An article appeared on US Weekly’s website this weekend entitled, Scheana Shay: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me. Someone posted a link to it on Twitter along with the words, “#1: WHO SHE IS” and I laughed and briefly mourned a life that might have been mine had I not allowed myself to be seduced by Bravo, the most beckoning and alluring of all the cable sirens. I clicked on the article and learned the scintillating information that Scheana has a birthmark on the iris of one of her eyes and that she loves tacos, but what wasn’t explored in that kind of banal list format was anything about who this girl actually is or what it is that she really longs for in life. Yes, I will go ahead and agree right now with those of you who are screaming, “She wants FAME, dummy!” at your computer screens because nobody would go on one of these shows if he or she didn’t crave attention and I think we can all definitively say that Scheana was one of those people who stared hard at herself in the mirror every night back when she was in high school and wondered if just being pretty would lead to people across the globe knowing her name or if she’d actually have to work really hard and develop some sort of a talent. Luckily for her, she came of age during an era in which talent hardly even matters anymore.
The thing is, it’s hard for me to discount Scheana completely – and I’ve tried. But she’s had some very sharp and perceptive thoughts on this show and she’s shared them articulately and humorously. She has proven herself to be properly comforting and empathetic to several of her friends when they found themselves embroiled in some sort of ridiculous televised crisis. She is a fine worker and perhaps one of the only people who never causes Lisa Vanderpump to wake up screaming in the very dead of night. Scheana has remained fully faithful to one man during the entire duration of this series even though she was initially introduced to us as the former mistress of one of the husbands of one of the Beverly Hills Housewives. Scandalous prior affair aside, though, Scheana has never appeared to even slightly question her ability to be true to her now-husband. So yes, there are some rather likeable things about Scheana and they are illustrated to us each and every week and they’re hard to completely disregard. But on the other hand, this is a woman who is voluntarily friends with Jax. This is a person who didn’t back Kristen up against a wall and quietly hiss, “If you so much as threaten Ariana ever again or ridiculously mutter that she is in any way the cause of your own psychotic form of suffering, I will kick the living shit out of you.” I mean, during the exact time that Kristen was sharing her fantasies about a Mack truck crushing Ariana’s face and inner organs, Scheana continued to spend time with her even though Ariana was her best friend! Then there have been all of Scheana’s spats with Stassi over the years. I don’t think I have ever seen someone crave the friendship of one particular person so much in my entire life, but I think it’s time we all admit that Scheana feels a lemon yellow beam of pure fucking sunlight warm her entire existence whenever Stassi deigns to so much as return one of her texts. There’s a piece of me that feels badly for Scheana here because there is simply no way in hell that this is going to be a forever sort of friendship. Stassi has clearly presented herself as the type of person who needs somebody – anybody – to fight with at all times, and looking at the rickety foursome made up of Kristen, Katie, Scheana, and Stassi, you just know that it’s gonna be Scheana who’s eventually kicked to the curb. You also know the emotional carnage will happen while the cameras are pointed directly at her crumbling face because that’s just how Stassi rolls.
So perhaps Scheana is somewhat complex, a walking and talking amalgam of positive and negative qualities that have been dipped in bronzer, dotted with a nose ring, and paraded before us so we can escape the news for a little while and she can snag herself some of that pretend fame she’s always longed for so badly. Perhaps she is far more multidimensional than any of us could possibly even comprehend at this point, though that sort of thought strikes me as kind of a stretch because the girl’s had five years on television to indicate that she’s totally fascinating and it’s yet to happen. What appears to be way more likely is that Scheana is an attractive woman who recognizes that whatever singing talent she has is slight at best so she wants to capitalize on whatever will make her just as notorious as Britney Spears was during The Bald Years. Even more likely – and far more disturbing – is that Scheana’s inability to be totally loyal to Ariana is simply about her having a flaw and not wanting to have to choose a side because doing something like that is messy and Kristen is way too unstable to piss off completely. And when it comes to her need to be liked by Stassi, isn’t it just time that we accept that Scheana very likely once had a Cabbage Patch Doll who had long blonde hair and looked just like Stassi and the young version of Scheana used to cry whenever the doll’s head would turn and look away from her so she’s trying to resolve an almost buried psychological trauma as an adult by coveting the friendship of a girl who so clearly could care less about her? Or is what’s most glaringly obvious is how I should just go ahead and accept that this entire cast is far more vapid than I have ever admitted and I’m searching for profundities that simply do not exist?
