To be a long-time viewer of a Bravo show ultimately consists of spending many hours watching alliances shift — sometimes at a glacial pace, sometimes immediately and catastrophically. It’s like complex geopolitics, but with Botoxed lushes with a penchant for drama instead of nation states. But before we get to Lala and James’s friendship crumbling before our eyes, let’s check in with our other volatile situation: the soon-to-be married Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz.
Last episode, Schwartz expressed mild doubts about their impending nuptials and called Katie out on her tendency to get blackout drunk and tell him she no longer wanted to be with him. Katie did not take that discussion well but, simmering resentment be damned, they went all the way up to the woods of Northern California to visit their wedding venue together. Schwartz uses the tour of Twenty Mile House to get in several passive-aggressive comments about their relationship in front of the staff, but the most embarrassing part is when they argue over a literal stump. Schwartz says he likes the centerpiece, while Katie says she does not want a “rusticness.” “I don’t think we need to incorporate stumps,” she says, more seriously than I’ve ever heard her say anything before, emphasizing that she wants the theme to be “Woodsy Elegance.” This reminds me of a few episodes back when Stassi described Katie’s bedroom as “Industrial Chic Eclectic.” Excuse me, but what are these descriptions? Is all of this just subliminal advertising for the T.J.Maxx home-goods aisle?
Schwartz is clearly not feeling great in his relationship, but at least his work life is going great! Just kidding, he’s dabbling in modeling for an underwear brand that coerces him to hide his stomach with a basketball and stuff his crotch with a sock. Later on, Schwartz’s genitals become the focus yet again when he and Katie get in an argument while test-driving a new Porsche for Lisa and Katie unleashes the “let’s talk about how your dick doesn’t work either” heard round the world/in every promotional segment for the show.
As a stark contrast, Tom and Ariana are doing the whole highly functional couple thing. Early on in the episode, they’re working out together (when James barges in very naturally to tell them that he got fired from SUR). Then, they ride to a dinner date on the same bike — a date during which Ariana reveals that she doesn’t want to get married because “I don’t see the point” and “it’s surrendering to a societal thing you’re supposed to do.” We get it, Ariana! You’re the Cool Girl!
But one does not watch Bravo for its happy functional people, and so we return to Lala, who’s off hiking with Pump and SUR employees Ellie and Tiffany. She shares that she’s allergic to sunblock and that the only kind she uses is $400 a tube; they share that James got fired and that Ellie had sex with James while he was with his current girlfriend. To back it up, Ellie sends Lala a time-stamped photo she took of James the morning following their hookup. Why you would keep proof of that encounter is beyond me, but this photo emerges over and over again.
For starters, Ariana tells Scheana about it during a brief break at SUR. In the wisest observation that’s ever come out of Scheana’s mouth, she asks “What are these mid-30-year-old women doing with a douchebag 24-year-old DJ?” And then she gets coffee with Ellie, negs her about James, and presses her about Lala’s married boyfriend. Scheana goes on to merrily share the gossip with Kristen and Stassi and they spend the entirety of dinner talking about how several people they all know separately have told them Lala is dating a married man. Their obsession with this rumor is so intense that it’s making them unhinged. I would say that they should all get another hobby, but talking shit all day is literally their job! Living the dream, man.
Finally, in news that should surprise absolutely no one, even Lala and James seem to be turning on each other now. She goes over to confront him about Ellie, while he hops over his hoverboard, pours two glasses of sparkling wine, and immediately turns it around into something about her married boyfriend. Frankly, I don’t care if Lala ever admits to dating a married man or not. I just want her to tell us what the nickname “Lala” is short for.
Read past Vanderpump Rules recaps here.