There have been many changes this season in Vanderpump Rules, a show about the ravages of social media in the rapidly approaching middle age, but one thing has remained the same: the editors are absolute geniuses, periodt. When Scheana Shay confronts Max with the way he treats her, we first see all his juicy text messages appear on screen in a barrage of smarm that has turned against him. Then we get an animated version of the birth story of SandiMan, the world’s most annoying superhero who was bitten by a spider and the evil monster known as DJ James Kennedy, and used his powers for ineffective texting.
But in the end, the master stroke of all of them is a split screen of Stassi in 2012 and Stassi in 2020 to illustrate that she hasn’t changed and why Tom was triggered by her behavior on the Tom book signing. Thinking about the hours it must have taken to find the images of her say: “How dare you ruin my birthday/book signing. How dare you,” and having it perfectly synchronized is just awesome. I wonder if they had to speed up or slow down one of the loops to make it fit, or if Stassi has used the same tricks in the same exact cadence for almost a decade and they’re just taking their own steps. Either way, for those men and women who turn mountains of images into these easily digestible chunks of glory, we take off our underwear for you. Well, not the people who work at SUR. They’re not wearing any.
As for the changes in the show I just mentioned, I have to face the fact that Max, Dayna, Danica, Brett, Charli, a poke bowl are about to go bad, and the rest of the additions are here to stay, and instead of spending an entire season whining about them and how I want them out of the show, I just, well, cut it out and recap the damn show and then bitch about it on Twitter where such ad hominem gripes are the only things allowed to be posted. Read the terms of the service, that’s right there.
My only grip is that with Stassi’s mom Dayna coming in for a visit that means we now have two Dayna’s. There’s also Brett, Danica’s fat ex-girlfriend (who’s there because they’re still fucking, so maybe he’s not so ex) and “new Brett” the SURver who keeps caressing Scheana Shay
with her impossible long claws. That means there are two Dayna’s and two Bretts and not one shred of decency among the entire staff. That’s an almost deadly ratio.
Whatever her name, this new world order – wherever Lisa Vanderpump talks to Ken in her closet while packing up little Louis Vuitton dog baggage because she doesn’t do things like that on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – seems to revolve around Scheana. In a remarkable turn for her, she is now the old veteran at SUR and Dayna is the sexy newcomer with pertinent nipples that everyone hates. Scheana, along with Danica and Charli, are like the new witches at WeHo, trying to make everyone hate Dayna.
At the end of the episode, where she’s almost done training, Dayna, Scheana, and all their strange vowels go into SUR alley for a chat. Oh, SUR Alley, how I missed you and your rat-soaked discarded tables. Dayna asks Scheana Shay what’s going on with her and Max, because it seems the reason that Scheana Shay doesn’t like Dayna is because Dayna is dating Max. Scheana says that’s not the reason at all, but she doesn’t offer any other reasons to hate her, not even a stupid one she made up, like her head is tilted to one side.
The problem between the two of them seems to be that they both want to think that their relationship with Max is more real than that of the others. At one point Scheana Shay actually says with a human mouth: “Dayna may have seen Max’s dick, but I’ve seen his heart”. Then she brings up the Apple Watch that she bought for him for the 9 millionth time. The Apple Watch is the new Rob who hangs up a TV in less than seven minutes. Is it true that Scheana can only hold a dozen thoughts in her head at any given moment? Since most of them are related to Snapchat filters, she can only remember one fact about the man she’s “dating” right now, and she has to repeat it indefinitely.
The problem with the whole Scheana Shay and Max thing is that they’re both awful. Scheana wants to talk to Max because he called her “boy crazy.” (I loved Lisa’s reaction to Scheana Shay when she told Lisa the news. “Nooooooo!” she exclaimed, like Scheana just revealed that Max has, I don’t know, a bunch of old, racist Tweets.) She goes to work first and when he’s not there, she sends him a text message, guesses he’s at a boys’ night and then comes to talk to him. This doesn’t detract from her reputation as a “stagehand”. Yeah, the boys actually say that because they can only talk about girls in terms of shitty 15-year-old comedies starring Vince Vaughn.
