Here’s the thing about liars: after a while, they start to get really fucking boring. It doesn’t start out that way. At first, there is sort of this fascination with all that they say. Their tales are vivid, their anecdotes crackling. It’s the specificity of the stories that draws you in and you’re left with an impression that this life you’re hearing about – this life you’re temporarily and peripherally connected to – is a life far more interesting than your own will ever be. See, your stories have fewer characters weaving in and out. Your stories don’t sparkle like a sequined skirt rustling around a thigh gap. Your stories eventually wind down because that’s what happens in real life – and right there is your first clue. A liar’s story has way more chapters because they write it as they go along.
Still, there’s no denying the captivating appeal of being in such close proximity to an agent of deception. If you’re anything like me – and some of you are fortunate that you’re not and you never will be – you can’t help yourself. You go back for more and you become an even more captive audience as you attempt to take in all of the glistening fragments and organize them into something linear. You want it to make sense. You want to solve this puzzle of a person and there’s a big part of you that really thinks you can. But then time goes by and the moments you consume from someone else’s life begin to taste like flat champagne. And it’s when those bubbles no longer tingle on your tongue that you admit certain things to yourself, like the fact that every story this person tells goes into extra innings. The stakes involved in each story are higher stakes than any you've ever encountered. And every single person mentioned drives a really nice car.
I don’t quite know if every liar lives with the knowledge that one day he or she will be exposed, but I do know that one of the ways to avoid having to face the truth is through that tried and true method of escape. I suppose that if someone is skilled, she will initially try to project disbelief that she is not being believed, an act that could potentially cause the accuser to apologize and slink away, leaving whatever power has been gathered in a pathetic puddle the liar can then stomp through for extra impact. But sometimes there is no audience left – there’s nobody who even cares to find out if any of it was true – and that’s when liars become runners.
There appears now to be no way to deny that Lala Kent is a liar. Perhaps we would have figured it out much earlier, but she spent so much of her time onscreen with Jax and James and their abject duplicity is so pronounced that it was really kind of hard to focus on anything Lala said or did in their presence. But now that she’s been banished from the rest of the cast and only permitted to sit in small groups where she pretends to make amends or to offer a bit of digital penetration as penance, her ridiculousness has become clear. Look, the truth is that most of the people on this show are relatively awful and they have had five or so seasons to come off as sane and delightful and many hiatuses in which they could have done philanthropic work that would make me think that some of them are not truly dead inside, but that kind of shit never happened. When I say that Lala is entirely full of chunky horseshit, it does not mean that I believe the rest of them are as pure as the snow before Jax pisses his name into it, but – for tonight anyway – we need to focus on the fun bitch’s untruths. Her false tales involved minor things, like getting off of work to go on a modeling assignment when that modeling assignment didn’t actually exist and the only thing she really showed off was her clitoris while she was aboard some rich guy’s yacht. The stories then grew to include debatable facts, like how she is rolling in luxury because she lived at home for a long time and apparently the interest levels under her mother’s roof are more massive than anything the financial industry has ever witnessed. And then there are the accounts, the ones studded with holes the size of craters, about a boyfriend who may or not be married and could or could not be famous who does or does not break up with her every other day who loves her madly or doesn’t even know she exists in the first place.
I guess what’s so offensive to me, a recapper of this show, is that I don’t actually care about any of this and that sort of infuriates me. When lies told on a reality show are not even interesting, that’s when I become done. Such a thing occurred last year on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when the entire season devolved into a fight about something that was maybe said by somebody off-camera and the cast fought about nothing but that one unseen moment for months in a way that was so irritating, I chose not to recap the show this year because I was afraid I’d end up punching my fist through a wall if I had to type the word “Munchausen” one more time. (By the way, while I’m not recapping that show, I do still watch it because I shall take my light escapism in any form I can get it – and because I really like seeing scenes that are shot inside of Lisa Vanderpump’s closet. Nobody is focused on Munchausen’s this year, but the crux of the season so far appears to be the new girl rocking an accent for no reason whatsoever and saying in that preposterous voice how fucked up it is that another Housewife didn’t wear underwear under her dress. Hey, new girl? I just bought a crotchless lace thong. Quick: send the villagers!) But getting back to Lala – a girl I once expected to rather like because my guess is she also has got herself a pair or three of crotchless undies – is that she has turned out to be a massive disappointment. It didn’t have to be this way. Here’s a girl who is surrounded by some seriously unappealing creatures who claim to be human and she should have risen above them and said nasty things in an articulate manner during her interviews and come out of it all looking like an angel and smelling like Bobbi Brown Beach. Instead, Lala aligned herself with a fucking doofus, dropped hints about her life that never managed to coalesce into a fully-developed narrative, and wore so much lip-gloss that it became almost impossible to concentrate on anything she said because her puckered and shiny lips all but turned into the kind of hybrid mythical creature that makes me want to hide underneath my bed while I chant safewords to myself. (Those words include chocolate, man-scruff, and Balenciaga.) And now Lala is leaving the show and much of me does not blame her in the least, especially since all of me questions why she’d even bother being on it in the first place. Saying goodbye is not at all difficult. Sayonara, Lala! May you continue to get free Range Rovers for the rest of your natural life. May you eventually lose the entire memory of that time you allowed James to stick it inside of you. May my television blow up before you appear on another reality show because something tells me you’re the kind of liar who requires an audience.
