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Vanderpump Rules Recap: Sign of the Times

Scheana Shay’s superpower is that she can make absolutely anything about her. You’ll tell her about your grandmother’s surgery, and Scheana will tell you that the number of older women having surgery right now means that she can’t get access to the colors of cast that she wants for her daughter’s broken arm. Now her future Instagram photos are ruined because Summer Moon had to have a blue cast, and it doesn’t match one single piece of athleisure that Scheana has been paid to post herself wearing this month.

That said, I have a little bit more sympathy for Scheana about the Dancing With the Stars thing than many other viewers will. I feel like, as Lisa said, Scheana has wanted to do this for a long time and made her publicist/manager reach out to casting every year to see if this is her time. This year, with the show blowing up, Scheana got her first “Maybe!” and went out and signed up for every modern dance class that they offer in Marina del Rey, which is only one because it is a cultural wasteland. But the “Maybe!” was really just a “If Ariana says no, then you’re our runner-up.” That’s what Scheana is: second place. An also-ran. An understudy. But so is everyone on the show right now because of Ariana’s ascendency.

When Scheana found out the news, of course she should have been happy for Ariana. She couldn’t drop a “Girl, I’ve been trying to get on that show for years! I’m so jealous. Congrats.” That is the only appropriate response and a way to make it about herself in the least painful way. When Scheana tells Lisa this, Lisa, acting as a producer, tells her she should be able to tell Ariana how she feels. But then in confessional, acting as a human being, she says that Scheana should never express her jealousy out loud. She is absolutely correct. That is a way to get your ass kicked out of Ariana’s orbit and fired from this here reality-television program.

What Scheana and some others on the cast are expressing is that they feel like they have done nothing but support Ariana through this whole thing, but they haven’t been getting the same support in return. The whole conversation Lala has with Ariana when they get coffee together is quite telling. Lala tells her that people online are coming after Scheana because she stood next to Sandoval in a picture, and Lala asks if she could just say that Scheana is a good friend and that the trolls should back off. Ariana counters that anything she says is going to become a headline, which is true, but as Lala points out, her even leaving the house at this point would have gotten TMZ so wet she would have slid off one of those tacky desk chairs they make them all sit in on the show. Later, Ariana issues such a statement, and it proves to be helpful.

I don’t think Ariana is doing anything malicious to the castmates she still talks to, but she seems wrapped up in the chaos of her fame being catapulted up a few levels. (But it doesn’t mean that Lala and Scheana weren’t cashing those Uber Eats checks when they were being issued.) There’s something about how Ariana has been handling this whole situation relating to the rest of the cast that bugs me a bit. It seems like she’s unwilling to make any concessions when it comes to Sandoval and those who talk to him, something that in a real-world context would be totally understandable but in a reality-TV context doesn’t make that much sense. Ariana is basically sabotaging herself and the show. As she says in a confessional, she’s worried that Sandoval will get back in the good graces of the cast and she’ll be exiled. It’s basically the same way that Katie felt last year after her divorce from Tom. But Ariana did something Katie never did and issued a “him or me” ultimatum.

But at the end of the episode, when everyone goes over to James and Ally’s house (no airplanes this time — sad face) to get their astrological charts read, Lala makes me see things differently. Ever since Scandoval broke she’s been comparing what happened with her and Randall to what happened with Tom and Ariana even though that is like comparing apples and coked-out racist oranges who tortured assistants for years and slept with every wannabe starlet that ever visited the Sunset Boulevard Sweetgreen. Something finally clicked for me when Lala was talking about how Randall would always be in her life because they have a child together, and there is nothing she can do to extricate this awful man from her life.

Maybe instead of looking at Vanderpump Rules as a show, we should look at it as a child: specifically the child of Sandoval and Ariana. They both put a lot of work into nurturing and raising this thing; they both have a vested economic, personal, and psychological interest in it succeeding; and they will both forever be attached to it. Just like two people who divorce have to share custody of a child, they have to share custody of the show. That means, on occasion, being in the same room as each other and not fighting petulantly about it. That means, on occasion, having to communicate with the other party, even if it is just on the most surface of levels. That means, on occasion, you’re going to have to talk to people that person talks to for the good of the child, I mean the show, I mean the child, I mean the show.

