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'Vanderpump Rules' is 'It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia', Only with Heels, Botox, and a Badder Attitude

By Kate Hudson | TV | November 5, 2018 |

By Kate Hudson | TV | November 5, 2018 |


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Last week, the trailer for Vanderpump Rules’ new season was released, and I’m fairly confident practically no one who reads this site watched it.

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The typical criticism of reality shows with vapid pretty people fighting, drinking, and f*cking is that you don’t want to waste your time watching vapid pretty people fighting, drinking, and f*cking. I mean, I get it, time is a valuable commodity that you don’t get more of—so I understand if you wrote off Vanderpump Rules as just another generic entry into Andy Cohen’s house of horrors and Housewives. You would be categorically wrong, though.

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Picture this, you have a long-running show about a group of friends who really hate each other yet they still spend all their time together at a bar, and getting into hijinks. Bad things happen to them, they learn nothing, and they continue to do despicable things to each other while drinking to a level the CDC would qualify as bingeing. They engage in questionable activities and can’t really consistently hold down a job. People outside their bubble are generally disturbed by their behavior, and yet from within, the group believes that everyone wants to be them. There is no character/personal growth that happens, and as a general rule, they are all still in almost the exact position as they were when the show started, except for some mild growth that happened last season.

Would you watch this show?

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Of course you would, you love the Gang!

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Ok, but I wasn’t describing It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I was describing Vanderpump Rules.

“Tell me more”, you say?

Friend, I could write an entire doctoral thesis on this show, but I don’t think your attention span would hold up for that, so I’ll try to make this brief by introducing you to the Vanderpump Rules cast.

The show revolves around a core group of “friends” (or mortal enemies, depending on the day of the week and whether someone slept with someone else’s partner that season) They are:

Stassi/Sweet Dee: Our little blonde fascist tyrant. Every season has a Stassi birthday episode where she drinks enough to kill a baby elephant and bosses people around/throws sh*t fits that would make any aspiring dictator sit down and take notes. Stassi is volatile with a sharp tongue. She grossly overestimates her clout within the group to unsurprising results, and frequently takes on Lisa Vanderpump, the grand dame, and never comes out ahead. I do not want her to change, ever.

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Jax/Dennis: Look, no one’s really a mastermind in this group, but if you had to pick a de facto leader, it’s probably Jax. Completely void of any morality, Jax sleeps with his best friend’s girlfriend (twice!), cheats on his then-girlfriend now-fiancée with an acquaintance (and gets caught on an audio recording…), and yet still gets invited on group vacations. I don’t really understand how that works other than to speculate that Jax, like Dennis, has some form of mind control. Jax is also a pathological liar, which the entire group accepts as a personality quirk and not a massive character flaw—it’s amazing. Jax is fun to follow on Twitter, because he in equal parts rages at randos, and asks for recommendations for something to stream.

Side note: He’s also asking people to vote blue in the midterms, which I honestly see as a harbinger of the apocalypse. You know things are bad in our country when Jax is getting political. This is a guy who, for a few seasons, was notorious for taking off his shirt (ahem, Dennis) and fighting people.

Tom Sandoval/Mac: Sandoval fancies himself the most urbane and polished of the group, and he tries very hard. His efforts are roundly not appreciated, or asked for in many circumstances. He’s fairly innocuous, very image conscious, and probably talks a little too much about how hot his girlfriend is. His identity is intrinsically tied to…

Tom Schwartz/Charlie: In a cast of binge drinkers, Schwartz-y lands at the top of the heap. Known for getting blackout drunk (a lot, and most likely cheating on his wife when it happens but there’s no proof, ok?!) Schwartz had the amorphous job of “male model” for the entirety of the show—that is until Lisa Vanderpump offered him and Sandoval the opportunity to be her business partners in her newest bar, called TomTom (Fight Milk, anyone?!). Schwartz took a “bath” in a creek on his wedding day (the facilities had working showers…), and he honestly thought that was an acceptable way to bathe. He’s from Florida. Out of all the core cast members, he seems the most harmless (like Charlie), if a little out of touch on how reality works.

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Kristen/The Waitress: A Chaotic/Evil-aligned lady who dated Sandoval until she cheated on him with Jax. Kristen then spent the next few seasons openly trying to sabotage Sandoval’s new relationship (which if I remember, had slight overlap with his relationship with Kristen, because that’s how the Gang treats each other, and life imitates art here.) Kristen is an unpredictable wild card, and I love her. Her biggest character growth moment happened last season, where after 6 years, she finally stopped chasing after Stassi on her birthday—because Stassi always storms out in a huff, and Kristen finally had enough. Kristen is most likely the one to throw a drink in someone’s face. 100% of the time someone will get angry that she wasted alcohol.

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Lisa Vanderpump/Frank: Lisa is the mastermind who bankrolls all of the chaos. She usually stays above the fray (unlike Frank) but she’s certainly been known to upgrade hotel rooms, give lavish gifts, and ensure the alcohol flows freely. She is the debaucherous fairy godmother that keeps everyone employed, which means they all have to bow down to her and try not to piss her off too much.

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As the seasons have worn on, the cast has gotten bigger—and I’m leaving out core group members like (Tequila) Katie, Scheana, (DJ) James Kennedy, Lala, and Brittany—Jax’s fiancée, who everyone within the group lauds as “the sweetest” and who very well may be, but as far as I can tell, she’s never thrown a drink or picked a fight with anyone else or cheated on Jax with someone else’s boyfriend, so I have my suspicions that their bar is very low; but she does seem nice, and honestly, I suspect Jax’s newfound political activism is probably tied to Brit.

The point is, the Vanderpump Rules universe is as vast as the Sunny Gang’s—and just like Sunny, there’s a message there about how to live your life well that the core group doesn’t seem to get, try as they might.

This is all a lead-in to the trailer for the newest season:


Tell me that doesn’t look like performance art!? All I’m saying is that It’s Always Sunny is wrapping up their season this week, and don’t you want the good times to keep flowing?

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The newest season of Vanderpump Rules starts soon, which means you have enough time to catch up on previous seasons before it does.

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For a newbie, you’ll ask if there’s any season you should start with, and just like Sunny—this show fires on all cylinders from the get-go.

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So, go forth, and numb the pain that is living in Trump’s America by watching the destructive but contained group from Vanderpump Rules, and I hope you’ll join me in welcoming them back for their seventh season. Between them, and the Sunny Gang, the good times can roll practically year-round.



Kate is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.



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