Friday, January 29, 2016

Vanderpump Rules 4x12 "Leis, Liquor, and Lies" [Contributors: Jaime Poland and Megan Mann]

"Leis, Liquor, and Lies"
Original Airdate: January 18th, 2016

When it comes down to it, one of the most popular conversations people have about TV is something along the lines of, “I can’t believe you’re not watching this!” For as many high quality, entertaining shows somebody makes time for, there’s just no possible way to watch absolutely everything on television worth watching. I understand that, and that’s why I’m not judging anybody who hasn’t started watching Vanderpump Rules, even though it clearly is the best show on TV.

For anyone not indoctrinated into the cult of Pump, let me explain. Vanderpump Rules airs on Bravo, and it’s a spinoff of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. One of the housewives, Lisa Vanderpump, owns a restaurant called Sur, which is the main setting for the show. Since the show premiered, she’s opened another bar/restaurant called Pump right down the street from Sur. There’s some tension between the employees of Sur and Pump over Lisa’s affection. Don’t ask.

Every week, we get to see Sur’s employees (and some significant non-employees) and all the drama that’s currently engulfing them. Romantic strife, huge blowouts between friends — we all know how reality shows work by now. It’s not reinventing the wheel here, but it’s such a compelling, entertaining hour of television. I’m a relatively recent convert to the show, and as things started getting crazier and crazier, Megan and I knew we had to team up to start discussing what happens on the show. Appropriately, we decided to kick off our episode breakdowns with the first part of the gang’s trip to Hawaii for Jax and Tom Sandoval’s birthdays.

JAIME: I'm still so, so conflicted on how I feel about Lala. I think she has a strong sense of morality and where her boundaries are, it's just that her own lines are way past what other people would consider acceptable? She strikes me as one of those people who feels totally justified in everything they do, and will cite whatever logical reasoning they have, but can't understand that sometimes you need to tone it down to accommodate other people. Like, getting mad at Katie when Katie dared to suggest that Lala didn't need to take her top off in front of Schwartz. That's not unreasonable at all, and also, why would you want to take your top off in front of a bunch of people you don't know that well anyway?  But then I think telling Brittany the truth and owning up to flirting with Jax was the right thing to do. But also, why would you ever expect Jax to tell the truth, come on.

MEGAN: Okay, yes. I totally agree. She respects boundaries, but her idea of them are totally skewed. Like, Jax is a known liar and she had to have had some sort of idea that he was LIKELY lying to her, but she just kept pushing anyway. Plus, that's great if you're okay in your sexuality and who you are, but if it's making OTHERS uncomfortable that you're taking your top off in front of their significant others/fiances/spouses, you should probably just understand where they're coming from. It has nothing to do with "not my fault if your man cheats;" it's a comfort thing, so I see where Katie and Scheana are coming from. God, the spelling of her name is annoying and it irks me. ANYWAY.

RIGHT. That's what I was telling my friend. I actually, in the end, feel bad for Lala because she isn't that well integrated at this point and instead of doing what's right, Jax is totally throwing her under the bus and making her look like a complete ass, which isn't cool at all. She was trying to do the right thing and everyone was pushing up against her and it made me sad.

So, on the one hand, you're right. She doesn't understand when she needs to tone it down and can easily justify her way out of or into anything; but on the other, her honesty is her redeeming quality and it's somehow screwing her over.

Exactly! I even remember her saying things along the lines of, "Well, I know about Brittany, but if Jax isn't concerned, then neither am I." Wellllll... okay, sure, if he's gonna cheat then he's gonna cheat, but she doesn't have to involve herself in a situation she knows is shady. And I think she knew at that point Brittany was moving to LA, so basically, on some level Lala knew Jax was lying to Brittany, and thus to Lala about Brittany. Why would she ever think that Jax would ever have her back if the situation blew up?

