I always thought that Vanderpump Rules, a never-ending PSA about the ravages of Botox, was a show about being young. Here are all of these people stuck in shitty jobs, making bad choices, getting drunk and hooking up all the time, and otherwise frittering their lives away in apartments with really bad blinds and air conditioners that trip the circuit breaker. We all lived through our 20s and it looked just like that.
After this episode, I realized I was wrong. Vanderpump Rules is actually a show about getting old. Just look at the very first scene of the episode: The powerless coven of Brittany, Katie, Stassi, and Kristen get together to bedazzle a bunch of scooters and then ride them around the streets of West Hollywood. They look less like a biker gang on a rampage and more like a bunch of seniors on their Rascals about to terrorize an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels at the mall. What are those mobile contraptions, where did they get them, and why exactly are they encrusting them with rhinestones? Brittany, always sensible, puts her name on hers. Kristen, meanwhile, paints a treble clef on hers, like her scooter is the lower back of a theater nerd who just turned 18 or the inside of Scheana’s right wrist.
Stassi also adds to the elderly atmosphere. After walking out on her birthday party in a fit of pique because she doesn’t want to take a shot out of a stripper’s ass, we discover that she also walked out on the bill, leaving her friends to pick up the $1,500 tab. Stassi arrives at the Rascal Renovation Party and immediately starts sobbing and apologizing for how she behaved. Stassi says something to the effect that being old is about being able to take responsibility for one’s actions. Maturity is apologizing and moving on without having to marinate in the drama. Actually, getting older is about celebrating your birthday with an expensive dinner and a few glasses of wine and then passing out watching the new season of Queer Eye on Netflix and not really having anything to apologize for.
Then, to punctuate her argument, Stassi pulls out her checkbook and pays her friends back for the bar tab. A checkbook? Where does she keep that? In her pocket book like my grandmother? Does she not have Venmo, Chase Quick Pay, or that other one that they keep trying to make me download with the commercial about the guy trying to buy cookies at a bake sale with his phone? Stassi doesn’t need to write a check, she needs to get her life in check.
The other way we realize that everyone is old is the trip to Big Bear to stay at Rob’s cabin. If you don’t know, Rob is Scheana’s boyfriend. He is older, handsome, fit, good in bed, handy, can fix a boat, owns multiple homes, and is just the kind of man Scheana always envisioned herself with. He is basically like Scheana’s CrossFit, because, just like talking to any CrossFit culter, if you don’t know all about its virtues she will be sure to tell you five minutes into any conversation.
Scheana’s insistence that her relationship with Rob is perfect is so baldly pathological that it almost defies acknowledgement. Scheana just got out of her relationship with a lifeless blob of a man with a drug problem who stole all of her money. She now needs to convince everyone that she can do better than that and, more importantly, needs to convince herself that the relationship with a good guy is real. That is because Scheana doesn’t think she has any intrinsic worth on her own. She’s only worth as much as the man who’s possessing her says she is. This is all sadly laughable because we know that she and Rob are now broken up.
This gambit to invite all of her friends for a fun time in Big Bear is also something that a young person showing off would do. It’s like, “Hey, we only have room for six people, but let’s all go and we’ll pass out anywhere.” Sorry, that is not how adults function. We know that if three people aren’t invited because there are not enough beds, that’s cool. You’ll get them next time. I would much rather be left out and able to accept an invitation somewhere else than sleep on your crusty daybed that is covered in your grandmother’s old quilt, shriveled-up spider webs, and your ex-girlfriend’s dried tears.
I totally sympathized with Old Man Jax who was like, “I’m not going unless I can have a bed.” That is a nice, adult way to behave. Of course he is an ass about expressing that sentiment, but it is the right sentiment. The reiki is finally working, but not quickly enough.
Naturally we see the stark divide between Jax, Brittany, Tom, Ariana, Scheana, and Rob and the younger members of the crew: James, Lala, and Raquel, a dried blob of grape bubblegum stuck under a desk. James gets absolutely wasted and gets in a fight with Lala just as everyone else is fixing to go to bed. Rob is cringing under the covers and sends Scheana out to yell at the kids to keep it down because it’s after midnight and this house is just way too tiny for drunken ranting.
Jax is hiding in his room with Brittany because this whole thing is giving him anxiety. He realizes that he’s too old to behave this way. I do believe that Jax is in the middle of a mid-life crisis because he wants to start behaving differently, but since all he ever prized was getting drunk and pounding pussy, he has no idea what that sort of behavior looks like.
The fight between James and Lala is stupid and mostly amounts to James getting drunk and being in love with Lala and Lala screaming repeatedly, “Don’t come for me, bro,” and clapping her hands while all the neighboring dogs howl and the Clapper in the cabin next door keeps switching the living room lights on and off. Everyone in the entire house can hear this fight and they all think it’s juvenile and awful. They’re all glad that their 20s are over and they’ve finally moved on to more civilized arguments, but yet, here they are, these little misbehaving ghosts of their former youth sitting on the porch wearing a sweatshirt with the entire cleavage area removed.
Meanwhile, back in L.A., Stassi and Katie go to see a tarot-card reader who looks exactly like Leslie Mann and has a dog named Betty White, so basically she is absolutely perfect. She reads Stassi’s cards and tells her that she’s going to have a kid in a few years, but she needs to dump Patrick because it’s going nowhere. Even Stevie Wonder’s sunglasses could tell you that Stassi and Patrick’s relationship is doomed to fail, so it’s no wonder the cards can see it.
Then it was Katie’s turn. “I see your husband,” Angie the tarot-card reader said. “He is touching the Knight of Swords and the Knight of Wants.” She flips over a few more cards and looks puzzled. “Now he seems to be grabbing the Knight by his wand and the other Knight by his sword. They’re kissing. They’re peeling off their pants.” She turned over one more card. “Oh, the Lovers,” Angie said surprised.
“That has to be me and Tom, right?” Katie asked, confused and annoyed.
“I don’t think so. I’m seeing. A business partner, maybe. Someone he’s working with, but is also in love with. But not another woman, I think it’s…”
Before she could finish her sentence, Katie grabbed her purse and got up. “Well, I think we better go home.” They paid the woman and she and Stassi walked out to the sidewalk and hopped on their blinged-out scooters and rode all the way home in silence with something a little bit less than wind in their hair.