I’m very worried about the emotional age of the Vanderpump Rules cast, most specifically Stassi. They might all be in their 20s and 30s, but they certainly act like middle-schoolers with their petty feuds, raging hormones, and ability to only care about partying and what Justin Bieber posts on Instagram. This is especially well-illustrated by Nikolai, Stassi’s 11-year-old brother who shows up for a sleepover with Stassi’s mother, who looks like Ann-Margret if she only shopped for clothes and makeup on QVC.
Nikolai arrives with his adorable Hitler-Youth-by-way-of-X mohawk and immediately diagnoses all of Stassi’s problems. Of her fight with Scheana at the non-surprise party last episode, he says, “It’s the beer. It’s all the beer.” And he’s right. That fight was all about Katie, Stassi, and Kristen being drunk and disorderly and completely overreacting to Scheana’s attempt to behave like a human person with consideration for the emotions of other people. When Stassi continues on about how wrong he is, he says, “Stay out of other people’s business. That’s the problem. You’re not the boss.”
How is this kid so wise? How did the woman who looks like the profile picture on Wilma Flintstone’s Ashley Madison account raise both Stassi, the world’s least-aware human creature, and this little cherub, who is basically like a pint-sized Iyanla Fix My Life episode? It just doesn’t seem possible that Stassi is the full biological sibling of someone with so much emotional intelligence at age 11. Or maybe he’s just not as wise as we think, and it’s just that all of our favorite SUR-vers are incredibly immature and simple.
That brings us to James Kennedy, a man who goes to ask for his job back and displays the exact behavior that got him fired in the first place. I pretty much hate everyone on this show (though I’m fascinated by some of these half-salted garden slugs) but there is a special dark place of loathing in my heart for James Kennedy, the Hydrox that thinks it’s a real, actual Oreo. James would like us to believe that he has a very successful DJ career because he’s spinning “on the Sunset Strip between the Whiskey A-Go-Go and The Roxy.” Notice he doesn’t list the venue where he is actually playing. That is because between the Whiskey A-Go-Go and The Roxy is a Cheesecake Factory that has a DJ night on Tuesdays. And it’s not even a good DJ night, because whoever works the door let Tom Sandoval show up wearing a Carmen Sandiego hat and didn’t even make fun of him.
James is basically saying, “I mean, I could work at all these other places, it’s just that I really like Pump and SUR so much, I want to work there.” Apparently, it’s an existential and nostalgic longing that makes him go to Lisa and beg for his job back. It has nothing to do with the fact that no one else wants to hire the human equivalent of a half-crushed bag of Hint of Lime Tostitos.
Anyway, James’s drive-by with Lisa is a wonderful scene. He shows up, tells Lisa he’s been a good boy for a week, and begs to be once again employed as the house DJ by calling Lisa a liar and displaying the exact qualities of arrogance and rudeness that got him fired in the first place. She dismisses him faster than her pink-detailed Porsche can go from 0 to 60. Lisa handled herself expertly — I think it’s because she was wearing her best Jacqueline Smith for Lenscrafters glasses — and she was right to dole out tough love and some life advice to this man child. Now if we could only figure out a way to kick him off the show for good.
Speaking of delusional men, we need to talk about Jax and his boob surgery. Now, I’m never going to begrudge a man for having his man-boobs deflated on national television because, essentially, that is a public service. However, I am going to take some umbrage with the exact situation that led to this surgery. Jax claims that all the “supplements” he was taking gave him gynecomastia and that there were cysts in his man boobs. Okay, fine.
Now, I do not know Jax’s entire medical history and I am certainly not a doctor. Nevertheless, I think that protein powder, pre-workout serum, and over-the-counter fat burners are not the sort of thing that lead to cyst-laden man boobs. I’m not going to say that Jax, a man so vain he changed not just his face and body but also his name, uses or has used steroids, but studies have shown that anabolic steroid use leads to gynecomastia, which is the condition Jax says is being treated by his (incredibly hot) plastic surgeon. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Jax is joining Ariana, Tom, Brittany, and Tom Schwartz for Ariana’s birthday trip to Sonoma to go to a NASCAR race. That sounds like just about the worst trip in the whole world. I would rather go to Glamis Dunes and have my buggy turn over than go to a NASCAR race in wine country. Not only do they have to go to a NASCAR race, they also have to ride in an RV and share a cabin with all of those boys and only one bathroom. This is a trip so bad that I would rather go to Montauk with Katie, Stassi, and Kristen, a woman who knows so little about the Hamptons that she only associates them with Puff Daddy and Bethenny Frankel. (Saying that Puff Daddy and Bethenny Frankel are representative of the Hamptons is like saying that Benny Hill and a dead rat floating down the Thames are representative of London. You can find them both there, but that doesn’t really capture the flavor of the place. Also, Montauk is not technically in the Hamptons, but whatever.)
With this trip to Sonoma seeming so bleak, can you blame Lala for not showing up at the last minute to go with the crew? No, you cannot. Lala is busy at home, making up fake boyfriends and watching drag queen makeup tutorials on YouTube so that her face will look even more like an anime character after three tabs of acid than it already does.
Tom Schwartz is there, ready to go and exhausted from days of folding up all of those stupid tea towels that are his invitations to his wedding, the ones that cost $20 a piece. I hate to say it, but no one wants those. Those towels are like the bridesmaid dresses of towels. “Oh, but you can use them forever to wipe up your spills,” Katie would say. No, Katie. No one wants yours stupid invitowel (towel-tation?) hanging from the handle of her oven to sop up gazpacho on the counter.
Tom and I could probably think of a good use for one of those towels, as we lie in bed, our limbs intertwined and our bodies exhausted from some sort of erotic exercise. My head against the hard convex surface of his flexed bicep as I find a way to make my crevices fit into his, like a fleshen jigsaw puzzle in which the only solution is one of bliss. As we lie there, with our fluids drying and cementing skin to skin, eventually we will have to get up, and Tom will use that towel, that stupid useless towel, to clean the mess from his flat stomach as he pads his way toward the shower, his solid, round rear undulating behind him like a ball bouncing down the stairs.