I shall ponder all of these questions throughout this season of Vanderpump Rules with the very same intensity with which Tom Schwartz will ponder how he can get himself out of his upcoming marriage, but for now it’s time to pretend that everything is just fucking peachy so the bride and groom can lock down their bridal parties. Yes, to be selected is sort of an honor, one that comes with the benefits of paying for a dress you’ll never wear again and listening to a once-rational friend start sentences by whining, “You guys, I’m the bride.” As for the groomsmen, one of them will be so blessed as to plan a bachelor party where he will have to warn the stripper ahead of time that she will have to provide her own grapes and that she should really try to steer clear of the sweaty one in the group. Scheana is one of the girls who make the cut to walk down the aisle ahead of Katie and, as such, I would like to say a little prayer: Please Lord, I ask for so little. Please have Scheana perform her song and then twerk during the ceremony. And then please cut to the look on Stassi’s face so we can once again put to rest any possibility that Stassi actually likes this girl.
Tonight’s episode begins at a restaurant where Katie has gathered her friends for a big announcement. Brittany, Stassi, Scheana, Kristen, and some other girls we’ve never seen before show up so Katie can ask them to be in her bridal party and once everyone at the table has appropriately gushed about their level of excitement, Brittany reveals that she and Jax have made up. Sure, he spread rumors about her eating Kristen out all over SUR and cable television, but she swears that he feels badly about it now and it would make zero sense for her to break up with him over such a small thing. Moving on from this week’s Jax Is a Douche update, Katie wants to revisit the fact that last year she and Stassi were not even speaking and now Stassi is in her bridal party! I give Stassi a hard time every now and then because I seriously think she’s too smart to be on this show and I really thought at one point that she was choosing to walk away from a lifetime supply of bland infamy on her very own terms so I was disappointed when she came crawling back, but it’s clear that her affection for Katie is genuine. I really hope Stassi thinks twice before ever again slicing a friend from the fabric of her life just because her ego gets in the way. As for why Ariana isn’t sitting at that table opening a homemade craft project that asks her to be a bridesmaid, Katie’s got a reason and that reason seems fair. Lala has been walking around saying terrible things about Katie for a while now and Ariana has stayed friends with Lala in spite of it all. Katie’s got every right to be annoyed and to shun Ariana from being anywhere near the altar on her big day, though I commend Ariana for getting out of any group that includes Kristen as a member, even if she didn’t do it purposefully.
Also: the bridesmaids have already come up with a group cheer. Oy.
Back at SUR, Lala greets James as he arrives to find out whether or not he still has a job after getting in yet another fight with someone on the premises. It seems there is no shortage of people on the west coast who want to beat the shit out of this fucking weenie. (By the way, should James head to the east coast, I’ll make sure there are people here who can fuck him up as well. And every single person, including me, will obviously go after him because not a single one of us can contain that conflagration of jealousy we all feel because who doesn’t want to be a hundred pound DJ with delusions of grandeur?) Anyway, Lala explains to her awesome friend that she thinks that maybe she owes Katie an apology for being so consistently hateful to her. The real reason is because Lala is sick of working with people who want her dead, but she’s right – apologizing might make her work environment a bit less tense. Lala’s thinking rationally here, but the thing is, once you’re so awful to somebody, that person has no real responsibility to forgive you. Something tells me Lala’s time at SUR is going to remain just as unpleasant as the day she finally let James stick it in her.
When Lisa arrives at the restaurant, she wanders over to the DJ booth to talk to White Kanye. She’s conducted an investigation about what went down during his latest fight and now she wants clarification about what James said to the man that led to the violence. James has some answers for her. See, people resent him because they see that he’s winning right now. He’s the main DJ at some restaurant in L.A. and he has a song in the top six million on iTunes right now and he’s got the deepest chin ass in all the land and that’s why people feel so threatened. Lisa wants him to know (yet again) that she’s given him a lot of chances – and now she’s going to give him one more. She wants him to understand, though, that this is his final shot to keep his job, and though that’s one more shot than this idiot should probably be granted, the woman’s got a show to executive produce and she is very well aware that total assholes bring in viewers. Just ask Real Kanye.
