Reality Bites: Vanderpump Rules
When civilization finally collapses, thanks to (take your pick) climate change/overpopulation/civil unrest/alien invasion, life as we know it will devolve into a series of running battles waged against mutant bikers on the blackened, twisted hellscape we used to call Earth. This isn't just my adolescent fever dream, it's inevitable.
When that day comes, we'll need new leaders. Men and women produced not by Ivy League universities or churned out by diplomatic or political institutions, but rather forged in the unforgiving crucible of reality TV. I've been doing this for a while now, and have come to realize these shows serve a purpose beyond irreparably damaging my central nervous system; they're providing us a way to survive the coming chaos.
That's what I tell myself, at least, every time I force my remote control hand, Dr. Strangelove style, to change the channel to Bravo.
Could Lisa Vanderpump be a new Aunty Entity? At first glance, one of the *Real* Housewives of Beverly Hills (let that phrase roll around in your head for a bit) wouldn't seem to be a likely candidate for post-apocalyptic greatness. I was even prepared to throw down my lack of Housewives cred by airily stating I'd never seen the woman before, but after some cursory internet research, I realized I had:
That was Martin Fry. F-R-Y.
Watching the show, I gradually came to realize I picked the wrong Housewives to sample for my theory. All of the BH ladies were born into money (or married into it soon enough) and lack aggression beyond raised eyebrows over Bellinis or survival skills other than dodging process servers. I should have stuck with the New Jersey or Atlanta variants.
Vanderpump and her husband of 31(!) years, Ken Todd, are owners of West Hollywood restaurant SUR, which is where a good portion of the action takes place, centered as it is on the doings and transpirings of Lisa herself, servers Stassi and Scheana (seriously?), bartender Alex, and any number of other soulless proto-Deep Ones who look like they failed a Vampire Diaries audition. And probably did.
Still though, married for 31 years? That's like a geologic epoch in Hollywood matrimonial terms.
The Episode I Watched didn't start off too promisingly, as most of the servers repaired to a Hollywood bar after a catering event to mostly bitch about Lisa and snipe at each other for their own personal failings. For example, did you know SUR server Kristen took bartender/model/actor boyfriend Tom (fun fact: you can actually append "model/actor" to any male restaurant worker's name in the greater Los Angeles area) back after she cheated on her! And she's *30*! I kept waiting for her to collapse into dust like Mother Gothel after falling out of the tower.
Lisa takes daughter Pandora and fairly horrible human being Scheana to buy dresses for some function I don't recall. She [vander]pumps her daughter for store gossip, which seems pointless; just watch the dailies from your own goddamn show. The main takeaway is that Lisa buys the dresses but insists Scheana not tell anyone. I'm less concerned about Scheana's loose lips (giggity) than I am that anyone would name their daughter after the person who released a plague of evils upon mankind. Or maybe she's just honest about how horrible raising kids can be.
MEANWHILE (I'm glazing over earlier than usual during this one), Stassi is introducing on again/off again boyfriend Jax (think 'N Sync's Joey Fatone on Muscle Mass) to her father. Any sympathies I felt for Jax dissolved the moment he admitted to dad he didn't know who Steve McQueen was. If my generation has any responsibility to those coming after us, it's to hallow the name of the guy who played Frank Bullitt:
Whatever. Go back to "Bye Bye Bye" you beardo prick.
Next, in the true spirit of the new millennium, Jax shares his feelings about Stassi with a bro while working out at the gym. Who talks at the gym? Press, squat, deadlift, and then shower without making eye contact. No time for chit chat, and especially not about *relationships.* Where's the ghost of Lee Marvin when you need him?
Kristen ends up on double secret suspension, or something, after copping an attitude at the aforementioned event. She's also having a hard time forgiving Tom for having sex with "some bottle service skank three days after her birthday." Dude: trust me, just walk away (another Mad Max reference!). She. Will. Never. Forgive. You.
And on it goes. These are the same personality conflicts you might see in any group of 20-somethings, only magnified by the presence of cameras and $12 well drinks. It inevitably turns into a heavily bleeped bitchfest, and as with all shows featuring quote-unquote beautiful people complaining about their one-percenter problems, I found myself looking for any excuse to leave the room: cleaning the gutters, snaking the toilet, ritual self mutilation.
Still, somebody's watching. Vanderpump Rules just kicked off its second season, but all I could think about is how much I'd rather see my own entrails spilled on the kitchen floor than spend one more minute with these vacuous, perma-bronzed cretins.