This show has so much to love. It has Beau making baked Beau-tatoes for Stassi’s Instagram story. It has Lala in both a Miu Miu visor that makes her look like she’s working at an Orange Julius and the sluttiest track suit I have ever seen — and I once went to an exercise class at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch. It has Stassi talking about how Jax and Brittany “don’t think too hard about things,” which is the gentlest euphemism for being stupid I have ever heard. It has Stassi telling Tom Sandoval that he is not Jon Snow and that “We’re not in Westeros, we’re in Koreatown.” It also has Peter’s hairstyle, which, no matter how you think about it, is as eternal and unchanging as the tides. And possibly just as destructive.
Speaking of things that leave hearts in my ass — I mean, eyes — this episode is titled “It’s Not About the Pastor,” which is an act of subtle genius that should be recognized, if not with a MacArthur grant then at least a Kennedy Center Honor or a free personalized pan pizza and a “Book It!” sticker at Pizza Hut. That’s because the episode is wrapped around the central conflict of Jax and Brittany getting married by a pastor who has made homophobic and transphobic remarks on Instagram. I love Jax’s explanation of how he was tipped over the edge in this controversy: “You can think whatever you want. Just keep it off social media.” That’s what I love about these kids. Identity is a performance, and as long as everyone hews to the correct performance, they don’t care about any of the actual content.
What’s weird about this information about the pastor is that it appears everyone has known about it for six months and it’s only two weeks before the wedding. According to the confessional interviews, fans have been bothering the cast since January with this news, but nothing was done. Brittany says she called the pastor, who is also a family friend, and he said he didn’t mean the comment and he wasn’t homophobic. That explanation was enough for Jax and Brittany, who decided to take him at his word and keep him.
However, the tweets continued, not just to Jax and Brittany but to all the other members of the cast as well. Still, nothing was done until Lisa Vanderpump “suddenly” got wind of it and decided to bring it up with Jax and Brittany on the phone. Hmmm. I wonder why Lisa only just started paying attention to this. Hmmm. After months of people harassing the cast, why would this controversy bubble up only now? Hmmm. I wonder. Hmmm.
I do appreciate that lots of members of the cast have a problem with the pastor’s views, but then again, what do you expect from a Kentucky pastor? Brittany herself comes slightly short of saying that because she knows how attitudes are there, and if she had to stop talking to everyone in her hometown who hates gays, she would be as lonely as Harvey Weinstein’s walker after he’s done exploiting it for the trial. Brittany is quite sensitive to this controversy because, she says, people are saying she’s a bad person on social media. Dogging anyone on social media seems like a waste of time, but they are not wrong. To know that this guy made those public comments and to not condemn him by firing him, or at least eliciting an apology and retraction from him before the wedding, is condoning and supporting his actions and views. Anyone who has ever worked in West Hollywood better not do that if they don’t want to become a pariah.
Nobody wants to bring this up at Brittany’s wedding shower. Wait, Brittany is now having a wedding shower? I know we just got back from the bachelorette, but there’s still a shower? Didn’t she have a shower when she invited all 26 of her bridesmaids (and one bridesman) to brunch at Pump? Or was that something else? Was that an indoctrination into her wedding cult or something? I can’t even keep track of the number of sashes, headpieces, and white dresses Brittany has worn at this point, and her wedding is still two weeks away.
Stassi did a brilliant job planning the shindig at Katie’s house and even hired five fake Disney princesses to show up, which thrills Brittany, a woman with the aesthetic of a sugar-deranged 8-year-old. The real frustration seems to be that no one can talk about Brittany and Jax’s popped blister of a relationship before they get married. They can’t bring up this pastor fiasco, they can’t talk about his cheating, and they can’t express any doubts that might lance the shaky happiness barricade they have surrounded themselves with.