After James gets up and leaves so he can return to winning, Scheana sits down beside Lisa and asks how the talk with James went. “He’s young and stupid,” Lisa explains patiently, but Scheana’s response is rather telling of why I think there might be more to this girl than a lifetime supply of lashes that look like giant feather dusters and a somewhat questionable collection of friends. “We keep making excuses for him, but he’s a twenty-four year old adult,” she says and Lisa has to admit that she’s given him far more chances than he probably deserves. Still, she feels badly that James has had a rough few months since his parents have gotten a divorce. Hey, Lisa? My parents got divorced when I was five and I watched my father die in front of me. Can I have a million dollars? Pretty please?
Over at the bar – because it’s apparently one of those nights when everyone involved in the production is required to be on the schedule – Ariana chats casually with Katie as James walks over. After hearing that he was not canned, Ariana high-fives the guy who has called Katie fat and such an action just reiterates to Katie why Ariana doesn’t belong in her bridal party. Since Ariana would probably prefer to stick shards of glass in her eyes while watching Kristen perform a monologue about feminism than be a part of this bridal party anyway, it all appears to be a draw. “I’ll be involved in any way you want me to be involved,” assures Ariana after Katie quite kindly explains why Ariana will not be wearing a dress that matches nine other girls, and a normal and rational conversation like this one is why I can sit on my couch and actually root for both of these women to have good things happen to them.
A person I’ll always root for is Schwartz because he’s just so fucking cute. He’s invited Jax and Sandoval over to his apartment so he can cook them dinner and while they all suck down some shrimp, he explains that the real reason the two have been invited for dinner is so he can ask them to be his groomsmen and the three most metrosexual men I have ever seen in one room happily agree to be there for Schwartz on his big day. I will say this about Vanderpump Rules: rarely do the people thrown together on a reality show actually appear to have genuine love for one another, and though some of the people on this show are complete psychopaths, they do seem to have an actual history. I suppose that’s a nice thing to see, but take what I’m saying here with a grain of salt, okay? I’m just coming off The Real Housewives of Orange County where a fucking lunatic announced that one of her coworkers was in an abusive marriage just so she didn’t have to admit that she’s a liar, so my standards are ridiculously low right now. I’m sure I’ll be back to calling Jax a sweaty douchebag next week – or in another two paragraphs or so.
Also: in order to get Jax and Sandoval back for all the hazing they inflicted upon him during his early days in L.A., Schwartz shoved the steak he cooked for them in between his ass cheeks as a very special marinade and then presented his new groomsmen with glossy photos of his scrotum strewn across their filets. No worries, though – Jax loved the meal.
As bridesmaids extraordinaire, Kristen and Stassi accompany Katie to look for invitations. She wants something unique and Schwartz wants something that costs nothing and hopefully they’ll settle on some invite somewhere in the middle. In the meantime, Katie wants to have a housewarming party at the new apartment and she tells Kristen to bring Carter and Stassi to bring herself. Yes, Stassi is single now and she’s sad that her relationship with the guy she loves is so off and on. Still, she remains perfectly cheerful as her friend plans her wedding and that’s really all you can ask from her at this point.
Back at SUR, Lisa sniffs James’ breath to make sure it doesn’t reek of anything besides desperation. Lala arrives next and she informs Ariana of her grand plan to sit down with Scheana so she can resolve the many differences that now exist between them. The two were once friends, but that bond no longer exists, so Lala approaches Scheana to find out where it all went wrong. It appears the problem stems from Lala calling Katie fat and ugly so many times and Scheana thinks maybe Lala should apologize to Katie first. “It’s not okay,” Scheana says. “I’m not cool with people who trash my friends.” And you know what? I hope Katie remembers this moment when the eventual time comes when Stassi forces her to choose between her and Scheana.
