Jax Gets Roasted On Vanderpump Rules
Find out whether the birthday meatloaf is undercooked or cooked to perfection in this week's rankings.
Let's face it: our SURvers are growing up and the conceit of the series no longer really applies. Scenes at SUR have become a formality. Thrilling as it is to see Lala punch in -- when she's there -- or Scheana set some glasses down on the bar while Sandoval and Ariana muddle mint behind it, it's not enough. This is the third episode of the season featuring two birthdays -- four if we're counting Stassi and Ariana's two-part birthday trips. If we are, then for context: that's a third of the season.
Don't get me wrong: I'll still be watching when Jax gets a colonoscopy in Season 7, Stassi interviews sperm donors in Season 10, and Peter undergoes a knee replacement in Season 12. But it's disappointing that this season lacks the laser-beam focus (read: anger) of the previous ones. So, before getting into this week's rankings, let's trim the fat and strain the stock of this week's episode.
Sandoval takes his birthday in stride and throws a fund-RAGER for Project Elev8, a charity that helps rebuild homes and further education in Haiti; Scheana reconnects with Ariana and dissents from the WeHo coven, plotting a coup; Katie searches for the right shade of "dusty pink" for the SUR lounge and the right strain of weed to dull her tequila-soaked rage and restore peace to the land; James starts his residence at Redbury, in hopes of one day advancing to Pinkberry; Kristen emcees Jax's birthday roast; Brittany tries -- in vain -- to shield her mother from the rumor that she and Kristen hooked up; Peter's named employee of the month for the twelfth-consecutive week at SUR because he's the only person working there; Schwartz fits both feet in his mouth, with room to spare; and Jax makes a valid point.
To the rankings!
Yes, I can call for cuts and be strict about attendance.
There are more reasons to be wary of your daughter dating a reality star with a sordid, well-documented past than this space permits. More so when that person is Jax, who seems more like a Laura Albert character than an actual flesh-and-blood human being. And yet, for every legitimate reason there is to be suspicious, if not directly dismissive and combative, kissing another man one time isn't one of them.
- Tom Sandoval
Sandoval scores points for using his birthday to highlight a noble cause. Unfortunately, the $8,604 raised doesn't begin to cover the amount in fines I'm issuing. Where to begin? Better just to list the offences:
Evoking the image of Richard Gere's American Gigolo gravity boot scene to lesser effect; having "a braid guy" on speed dial for his and Ariana's hair; his literal birthday suit; referring to what looked like honeybuns as "donuts"; learning nothing from last season and being the point-person to whom Scheana and Shay to raise concerns about Katie's (allegedly) budding alcoholism; encouraging jokes to publicly shame Kristen, without first realizing that they affect Brittany -- whom he defended two weeks ago because he thinks Jax bullies her, and whose conservative mother's visiting for the first time -- more than his ex.
- Tom Schwartz
Schwartz skates by on charms. Alas, looking like an overpriced plush bear on display by the register at Kohl's can only get you so far in these parts. First, there's his fight with Katie over paint swatches that, regardless of who was right and who was wrong, is mishandled. Mostly though, this is another piss-poor showing of his "comedic" timing, and timing in general. Yes, Sandoval opens the door, but he walks right through it and really drives home the fact that Jax has slept with half the room, half of WeHo, and (allegedly) half of Florida, including the male population.
Scheana's not completely wrong; her methods are. Like the Katie/Sandoval bag/drunk debacle, it doesn't matter who's right and who's wrong about "bridesmaid duties." Nor does it really matter what exactly the wide-reaching blanket term "bridesmaid duties" means to begin with. We suffered through her wedding, now it's her turn to suffer through Katie's. Rules are rules!
Speaking of Katie, it's completely inappropriate to go directly to the bride to complain about how unfair it is that the cost of the house where her bridal shower was held was split three ways instead of eight. Even worse is trying to brand the bride an angry alcoholic because...oh, who the fuck knows anymore. The point is: not everyone is as organized, driven, or flush with cash because of a legal settlement, Scheana!
In a rare misstep -- but not a wholly surprising one in retrospect -- Brittany's just as concerned about Schwartz's jokes about Jax kissing boys as her mom is. This week, her light doesn't burn as bright as the cross beside her.
He starts a new job and doesn't entirely take Scheana's bait. Hey, it's a start.
Admitting that there is, if not a problem with her drinking or relationship, then a problem with her stress level and how it affects everyone when she drinks socially is a step in the right direction. (Sort of.) She's still a mess. But, with any luck, hopefully she'll be high enough that the mess is confined to one area on the couch, eating kale chips and giggling at a rerun of The Big Band Theory on TBS.
Sigh: another so-so comedic showing from Kristen. She handles herself well as roast emcee, but it's disappointing to see Ariana piggyback on her joke and crush it. Points for the following: trying to preserve Brittany's dignity, trying to preserve her relationship with her mother, and for calling Sandoval out after the roast. (Yes, that last one was probably going to happen regardless of content, but still!) She dies admirably.
To Whom It May Concern: where's the footage of Kristen sending out these "crazed drunk texts" to Scheana? I need it.
Ariana benefits from keeping things relatively light this week and not falling prey to Ariana-isms. Mostly -- and I hate to admit this -- I loved her battery acid-soaked zingers. Plus there's that nice scene where she and Scheana reconnect. Sure, it's motivated by the hand she was dealt at birth by her witch-hunter ancestors, but it's nice regardless of whether or not she burns the WeHo coven at the stake.
Stassi isn't a major player this week, but I could write 5,000 words about what a big deal her set at Jax's roast is; I was legitimately shocked by her restraint. As an added bonus, all signs suggest that the gears are clicking back into place and the action's returning to its Stassi/Kristen v. Scheana/Ariana heyday. And really, what more could you ask for?
"I have a serious problem with people judging me. I know that Sherri's a very conservative lady, but of all the things that I've done in my life -- the going to jail; the cheating; the stealing -- the thing that sticks out most is that, that I might have kissed a guy? Really?" Well put.