According to the Chinese zodiac we are now in the year of the pig, but according to Vanderpump Rules we are in the year of the monster mother. DJ James Kennedy’s mother Jacqueline continues to terrify and torture viewers this episode in a way I did not think was possible to be terrified and tortured. It’s a whole new set of craziness that I don’t think any one television set can contain. We need to free her, let her float away like one of those lanterns with a candle in it that eventually sets itself on fire and crashes to the ground in a lump of half-burned ash.
James’s problems with his mother start when he goes to therapy. Well, they probably started when she gave birth to him in the bouillon birthing room in Fort Knox, but on this episode they start at therapy. I don’t know how I feel about James’s therapist, Anita. I’m always very skeptical of any psychiatric professional that will allow the cameras into their practice, but to make it even worse, Anita doesn’t seem like she’s really challenging James too hard on his shit. Yes, his parents did a number on him and continue to really be a horrible influence in his life, but this all seems like another excuse for him to not take any responsibility for his actions.
But James seems willing to put in the hard work. As soon as he leaves Anita’s office, he calls up his mother and does what Anita told him to do: set boundaries with her. This, of course, ends up with the two of them in a screaming match on a street in West Hollywood, which is honestly one of my favorite spectator sports. I love a sidewalk fight. It’s like a little peek into someone else’s drama that you have no stake in whatsoever and can judge freely. It’s like a mini reality show happening right in front of your very eyes.
The real action starts when James’s mother Jacqueline comes over to his apartment for a chat. Jacqueline is a strange combination of both passive-aggressive and active aggressive; she’s what on European Grindr would be called vers-aggressive. Take, for instance, when James says, “I don’t want you to talk to me about dad,” she responds with a terse, “Fine. Done.” However, then she goes on to yell about how his father left her with three kids and no money while he went scuba diving in Mexico. She’s clearly very angry with the father, but they’ve been divorced for some time. Maybe James should buy her some sessions with his shrink so she can get over some of that residual anger.
The conversation then takes a really weird turn when James brings up how frequently he’s giving his mother money. She screams, “Was I a shit mother? We had great vacations. You went to a £5,000 school. Burberry, Ralph Lauren. You took your first steps at Tiffany’s. Say, ‘Thank you. You did something for me, you’re not a total bitch.’” Wow. That is … really a lot. People watching these shows love to say, “It’s dark. It’s dark,” and I usually think that is sort of glibly dismissive of people’s pain, but Jacqueline is dark. She is so dark that there is just a black hole standing where a person ought to be.
Let’s try to tease this one out, shall we? James’s mother is equating the luxury in which she raised him — the school, the clothes, the vacations — with being a good mother, which is clearly wrong. He didn’t ask to be at Tiffany’s when he started walking. He didn’t even realize he was there. And having your first steps in a store will not get you anything at all later in life, unless your grandma is the Tiffany and you took your first steps in her store.
Also, she seems to want credit for buying him things and making choices that were entirely out of his control. Basically she wants him to thank her for raising him when raising him was her responsibility in the first place. It’s like she wants extra credit for the job that she gave herself. It’s like saying, “I’m not a bad person because I stayed out of jail.” Yeah, that’s the point. You’re supposed to stay out of jail.
Then she gets back on her passive -aggression, and when he asks for some boundaries, she tearily agrees to them while his girlfriend Raquel, a half-finished La Croix that someone left behind on their table at Sweetgreen, silently watches like an owl that can’t muster even a hoot.
Then Jacqueline shows up at SUR and begs Lisa not only for her to give James his job back but also to give her middle son, Harry, a job too. I would talk about her audacity and gall, but this scene seemed so staged it was more like something out of the Bold and the Beautiful, where the wealthy matriarch wearing inappropriately spangled clothing in public has a meeting with her scheming sister who demands a favor or else she’ll tell everyone what really happened with their father when they were younger.
The “interview” Harry goes through with Peter and Guillermo is so bizarre, because what in the hell is James doing there? Can’t he wait out in the car? Harry is going to take his brother, who was twice fired from this very establishment, in as a character witness? This whole thing was done entirely for the cameras, except for James’s tears that he is no longer the DJ at See You Next Tuesday.
Why is this guy so hung up on this? He would lead you to believe that he’s so well-established in the DJ community in L.A. that he has gigs all over the place. Why does he care so much about his “residency” at a restaurant on Tuesday nights? Go out and lose a gig on the weekend and we’ll talk, mister.
As for everyone else on the show, they continue to be boring. Well, everyone except for Jax’s therapist, Lindsey. She is the only reality-TV psychologist that I will ever support because she is basically just telling Jax that he has to work on himself if he wants to be happy. While they’re together with Brittany she tells him that, contrary to what he thinks, he isn’t really over what happened with him and Brittany last year and that he needs to work on it if he really wants to heal. She also tells him that by telling Brittany he doesn’t want to talk about it, he’s telling her to shut up to her face. Finally, a woman in Jax’s life who is not afraid to tell him the truth and stand up to him. Now, what can we do to get him to listen to her?
All of the girls head off on a trip to go wine-tasting in Solvang, which is a weird Dutch-themed hamlet about three hours north of L.A., along the valley. I have actually been there, and it is mostly just three blocks of Asian tourists taking selfies in front of windmills and people waiting in line for Evil Skeevers.
The big question is, why are they all so jazzed to take a private jet for a drive that would only be three hours? Like Stassi says, they’re in the air for only 25 minutes. Was that all the jet fuel that Lala’s BF “Rand” would spring for? Did they just want to be on the “PJ” so bad that they took it even a short distance? And they’re all popping bottles and doing shots in the PJ — it’s not a party bus! If you wanted that then, well, get a party bus! It probably would have taken them about as long between driving to the private airfield, flying 25 minutes, and then driving into town from wherever the airfield is in Solvang.
That means that Tom Schwartz and Tom Sandoval are home alone while their girlfriends are out watching Kristen make a fool of herself at a series of wine-tasting events. They’re lounging on the sectional of Schwartz’s messy apartment with their hands in the waistbands of each other’s sweatpants just waiting for the next episode of Sex Education to end so that they can start humping like wild under the “Bubba” painting on the wall.
“Hey! I have an idea,” Sandoval says out of nowhere, sitting up and taking his hand out of Schwartz’s drawers. He takes out his phone and calls someone. “Hey Beau, what’s going on? … Oh nothing, just chilling with Schwartz, watching Sex Education. Want to join us? We can have some shots and see if we can teach each other anything. Cool. See you soon.”