DJ James Kennedy and Katie Maloney-Schwartz have always been at odds, but at the beginning of this episode they’re acting so alike it’s shocking. Katie is serving Lisa, her business partner Guillermo, and a specter that haunts SUR and goes by the name of Ken and carries a little demon dog with him wherever he goes. They ask Katie why she’s no longer hosting Girls’ Night In, the non-ironically named party night that replaced James’s See You Next Tuesday after he was fired for calling Katie fat.
“Oh, it’s just so much work,” Katie says. “I don’t want to do it every week. Maybe I’ll do it once a month? Let’s put a pin in it and I can think about it and then come back to it.”
Hold on a second. Katie’s only two jobs in life are waiting tables at SUR a few nights a week during filming, and fighting with her friends and heterosexual life partner on national television. Katie has literally nothing else to do. How does she fill her time? Is she trying to work through the back catalogue of The Price Is Right episodes? Is she trying to get better at crosswords? Is she taking a knitting seminar? No. She is not.
Plus, how hard is it to host Girls’ Night In? She just takes a different picture of Lala’s boobs with her camera-phone to make a flier, emails the flier to her friends, they all post it on social media a few times, then she shows up to work in her pajamas and talk to tourists who are in town for a Bravo-themed bachelorette party. The only person in America who has an easier job is Joy Behar, because apparently her only job is to listen to Meghan McCain. Wait, never mind. Katie’s job is easier.
The level of laziness among these kids is absolutely staggering. We also see it in James, who shows up at Tom and Ariana’s hovel. They tell him that he can’t DJ at Brunch with Billie at SUR, and he responds by getting up off of their couch, walking out the door, and then slamming the door so hard that chips of lead-infested paint fall off for Tom to sprinkle on a taco for later. Then, as soon as he’s gone, he comes back in the door to say, “That’s bullshit!” It’s like watching a creaky weather vane in a tornado.
As he has been this whole season, James is upset that he’s not being rewarded for being a sober and somewhat reasonable human being. Then he says a line I will never forget: “I can only do my best for so long.” Yeah. He’s doing his best, but he’s just waiting to get his reward — his job back at SUR, some of his friends — before reverting to his old ways. Sorry to break it to you, old chum, but life is about doing your best forever. If he’s too lazy or broken or stupid to try to get better and stay better, then he should just check into a clinic now and never leave, getting balder and balder until one day he’s poking his twisted index finger at children on the Sunset Strip, telling them that he used to DJ at a restaurant that isn’t even there anymore.
James does however manage to make it to his puppy shower, and it is the craziest, dumbest thing I have ever seen, and I own Time Bandits on Blu-ray. His girlfriend Raquel, the empty folding chairs around the perimeter of a gymnastics competition, did a great job painting a little puppy so they could play Pin the Tail on the Puppy. However, she painted a frontal view of the dog. How can anyone get to where the tail is supposed to go when we can’t see, you know, where the tail is supposed to go?
The best moment of the whole party comes thanks to her mom, Laura, who shows up at the puppy party dressed in Ms. Frizzle cosplay. She sees Peter, one of the lesser Vanderpumps who showed up at the party, and eyes him like he’s a volcano onion on the hibachi at Benihana. She puts her hands down his shirt and caresses his smooth, hard chest like he’s a cast member of Magic Mike Live and she’s had two espresso martinis — wait, it’s not yet the part of the recap where we do erotic fan-fiction, so Laura and Peter are just gonna have to wait.
Lala also has a party where she celebrates her father’s death by singing a ballad and taking off her suit jacket to reveal a barely there top underneath. I appreciate that Lala is going through a hard time, but this is an odd manifestation of her grief. It’s sort of like when Ariana decided that she and Tom needed to do shots in honor of the fifth anniversary of her dad’s death. Maybe he was a bar owner? I don’t know.
Lala’s whole event is sort of weird. It’s one of those eerily empty parties you only see on reality shows. The “concert” consists of just two songs, which seems like a waste of a good sound system. She did two songs at her concert last year. Why didn’t she square that number and do four songs this year? I’m sure the audience could have stuck around for another eight minutes. I don’t know about the “label executives” who were watching via a livestream. How interested could they be in signing her if they weren’t even willing to show up in person? Are we sure these “record execs” aren’t just weird lonely German dudes with a fetish for long fake nails?
I am proud of Lala though for figuring out that drinking makes her awful and anxious. She tells Scheana that her panic attack in Mexico and her acting out this year are related to alcohol and she needs to “make it a lifestyle” where she doesn’t drink at all anymore. Someone maybe needs to teach this same lesson to, well, just about the whole cast.
While my heart is always touched when our reality stars go on to become actually full-fledged human beings, a little piece of my soul dies every time it happens, too. If I want to watch real people, I’ll just sit on the train with a bag of popcorn and really freak out the commuters. I want to see vicious plumes of evil smog devouring each other for my amusement. So, go a-changing but, you know, not too much.
