This season of Vanderpump Rules was on its way to automatically landing a spot in the ridiculous reality television hall of fame. But a returning superstar who has lost much of her luster is threatening to throw it all down the drain.
Stassi Schroeder has come back to Vanderpump Rules and her incessant begging for forgiveness is really putting a damper on things.
If you’ll remember, this season we’ve seen some truly glorious displays of hedonism, narcissism and generally bad decision making. Vanderpump Rules found the sweet spot where the hot, attention-starved cast members were willing to commit to the hilariously staged drama while also inserting just enough of their actual personal lives to keep you invested. Now, however, the real-life issues amongst the cast has derailed the fun.
The impetus for this is Stassi. In Season 2 we learned that Jax cheated on his then-girlfriend Stassi with one of her best friends, Kristen Doute. Stassi, understandably, was not thrilled. In the third season, Stassi firmly established her newfound distance from the group. She had a new, relatively successful boyfriend, a cute apartment and a podcast. Naturally, she proceeded to treat everyone, including her best friend Katie Maloney, like shit.
Fast forward to the second half of this season where Stassi is boyfriendless, homeless and friendless. Meanwhile, Katie is engaged and has a beauty blog. Stassi’s end goal is to be friends with Katie again but she must work through the layers of tangential people like a Mario Bros. game.
She started with Lisa, who truly did not give a shit about having Stassi back her life because Lisa is rich and while she may genuinely care about them, these people are still her employees. Their conversation revealed another dramatic and actually upsetting piece of the puzzle: Stassi’s ex-boyfriend recorded her masturbating (aka the “sex tape”) and tried to shop the video around. Lisa swooped in and gave the guy something like $700 in cash to delete the video. Stassi returned the favor by calling Lisa an old woman.
Stassi alleged that Scheana Shay found the sex tape hilarious and gleefully showed it to multiple people. Stassi, fairly, did not like that prospect, though Scheana later denied that it happened that way.
Now, I think it’s important to pause for a moment and point out a few things. One, if we’re being fair, Stassi is not a significantly more terrible person than the rest of the cast, plus, she went through something legitimately traumatic, regardless of whether it happened before or after she started icing her friends out. That important caveat aside, she’s fine but very selfish. She also has nice hair and a great eye for flattering lipstick. Her problem is that she’s unable to spin her narcissism into a semi-charming quality like, say, Jax. And she doesn’t flash her boobs all the time like Lala.
Stassi is now living with her former frenemy (and was there ever a more accurate use of that word?) Kristen. At the world’s most depressing house party on Monday night’s episode, Tom Sandavol confronted Stassi about her hypocrisy. He pointed out that she used to hate Kristen, but it’s now rather convenient not to hate Kristen since she doesn’t have anywhere to stay and wants to be friends with the group again (and needs a semi-realistic storyline to explain her return to the show).
This conversation revealed why nobody on this show should ever try to take a moral stand on absolutely anything: because they’re all fucking hypocrites.
Tom is right about Stassi’s desperation, but the lecture was more than a little rich coming from him when you consider that his best friend Jax had sex with his then-girlfriend Kristen WHILE TOM WAS SLEEPING IN THE OTHER ROOM and he and Jax are still besties. Stassi is largely pointing out that she would like to be awarded the same nonsensical forgiveness that everyone else in this group is allowed. Coupled with the fact that they all need these Vanderpump Rules paychecks to keep coming in, the group deciding to forgive her seems realistic and sensible.
Still, any schadenfreude to be gained by these dumb interactions is undercut by the fact that Katie truly seems hurt in a way that goes beyond some dumb TV show. Her best friend erased her from her life because she found new, shiner toys and Stassi only wants to reconcile now because she has no other options.
Vanderpump Rules works because it is a fun show—pretty stupid, but fun. Watching Stassi Schroeder’s apology tour of boring conversations where she is endlessly apologetic and banally deferential is not fun. She needs to be folded back into the show somehow but this ain’t it, or, at the very least, it’s taking too long. And if the cast and producers are trying to establish some sort of ethical hierarchy in this crew using Stassi as scapegoat, I would suggest that perhaps they spend some time actually watching Vanderpump Rules.
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