hands, devastated that he has been such a shitty friend and Sandoval speaks to him quietly and with a solemn tone while wearing a knit beanie on his head and the entire scene is maybe the least classically-masculine thing I have ever witnessed in high definition or in real life.  To be certain, I grabbed a hold of the testicles of the man closest to me and shook them like a Magic 8 Ball while asking if this moment on Vanderpump Rules was in fact the least classically-masculine vision I’d ever been blessed with gazing at directly.  

The answer?  Ask again later.  Fuck those Magic 8 Balls… 

Before we can skid our way into the biggest scene of the night – Kristen orchestrating a confession from Jax whilst surrounded by witnesses – first we head over to Stassi’s apartment so Kristina can pick out a dress to borrow from her friend and get to appear on camera in the process.  Win-win!   Stassi tells Kristina all about her meeting with Kristen, and she doesn’t change or embellish the story in its retelling.  She explains that she gave Kristen the advice to try to move forward, but there’s very little chance of that happening since Kristen has essentially devolved into a human cadaver stuffed to the brim with pathos, the likes of which Aristotle could never have conceived.

Stassi also informs Kristina that she has been asked by Lisa to style the annual Sur photoshoot, an event that always makes me laugh because it just strikes me as the kind of thing a producer suggests doing as a way of shoving everyone in the cast into one setting so truths, lies, and hair-pulling will ensue, but perhaps I’m just cynical and every restaurant holds elaborate photoshoots for their staff.  Stassi ends up earning a few more points from me when she tells Kristina that she is turning down the opportunity because she simply doesn’t want to be in a room with people she despises, and not even the sweet suggestion by Kristina that Stassi could choose clothing ten sizes too small and then stuff Scheana into it so she feels badly about herself all day long serves to get Stassi to change her rather rational mind.

Hopping onto a metaphorical pendulum that will swing us from rational to batshit-out-of-her-fucking-mind crazy, we finally join Scheana, Shay, Kristen, Rachel, and Jax for dinner.  These five people collectively look like the most miserable group in history ever corralled to eat a meal together, and it’s one of those glaring times when I cannot help but think that there’s no way that Scheana would sit at that table if she were not contractually-mandated to be there.  I’d like to say the same thing about Jax, but food is being served and I’m pretty sure that Jax goes where the meat is.

Kristen’s plan is this:  she will get Jax to admit that Sandoval did sleep with Miami Girl, thereby confirming that Sandoval has cheated on Ariana.  And by getting confirmation, Kristen will be vindicated from being called a liar – which again, I have to mention that I can’t recall too many of these people harping on Kristen’s dishonesty as the core of her troubles.  I have personally called this girl a “limp-haired beast” and compared her to the equivalent of foreskin, but I don’t think I have ever called her a liar.

Scheana is at that table and she is sipping wine and looking simultaneously bored and a little nervous and that’s when Kristen bursts out with her tired diatribe about how Jax has told her about Sandoval’s indiscretions and all she wants is for Jax to admit it to a crowd because it’s not fair that she has been judged for cheating when Sandoval has cheated and Schwartz has cheated and everybody has cheated, so why should she be the one who is judged for being crazy?  Then her head spins in concentric circles and her eyes bulge out of her skull and she laughs maniacally and levitates over the table and pukes out a pea-green substance and tucks a thin lock of hair behind her ear and nods serenely when her friend Rachel says, “I don’t want Kristen to look crazy anymore – because she’s not.”

“Kristen,” Scheana explains calmly to the camera in an interview, “people think you’re crazy because you slept with your ex-boyfriend’s best friend, got your friend punched in the face by a stripper, had some girl fly across the country to confront Sandoval, yelled at Lisa, got fired, and punched your boyfriend at a wedding.”  She sums up Kristen’s lunacy in a rather concise manner, but this horribleness will not end due to logic; it will end by imploding after Jax, a tortured moron of a soul, reveals the truth.

“Okay,” says Jax, fully breaking under a little bit of pressure and feeling the need to betray someone close to him because he hasn’t done so in the last twenty-four hours. “This is what happened.  The girl was in the room with Tom.  They were having sex.  Do I think it happened?  One hundred percent.”

As the words left his grotesque mouth and then hung in the air so that Scheana, Ariana’s best friend, could grab a hold of them and drag them back to Ariana and destroy her life in less than a minute, Kristen’s face broke out into a smile so sinister – so vicious – that it was difficult to also concentrate on the fact that she raised her hands in the air and snickered, “Yes!  Victory is mine, bitches!” and proceeded to look happier than she ever has before because she was finally surrounded by other peoples’ pain.

But Scheana is not reacting the way that Kristen wants her to react, which would be by calling Ariana from the table to tell her that Sandoval does not love her and never has and that – by the way – Kristen is Scheana’s new best friend and she’s planning to redo her entire wedding so that Kristen can be the real Maid of Honor.  No, Scheana bursts Kristen’s maniacal bubble by telling her that she’s still not so sure that she believes what anybody is saying about Sandoval cheating and that Ariana doesn’t believe it and that’s really all that matters.  And that, my friends, is when Kristen brings out all the evidence in her sticky arsenal:  that Miami Girl has all kinds of information on the defining characteristics of Sandoval’s dick, and her incredibly accurate knowledge of the telltale markings prove that she saw it in close-up and I really hate myself that a part of me cannot stop wondering what the fuck is on Sandoval’s dick?  Is it a tattoo?  Is it a freckle shaped like Kristen?  What is it that makes that penis so identifiable?  I fear that I will go to my grave never knowing the details.

Sick of Kristen’s glee over the impending pain of her friend, Scheana and Shay get up to leave, but before they can make it to safety in the parking lot, Kristen confronts Scheana to tell her that she will never stop hating Ariana.

“I’m so sorry that your best friend banged my boyfriend,” she sneers.  “I don’t feel bad.  That bitch is lucky that I’ve been really fucking cool.”

To translate Crazy into English, what I think Kristen is saying is that she has not a wee bit of regret that Ariana will soon find out – due to Kristen’s successful manipulation of a moron – that she has been betrayed and that Kristen believes that plotting her death and bringing random girls into bars for confrontations illustrate just how fucking cool Kristen has been to Ariana this entire time.

On that note, the episode ends.  Scheana looks spent and like she wishes she had thrown herself brows-first into a volcano in Hawaii so she would not have to deal with this insanity; Jax is congratulating himself for holding onto a secret for more than fifteen minutes and is already plotting how he can make his verbal betrayal somebody else’s fault; and Kristen will probably fall into a deep and dreamless slumber later on, knowing that at least she has truth on her side.  Then she begins to drool onto her pillow and the pattern that her drool creates looks exactly like Sandoval’s one-of-a-kind penis.