Vanderpump Rules is special. The cast was culled from Las Vegas and Los Angeles using some sort of Lisa Vanderpump alchemy, creating a group of alcohol-soaked, non-rich miscreants who are lovable often enough that we delight in seeing them win, hateable often enough that we keep watching, and who provide enough unintentional but genuinely funny moments that they endear themselves to us even if they are not particularly endearing.
This is obvious, but I bring it up because there’s a loud tension in the cast (at its loudest in this past episode) between those who understand how to be part of this sort of thing, which is almost everybody, and those who have not really seemed to grasp it, which is: Scheana and James. Oh, Scheana and James.
Though Scheana and James have played, at various points, important parts in the Vanderpump Rules ecosystem — Scheana had a wedding, James allowed Kristen to be a relationship detective after he cheated on her and then took an Uber home — the tension between how to be a good Vanderpump Rules cast member and the way Scheana and James are Vanderpump Rules cast members has always been there. It’s always been a little off. A little too empty, a little too mean.
As the rest of the cast grows little by little around them, their square peg-ness has clearly become less tenable. Whereas Scheana’s inability to have allegiance to anyone was at one point the source for a fight, her refusal to take a side in the James-Raquel-Hope Coachella cheating scandal is now just the source of an annoyed aside from Stassi. Scheana, you have to have an opinion, and you have to pick sides; that’s how it works.
And though James still instigates drama, his lack of groundedness in anything other than villainy makes it hard to take particularly seriously. He cheats on Raquel constantly, says everyone. He calls Katie fat. He makes Brittany cry. Even Jax knows: James, for this to work you have to be able to present yourself as not completely evil. Just cheat a couple times, not all the time, and then “try to change.”
The discordant nature of Scheana and James will likely remain, because Scheana is whatever Scheana is and James is a cartoon, but James is at least able to cry at will, and they will always be here forever now no matter what, and maybe that’s enough.
Elsewhere, Brittany and Jax are starting a beer cheese company! They want to try out different kinds of cheeses to put in it.
What else? The girls had a girls’ night and they drank martinis and looked so beautiful. Raquel came; she wants to be on the show, but needs to stay with James long enough that she cements herself as a cast member. Everybody else is like, When we were with our horrific boyfriends they at least pretended to want to go to therapy once, or whatever, and now we’re married. And Raquel is like, Okay I don’t really have a response but can I just sit here and keep talking until my face is recognized as a natural part of this group of faces? I wish her the best and, for the record, I do not think she is dumb.
Katie wants Lisa to fire James because he’s a workplace terror, drunk and mean, and obviously someone who needs to be fired. Lisa needs to fire James because Katie’s complaint (though she, in the past, could have made it about just about any male cast member except for, I think, Sandoval) is legitimate. Will she fire James? We will find out next week, when he — according to the advertisement for next week — cries so much about it.