Monday, February 4, 2013

Vanderpump Rules: Is this Bravo's version of The Hills?

I was supposed to be easing off of Bravo, I know, I know but somehow the brainwashing mechanisms of Bravo far surpassed my sobriety of all things catty and alleged reality. And so I'm hooked to another show that I don't need to be hooked to. Call it a relapse, hopefully it's momentary.

And what is it that I'm embarrassingly watching and that's gotten my attention piqued more so than a Housewives private plane trek to an exotic island including an inevitable hair pulling argument and a visit from an unknown millionaire hamming it up for some airtime? (Ok, maybe not more. Ok, maybe so.) It's Vanderpump Rules. The show is a spin off of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills's Lisa Vanderpump's restaurant Sur. It's basically a reality show regarding the lives of six chosen staff members who all happen to be involved in some incestuous circle. Think the reality version of Friends but in present day, in skimpy outfits and with careers involving the word aspiring.

Dressed to kill: Brandi showed no sympathy for Scheana during the meeting
Behind the claims: Scheana Marie claims she had an affair with Eddie when he was with Brandi and later LeAnnThe show spinned off of Housewives of Beverly Hills in what was referred to as a two hour episode of Housewives of Beverly Hills when in actuality it was an episode of RHOBH and then Vanderpump Rules, but the connection was genius! (Genius in Bravo terms, we're not talking Mensa club genius.) If you keep up with reality television gossip, then you know all about this. Scheana had affair with Eddie Cibrian (Baywatch Nights, Third Watch, did anyone watch those shows?) who was married to Brandi Glanville. Brandi is a cast member on Housewives of Beverly Hills. Apparently, Scheana was duped by Eddie too, he told her he was separated when in actuality he was living a double life and even got Brandi pregnant throughout his two year affair with Scheana. While all of this was going on he was also having a triple life with Leann Rimes (Yes, the country singer)  who he ended up marrying and leaving the other two, or so we assume he left the two.

Ok, now that we got that soap opera entangled on to the show. So the episode crosses from RHOBH to Vanderpump Rules through a duel between Brandi and Scheanna, ok, so maybe more of a peaceful sit down. I can't imagine how broke Brandi is that she desperately needs money, fame and airtime that she willingly sat down with the woman her husband had an affair with while she was pregnant! So they talk, cry, fake fake and then at the end the camera follows Scheana over to Sur and the Sur characters.

The Hills - the-hills WallpaperSo yes, I say the word characters because the question is, is any of this real? Or is this all just a big hoax a la The Hills. From watching The Hills it appeared that Lauren, Heidi and the gang were passionate in their emotions, but a lot of the set ups seemed fake. Like when Heidi went to Colorado to visit her parents while in angst due to conflict with Spencer, she always had a full face of makeup. Really? And oh, what a coincidence, her high school boyfriend was eating at the table next time. And in the end, when Lauren left and Kristen Cavalleri came on, it became blatantly apparent it was all fake and Kristen will openly admit that it was fully staged and that producers would often text them what to say. (Please tell me Stephanie Pratt's aloof persona and Spencer's obsession with crystals was also fictional?) So are we seeing this again with Rules? So far it doesn't appear as fake as The Hills, but maybe these folks are just really good actors? (Ha.) Or maybe they can't afford professional hair and make-up yet which makes it appear a little more real. Seriously, once they start going to the MAC counter and a blow out bar on a habitual schedule, going for a workout to discuss what happened at the party last night doesn't seem so authentic.

Rather than wax poetic of reality vs fictionality, lets just talk about the characters, shall we?

Scheana Marie As we discussed earlier, she had an affair with the married husband of Brandi, who is friend of Sur owner Lisa Vanderpump. Self proclaimed Britney Spears look alike (I actually see it. It's something in the eyes.), aspiring singer, aspiring actor. She has a chubby boyfriend that seems to love her. She seems like a sweet girl who screwed up by getting with a married man, but is riding that wave as long as she can to make a buck.
Scheana Marie

Stassi Schroeder or should we say Regina George? Stassi, pronounced Staahhhhsee, makes everyone painfuly aware that she runs the ship. She's a bitch and proud of it. She willingly admits that when new people start working at Sur she makes their life miserable so they will quit. Cue catty run ins with Scheana. Scheana is a husband stealer, according to Stassi, and thus she does not like her. Cue bullying of Scheana, cue typical catty criticisms of Scheana's physical appearance  cue insecurity everytime time Scheana speaks to boyfriend. And Stassi's boyfriend is a bartender named Jax thats alleged relationship finality is playing out before us. (That's pretty much all the last two shows have been about.)  And apparently she and her family were on Amazing Race Family back in 2005 where she showcased a full frontal of her histrionic persona. When Andy Cohen opened this out of the vault on Watch What Happens Live! Stassi didn't blush one iota of embarrassment. She is who she is and has no shame. Oh, and apparently Stassi doesn't have a car, she's always in a tizzy about getting a ride somewhere
Villain Of The Week: Stassi Schroeder

 Jax Taylor Boyfriend of Stassi. Apparently he's in his 30s but has been a model since his early 20s. He models, models, models and bartends at Sur. It appears he's broke, despite all this modeling considering he lives with Stassi rent free. Seems like a nice guy that is completely whipped by Stassi, she appears to think that since she pays for everything, she controls him. Although he appears to enjoy this.
Jax Taylor in Vanderpump Rules

Kristen Doute Waitress at Sur, boyfriend Tom is a bartender at Sur. Basically lives in the periphery of Stassi. Expected to blow smoke up Stassi's ass, but doesn't. Cue argument.

Tom Sandoval Bartender at Sur. Live in boyfriend of Kristen. Best friend of Jax. Always ready to take off his shirt and throw down for Jax while hair is perfectly coiffed due to excessive amounts of hair spray.

Tom Sandoval

Katie Maloney Another periphery character. Quite frankly I get confused between her and Kristen. She's yet to do much except get verbally slapped by Stassi. Her boyfriend is not a Sur employee, but good buddies with Jax and Tom.
Katie Maloney in Vanderpump Rules

This past week there was major drama because Stassi broke up with Jax and in one week started dating another Sur bartender and friend of Jax, Frank. To briefly surmise, a huge fight breaks out between Jax and Frank, drinks are flying, the bitch word is thrown around, shirts come off, threatening words assue and the producers make an appearance on screen pushing the characters apart. When the behind the camera people have to come on camera you know it's real. (Insert eye roll here.)

Wow, I'm 32 years old, married with two children, have a graduate degree and a clinical license to practice therapy and yet watching the drama of 20 something fame starved wait staff at a high brow restaurant in West Hollywood revs up my enthusiasm. From an introspective point of view I'd like to say it's because I'm starved of my professional passions, I have no clients on my proverbial couch to practice cognitive behavior therapy with and thus I have to resort to reality television to analyze the going ons in their life and diagnose as need be. Yes, that's it. I have now legitimized my obsession with reality television

Shahs of Sunset Season Two CastSo anyways, is the show real, is it not real? Is it a little bit of both, yes, most likely. Somehow I'm completely attached , at least for now. I had similar feelings with Shahs of Sunset last season and  as it has entered it's sophomore slump my interest has fizzled. (Ok, so I watch but usually do other stuff at the same time.)

Regardless, the drama is high, the characters are likable and deplorable and it takes me back to high school when I would get excited when a new episode of 90210 was going to air. (Obviously I was not head cheerleader in high school.) It's Monday night, new episode of Vanderpump Rules, yay!


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