Before we get to Monday’s episode of Vanderpump Rules, the exact opposite of whatever Mensa is, we need to talk about whatever fresh hell that “Merry Pitchmas” commercial is. It seems to be some sort of mash-up of the less famous Barden Bellas from Pitch Perfect and several of the cast members of Vanderpump Rules using so much Auto-Tune, it sounds as if their parts were sung by a Roomba and a prototype self-driving car. The video has the silver, glossy sheen of a Christmas tree in a boutique hotel lobby or a fresh herpes sore. The whole thing made me want to weep until the end of the world, which, thankfully, is scheduled for two weeks from Thursday, so it’s not so far away that it will ruin the rest of my life.
It had to be especially bad to stand out in this humdinger of an episode. I never thought that we were going to get from Faith accusing Jax of sleeping with her, sucking her toes, and possibly impregnating her within spitting distance of a sleeping 93-year-old to where we are now in just two episodes. When we were teased with the producer asking Jax, “Did you cheat on Brittany?” and him not answering, I thought this was going to be the mystery of the season, like it’s a trashy installment of Serial or something.
But we know. Jax admitted to cheating with Faith. Brittany asks him in their bedroom with the weird set of stairs leading up to it, and he says, “Yes, I slept with her.”
“Go right to hell,” she responds, which is, honestly, the only reaction one can have to such an admission. She then throws some things, packs a bag, and takes off for a couple of days in Vegas, dancing on a stage next to a trashy DJ in a shockingly tasteful one-piece bathing suit. After his admission, Jax skulks away, showing Brittany and the world that the back of his sweater is covered in a faded Taco Bell logo, as if even his loungewear is haunted by his past as a cashier at a Mexican-themed diarrhea dispensary at a rest stop in Michigan. Or maybe this is just some of the leftover swag from Katie’s Taco Bell–themed bridal shower. Who knows?
That means we only got one episode of Jax saying, “I didn’t do anything. Everyone is yelling at me for something that didn’t happen.” So, for all of those who say that he doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he clearly does, because normally he’d spend an entire season saying this, only to admit it in the end. Later, Jax says, “I have to go to therapy and figure out why I keep doing this.” Wait, this is why he’s going to go to therapy to stop cheating? In six seasons on this show, all he’s ever done is cheat on every single girlfriend he’s ever had, but now he’s going to figure it out? Man, get over it.
Brittany thought that it was going to be different with her — and I’m sure that we all think that we’ll be the one who can change a cheater when we start dating them — but of course it wasn’t. It never is. A leopard doesn’t change its spots and, in Jax’s case, that leopard probably doesn’t even change his boxer briefs every day. Schwartz defends Jax and says that he’s just built to cheat, which may be true, but it means he needs to find a partner who will allow him to stray occasionally. That partner obviously isn’t Brittany. But if I were to guess, I think there is a part of Jax that gets off on humiliating his partners, or at least hates himself so much that he needs to inflict pain on women so that they’ll inflict pain on him.
I do feel badly for Brittany, but maybe I shouldn’t. She knew what she was getting into, after all. The great thing is that everyone on the entire show is #TeamBrittany right from the jump. They all think that she doesn’t deserve this and that Jax is scum. It’s sort of amusing — everyone in his life thinks he’s as appealing as a mouthwash shot with an orange-juice chaser.
When Brittany shows up for her shift at SUR, all of the girls rally around her, probably because most of them have been cheated on by Jax. But while she’s muddling through her shift, serving badly muddled cocktails, she admits something rather shocking: She had sex with Jax that afternoon. I mean, I get it. Sometimes, you need that closure sex. Sometimes, nothing puts the period at the end of a relationship like one last rutting through tears and anger. But this seems like something different. I’m afraid, like Schwartz prognosticated (which is a word that Stassi clearly does not know), that the two of them will get back together.
The great thing about this episode is that the emotions and the stakes are very real. Brittany really is angry, sad, and betrayed; and Jax really is a toxic stew of regret, exasperation, and far too much protein powder. Though the emotions are bad ones, it’s great to see something real on this show that can so often be, how do I put this — produced.
Just look at DJ James Kennedy’s lunch with Lisa Vanderpump, where his child bride gets a job as a volunteer at Vanderpump Dogs and James gets his gig back on Tuesday nights at SUR. Why? Because reality television, that’s why. Also, Tom and Tom and Ariana go to Long Beach Pride to watch Lisa wear a rainbow maribu cape that is so gay that it made Liberace’s ghost faint. Why? Because reality television, that’s why. Then, at Pride, Sandoval and Ariana do a bit of cultural tourism in the leather tent where Sandoval got flogged by some nice older gentlemen who own an artisan poppers distillery. Why? Because reality TV, that’s why. Stassi is given a job as the resident event planner at SUR after spending an afternoon watching YouTube clips of how to plan a party. Why? Because reality TV and millennials, that’s why.
It all comes back to the reality of Brittany and Jax, though. It was almost too much for Tom Schwartz to handle. He got so wasted at Scheana No Tea No Shay’s birthday party that he woke up drunk and decided to keep his buzz going at the birthday party for Ariana’s brother and once-again roommate Jeremie. That’s two birthday parties Schwartz has attended in a 12-hour period that his wife wasn’t invited to and he still went anyway. What is wrong with this guy? (Also, why wasn’t Katie invited to Jeremie’s party?)
I think Schwartz had to show up because his bro Peter was going to be there, and he nuzzled into Peter’s chest as the SUR manager’s undulating arm circled Schwartz’s shoulders, bringing him tight in an aura of comfort. Schwartz was very upset by what everyone was saying about Jax, and excused himself to make a teary phone call to his friend and former roommate.
That is when Sandoval came over and sat next to him, asking him what was wrong. “It’s just now that I realized how little drive I had,” Schwartz said. Apparently, two days of drinking and his friends’ breakup pushed him to a state of existential introspection usually reserved for peyote trips or intense visits to Ikea. Sandoval sat beside him on a ledge at this outside bar and reminded Schwartz how great he is and how their bar is going to be amazing. He reminded Schwartz of how important they were to each other, and that he wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning if he didn’t have seeing Schwartz and picking out a fedora for the day to look forward to. Sandoval got so emotional that his tears washed down his face, carving little gullies into the spray tan he got that morning.
Finally, they locked eye to wet eye, their admiration flowing back and forth like shared electrons in a covalent bond. (Or is it an ionic bond? I bet Stassi doesn’t know either.) Sandoval rested his arm heavily and Schwartz’s shoulder and Schwartz did the same, the two of them clasped there like wrestlers about to take each other down. But something came over them, a warm interior glow, like drinking two shots of Jägermeister at once. They leaned in toward each other and their lips met in a firm caress, and they pulled each other closer as their mouths opened and their tongues darted out in unison, like two tentacles in a vigorous handshake.