Before we are able to actually witness the origin of final straws that eventually cause Ms. Kent to grab her bat and ball and go home, first we need to head back to two birthday parties so horrific that I spent my own birthday this last weekend blowing out candles and wishing hard that I’d never be stuck in an RV with Jax or adjacent to any body of water while standing beside Stassi, Kristen, and Katie. (That last wish was especially important. Should I ever mysteriously drown, the police should probably question Kristen about her whereabouts during the time I went under. Listen: I’m not saying she will have done it, but I’m willing to admit the woman’s got a motive.) Anyhoo, tonight’s episode begins back in Montauk where Katie chooses to start her day with a beer while Stassi sits beside her and laments the fact that she is the only single girl in the entire universe. She also tosses out what she clearly hopes will be a leading question that will help spark the social fatwa she’s been trying to wage against Scheana for about a century: “Did Scheana have fun last night?” Yes, if Stassi is not busy being adored by a guy before he realizes that he should really know better, she will spend her time planting seeds about why Scheana is the absolute worst. And when she’s done with that, she will then spend her free time ruminating over the very things that make her attractive to the opposite sex. Turns out Stassi’s finest qualities are that she is consistent in her blowouts and she really likes murder, so should Charles Manson make it through his latest bout of gastrointestinal bleeding and make parole in 2027, Stassi’s got a shot at nabbing a soulmate after all.
Across the country at the Sonoma Raceway, we visit an RV that makes me applaud the day Smell-O-Vision disappeared from our nation’s consciousness. Seriously, that thing looks funky as hell and I’m rather sure at least three new strands of fungi are growing in whatever bunk Jax just crawled out of. My horror is momentarily tempered by seeing how adorable Schwartz looks when he first wakes up – he’s all rumpled and so very cute – but the sight of Jax showering behind a plastic accordion door ruins the entire moment.
Back on the east coast, Stassi has a job to do. Somehow Bravo entrusted her to be the liaison between this show and their new series, Summer House, so she must pretend that it’s totally organic for her and all of her friends to attend some clambake on the beach with the cast of a show I’ve already promised myself that I will not get sucked in by. (That said, watching anything resembling the news these days is like watching a fucking horror show, so I am trying to make peace with the fact that I will inevitably watch every single episode of Summer House and then hate myself completely.) In any event, not one of those California girls knows what a clambake is and they are unable to decipher the mystery of it all just by looking at the compound word so Stassi Googles it and explains what they’re all in for and she is patently unamused when Scheana announces that she doesn’t eat clams. “Be you, just like a little less of it,” Stassi instructs Scheana and Scheana responds by cold-clocking Stassi across the face causing her teeth to fly out of her mouth and land in the pool because she also enjoys bloody things, just like her best friend, Stassi. Okay, fine – that didn’t happen. But it really should have.
There’s no shellfish of any kind at the NASCAR event, but there are semi-trucks Jax deems “sexy” and a driver who is willing to scrawl his autograph across the flatiron Sandoval brought with him to the race. I suppose I could yammer away right now about how bizarre it is that this guy is so into his flatiron, but I’m not going to do that for two reasons. One, I love and value my own flatiron more than I love and value most people. And two, who has the strength to make fun of Sandoval when Jax exists and walks around like a Neanderthal who flunked the beginning stages of evolution? The guy is repulsive. He speaks about his girlfriend’s body like it’s something he owns. He volunteers for her to flash strangers. And he seriously looks like every orifice of his body smells like sticky sulfur. Please, editors – take us back to Montauk! I’d much prefer to watch Stassi attempt to get laid by discussing the merits of a noose versus a butcher knife than watch Jax do fucking anything.
Also: I’m going to fully skip over the part where Sandoval and Ariana tongue one another like they’re Lhasa Apsos who just swallowed some Molly in front of her brother because I like Ariana and I need to save my strength for whatever is coming next at this clambake.
And here we are on the beach with a brand new class of Bravolebrities. Most of them are very blonde and two of them are twins and all of them appear vaguely normal, but I’m sure that last part will change once the glare of the cameras infiltrate their souls. Stassi is impressed, though. The guys are cute and she says they’re dressed well and I think that just means her eyes have yet to fully process the shirt one of them is wearing that’s festooned with green and pink palm trees. Even more than the relative classiness of this event – what with its temporarily sober participants and the white linens covering the tables – the thing that’s befuddling our Vanderpumpers the most is that these New Yorkers actually have real jobs. They leave the beach and head back to the city each week to work hard and such a concept is perplexing to Scheana because besides working at SUR and getting married while wearing a microphone, she has never done anything. Who knew a clambake would turn into such a teachable moment?
