There is a vast chasm between what I know about the lives of the Vanderpump Rules cast and what I understand about their lives. For instance, I know they are mostly employed at SUR, a West Hollywood sweet cocktail emporium, but I understand that none of them really work at all. I know Tom Schwartz nominally is an “underwear model,” but I understand that his body is so out of shape that when he models he has to wear a T-shirt. I know Lisa Vanderpump is their boss and no one wants their boss involved in their personal life, but I understand that they need to keep her informed for the sake of the story line.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, the “employment” of the cast and their actual, real honest-to-God employment baffles me. When Stassi, Scheana, Katie, and Kristen go to Montauk, Kristen says something to the effect of “New Yorkers come to Montauk to do nothing and decompress. Since I do nothing all the time, I don’t really see the appeal.” Unlike Schwartz, Kristen doesn’t even have a presumptive job and neither does Stassi. Their job is being reality-television stars. Their job is insisting that everyone take green tea shots, causing fights, and creating an insane tradition that everyone go skinny-dipping for their birthday. (Okay, that last one I really like.) They essentially have the same job as everyone who has ever been on The Challenge.
I’m fine with reality stardom as a career choice. As someone with a PhD in Reality Arts and Sciences, I believe it is a noble occupation, but I also find it odd that these people don’t want to do anything else with their fame. Unlike the Real Housewives that spawned them, the cast of Vanderpump Rules has no interest in clothing lines, liquor brands, cookbooks, wig ranges, dance singles, sketchy Tipsy Girl restaurants that are now opening in Hartford, or any of the other bogus “income streams” that their shady managers push them into supporting. When Kristen says she does nothing, she really does do nothing. All of them do nothing. I don’t know, I find that lack of ambition a little worrisome [question mark emoji].
Just look at their trip to Montauk (which is, obviously, a way for Bravo to soft-launch Summer House, its new show about singles living in a summer house). They don’t even really do anything on this trip. They check into a blue-and-white-striped nautical hotel in Montauk, thinking that they’re going to find rich blue bloods and not realizing that Montauk is known more for its scrubby surfers, taco trucks, and PR girls puking on their platform wedges that are full of sand and bad decisions. This is not the Hamptons. Montauk is past the Hamptons.
Anyway, they don’t do anything. They check into the hotel, they sit on the “private beach” outside their door that is a spit of sand about as wide as Katie’s tattooed wrist, they talk about how much they hate Lala, they go to dinner, and then they sit around their room drinking and FaceTiming with the castmates who aren’t there. The only thing of note that happens is that Katie inexplicably walks out of dinner carrying an entire grapefruit. She is not Rihanna and it is not a wineglass, so what the hell is she doing with that grapefruit?
At dinner, Stassi is hit on by Goldilocks’s Three Bears of men in the Hamptons. The first one is too old, too bald, and too into Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville franchises wherever he can find them. The next one is too basic, too douchey, and too second-tier hedge fund. The third one is just right. Laertes is a Greek bartender with a face that would launch a thousand ships (if by “ships” we mean “panties” and if by “launch” we mean “cause to disappear as if sucked into a magic erotic abyss.”) Too bad Stassi has no shot with him.
I’m usually a Scheana fan because she is the only unit of the FemmeBorg that will operate independently of their tall gray hive mind, but she really is a spoil sport on this trip. There is a way to go along with what everyone else is doing without being so sad about it. If Stassi wants everyone to do shots, then just sip it and pour it out on the ground. If everyone wants to go skinny-dipping, offer to hold their towels, don’t be all like, “Ew, gross, that is cold and awful.” Also, Scheana, it’s tradition. Good thing she didn’t try it, though, because she never would have recovered from everyone hooting and hollering at her naked body.
Kristen’s reaction to Scheana saying that she didn’t do shots because it brings back bad memories from college is actually my favorite thing from the whole episode. “They’re all bad memories for me. I just keep going,” is her response. Is there nothing that sums up Kristen’s life better? It’s all just pain and darkness, but she soldiers on, in her fog of half-fame and wild inebriation, hoping that someday that fog will get so thick she’ll be lost forever in her own forgetfulness.
Oh, I wish I could forget everything about James Kennedy, who stopped trying to get his old jobs at Pump and SUR back and is now begging his friend Arthur, a handsome Asian with all the answers, to hire him as a DJ at his restaurant. Arthur knows James is only drinking because he has serious problems and is trying to help him solve them because white-knuckling through two weeks of sobriety and replacing sauvignon blanc with rum-raisin ice cream is a sure way to end up fat, bitter, and utterly alone. I would thank Arthur for saving James, but that would sort of be like thanking Candace Cameron Bure for Fuller House, something the world neither wants nor deserves.
James does let us know that Lala is a crazy liar with a weird boyfriend and that she probably didn’t show up on the trip because this weird boyfriend told her not to go so he could follow her around town being a total weirdo. Also, she might have made him up. All of Lala’s stories seem so insane to me. Is it possible that her whole persona is some sort of reality-show Ponzi scheme and now that everyone’s trying to withdraw their money, she’s left only with a leased Range Rover, a gel manicure, and nothing to pay up with? I think it’s likely.
However, I wouldn’t wish rolling around in that stinking RV on the trip to Sonoma on anyone, including Lala, who bailed on the trip at the last minute. I wish I could forget everything about Tom, Ariana, Tom, Jax, and Brittany’s trip to the vineyard, including Jax refusing to drink wine because it’s not vodka, Ariana drinking from the spittoon on a dare, and that gross fart-filled Winnebago that they rolled up in. As boring and isolated as the girls’ trip to Montauk seemed, this is even worse, with the gang swigging straight from the bottle of tequila and eating raw meat with their hands around the world’s tiniest hibachi. “The RV wants us to be drunken idiots for my birthday,” Ariana hollered, and I lost all respect that I had for her, my one small glimmering light in this constellation of stupidity.
The one revealing conversation happens when the boys are outside and Tom Sandoval complains that his girlfriend won’t have sex with him. Meanwhile, Ariana is inside telling Brittany that she doesn’t want her man to go down on her when she just got home from the gym and her Lululemon is still full of yoga farts. I can see both of their points and I hope that they have all of the sex in the world because two hot bodies like that deserve to be joined together. What I don’t wish is to hear anymore about Jax, a man in a compression bra from his boob job, getting Brittany’s feet all sweaty so he can lick them. I mean, you can all have your fetishes and explore all the dark alleys of human sexuality you want, just please leave your foot-fetish porn off of Bravo where I have to watch it, thankyouverymuch.
We also learned on this trip that Tom Schwartz knows what semen tastes like, or at least he thinks he does. That came in handy later, when he was asleep in his bunk in the RV (the top bunk, of course) with only a sheer sheet separating him from the rest of the cabin. In the middle of the night, while he slept in his boxer briefs, he awoke to feel the familiar warmth of Tom Sandoval next to him. He slipped his hand down Schwartz’s Calvin Kleins and pulled his head close, just like he used to when they both had lonely nights when they were roommates. “Bro,” Tom Schwartz said, separating himself from the kiss. “Is that semen?”
Sandoval didn’t reply. His calm smile said everything as he went back in for more open-mouthed kisses from his friend, leaving him to wonder just where that taste might have come from. “Is that Jax’s?” Schwartz asked, a little repulsed even as his heart quickened and other parts of his body responded to the stimulus. Sandoval didn’t answer again, he just kept kissing him and letting his hands explore the landscape of Schwartz’s mostly nude body. He just kept going, plunging them deeper into intimacy and didn’t even stop when Jeremy opened the small curtain and looked at them with an insatiable smile.