We really can’t blame the Mayans. Back in those stark pre-Google/pre-proper hygiene days, they predicted the world would implode in 2012 and then they chiseled that prophecy on cave walls – or at least I figure they chiseled that shit, but I don’t really know for sure since I often cut Social Studies in high school and I think the unit on the Mayans might have been covered on one of the days I chose to go hang out in someone’s basement. Anyway, my point is that they could not possibly have known back then what would go down during forty-eight hours in November of 2016. Had they known, perhaps they would have pushed the expiration date of our universe forward four years. But how could those sweet Mayans even have imagined that there would be two sequential days in late autumn that would singlehandedly illustrate the potential and total collapse of rational society as we know it? How could they have even fathomed that on the second of those days there would be an election held in which a lifelong politician swathed in the scent of corruption would battle it out against a blustering-sexist-racist-non-taxes-releasing-blame-the-media-unless-that-media-is-covered-by-Alex-Jones-xenophobic monster? In what universe that makes any sort of sense would the Mayans have predicted that the race would actually be close? And even if they could have seen all the way into our terribly bleak present, could even the most cynical of all the Mayans ever have guessed that on the evening before this toxic waste dump of an election took place the newest season of Vanderpump Rules would premiere?
I strongly believe that had Mayan caves come equipped with Wi-Fi, those prophetic people might very well have left behind some dire warnings about the imminent and total collapse of civilization as we know it. Perhaps one of the warnings would have been a picture sketched in ash of a bloated politician who spends his nights coming up with hateful names for people on Twitter even as his wife unironically promises that her platform as First Lady will be to fight online bullying. Maybe one of the images would have been of Anthony Weiner’s erection reflected in the screen of his iPhone or a life-size depiction of whatever an email server looks like. It’s hard to presume what the exact visuals lining those cave dwellings would include had the Mayans had access to Fox News, but if those caves got Bravo, I’m quite positive there would have been an intricate drawing that covered the entire ceiling of a cave that depicted Jax walking in on his girlfriend and his dear friend Kristen while they happily went down on one another. And if that vividly horrifying picture alone wasn’t enough to convince the Mayans to beat Jim Jones to the punch and mix their own vat of cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, perhaps they could have collectively rolled a boulder on top of themselves so there would be no possible chance that even one of their distant relatives would ever have to deal with seeing these atrocities in the future.
The naïve side of me (which is currently shriveling up like a rotting prune) almost believed that the cast of Vanderpump Rules could not possibly have grown more loathsome during the hiatus – but that side of me is an idiot because of course these people have devolved in ways normal humans once believed logistically impossible. And we will get to the walking scum that is James and we’ll obviously check in with Lala, Queen of the Fun Bitches, shortly. We will soon have the opportunity to marvel that Katie dresses the way she does while running a style blog and that Stassi came crawling back to this collection of fucking demons because she needs a camera pointed at her face in order to feel alive. But first we must muff-dive into one of the major storylines of the year, one that involves two of the most hideous examples of humanity ever created by the cruelest of the cosmos as well as a girl who could very well compete for World’s Most Stupid should Hooters ever decide to hold a contest amongst its staff and alumni.
Let me be clear here: I do not have an issue with either bisexuality or with people being gone down on in the slightest. In fact, I am quite a fan of this practice. But when the participants of this alleged incident are Jax, Kristen, and Britanny, I find myself almost shell-shocked. Here are the reasons I’m currently lying in a tight fetal position while chanting safewords and rubbing myself with a crystal – and, for your convenience, I have ranked my reasons in the order that they are most beckoning me to start smoking crack:
1. Jax still exists? So not only does this perspiration machine still exist, but he also still has a job and friends and a girlfriend? After years of getting strippers pregnant and lying to every girlfriend he’s ever had and stealing sunglasses and selling out those he’s supposedly closest to simply so he can momentarily absolve himself of any blame in a situation, this fucking doofus continues to walk amongst us while being paid for being such a total prick.
2. Using the transitive property, if Kristen was one of the people going down or being gone down upon, we can thereby deduce that Kristen has not yet been contained inside of an asylum. What is wrong with everyone? Why are they allowing this lunatic to roam the streets in rompers? The season hasn’t even started yet and I’m already exhausted just thinking about how little this woman has learned at this point in her life.