At the shower, Brittany announces that they have fired the offending pastor and that Brittany’s good friend Lance Bass is going to marry them instead. Lance Bass is also one of Lisa Vanderpump’s best friends. I wonder how a homosexual celebrity got this job to be a pastor on a reality-television program over some no-name who thinks homosexual marriage will be the dissolution of all we hold holy? Hmmm. I wonder. Hmmm.
It seems as if this has all blown over, when the whole crew is at the batting cages for Peter’s birthday. This seems like an awful venue for a party, until we’re treated to a two-minute segment that just shows Kristen repeatedly whiffing at a softball. Nothing has more accurately conveyed Kristen’s life than those two minutes of tape. All that’s missing is her crying at the end and somehow blaming it on Katie.
The whole pastor thing seems laid to rest until Sandoval sits Jax down and asks him why it took so long to address it. Dude. Much like a rash on your face, this is something you should just leave alone, because picking at it will only make it worse. Jax, naturally, gets right up and storms around the room in a crop-dusting of roid rage, winding up everyone in his path, particularly Brittany. She starts crying again and emits a high-pitched whine that only dogs and our robot overlords can hear.
Sandoval says, “I should be able to ask questions,” but the way he went about it seemed like he was accusing Jax of something. If he wanted to accuse him of willfully ignoring the homophobia to keep the peace, then he should have done that, and he had six months to do it. The time to air his grievance was not after the situation was successfully settled. This is not Festivus. The episode ends with Jax telling Sandoval he’s not in his wedding, Brittany saying she wants to knock him out, and Ariana being the boss bitch that she is angrily hitting softballs in the batting cage.
Oh yeah, another two couples got some airtime this week. First up is the forced interaction of Max and Dayna, now a proud member of the LGBTQ rainbow, who decide they’re going to become exclusive and then settle into bed in their underwear in front of the cameras. It’s about as sexy as a dead possum finger-blasting a prosthetic shoe.
James and his girlfriend, Raquel, a cell-phone tower disguised to look like a palm tree, also get into a fight. After Lisa and Peter yell at Raquel for “missing” her “shift” at “SUR,” Peter invites her to his birthday party, and she tells him she’ll come even though he explicitly didn’t invite James so as not to upset Jax. This fits the pattern of everyone protecting Jax and Brittany at all costs. We all know that Raquel, a pair of yoga pants that have lost their stretch, wants to go to this party because she wants to be on the show more than she has ever wanted anything in her life.
James doesn’t want Raquel to go, because he wasn’t invited, and she says, “Okay, fine, I won’t go.” But we all know she wants to. James knows she wants to. James knows she would choose being on the show over him every day of the week, three times on Sunday, and a million times at BravoCon. To watch her sad, Bonne Bell Lip Smackered pout as he calls her out in front of their white refrigerator is the saddest thing I have ever seen, at least since I saw Katie fail to throw a streamer across her vaulted foyer in Valley Village.
Shocking just about all viewers, though, Raquel does not show up to celebrate Peter at the batting cages. Both of the Toms are there, however. As Schwartz is in the cage swinging away at the balls flying toward his face, Sandoval is outside staring at him, thinking about a time back when they were roommates. One day, Schwartz told him to sit tight on their black vinyl sofa, the kind with three sagging cushions tea-bagging each other up the back. He said he had a surprise. After a few minutes of rummaging around in his room, Schwartz came out wearing a gray-and-maroon baseball uniform. The jersey was tight and said “RAMS” in block letters across the front. “Check it out!,” Schwartz said. He turned around so Sandoval could see his name emblazoned along his shoulders over the number 11. Sandoval, however, was checking out the rise and fall of Schwartz’s butt in the tight shorts. “It’s my high-school uniform,” Schwartz said. “I can’t believe it still fits.”
“Oh man, you look amazing,” Sandoval said. “And that is quite a bulge you’re rocking there.”
“Oh. Ha,” Schwartz said, a goofy grin spreading across his face as he rapped two knuckles against the plastic cup hiding under his pants. “It’s not the real thing. But I always did joke that I got the number 11 because it either stood for how many IQ points I had or how many inches I had. Want to find out which?”