It’s a harsh transition going from the magic-hour lighting of the beach to the dust of Sonoma and it’s made all the more ferociously terrible that we return to an RV that now has a clogged toilet. That toilet gets fixed on camera while Sandoval, Schwartz, and Jax sing a ditty about saving all the poop for later. It terrifies me that they’re harmonizing because you just know that they’ve sung this song before and I think we should all take this scene as a cautionary tale, one whose moral is that one must never allow Jax to ever use a bathroom you might need at some point.
Back on the beach and away from all things sewer-adjacent, some guy named Carl is rhapsodizing about the gorgeousness of Stassi’s eyes and that moment makes her feel a whole lot happier than when she’s asked if she’s single and has to reveal that she’s in the throes of a very recent breakup. Listen, I have some problems with Stassi because of how psychotic she sometimes acts in the name of cardio-friendship, but I feel for her here. Breakups suck – and they really suck when you know full well that the person you have to move on from is a truly good person whom you love very much. I get it. And I hope Stassi finds some happiness and I also hope that happiness will cause her to stop keeping a running tally about the behavior of those around her because you just know she’s been doing that shit since the sixth grade and she’s gotta be exhausted by now. I’m exhausted just watching it.
Katie is making it her mission to help her friend move on from her heartbreak and she suggests that Stassi make a move on one of the guys currently sucking a lobster out of its shell. Her choices are Carl, some guy who works with teeth, and Kyle, an entrepreneur who is blandly cute in the way every entrepreneur is blandly cute at first sight. It’s not that Katie wants Stassi to sleep with anyone, but she does want her to get her confidence back by giving an over-the-pants handjob, something every guy I know loves.
And now it’s time for Lala to make her reappearance after flaking on Sonoma. She didn’t have time to give Ariana a real reason for standing her up, but she did find the time to unfollow her on Instagram. Now she is walking into SUR and she’s wearing all black and she’s there to talk to Lisa after she finishes referring to herself in the third person. See, Lala explains that she chose to turn off her phone and not speak to anyone because “that’s what Lala does when Lala doesn’t want to do something.” (For anyone interested, when Nell writes about such bullshit, Nell’s heart races so quickly that she can feel it exploding in her brain.) Now that Lala has gotten herself out of what she calls “shutdown mode,” she is there to explain to Lisa that it’s hurting her feelings that people she called fat are screaming that she’s a homewrecker across her place of employment. She also explains that the reason she tells so many lies is so nobody will ever know the actual true identity of the person she’s banging. I’d like to suggest that one way to keep your business to yourself is not to go on a reality show, but I suppose another way to go about it is to spread stories and body parts and then threaten to quit midseason in a manner you pretend is in any way profound, but Lisa manages to talk her out of quitting for the moment so, as Lala would probably say, “Lala is back to working at SUR until her man sends a private jet to pick her up!” Looks like we’re not quite finished with Lala, my friends.
Back in Montauk, the Vanderpumpers get their first glimpse at the beach house Bravo rented for the cast of their newest show, the house they are pretending they’re paying for themselves. It’s a great house – I’m a fan of any place that has a gazebo – and the gorgeousness of the surroundings almost cancel out the rampant douche factor of Kyle announcing to his buddy that they really need to make sure “the fun meter stays sky-high” before he gulps some sort of fruity liquid from a blender. I’m guessing that this moment right here fully illustrates the person Kyle has decided he should be while he’s slumming it on basic cable, but I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. He might very well turn out to be way more of an asshole than he appears right now.
The pool party is in full swing and Stassi is wearing a swimsuit that appears to be made from a turtleneck. She’s pleased to hear that Kyle thinks she’s beautiful and she’s in the mood for a little bit of attention so she hops in the hot tub and the others clear out so she can get herself a piece of ass. Katie is all for this hookup. Kyle looks like he might have some money and, for once, she thinks it might serve Stassi well to ask herself, “What would Lala do in this situation?” Well, Katie, Lala would not be wearing a turtleneck – or a top of any kind – and the handjob would probably not occur over the guy’s clothing and she would likely scream out her own name when things start to get really good, so I’m going to hope for Stassi’s sake that she never ever takes this advice. I’m also going to hope that she gets out of that hot tub without allowing this guy to so much as see the outline of a nipple because he doesn’t remember her name after spending an entire evening with her and he compares her appearance to Steve Jobs and he announces that they have a ton in common since they’re both blonde.
Sometimes it really is just better to sleep alone. But nobody ask Lala if she agrees with me, okay? And maybe also don’t ask her if she is willing to finally admit that she is the cause of her own suffering because when someone lies to herself just as often as she lies to everyone else, you’ll never walk away with a real answer.
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