3. And now Britanny. Oh, Britanny – you make very questionable choices, don’t you, dear? You chose to commit to a sweaty liar. You chose to leave your entire life in Kentucky behind in order to cohabitate with that liar. Then you willingly joined this show and apparently chose Kristen to hook up with even though a) Kristen has also fucked your disgusting boyfriend and b) Kristen is an insane person. Listen, I’ve made some pretty flawed choices in the romance department myself, but this is some next level shit – and, my friends? It’s still only the first episode.
Where last we left off, Katie and Schwartz were engaged and trying to snag the world record for the longest an engaged couple has ever gone without having sex; Ariana decided she hated pretty much everybody except for her boyfriend, Sandoval; Scheana tried to get her addict of a husband to embrace the notion of only getting a little bit tipsy on very special occasions; James lusted after Lala and then had sex with Kristen on the hood of a car; Jax lied to everyone and about everyone; Stassi compromised any belief any of us ever had in her by deciding infamy was definitely worth associating with assholes; and Kristen still hates Ariana and wants her dead – even though Kristen is so over Sandoval and her life is amazing and she’s happier than she’s ever been and if you don’t believe that, you can go suck a dick.
Tonight a brand new season of this show begins and the only thing that’s abundantly clear is how little has changed. Lisa Vanderpump is still lording over this motley crew like she’s a member of royalty who committed some horrific action at one point in her life and now her penance is that she must only employ narcissists to serve food at her restaurant. Speaking of her illustrious employees, they all seem to be working on the same night at SUR and I’m sure the fact that production was up and running had no reason whatsoever to do with the fact that they were all on the schedule. Brittany is working at SUR now – because that’ll be healthy for her – and Jax is already feeling totally suffocated by her presence. As for Scheana, she has come to the very important conclusion that Lala is a skanky ho and she never wants to be friends with the girl, but she is close as can be with Katie, Kristen, and Stassi and I’m sure nothing this season will test those bonds of friendship so nobody should worry. Anyway, Scheana and all of her new best friends will be attending the OK Magazine party after work, but before they can make a scene somewhere else, they have to deal with a visit from their boss. Looking regal as always, Lisa Vanderpump saunters onto the premises and stops to greet Lala who has been off doing “a film.” Turns out it’s not porn she was participating in, but Lala’s already mapped out the plot of the pornography she will eventually star in once this show gets cancelled. It’s good to think ahead.
Someone who probably won’t be rooting for Lala’s mainstream movie success is Katie. No, Katie hates that bitch and her oily DJ friend for all but ruining her engagement party last year. Besides, Lala has been talking all kinds of shit about Katie and telling anyone who will listen (friends, customers, the head fluffer in charge) that Katie is “a blob,” “boring,” and “fake.” Since Katie doesn’t have the time to suffer fools during the summer of her upcoming wedding – yup, she’s one of those brides – she decides to text Kristen, a friend she apparently deems rational. She wants to let her know that James will be at the same party later. This sort of text has to all but encourage Kristen to do an extra seven shots of whiskey (or paint thinner or whatever she’s got lying around). Meanwhile, Scheana texts Stassi and she looks so excited about the fact that Stassi speaks to her now and that she even returns her texts when she’s really bored and there’s nobody else to talk to.
Now it’s time to check in with Kristen. As I think it will lead me towards good karma to pay her a compliment, allow me to say that Kristen is just as normal as she was last season. Things are fucking fantastic in her life! She is living with her boyfriend Carter and they’ve been together for ten months and she’s finally in a relationship where she doesn’t have to pay for everything! But even though things are just so amazing, it doesn’t mean she wants to be around James or Lala. Fuck those two! Stassi’s completely on board with supporting the social fatwa against them since Lala has been “a fucking cunt” to Katie and Stassi is far too good of a friend to ever watch anyone be mean to the girl she once cut out of her life a few years ago for sport. But that is the past, everybody! Stassi loves Katie again and she’s back on this show fulltime and she’s doing her part to encourage Kristen to simply try to come off as anything but a complete fucking psycho. Getting her not to wear her fake engagement ring to the party was an excellent start, Stassi! Now get her to stop listening to the screaming chorus of demonic voices in her head and you will have accomplished something spectacular.