RIGHT. If you understand that he's likely lying, so you just roll with that, aren't you just adding to the situation? If you respect relationships so much, why are you allowing men to potentially cheat with you when you're 50/50 on his status? Especially knowing that he's a dirty liar and has been proven to be so.

Her whole argument with Katie was so ridiculously missing the point. Sure, #FreeTheNipple, great. Except this isn't Instagram. And sure, Ariana was okay with it  because she was there and could gauge the situation for herself. Of COURSE Katie's going to be upset when she hears some girl she doesn't know that well took her top off in front of her fiance. And NO, it's not Lala's fault if somebody cheats, but you're responsible for your behavior if you're acting inappropriately around people and making things weird that otherwise weren't weird. Like... she's creating the situations where, potentially, someone might wind up cheating. But yeah sure okay Lala, you're not to blame at all.

But all that said, she definitely is in a really bad position with the whole Jax thing. Because like you said, she's the outsider here, and while for whatever reason Brittany is totally trusting every single word Jax says (which, all right, if you ask your boyfriend if he was flirting with someone else, what answer are you expecting other than no?), for Scheana to say that nothing happened, that's going to mean a lot more than whatever Lala says.  

So, I'm conflicted on Lala. And I'm worried that her anger over this whole thing is going to send her right into James' arms. Just, ugh. Ugh.

I agree. She missed the point entirely and I'm not sure if it's a thing that has to do with age (as James as proven time and again that his 22 years makes for some seriously poor justification in literally any situation) or what, but she clearly didn't understand that it's making more than one person uncomfortable and she should understand that and apologize for any discomfort, you know?

But she was right in telling the truth. I was appalled that this was the instance in which Scheana decided she wanted to exhibit the friendship code and essentially help Jax lie. She was there, she knew what was happening TWO FEET ACROSS THE TABLE FROM HER as she remarked on it at the table that night. I do understand her being the outsider and whatnot, but if you want Jax to change so badly, you would have backed Lala up, you know? If Scheana is all about living the truth, as she showed in the texts with Ariana's mom and to them when confronted about it, then why is she helping him lie?

You know, I want to argue that age is a factor here, especially when everyone else is 30 and up, but I'm 22 and I think James and Lala are absolutely ridiculous. And, you know, it's not like the people in their thirties are particularly calm, reasonable people either. I think maybe the biggest relevance the age differences have is in solidifying Lala as an outsider — they've all worked together for years, they're all older, and those areas where they all connect with each other that she can just never overcome. But you're totally right; there's a difference between doing something unapologetically but still being sensitive to others, and at the very least, I don't think it's unreasonable to apologize for making people uncomfortable while still feeling justified in your actions.

I was surprised that Scheana supported Jax, especially since when they were talking about it at the gym she seemed like she was about to tell the truth at any second. Like, what even was her justification? She likes Brittany and wants to keep her around? Okay, so the way to do that is to keep Brittany in a relationship with a guy who was willing to cheat on her?

Yes! It's totally one thing to be who you are but still be respectful of others, but it's another thing altogether to just say. "This is me and screw you if you don't like it" when you're hearing it's making others uncomfortable. It's a total lack of consideration in a way, if that makes sense.

And you are exactly right. That was her only justification; that she really liked Brittany and didn't want to throw Jax under the bus. Well, okay. You just threw Lala under the bus in a really crappy way by pretending none of what happened had happened, that what you saw and heard wasn't real. If you're such an honest person all of the sudden, why not show Brittany what she's dealing with?

This whole Ariana thing, okay. This is where the show gets really frustrating for me because none of these people can communicate. Most of the time I can understand their arguments but they just never argue them in a way that makes sense. So I get what Scheana's saying, but oh my God, she can't just say "well this is what happened, get over it"? Of course Tom and Ariana aren't going to accept "well, but this is true" as a justification, especially when they're already pissed. Talk about things calmly!  It's not hard!