But if Scheana proves that Max was a “fuckboi” who deceived her, we see that Max is terrible, too, of course. Her reading of the text message while Max is fucking sitting there, is the work of a veteran of reality television decimating someone who is completely new to the genre. It’s as if Max hasn’t learned that when you write something down on social media, it stays forever and can be used against you. In the eternal words of Dorinda Medley’s second favourite Tyler Perry quote: “Say it, forget it. Write it down, regret it.”
Yeah, Max gushed all over Scheana, and when he was done with her, he pretended she was the crazy one for the boys, which is typical bastard male behavior, and thank God Scheana Shay screamed. But man, does Scheana Shay make it hard for her to root for her.
The other fight in this episode is between Stassi and Tom, who is angry that she didn’t finish her signing party with Tom Tom, even though Tom Schwartz told him about it a few days ago and he was working on it. When Sandoval finds out that some of his bartenders can’t make it the next day, he takes it upon himself to rage her text in the middle of the night when he goes to throw her out of Tom Tom or some bullshit like that.
The reality is that Schwartz was working on it the whole time. He even went bartending if necessary, something Tom Sandoval won’t do in his own bar because he sees it as somehow reducing his status as an owner. Oh, so he won’t bartender at his own company to make sure things run smoothly, but he will continue to bartender at SUR just for a little extra pocket money? Ugh, I’m exhausted with this one. Somebody find me a limp couch and a Peanut Butter Twix so mommy can rest.
When Tom Sandoval finally shows up at Tom’s after a trip to the ER for a spider bite, he and Ariana take on Tom and Katie for all the people there for the book signing. Everyone, including Lisa, is going to make a big deal about how this fight went down in front of a bunch of customers, but, come on, these are fans of the show. Those women all dressed up in hot pink couldn’t have been happier to see a real, real Vanderpump Rules fight in front of their faces.
Sandoval’s point seems to be that he has to be the one to find the bartenders, he’s the one who makes the schedule, he’s the one who knows how to work the computer, and all this confusion could have been saved if Stassi had just come to him. That’s no way to run a business, especially if it’s a partnership. We get a few glimpses into what’s really happening at Tom Tom because of this fight, like when Sandoval Schwartz tells us that it’s a “really big problem” that he can’t work the computers at the bar.
It seems to me that Sandoval’s ownership status is threatened by his partnership with Lisa and Tom, and so he returns to the person who “really runs this place” to find his value. It’s a combination of narcissism and martyrdom that is exhausting, but also the perfect personality type to excel in the reality art and science of television. This whole party seems to have put forward some things that Tom Sandoval has stewed, but instead of trying to fix them or talk about things with Lisa and Tom, he takes on Stassi, a non-paying client. It’s totally the wrong reaction.
Stassi comes in hot and just starts yelling at Tom Sandoval about how he is a jerk, and the whole thing makes my head spin but also makes me a little damp in the jeans that the old world order of my favorite people with petty half-drunk fights on television has been restored.
Later, when Tom and Tom talk at Sandoval’s house, Tom Sandoval tries to say that Stassi is banned because she has embarrassed him in his own place. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that running a bar is still a job in the service sector. The clients aren’t there to make him feel good, he’s there to serve them, and if he can’t, his business won’t last long. (Except for the fact that his business is the center of a reality TV show, so it’s probably immune so, hey, YOLO!)
As their conversation intensified and Tom Sandoval got more worked up, Schwartz finally stepped out of his folding chair, the only piece of furniture in the whole house, and walked up to Sandoval. “Baby,” he said, stroked his cheek and let his hand rest firmly on his bicep. “Don’t get upset. We’ll work it out.” He leaned in and pressed his lips against Sandoval’s, penetrating and retreating their tongues, fighting for space in each other’s bodies. “I’m going to make it all feel better,” said Schwartz. He pulled him closer, wrapped his arms around him, and pushed their hooks together.