Back at SUR, Lisa goes over to the DJ booth to chat with James. Seems he’s had a good run recently at not behaving like an asshole and she would very much like for him to continue that streak. Unfortunately, James is a bit wound up at the moment because his parents are getting a divorce and he’s reacting to it like he’s twelve. Look, I’m not minimizing divorce. I too am a child of divorce, but there is a healthy way to deal with a division within a family and acting like a douchebag on a reality show probably isn’t the healthiest of methods.
Over at one of the bars, it’s time for Jax to inform Sandoval about that recent night when he walked in on Kristen going down on his girlfriend. His reaction was to get angry and storm out of the room in a fury of jealousy. Personally, I’m stunned that he didn’t throw himself on the bed and reach for whichever girl was closer. Maybe this is growth? Maybe we can also forget that I ever said such a thing.
Also: Lisa Vanderpump said the sentence, “Kristen chowing down on Kentucky muffin,” and now it’s official: the sophisticated dulcet tone of her voice can make fucking anything sound perfect.
The group that’s not stuck working at SUR arrives at the magazine party where they sit at a table and marvel at how Kristen is now in a stable relationship while Stassi is on a rollercoaster with her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend and Schwartz is an engaged fellow who cannot seem to get himself properly laid. Everyone else joins them and Jax decides the moment is right to mention to Kristen that he has come to terms with walking into a dark room and seeing Kristen going down on his girlfriend. That said, he wants her to know that he has mentioned the incident to several dozen people (in Jax-speak, that means he told seven hundred people and also posted it on Instagram). This sort of revelation is probably something Kristen should have expected after watching him announce to anyone who would listen that the two of them slept together a bunch of years ago, but Kristen doesn’t really care. So what? She and Brittany had a lot to drink and they exchanged some kisses (on the clitoris) and it’s not weird at all when she sees Brittany! They’re great friends! Brittany, however, does not appreciate that it’s her own boyfriend telling tales about her and she wonders aloud what kind of guy would do such a thing. Um, was that a rhetorical question?
Back at SUR, Ariana and Sandoval get ready for the party in the bathroom together – the closest showing of actual intimacy perhaps ever captured on this show – and Sandoval tells her all about Brittany and Kristen hooking up. “You can’t go to sleep when Kristen’s around,” warns Ariana, but at least the Crazy Kristen moniker can finally be retired once and for all. It’s Cunnilingus Kristen now, bitches! And if you don’t like it you can – say it with me! – go suck a dick.
Over at the party, Schwartz remarks that it’s interesting to see Stassi and Jax sitting beside one another without each one of them fingering a weapon. To make their bonding session complete, Jax decides it makes the utmost sense to tell Stassi about Brittany and Kristen. Stassi is pretty stunned by this news, which I guess means Kristen never went down on Stassi in the dead of night, but there’s little time for Stassi to wonder why Kristen wants to munch on every girl besides her because Lala and James just rolled into the place and there very well could be a rumble. Lala reveals that she and James are now best friends and the flirtation that used to be there between them no longer exists ever since the night Lala finally decided the guy had put in the time so she lay back and opened her legs and let him have it. (I’d be somewhat grossed out describing any form of sex in such a crass manner – even between these two – but I’m pretty much just quoting Lala verbatim here.) Anyhoo, everyone hates both of them and the reason why is apparent immediately. These are two people who love three things in life: provoking people, getting attention, and themselves. They waltz right over to the area where the rest of the cast is sitting and they greet them sarcastically and then all but refuse to leave, even as Stassi and her very blonde hair attempt to explain why they are both so loathed. As for Jax, he would very much like to bash James’ fucking head in, but as he is still on probation for the sunglasses incident, he is unable to make contact at this time. When that probation period ends, I suggest Jax rent a fucking octagon and pummel this weenie (who I hate more than I even hate Jax), but until that day comes, James and Lala will turn their, um, tweaked energy upon Katie and inquire as to whether or not she is pregnant. This is a cruel line of questioning for several reason. First, Katie does not have sex so how could she be pregnant? Second, calling a woman fat while cameras roll is such an asshole thing to do. In a sea of scum, Lala and James are the very bottom layer that even the bacteria try to avoid.
Think it can’t get any worse than body shaming a fellow human being on national television? How about the moment James holds a glass against his crotch, pretends to jerk it off, and then jizzes some bright red liquid all over the very group who have repeatedly pleaded with him to leave? Once again, you guys – this is only episode fucking one.
