Vanderpump Rules Deals With Family Ties And Tea Towel Wedding Invitations
The season's most consistent episode sadly finds the SURvers table setting.
Production-wise, this is the most consistent episode of the season, the editors having finally found a way to juggle all thirty-two core cast members. It's an entertaining, calorie-free episode that (mostly) tracks the SURvers as they figure out their various trips to Montauk and Sonoma. Unfortunately, that's the problem. Even-keeled and well intentioned, it's disappointing that the action's undercut in service of the players, who become weirdly benign as a result. All of which is to say: this week's rankings aren't like the others.
To the rankings, 2.0!
James resurfaces this week to brag about how much better he's doing now that he's been fired from SUR and Pump. Those places made him too comfortable and really held him back, you know? It's not long after an excruciating lunch date with Raquel (her vocal fry is a nice reminder of why this show about transplants in L.A. works so well) that he randomly decides to show up at SUR to ask for his job back on the grounds that he's more or less been sober the past week. (Because if there's any way to win Lisa over, it's surprising her at work and wasting her time with half-assed arguments and promises that this time will be different.) Max has even really sorta kind of (allegedly) seen an improvement in him! Of course Max wasn't there to see him take shots of cold medicine at his latest gig, but still: sobriety!
Needless to say, it doesn't work. But according to the promo, it might in the long run. Ugh!
- The Tea Towel Wedding Invitations
Katie's tea towel wedding invitation is a great idea, in theory. Let he or she who hasn't been on Pinterest or BuzzFeed at 3 AM and thought, "Hey, I can do that!" cast the first stone; we've all been there once or twice. If I had a dollar for every time I saw something layered in a mason jar and flirted with recreating the recipe...I'd own at least one dozen mason jars. But I'm not here to talk about my failure as someone who said he'd bring dessert, or naïveté as someone who should know himself and the internet better by now. I'm here to talk about spending $18.50 on a wedding invitation people are going to use as a burp cloth when the cat vomits or to mop up wine because they managed to buy two bottles and drink one-and-a-half, but forgot to buy the paper towels they actually needed. And that's assuming they don't just throw it out to begin with.
So while the idea is great on paper -- the paper upon which the invitations should have been printed on in the first place -- I personally hate them. I hate them more than Lisa hates them, and Lisa hates them. I hate that it's called a tea towel but looks like a California King-sized pillowcase; I hate its busy, ridiculous font; I hate that it doesn't include a location, or worse, that the location's printed on the other side, and therefore the towel can't be folded in a way that obscures the fact that it's a wedding invitation and not just a towel you can throw on the counter to let things dry on; I hate that Katie has Kristen and Stassi folding napkins and reminding me of when the show was at its best; I hate that the theme of their wedding is rustic DIY charm but these fuckin' things cost $18.50 a pop (yes, I'm mentioning the price again) and that the budget's doubled overnight.
- Family Ties
A reality TV trope I'm particularly done with is parents making an appearance on behalf of their children. Reality TV may, by definition rather than execution, be "real life." And, yes, a lot of people do regularly talk to their parents to check in or ask for advice. However, in an already overcrowded venue, it's more distracting than anything else. At a certain point I started to wonder if it was Mother's Day as Stassi and Scheana talked to their moms before Montauk, as opposed to each other. (Let the record reflect that Scheana had Mindy Cohn play her mother and that Katie's mom also makes an appearance.)
Don't get me wrong: there's definitely a part of me that enjoys seeing the mostly thirty-something cast turn to their parents for validation from time to time. But as great as the terrible proportions of Stassi's mom's romper and complaints about the temperature because she's going through menopause both are, this just wasn't the week for them. It's also disappointing that the much-needed context of Stassi's on-again/off-again relationship with Patrick (the subtext of last week's meltdown) arrived too late and in a conversation with her mother, rather than with her costars.
- Tom Sandoval
Let's not pretend that Lala's presence is going to make or break Ariana's birthday. Which, it's worth mentioning, he refers to as "the best trip a girl from Florida could wish for." He also, at another point, wears a structured wide-brimmed hat.
If those invitations weren't enough, Katie has a minor meltdown outside Villa Rosa after Lisa tells her she seems unhappy and is being too hard on Scheana, and that Stassi's at least partially to blame for both. "These are my thoughts and my feelings and my opinions," she roars. It only gets worse when Lisa questions whether or not that's actually the case, and Katie tells her she's "insulting."
We know Lala quits sometime this season. Could this phony "Lala didn't show up for the flight" bit be her abrupt exit? Or will next week start with her just barely making the flight and having a great time in Sonoma? To tell you the truth, I'm hoping it's the former. Lala's married man-cum-athlete-cum-whatever doesn't hold a candle to Kristen bringing Miami Girl to SUR, or Stassi trying to figure out whether or not Jax and Kristen slept together. It's off-screen, it's underdeveloped, and I'm so tired of hearing how much it costs to lease a Range Rover. Which, if you missed it (and honestly, how could you?) is $750/month.
Stop taking supplements!
Stop producing estrogen!
- Mike & Scheana
Painful and awkward for a hundred different reasons since we know they're getting divorced.
- Tom Schwartz
A great shot of the ass that doesn't quit, undermined only by the fact that it's when he's sprawled out on an LAX terminal floor. It's a bittersweet moment. But things already seem brighter as he heads to Sonoma and Katie preps for Montauk.
I'll never think comedy is Ariana's life or that she's particularly skilled at it, but that dig about Montauk was admittedly a high point.
From absentmindedly telling Katie that putting her wedding invitations together "is just like folding napkins at SUR" to referring to her and Jax's relationship as being "like two stepsisters who've [slept] together twice," Kristen makes up for this week's crippling lack of personality. They're small moments, but coupled with her debating extending her Hamptons trip because the only things she knows about the area ("How many Hamptons are there?") are "Puff Daddy and Bethenny Frankel," they go a long way. Plus her workout and conversation with Jax is somehow the best filler we've gotten all season. Here's to hoping she continues being a featured player.
Last week I hoped Lisa would start delivering. This week my prayers are answered as she slinks around and whacks Katie, Lala, and James with a 2x4. She refers to Lala in a talking head as "provocative," and if anyone can make the diagnosis, it's her. One minute she's calling out Lala for the terrible claw-like nails we've been seeing all season; the next she's using the distraction to dig into her for wearing Louboutins and wondering how she pays for things. However, her best material arrives with James, whom she calls a disrespectful, arrogant little punk who should change careers, before going in on how firing him has made her life infinitely better. She's probably going to hire him again at some point this season (probably next week), but if she's bringing this kind of energy with her to SUR each week, I'm fine with it.