Like all epic poems, this episode of Vanderpump Rules, a shadow puppet show powered by beer farts, begins in medias res. We see the WeHo coven of Stassi, Kristen, and Katie getting comfortable on the beach of Playa del Carmen and they discuss the night before, getting in at 8:30 in the morning, rising at one in the afternoon, and how Kristen and James hooked up. Say what now? How have we not seen any of this? Did we miss an entire episode? Did Tom Sandoval discover a flux capacitor in that shitty nightclub and they all traveled into the Marty McFly future with hovering skateboards and McDonald’s that somehow doesn’t make you fat?
They tried this same tactic on a recent episode of Rich Women Doing Things (a.k.a. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) and I hated it then as well. It’s so disorienting, like reading a stack of comic books out of order. It feels like the “previously on” was all wrong and we got the wrong episode or something. Also, it totally robs us of the big revelation of the episode. In this case, it’s that James and Kristen maybe hooked up. I don’t want to hear about it and then retrace our steps backward from that event. I want to see it.
This editing tactic is meant to cover up production totally goofing and missing the whole incident. When we do go back 12 hours earlier, we see the gang at the club dancing the night away and playing songs on their wooden penis pipe. (That last thing is not a euphemism.) At one point, James goes up to the DJ booth and, in his Flintstone Spanish, tells the DJ that he is also a DJ and wants to play his new dance single. No one wants that. No one thinks this is a good idea. You wouldn’t go up to someone in a Broadway show and say, “Oh, I’m a dancer too.” You wouldn’t walk into the kitchen at a restaurant and say, “Hey, Guy Fieri, get out of Flavor Town so I can give it a whirl.” No. No one is there to hear James and his new single while he fist pumps the crowd into a frenzy of forced delight.
Anyway, when they all finally leave the club, it seems like the producers and the camera people took the rest of the night off. I don’t know how many times we have to tell these shows that is a bad idea. Evolution Media (which makes this program, as well as the RHOBH and RHOC) should have learned this lesson when they missed the giant after-hours fight when the RHOC cast went to Ireland. There is no sleeping on these trips for the cast, so there should not be any for the crew. Sure they have unions, but get another crew. Heck, hire some locals to supplement the production staff.
Here is just a sample of the things that we missed: Stassi getting so pissed that she went back to her room and passed out on a sleeping pill; Brittany getting so pissed that she passed out in her room while everyone was still partying all around her; Peter getting a mysterious sunburn on his face that no one wants to explain; Tom Schwartz blacking out and wandering off of the property and ending up at the resort next door and having to be escorted back to the resort where he was actually staying; and, of course, James and Kristen possibly hooking up in Jax’s hot tub after everyone else passed out at about 7:30 in the morning.
That is more than enough for an entire episode. But because the crew had to do stupid things like rest, eat, call their families, maybe drop a deuce, and watch The Avengers in Spanish on a local television channel, we missed all of that and can only just hear about it now. That is criminal.
Since most of the episode is about this alleged hookup, what do we know for sure? Well, Jax goes all CSI with what little information he has and decides that the two totally boned in the hot tub. What is his evidence? He saw James go back out to the hot tub with a bottle of tequila to join Kristen. Then, in the morning, he found that there were pillows placed on the ledge next to the hot tub. As Jax crudely mimics later on, he knows that to bang a girl in the hot tub she needs to be placed on some pillows. He even mimes what it takes and what parts go where. He says he knows how to copulate in a Jacuzzi. I do not believe him.
Jax thinks these are sex pillows, but they don’t have to be sex pillows (or, as some might call them, fun bags). They could just be “I don’t want to be in the hot tub and this ledge is really scratchy on my thighs” pillows. Just because James and Kristen were drinking together and there were pillows doesn’t mean they are sex pillows. I don’t think there was any actual boning going on. Based on how drunk James still was in the afternoon when everyone went golfing, I don’t think he was — how can I say this — anatomically ready for any sort of intimacy. Could they have made out and done some slap-and-tickle below the belt? Sure. But I doubt very highly that they actually had sex.
In the afternoon, all of the boys go golfing and it is just a disaster. Most of them have never been golfing before and most of them are also still totally wasted from the night before. Sandoval is using a three iron to dig ditches in the fairway as he repeatedly misses his ball. James is rolling around on a golf cart and flipping people the bird while shanking balls into the trees. Peter is trying not to murder everyone. Schwartz, who looks like a wet blob of toilet paper you would find on the stall floor, is trying not to yak all over his shoes.
Anyway, Jax tells everyone he thinks James hooked up with Kristen and Sandoval decides to find out. He asks, “Did you hang out with Kristen last night?” A drunk James replies, “A little bit, but not really.” They all take this to mean that James said he hooked up with Kristen “a little bit.” My contention is that James, blurry and distracted, took “hang out” literally. He hears, “Did you spend time with Kristen last night?” And he did a little bit, but not really.
The boys go back and tell everyone that James and Kristen hooked up, so now we finally get to Katie and Stassi confronting her about it on the beach. Kristen emphatically states that they did not hook up, and then she’s pissed at James for telling everyone that they did hook up.
It all eventually boils over at dinner when Kristen gets mad at James for telling everyone they hooked up, even though he thinks that he didn’t say that at all. Obviously, he gets very defensive. Right before she throws a drink on James, it becomes incredibly clear to anyone who isn’t in a three-day tequila stupor and craving unlimited breadsticks at Olive Garden that this is the fault of misinterpretation from the guys, not Kristen or James behaving badly.
However, Kristen, always the rational one, still throws a drink at James. (The best part is when Katie sheepishly implores, “I told you not to do that,” after Kristen emptied her glass all over James.) Except it mostly lands all over Lala, who gets up from the table and curses her out. Both Lala and James leave and we’re all left wondering where this all went wrong.
Again, we wouldn’t be wondering and there wouldn’t be any fight if we just had footage of their late night party. So, whose fault is this entire fight? Well, you could say that it is Jax and the Toms’ fault for misinterpreting all of the information they were given. But I think the fault really lies in the hands of production, who couldn’t be bothered to find out if those were sex pillows or just, you know, like regular old pillows.
At the other end of the table, Schwartz had his head in his lap once again, pulling at his hair in order to comfort himself. He was thinking about the night before, when he was wandering at the resort next door, stumbling by the pool, lit from underneath in the balmy night. He kicked off his flip-flops and peeled off his shirt and pants to take a midnight swim, when two security guards walked toward him.
“Sir,” one of them said. “The pool closes at midnight.”
Tom looked at the two of them, fit and tanned, wearing white polo shirts with the words security over the chest and blue cargo shorts. It was like a uniform, but beachy and commanded about as much authority as the woman who counts the tickets at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
“Oh, really,” Tom said, not heeding them and continuing to stand there in his baggy boxer briefs. “Where’s my room?”
Tom held out his key card and the nice guards told him that he wasn’t even staying at this property. They offered to give him a ride back where he belonged. “But we haven’t even gone swimming yet!” Tom said, half joking.
“Sir,” the guard standing closer to him said, “I told you the pool has closed.”
Tom walked over to him and put his hand on the man’s arm and felt it give a little twitch, something like a flex. “Are you sure?” The guard looked at his partner, who gave a nod of his head as a way of affirmation, to goad his partner on. He then walked around behind Tom and slid his hands under the waistband of his tenting shorts. Then the first guard leaned in to kiss him, their mouths making the kind of muted wet sounds just like someone doing the breaststroke, naked, under the stars.