This is also addressed to Kristen, who has drinks with Ariana partly to apologize for the way she treated her five years ago on the day her dad died and, you know, for demonizing her in general for years. Ariana shows up to the meeting in the most unflattering bell-shaped white top I have ever seen on a person. It’s like she tried to make a halter top out of one of those cones dogs wear when they have surgery. Or maybe someone said, “Handmaid’s Tale bonnet, but make it fashion.” At least the two manage to have a good and constructive conversation and put some of the past behind them.
Stassi achieves some personal growth too, but she takes a much more unconventional approach. She could get herself about a decade of cognitive behavioral therapy, which she clearly needs after growing up with a mother like hers, but no. Instead, Katie takes Stassi to see Amanda Yates Garcia, the Oracle of L.A. I’m not entirely sure exactly what Amanda’s deal is, but she clearly could use some more Moon Juices and maybe an invite to a puppy shower or two.
Amanda sort of looks like a younger version of Camille Grammer’s friend DeeDee from Rich Women Doing Things and is dressed like she’s selling flower crowns at Coachella. As soon as Stassi arrives, she does a little spell and waves her arms in Stassi’s immediate orbit, before giving her a hadouken right behind her head.
Stassi explains that she’s there because she wants to cleanse herself of what she calls, in a nod to Dexter, her “dark passenger.” She says that in the past she needed this rage demon to protect her from the Jax Taylors of the world, but now that she’s with real-life Teddy Ruxpin Beau, she needs to get rid of that demon spirit. Amanda tells Stassi to think about all of the times the demon has acted out and, seriously, there is not a flashback montage long enough to contain all of the occasions. Finally Amanda does another dance, drawing the demon out of Stassi. We see it leaving her body like a plume of steam belly-dancing off a kettle. It writhes and shimmers in the “South Los Angeles” night before forming a spiral around Amanda’s arm, like one of the ubiquitous forearm tattoos on the female staff members at SUR. Then she hadoukens once more, and the spirit expands into the ether, like a smoke ring colliding with the ceiling. Stassi is free of her demon, and we are all a little bit worse off.
At least we’ll never lose the complete boneheaded insanity that is Tom Schwartz. Since he bounced a check to Lisa for his share of Tom Tom after changing banking institutions, he decides he’s going to do something dramatic, something right out of Resevoir Dogs. He’s going to say “fuck” a lot and talk about “Like a Virgin.” No, he’s going to get $50,000 and put it in a tiny little monkey suitcase and use that to pay Lisa.
First he calls his “banking representatitve” Samantha, and she sounds less like a person who handles that Maloney-Schwartz wealth and more like a common customer-service representative who had the bad luck to get Tom Schwartz on the horn that afternoon. Katie drives Tom to the bank wearing what can only be described as a raffia beret, the most deplorable hat I’ve seen since Ashley’s slouchy knit beanie on Real Housewives of New Jersey. She gives Tom her glittery rainbow purse to carry his money back from the bank because, of course, Tom Schwartz has $50,000 in a $50 purse he had to borrow from his wife and the money doesn’t even all fit.
He puts it all in a tiny suitcase and then handcuffs it to his hand, and it is both adorable and ridiculous. He then has to pee while he’s holding the cash and can’t figure out a way to negotiate both his tiny little case and his tiny little … button on his pants. (What did you think I was going to say?) Finally he has to take it off his wrist just to piss. What if that was the moment when someone ran into the bathroom and snatched it away? That would be so Tom Schwartz, wouldn’t it, someone literally running away with his money while his pants were down.
When he presents the money to Lisa and Ken, a battery with only 10 percent charge left, it at first seems like they’re going to be mad, but they love it. They both take pictures of it and laugh and think it’s amazing. Of course Lisa loves it. She loves any stupid spectacle that’s produced just for the good of the show. She thinks this is the best way to get money because it is not only a payday, it’s also content. Now she’s going to have enough $1’s and $5’s for all three of her restaurants for the rest of the year. Change always comes in handy.
Once they left with the money, Tom Sandoval grabbed Schwartz, dragging him into the bathroom and locking the door behind them. “I heard you tell Lisa that you sold your body 50 times to get that money,” he said.
“Yeah,” Schwartz said, laughing, as Sandoval walked toward him with a look of lust in his eye. Sandoval took a stack of money out of his back pocket. He peeled off $100 bills one at a time, counting to ten. He removed the $1,000 and placed it in Schwartz’s shirt pocket.
“Now that I’ve paid, that body is mine.” He leaned in to kiss Schwartz, who was focused on the tongue in his mouth when he heard the clicking of handcuffs and felt the pinch of cold steel around his right hand. Sandoval had backed him up against the bathroom wall and looped the other end of the handcuffs around the bar in the handicapped stall. Schwartz heard the cuffs click again. “You better do what you’re told,” Sandoval said. “Because I fully intend to get my money’s worth.”