That's the biggest problem with the show and why I sometimes have to pause it for a few minutes before I can get back to it. They can't just sit down with each other "as adults" like they're ALWAYS SAYING IN CONFESSIONALS and talk about something. Why does everything have to turn into massive blowouts that don't solve anything but pretty much just cause more tension?

Though, to be fair, I think that Ariana has been handling a lot of stuff poorly. Like, she needs to let go of a lot of stuff. What annoyed me the most this season was when she was mad she wasn't invited on a boys’ trip. Why can't they have fun without their significant others? I love Broadway, but I'm not going to force my boyfriend to go just to make sure he's not off having fun without me. She's really bothered me this season and it's annoying because I've always really liked her.

I know, I've been so torn on Ariana lately. It's like I said before: I understand how they feel, but the way they talk about it loses me. Like, the boys' trip, all right, I get that it sucks that there's a trip she's excluded from right after her birthday. But it seems like people are going on trips every week on this show; it's okay that that trip wasn't for everyone, because here they all are in Hawaii. I feel like her default lately has just been to agree with people when they call her negative, as if saying "right, you finally figured out who I am" is a good defense for her actions. Uhhhh, if people you've known for however long are telling you that you've changed, it's a lot more complex than "good, you're finally seeing who I really am." Obviously there's more going on, and I'm getting tired of Ariana acting like she's so much better than everyone. I mean, yeah, she is one of the better people on this show but sometimes she seems to forget that these people are her friends.  She's the one who chooses to be around them, and she's kind of been treating them (especially Scheana) terribly in the name of victimizing herself.

Right. Like, if these people have been your friends for years and they're seeing a change in you, and if it's not just ONE person, I feel like it's not who you really are. That's a cop-out. It's very confusing and I feel like she's been getting really super defensive about literally everything. And Scheana was right — she and Tom do act like they're better than everyone else and that they should be held to a higher standard, even though they're sitting there doing the exact same thing everyone else is. Like, okay, you two live together. Katie and Schwartz have been together for six years and are engaged. Scheana and Shay ARE MARRIED. How does the two of you living together and buying a couch make you better than everyone else? Because you claim not to fight? Like, what?! That's so confusing to me. Just claiming you're better because you two don't fight doesn't actually make you better. It makes you annoying to say that to everyone and claim that they're in terrible relationships because they disagree. And it really irks me that because they're being honest with her, she's like, "I can't believe I have to be around these people that I USED to call my friends." Well, what the eff. Are they or not? It's not a half-in, half-out thing.

And when essentially the same person, or group of people, is coming to them with the same couple issues, wouldn't they start listening?  Like, Ariana can't just say "this is happening because Scheana's petty and fake" when Scheana's not telling Katie's mom that she's changed since she got engaged, or telling Schwartz that he needs to be okay with Kristen being around (because Schwartz IS okay with it, and seeing as he lived with them and is Sandoval's best friend, don't you think he'd say something if he felt like Kristen being brought back in is truly unreasonable?).  When all of these issues are centered around Ariana, and they keep cropping up, it doesn't mean that Scheana's right but it at least means she's worth listening to.

MY POINT! It's not JUST one person that's saying this to them; it's all of them. She refuses to take any sort of responsibility for her actions or behavior and that's what's bothering me. It feels like she has an excuse for everything lately and places blame on everyone else. "Well, it's because they're being mean" or "Maybe if Tom hadn't planned a trip without me..." And for being people that are "really good at letting things go," they can't seem to let literally anything go. It's been like, two years. Let's learn to move on. She's not acting like James and just inserting himself into situations where he shouldn't be. Kristen is at least being respectful and they refuse to acknowledge that.

What do you think, fellow Pump fans? Are we being too harsh on Ariana? Is Jax and Brittany’s relationship doomed to fail? Let us know what you think, and check back soon for more Vanderpump discussion. Coming up is part two of the Hawaii trip, and the highly anticipated return of Stassi. See you then!


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