As for Katie, she’s heard lots of rumors that Lala is dating a married man who buys her expensive gifts because she’s kind enough to stick his dick in her mouth. Such actions Katie cannot accept! She has no desire to be the girl’s friend, but that doesn’t mean that Lala isn’t going to try to bury the hatchet. Allow Lala to be crystal clear: she does not like Katie. Still, she fully acknowledges that she has all but bullied the girl and she doesn’t feel good about that, so she would like to pretend to be a human being. As she so eloquently puts it, “I owe this bitch an apology.” Excellent start, Lala. She wanders outside and tells Katie that she wants to apologize for all of her “low fucking blows,” but Katie doesn’t want to hear a word from a girl who lies about everything including her own name. “I don’t throw rocks,” Katie maintains. “If I call you a whore, I’m just calling it like I see it.” But see, this here is an issue of semantics. Katie thinks Lala is a big giant dirty possibly-disease-filled whore because she sucks cock to get expensive prizes. But Lala – she who is the big giant dirty possibly-disease-filled whore – thinks that the definition of a whore is someone who sucks many many cocks and since she only deep throats one, calling her such a name is not only unfair, but it is patently inaccurate. Hey, Lala? What’s your definition of “escort”? In any case, the apology ends with Lala denying that she even has a married boyfriend and maintaining that her mommy pays for every expensive thing she owns while Katie rolls her eyes and stalks away from a girl who continues to sit in the alley of the restaurant while playing with her own cleavage.
I’m guessing Lala will not be invited to Katie’s housewarming party, but those who haven’t told her that she’s fat all show up. Shay appears for the first time this season and Scheana explains that the two are happier today than the day they got married. She’s stick-figure skinny and he’s allegedly stone-cold sober and they arrive with a gift for the engaged couple. Meanwhile, Jax is trying to convince Sandoval to hire a fleet of transvestites for the bachelor party as Stassi sits on a couch and watches Kristen suck face with her boyfriend who’s gonna end up needing a shitload of therapy. Poor Stassi is going through a tough time. Patrick, the guy she’s been off and on with for a while, is not around right now and she looks truly lost. That’s when Brittany approaches her and Stassi takes one look at the girl and realizes that she needs to talk to somebody. “It’s just a fucking shit pattern and I’m embarrassed,” she cries and Brittany hugs her and promises that she will always be there for her if she needs someone to talk to. How a guy like Jax landed either of these women is seriously fucking beyond me. I swear, Stassi and Brittany should just date each other.
Since nobody else likes either of them, James and Lala get together so Lala can explain that Katie did not accept her apology and it must be because Katie is a fucking bitch. Then they sit there just the two of them and imagine what it must be like over at the housewarming party and discuss how very fortunate they are to have absolutely no friends besides each other.
Back at the party, Jax examines the total loss of Scheana’s ass since her weight loss while Katie takes Stassi and Kristen into her bedroom to tell them about her conversation with Lala and how the girl fully denied having a married boyfriend. “She. Is. A. Cunt,” explains Kristen, a girl who knows a cunt when she sees one. Just ask Brittany! But listen, Kristen’s head has yet to fully spin around this season and she hasn’t scoped out settings ahead of time to find out where she can bury Ariana’s body, so I shall give credit where credit is due and not make too big of a deal out of the fact that a woman who has made herself a career out of being completely nuts on reality television just called another woman “insane.” But just as I’m sitting here realizing that I’m giving a lot of people free passes tonight, Stassi utters the line I’ve been waiting for. Yes, she decides that Scheana should not have even listened to Lala’s pleas for forgiveness because of all the terrible things Lala has said about Katie. According to Stassi, Scheana “just needs to fall in fucking line” and ignore Lala forever in the exact manner that Stassi decrees she should. Okay. First, Scheana did nothing but prove her loyalty to Katie. Second, let’s be honest – Stassi has been biding her time and just waiting to find something she can use to kick Scheana out of the group.
Scheana, of course, has no idea that Stassi’s been plotting against her because #26 of what nobody knows about Scheana Shay is that she is willfully blind when it comes to recognizing that a girl who has hated her since this show first started hates her still and that girl will not rest until Scheana is tossed out of SUR and off of Bravo and not even the newest shape of Scheana’s face will be able to mask the genuine hurt she will feel when she realizes – once again – that Stassi never has and never will actually be her friend.
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