I will say that Ariana has been and probably always will be my favorite. She is the proof that there is room for calm, measured, reasonable people on reality television who will still do ridiculous stuff, like climb into the back seat for a little oral sex with a Meghan Fox–for–Balmain hottie and then not give one single shit about it. In my mind, Ariana is totally the star of this episode — well, other than the Human Centipede of Love featuring Tom Schwartz, Tom Sandoval, Jax, and Jeremy, but that got a rise out of me in an entirely different way.
The first great Ariana moment of the episode is at Scheana’s housewarming party in Marina Del Ray, which is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things that I have ever seen. First of all, thank God for Stassi, who gives us a whiteboard demonstration of just how awful the neighborhood is and why no one wants to go there. That her description also includes tired flight attendants, sad divorcées, and old men with metal detectors makes the animation just that much more amazing. Basically Scheana now lives in the New Jersey of L.A. and tries to pretend like it’s so great because she gets to wake up looking at other people’s boats everyday but, come on. She is just like those trolls that tell you that their commute from the suburbs is only “45 minutes door to door.” Yeah, that’s great. But then you still have to live in the fucking suburbs.
The meanest read of the whole party, however, is when Lala sees that Scheana has about 974 pairs of sunglasses in her “makeup room” and they’re all sitting on little stands and she asks, “What, did she rob a LensCrafters or something?” Sick burn! That is more burnt than Brittany’s chest this entire episode. (Seriously, Brittany, you better invest in some SPF or your boobs are going to look like the Painted Desert by the time you’re 40.)
Since we’re talking about Scheana we should also talk about her and Adam, because according to Scheana, they are now having sex. She keeps telling us that she doesn’t want to get in a relationship with this guy, but she is pushing him harder than Nomi Malone standing at the top of a flight of stairs. The weird thing is we never see her and Adam together. They seem to have as much chemistry as a season of Breaking Bad with all of the Walter White scenes taken out of it. Is she really doing it with this guy or is she just trying to craft some sort of narrative so that the two of them can stay on this show?
Anyway, Ariana really shows up when Billie and Lala go after each other, continuing the fight about why Billie was excluded from “girls’ night” at SUR. While I agree with Lala’s point that they weren’t doing anything transphobic, I think Ariana has the correct read on the whole situation. If you want to be an ally to Billie, don’t scream at her about how she’s wrong; listen to her feelings and acknowledge them.
Ariana is also correct that Billie putting it on social media was the wrong way to go. Twitter, these days, only exists to prove how morally pure each and every person is and to yell at those who don’t fit into a user’s particular rigid set of morals. When Billie took it to that platform, it opened up the floodgates of trolls, sort of like that GIF of Oprah with the bees. If Billie had just taken her grievance to Katie and said, “It hurt my feelings I wasn’t included,” Katie would have just been like, “Of course you’re welcome. Help us plan the next one.” And it all would have been over and we wouldn’t have had a show and we all could have spent these 42 minutes working on a sampler that says, “Be Cool, Don’t Be All Like Uncool” or something.
Ariana is really right about so much this episode. She is right that Brittany and Jax really need to go to couple’s counseling before they get married. I spent six months with my man working with a therapist before we got married and it was the best thing we ever did. You need to work out all of those intractable fights and figure out how to work best as a couple before making it permanent. I think everyone should have to do this, but for Brittany and Jax it should be court-mandated.
Ariana and Sandoval really need this too, because they need to work out whether or not they’re going to have kids. Ariana says she’ll only have kids after she has done everything in life she wants to do. Well, if that’s her attitude then kids will never come. I feel like she wants to say she doesn’t want kids, but there is too much pressure for her to really take that stance, especially since probably the only thing Sandoval wants more than to be a father is to open an all-you-can-eat buffet in Tom Schwartz’s butt crack.
The real moment for Ariana to shine happens as a result of what Sandoval says at his birthday party with the boys. They start off doing “blow job shots” where all the boys put the shot glass in their mouth and have to drink without their hands. Sandoval is clearly the best at this and Schwartz is the worst, which really rocked my mind about who is the top in this relationship. (For the record, Peter also seems especially adroit at BJ shots for a man who has been rocking a pirate’s ponytail for the better part of a decade.)
Then the boys sit around smoking cigars and wearing fedoras while talking about hot girl-on-girl action. If this scene was a cocktail it would be called Toxic Masculinity. Sandoval tells them all that one night when Ariana and Lala were wasted they climbed in the back seat of his car and Lala went down on Ariana. All of the boys schwing in their chairs and groan in ecstasy like 17 versions of the What’s Up commercial playing at the same time.
Of course as soon as Jax hears this, he has to share the news with Lala, who says, “No, that didn’t happen.” Lala then calls Ariana and tells her what’s up and gets Ariana’s blessing to start talking about it openly. Now that is a real girlfriend, one who will give you a drunken back-seat orgasm and lie about it just in case you don’t want everyone talking about your cooter.
Ariana is pissed that her boyfriend revealed this to everyone without her consent, with good reason. She expresses it by sharing with him something viewers have said a million times before: “Your face is annoying. Your hat is annoying.” (That would have gone down for the line of the night if Lala had not said to Raquel, a make-your-own-avocado-toast party with millennial-pink tables, “Sorry I called you a twat.”) Tom’s excuse is that he was mad that she was messing around with Lala. That is a valid feeling and he should talk to his girlfriend about it. What he should not do it tell it to Jax Taylor while he’s holding a cigar like some sort of comic-book supervillain who is trying to give the whole world herpes so he doesn’t feel bad about himself anymore.
What I love about Ariana, though, is that she never tries to deny it, like when Jax slept with Kristen or DJ James Kennedy slept with everyone who crosses his path. She and Lala are just like, “Yeah, we did that, so what?” It takes all the air out of the story, all the shock out of the scandal. Just by owning it and being bosses, they’re able to wrestle the (very sexy) narrative away from the boys and put it to rest. Good for both of them.
Tom and Tom are caught in a liplock of their own, but in the form of a giant poster of the two of them kissing on the wall of the newly revealed Tom Tom. Now, reader, when I visited this august institution this autumn, that picture was no longer there and I am very, very upset that the Toms would not allow their smooch to be the backdrop of so many male-on-male kisses in that bar. Appalled actually.
But after Lisa’s reveal, they both walked out of the bar, which looks like a set from Dr. Who: The Musical, to Sandoval’s car. “I need to do something,” Sandoval said, before letting himself in the back seat. Schwartz followed him, and they both sat, knee to knee, staring through the windshield. Without saying anything, Sandoval almost rolled over onto Schwartz, grabbing his face while planting a kiss square on his mouth. The two of them made out, their bodies packed into the back of that small sedan like two goats at a petting zoo. Finally Sandoval got his body so that it was almost reclining across the back seat with Schwartz on top of him. “I need you to go down on me right here. The scene of the crime,” Sandoval said.
“Wait, me go down on you?” Schwartz asked, flopping his hair away from his eyes.
“I saw you do that blow job shot, and, honestly bro, it was embarrassing.”