What’s bothering Katie even more than someone congratulating her for being with child is that Schwartz is not appropriately horrified on her account and volunteering to beat the shit out of anyone who messes with her. I see the girl’s point. Loyalty is a big deal and if anyone should be loyal to her, it should be her fiancé. Unfortunately, adorable though he is, Schwartz is also kind of a wuss and he doesn’t like to make waves. Besides, what’s bothering Schwartz these days is not that Katie is being called fat; it’s that she appears to be backsliding. She’s with Stassi all the time and she guzzles drinks and she talks shit and she’s taken on even more grudges and he is just not willing to share every single one of them anymore.
In the name of peace, Sandoval and his ponytail sit with James and Lala and asks why they chose to behave so horribly. Why Sandoval is even wasting oxygen on this loser confuses me, but I appreciate that he tells James that his toddler reaction to his parents getting divorced while he’s an adult is ridiculous. Then James bursts into tears and whimpers, “I don’t know how to deal with this,” while across the room, Katie tells Ariana that Lala is currently dating a guy who is married with kids who enjoys long walks on the beach and buying Range Rovers for fun bitches. How did this information come to them? Please. Stassi, in between stringing enormous fake jewels onto chains and mapping out exactly how long she will allow Scheana to be her friend before deciding to make her life hell again, did some sleuthing. The girl is nothing if not multitalented. After hearing this sordid little tale, Ariana sits beside Lala who explains that she walked up to the other table because she thought everything between all of them was just fine. That she immediately called Katie fat was really Katie’s fault! And then Lala begins bawling her eyes out and rushes out of the place because it’s just so hurtful when the people you taunt viciously don’t invite you to sit with them.
The next day, Katie visits Lisa at her grand home so they can discuss Katie becoming Lisa’s assistant. Once the salary negotiations are over, Katie tells Lisa all about the rude comments Lala and James made directly to her face and she makes sure to also drop that James pretended to ejaculate his drink all over them while they were out in public. Lisa is grossed out – as is anyone when they think about James – and she states (once again!) that she is nearing her very last nerve when it comes to the guy.
At their new apartment, Jax sits back and watches as Brittany paints the living room. Everything is going well until Jax brings up the incident between Brittany and Kristen and that’s when she loses it and announces that nothing happened between them and her boyfriend really needs to stop talking about it. “I don’t ever want to hear about it again or I will go insane,” Brittany drawls, and it sounds like she means business, but there is not even the smallest chance in hell that Jax will not bring this event up every hour on the fucking hour like he is carrying around an egg timer in his pants.
A happier couple (at the moment) is Schwartz and Katie, especially since Katie is currently sober. They’re in their apartment hanging with their new puppy when Stassi and Scheana show up to discuss wedding plans. Stassi has arrived with gifts! She has moved beyond jewelry, you guys, and she is now bedazzling cups! The woman is so versatile. Anyway, she has done some research on “festive cocktails” they should drink while deciding who to ban from the wedding and Kristen comes over too because she smelled alcohol in the air and just followed the scent.
Also: Stassi once shit her pants.
Back at SUR, the banished ones continue to talk shit about the people who hate them. Here’s a lovely little bon mot from Lala: “I think it’s so cute when Scheana comes up and thinks that anyone gives a fuck about what she says.” So yeah, there’s some deep-rooted hatred here and back at their apartment, Schwartz watches in alarm as Katie says terrible things about Lala and then nods enthusiastically whenever someone else calls Lala disgusting. He’s watching his fiancé get sucked back into the dark side and it’s making him worry something fierce, but maybe Katie has the right to hate Lala so much since the chick just called her “blobbish” smack dab during the middle of primetime.
Now that she’s heard all the stories, it’s time for Lisa to speak to her simpering idiot of a DJ. I love Lisa Vanderpump – I want to be reincarnated as Lisa Vanderpump – but it’s hard to take her seriously anymore when she talks about firing James because it’s in the best interest of this show that he stay both employed and psychotic. It’s lovely that she attempts to speak some truth into the child’s face, but the woman doesn’t have a prayer because she is fighting against generic evil in a tank top and nothing that vile gets fixed so quickly. Just ask the Mayans.
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