Vanderpump Rules Season Premiere Recap: Inside Lala Land

Vanderpump Rules

Summer Bodies
Season 5 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating *****
Vanderpump Rules - Season 5
Lisa Vanderpump, Ariana Madix. Photo: Nicole Weingart/Bravo

For years, the Real Housewives Institute has sadly ignored the red-headed stepchildren of the Bravo Diaspora, the Manzo’d With Childrens and the Don’t Be Tardys of the world. They have been shunned for being bastards of the shows we all know and love, but that oversight finally comes to an end today. Well, at least as far as Vanderpump Rules is concerned. (Sorry, Manzo’d With Children, maybe next year.) I am proud to unveil the Stassi Schroeder Memorial Underbasement for the Study of Vanderpump Rules here at the Real Housewives Institute, where we will be examining the lives, loves, and libations of the current and former staff of one Sexy Unique Restaurant in West Hollywood.

To that end, I must admit that as the very busy president and founder of the Institute, I haven’t spent as much time as I probably should figuring out why Jax loves a chunky knit or just what the hell is going on with Katie’s nose ring. (I would seriously vote for Donald Trump if he promised to pass a law requiring Katie to take out her nose ring forever.) That means I don’t know the entire history of this clan, outside of broad strokes. That is why I ask you, the Docent and Benevolent Society of the Real Housewives Institute, to do a little bit of extra volunteer work and let me know your opinions. Please fill in the facts that I might miss in the suggestion box that has been provided for you (i.e., the comments section below). Together, we can all make a difference and make this world great again. And while we’re doing a little bit of housekeeping, don’t forget to have your Kristens spayed and neutered.

All right, so on this first episode of the fifth season, it seems like there are only two really important events. The first of which is when Jax tells Tom Sandoval, whose hair has apparently been cursed by a very vengeful witch, that he caught Kristen going down on his girlfriend, Brittany, in their apartment. The best thing we learned from this conversation is that, according to Sandoval, there is apparently no dearth of bi-curious Southern girls in West Hollywood. See, the wonders that we have already uncovered in this short investigation!

As for the rest of this, I don’t really see what the problem is. Jax didn’t tell anyone how he reacted to finding Kristen neck-deep in Brittany’s Kentucky biscuit. The way he tells the story, it’s like he walked into the bedroom, Kristen was nose-deep in Brittany’s muff, and he just tiptoed back out of the room and sat in the living room like he was the Grinch stealing Christmas or something. That just seems … odd.

I also don’t really see what the big problem is here. If they were going at each other while both in relationships with men, it just seems like some recreational cunnilingus. It would sort of be like two married bros jerking off in the steam room at their local Equinox. It’s just a bit of fun tension relief while no one else is around. No big whoop. And just what was keeping Jax from joining in on this little south-of-the-border make-out sesh? Shouldn’t he have been like, “Hey, I’d like some too!” and climbed in there next to Kristen to get something really interesting going? I don’t know much about Kristen, but something tells me that she would totally be down for that.

Now, I hate to be the guy who says that things on a reality show are fake, but there is something fishy (no pun intended, Brittany) about this whole story. The fact that Jax says it happened and they didn’t, the fact that Jax didn’t make his presence known while it was going on, the fact that Jax didn’t turn it into a scene from Vanderpump Drools: an XXX Parody just all seems a little — how can I put this? — manufactured.

The other big event is the OK! magazine party. Now, I have found in my 38 years on this planet that anything that has an exclamation point in it’s title is not really something worth getting excited about. See: Jeb!, or Bob!, Newhart’s final, short-lived television show. The same goes for this party, which seems like it is the Outback Steakhouse of parties — not entirely awful, but only ever half full and with most of the drinks winding up on the floor. The oddest thing about this party is that it actually seems to be in an empty room. Most of the cast are sitting on one couch, Lala and James, the smell that a puke makes, are sitting on another couch, and literally no one is in between them. It’s like the rest of the party wasn’t attended by real people, but was actually a DMZ filled with spilled cranberry juice and the rest of the consonants that should be in Scheana’s first name.

James and Lala are just the absolute worst. Lisa very accurately says that they’re the kind of people who want approval and when they don’t get it they lash out in silly and ineffectual ways, like coming over to a group’s table at the OK! party to accuse them of not having worked on their summer bodies and being pregnant because they look fat. They’re the kind of people who think it’s funny to steal other people’s booze and try to get a rise out of them. They remind me so much of the assholes on High Maintenace. (Also, you should watch High Maintenance.)

When they arrive and everyone is mean to them, James and Lala go sit by themselves and cry about how the other group is bullying them, even though they were the aggressors in the whole fight. James even has the audacity to blame his bad behavior on the fact that his mother just left his mother and moved back to the U.K. I’m sorry, but James is grown man. I’m not saying that his parents’ breakup shouldn’t affect him, but maybe he should deal with it through therapy and quiet, tear-stained heart-to-hearts with his closest friends, not by terrorizing a branding event for a magazine that wishes it was Life & Style.

I just can’t figure out who is sadder: James or Lala, a woman who has spent far too much time thinking about the title and concept for the cover art of her porn feature to have ever actually made a porn feature before. (Props to her, though, I would totally buy Inside Lala Land.) These are two bad tastes that taste bad together, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and pickles. Their behavior is not only deplorable, it is also embarrassing. The only thing that is possibly more embarrassing than their behavior is that Jax and Tom Sandoval show up at the party in the same exact outfits, like they’re two gay grooms who just got married at the tackiest nightclub in all of Puerto Vallarta. As Stassi so astutely points out, “Even when I accidentally shit my pants once, it was even more embarrassing than that.”

That is when everyone gets together at Tom and Katie’s apartment to talk about their impending wedding and the incident at the party the night before. I didn’t feel bad for James and Lala that everyone was ganging up on them because they acted like such untamed Gila monsters. They deserve any derision headed their way, but this is sort of like a sewage-treatment plant telling an enormous compost heap that it stinks. One group is not necessarily good and the other bad — one is just worse by several degrees.

All except for Tom Schwartz. I have to admit that on this day I have fallen in love with a man and his name is Tom Schwartz. Oh, Tom, that wonderful good-natured bro who looks just as handsome in a blazer with his shirt unbuttoned precisely to nipple level as he does wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and his adorable glasses while lounging with his laptop on his cheap sectional. I want to fall into Tom Schwartz’s arms and never emerge, drowning in their musk and retreating into their solid cragginess. I want him to come into the bedroom with a tray carrying a plate of chocolate-chip pancakes, a Bluetooth speaker that is playing the Drake station on Pandora, and one single red rose. He sets the tray down on the bed and climbs in next to me. No, he does not want to share. “Those pancakes are all for you,” he says as he flings one of his legs around mine, rubbing his manhood against my thigh.

As I eat my pancakes, one angelically fluffy bite after the other, he rubs my hair and asks me about my emotions and my feelings and what I want to do with our future together. He assures me that everything will be all right, that I am smart and beautiful and, no, those pancakes won’t make me look awful when it’s time to unveil my summer body. And then, when I tell him that I have to get up to recap the next episode of Vanderpump Rules, he tells me that I don’t have to. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do ever again, and as his mouth touches mine, plunging the errant chocolate from my cheeks, it’s as if the kiss is magic, it’s as if I’m my very best person and everything smells like honeysuckle and I will never worry about paying my rent ever again.

Vanderpump Rules Recap: Inside Lala Land