Allow me to let you in on one of the great truths of the world: No one ever changes. Well, maybe not no one, but certainly reality television stars don’t change. (I think that Kathryn Dennis is the exception that proves the rule.) Just look at James, Jax, and Stassi. No matter how much they talk about changing and maturing, they’re exactly the same messy land monitors, giant lizards scavenging off of other people’s insecurities to feed the abyss that is in their own souls.
Let’s start with James, whose first act as a former employee of SUR for the second time is to show up at Lisa’s fundraiser (?) at Vanderpump Dogs to stop the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. What even was this event? She gave all the members of the cast face tattoos and then took their pictures. Was this to raise money? Awareness? Just give everyone a reason to get together and make James cry? I don’t get it. Also, was it started by the guy who did those awful NOH8 photo shoots in the late naughties? I didn’t like those overly photoshopped images back then when they were fighting for marriage equality and I still don’t like them now when they’re trying to save dogs or whatever.
Anyway, at this event Ariana told James that he is no longer welcome at her and Stassi’s joint birthday party. James seems surprised and a little teary that he’s being disinvited from yet another event because of his behavior, but he can’t be that surprised. If he’s going to go around slagging off everyone in the “group,” of course they’re not going to want him around. But instead of internalizing this and changing his behavior, he just blames it on the haters.
It’s exactly the same thing that his mother does when Lisa calls her into the shell of the future Tom Tom for a chat. Normally I would be like, “Why the hell is someone’s employer talking to their mom?!” but considering Lisa and Jackie were friends and that’s why James started working at SUR in the first place, it seems to make sense. Lisa calls Jackie in for a chat because even though she fired James she refuses to “abandon” him. I actually commend Lisa for doing this, so I don’t want to come off as too bitchy.
Jackie is just like James, though, so as soon as Lisa brings up his “problem with women” she says, “Well, if these women are attacking him, what is he supposed to do?” She’s obviously buying James’s side of the story without even questioning what happened. I get it. She’s his mother, she has to have his back. But as she admits to Lisa, she wasn’t that great of a mom. The reason he speaks so badly to women is because he hates his mother so much, and she let him get away with speaking to her like that.
Regardless of his attitudes toward women, the scarier thing is the way he treats alcohol. This is something that Lisa could really get Jackie’s help with. As someone newly sober, she should recognize James’s destructive behavior and want him to get off the sauce for good. Instead she just pleads for James to get his Tuesday party back, just like James would. He’s really a chip off the old block.
Lisa goes to visit James as he’s all, “Lisa, I’ve changed. I haven’t drank since then. I’m a totally different person.” Yeah, but that’s what he said after she fired him for the first time. How can he really prove to her that he’s changed? Why not attend AA meetings? Go into rehab? Make some steps that show he’s really invested in this new path? But even after he does that, he’s just going to have to show up, do his job, and not fuck up. He’s going to have to be patient while everyone sees that he really has cleaned up his act.
Jax Taylor needs to learn that same lesson. Brittany goes to get butt facials (or “bufacials” as I like to call them) with Lala who tells Brittany that Tom and Ariana were saying they were unsure of Jax’s change and his intentions toward Brittany. I only bring this up because I wanted to mention how flawless Lala looks these days since she dyed her hair black and stopped doing her makeup like she’s auditioning to be a replacement Pussy Cat Doll.
Jax gets all bent out of shape that no one believes that he’s going to be faithful to Brittany for his entire life. “What right does Tom Sandoval have to question me on whether or not I want to marry Brittany?” he asks. First of all, the question isn’t if you will marry her, the question is whether you will do right by her. Secondly, his right to question you is based on every single thing you have ever done with a woman in your entire adult life. Jax has treated countless women, including the one who just agreed to be his wife, incredibly shabbily. Why wouldn’t everyone think this trend would continue?
Of course Jax wants to put this to rest. He sees that he has changed and wants everyone to just believe him and pretend that the past doesn’t exist. James wants to similarly forget his drunken past. But the past does exist. Just because they’re exhibiting good behavior now doesn’t mean that all of the awful things that got them to reform didn’t happen. It also doesn’t mean that people are going to forget about years of behaving badly after only a few months (or weeks, in James’s case) of not treating everyone in the world like they’re your personal urinal cake.
Finally we come around to Stassi, who finally did the adult thing and asked Ariana to have a joint birthday party with her since the two share a birthday and used to force all of their friends to make an annual Sophie’s choice between their events. I must say, I’m with Scheana Shay (Brandi Glanville strike me down for saying such an awful thing) that their friendship, while sweet, seems a little oddly intense. Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome? Maybe Ariana has just given way to the creature in Bird Box and just wants to open everyone’s eyes to how awesome Stassi is? I don’t know.
Anyway, they have this really cute winter-themed birthday party in the Hollywood hills and everyone comes dressed in great costumes. Sandoval, of course, has in scary contacts and an amazing headpiece and fur jacket. He looked like the Night King from Game of Thrones dressed for a pimps-and-hos party. Katie came dressed as an ice warrior princess and her husband Tom Schwartz came dressed as a “Santa’s elf on bath salts,” which is the official mascot of his home state of Florida. Scheana came dressed as a slut, because that is the only costume she knows how to make.
Before the party, Katie told Stassi that being 30 means that everything seems less significant so she won’t have any of her annual birthday freak-outs. Well, wait until 2 a.m., when she’s downstairs in her bedroom of the house and her new man, Beau, is upstairs doing ice-luge shots with the Toms and Kristen’s boyfriend Carter. Stassi is furiously texting him and calling him on the phone to tell him that she wants him to get in her bed right now. She can’t even wait a minute for him to respond and throws her phone onto the tile floor of the bathroom, shattering the screen. (The millennial flag is a shattered iPhone screen.)
So, yes, Stassi may finally be in a healthy relationship with a guy who likes to see her freak flag fly and looks great in a Christmas-themed T-shirt and a pair of briefs, and she’s going to fuck it up because she’s drunk and needy on her birthday. I mean, there is still a party raging upstairs. Tom Schwartz is there, which means the drinking is not going to stop until the last drop has been consumed or licked up off the floor. Also, this dude is just upstairs. If she wants him so badly, just walk up a flight of stairs and tell the dude it’s time for bed. He’d surely comply. But there’s something about Stassi that wants, no needs the drama. It’s like if he can cope with that he’s somehow proving that he really loves her.
Speaking of true love, Toms Schwartz and Sandoval were the last two standing at the party and of course they congregated around the ice luge. “What do you think will happen if I put my balls on that?” Schwartz asked, barely able to stay erect after he had been drinking all night. “Will they freeze like licking a frozen pole?”
“There’s only one way to find out,” Sandoval said. Schwartz complied, pulled down the pants of his elf costume and plunked his manscaped man marbles on top of the sculpture. He then tried to remove them and winced in pain.
“Yup, they’re totally stuck. Oh, and it’s so cold. Get them off. Get them off. Lick them or something,” he shouted.
“Yeah, dude. It’s not like you haven’t licked my nuts before.”
“Okay, fine.” Sandoval knelt down and got his tongue between Schwartz’s nuts and the ice sculpture. But instead of melting the ice surrounding Tom’s sack, Sandoval’s tongue got stuck right where it was. They stood there, both in pain, letting the awkwardness wash over them, hoping that Peter or Jax or someone would find them before Katie and Ariana.