Ariana is not allowing for any of this, nor is Katie Maloney Schwartz Maloney. Oh, boy, did the meanest woman on reality television come out to play this episode. (At least the chic lesbian haircut is still working for her.) Katie has lunch with Lala, Scheana, and Kristina Kelly (always both names!), and Scheana brings up how she started to forgive Sandoval in Tahoe. Lala says she’s really confused because she misses her friend, but if she talks to him or about him, then Ariana will ban her from her life and, by extension, the show. Scheana cannot afford to piss off Ariana. Who is going to pay for all of Summer Moon’s new outfits to match her cast?

Scheana says, “I’m finally, five months later, going through an actual grieving process. Ariana has already grieved the loss of this while making millions of dollars and living her best life. I’m not there.” Again, Scheana tells us how when she first “entered the group,” Sandoval was the only person who was nice to her. Katie tells her that was a billion years ago, and Scheana says she never gets over these things. Katie says, “Well, try.”

Katie doesn’t want to remember this because she, Stassi, and Kristen were so awful to Scheana for years. Years! They thought they invented this show, and Scheana only got cast because she fucked Lisa Vanderpump’s ex-friend’s ex-husband and that was a bridge to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. They were all trying to do to her what Ariana is attempting to do to Tom now, freezing her out and not filming with her so she would be off the show because they didn’t like her. Katie wants to forget all of this because it makes her look horrible.

Katie tells the group she has no sympathy for Scheana and wants the conversation to end. When Schena starts talking about how she fucked the bartender back in ’06 (oh, if I had a nickel), it is Katie who brings the conversation back to Sandoval. Katie says something so sad about her relationship with Sandoval it’s like 19 Sufjan Stevens albums fucking 23 Lana Del Rey albums. “That man has never offered me a sincere apology since the day he met me, and he’s been awful to me,” she says. “He interfered in my marriage. He made everyone think I was a monster, even my ex-husband, I think.”

Okay, the customary Dame Brian thing would be to say, “But you are a monster, Katie!” but I’m not going to do that today. Katie is no better or worse than any of the other yahoos on this show, but she’s not wrong about how awful Sandoval has been to her, and she’s not wrong about him interfering in her marriage. Katie keeps saying they should all just cut ties with Sandoval, be good friends to Ariana, and move on. But they all have this baby together; they all have to share custody, so that isn’t going to happen.

Katie disregarding Scheana’s feelings isn’t going to make them go away. Rather than telling her to just get over it, I wish Katie would lead with what Sandoval did to her. That is the best case I’ve seen for not being friends with this dude so far. Katie needs to make the argument that it’s not that he screwed over Ariana; it’s that he screwed over everyone, and if you let him back in, he’ll do it again.

Meanwhile, back in Valley Village, Sandoval wore a cream sweater vest for his meeting with Lisa Vanderpump and maybe a little foray to See You Next Tuesday to embarrass himself in public again. He put a candy raver necklace of made of pink hearts, orange stars, yellow moons, green clovers, blue diamonds, purple horseshoes, and red balloons: the whole Lucky Charms iconography.

Downstairs, Ann, dressed all in pink with a matching pink headband, tried to sneak out the front door just at that very minute. It was 7:12 p.m., and she had tickets for a 7:52 p.m. screening of Barbie at the Grove. If she was ever going to make it, she’d have to leave then. Suddenly, she heard a bellow throughout the house. “Ann!” he shouted down the stairs. “I need you!”

She trudged upstairs and saw Tom standing in the middle of his too-bare bedroom. “What do you think, Ann? Out?” he said as he pulled the necklace out from under the collar of his sweater vest. “Or in?” He pushed it back under the collar of his sweater vest. “Out?” he said, pulling it again. “Or in?” he said, pushing it. “Out? Or in? Out? Or in? Out? Or …”

“Tom, I think they both look great,” she said, edging toward the door. “But I have to get going, I’m going to see —”

“Out? Or in? Out? Or in?” He was still pulling it out and pushing it back in for each statement, but then he turned to the full-length mirror, and it seemed he was just saying it to himself. Out or in? Out or in? Out or in? That’s all that Ann asked herself as she edged toward the door, tiptoed to the car, and gunned her Honda Accord to the Grove, where she was 15 minutes late to the movie. Should she have gone in and met her friends or waited outside until the movie was over? “Out or in?” she asked herself. Out or in?

Brian Moylan , 2024-03-13 02:00:35

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