Photo: Nicole Weingart/Bravo/Nicole Weingart/Bravo
The second part of this sure-to-be-epic reunion starts off with everyone screaming over #Scandoval and, yes, just as Tom Sandoval says, it has given everyone a bit of a get-out-of-jail-free card. No matter what they did this season — heck, no matter what they’ve done in their whole lives — it’s like we’ve entirely forgotten about it because of the awful things Sandoval, Schwartz, and Raquel did to the rest of the cast. When this was filmed it was still fresh and everyone was reeling, but when Lisa Vanderpump tells Lala that she can sometimes be too aggressive, she looks at Lisa and says, “You need to stop. You need to stop. You need to stop.”
First of all, none of these yahoos would be doing sponcon for Uber Eats if Lisa Vanderpump didn’t get this project in front of Bravo in the first place. Yes, she may be ancillary to the show at this point, but put some respect on her name. Also, Lala tells her what she needs to stop is defending Sandoval. I don’t think that Lisa is defending him, but her criticizing other cast members for their behavior — and let’s face it, Lala is way too aggressive sometimes — doesn’t mean she’s letting him get away with his. She can do both.
It’s funny that Lala starts off so hot because the segment they spend focusing on her is the only thing to soften her all season. She talks about her conversation with Ally on the catamaran during Scheana’s 17-day boondoggle wedding for two already married people. She says that her relationship with Randall so hurt her and she felt like such a fool that she just wanted to protect Ally. That’s the kind of vulnerability we crave from Lala. She’s so busy pretending to be a boss bitch who will take down anyone that crosses her that she never shows us that there is an actual person behind the hair extensions and talons. I think that is really sad and relatable, and she could learn a thing or two from Kenya Moore, whose aggression with her costars is often forgiven because we know how difficult her personal and romantic lives have been for her.
Then we switch to DJ James Kennedy, the White Kanye himself, who gets on my very last nerve. When Lala is talking about that conversation, James says he didn’t know about it until he saw it, and it upset him. He says he called Lala to discuss it because she knows “I’m not that guy.” Dude, you are. You are so that guy. You are so much that guy that if life were a game of Guess Who, he would be the only plastic square still standing while we have to look at the smug crooked grin that he can’t seem to wipe off his face. The reason they were having that conversation is that he was literally that guy the night before, getting into fights with Brock’s random drunk Aussie friends and with St. Ariana at the dinner table.
This is where everyone’s blinders to Sandoval are really going to get me. Sandoval talks about a regular gig he and Schwartz had where they would go to Atlantic City. It sounds like a paid appearance where they would be at a casino or club to lure people from the Tri-State area into a sinking cesspit in New Jersey. They invited James along one time too. At the gig, which involved them drinking with fans, James got so belligerent that he grabbed a waitress’s ass, had to be asked to leave, and cost the Toms this regular gig.
Sandoval’s point is that, yes, they may drink way too much, but when they do, they don’t assault servers (if Sandoval can be believed, and that is an if bigger than both of Brock’s prominent pectorals), they don’t shout at people, and they don’t lose their jobs. We have seen James do two out of three things on camera. I repeat he is that guy. Just because the criticism of James’ drinking and how his drinking is different from others in the group is coming from Sandoval doesn’t mean it is invalid. Yes, Ariana can shout that instead he fucks her friend, but his awful act doesn’t nullify all the less awful acts that everyone else on these precipitously tall chairs has committed.
Meanwhile, Ally is fully delusional. She says she saw the show, but nothing she saw of James ever made her think she didn’t want to get in a relationship with him. She calls him sweet, which he may be in select moments, but he is also the person who has raged on every single person on the show and said horrendous things to Raquel’s family, whether or not her mom brought up if he was uncircumcised at the family Thanksgiving. (Yes, that’s awkward, but could she have been, I don’t know, joking?) Ally calls this man sweet, and then she says that “fat” should never be used, even though it is always James’s go-to insult. We see him use it multiple times in the flashbacks. We also see him call Sandoval a mustached worm again, so you know he workshopped that one. And, on behalf of all mustached Americans, I would like to say that trying to malign a facial hair style that makes every face 78 percent more handsome (even Sandovals) isn’t the right move.
With that, we say goodbye to Ally and her drop-shipped pink ensemble with boning that is too big and a bra cup that is too small. Get in your car, Ally, and drive away. Drive far, far away from James and this whole mess and live the life of a private astrologer to the stars before you sink any deeper into the tarpit that is the reality television arts and sciences.
Now a word from my husband:
Hey, everyone. It’s me, Christian. I know you don’t often hear from me because Brian usually just steals my jokes and doesn’t give me any credit. I needed to pop in to say that someone needs to ask Katie why the hell she went to Scheana’s wedding, where she didn’t belong and where no one wanted her. If this is not addressed in part three, I will be writing a letter to Andy myself, and I may become so incensed that Brian will have to divorce me, and the emotional spiral will incapacitate him for years and he’ll have to close the Housewives Institute. No one wants that, right? See you all next time Daddy Moneybags Vulture III lets someone recap a reunion (i.e. never).
Thanks, Christian. That was not at all helpful. That was, in fact, about as helpful as Tom Sandoval walking the very long 100 yards from the set to see Raquel in her trailer, where she has to sit so that Scheana doesn’t break the restraining order Raquel took out against her. Tom was especially unhelpful when producer Patrick (remember him from that awful Fire Island show?) told him that if he and Raquel wanted to hang out together, they had to do it on camera. It’s a pretty easy order to understand and also a very reasonable request because if they’re going to plot and strategize about what to say, then we should be able to see it. This temper tantrum of stupidity is the only thing that Tom has said in either of these reunion episodes that I buy.
I take that back! There is one point where Scheana talks about how she had her suspicions of Tom and Raquel and confronted both Ariana and Tom with her suspicions. They were questioning why she brought it up to Tom, and she said, “You at least had to lie to my face,” to which he immediately responded, “I did.” Yes, honey, we know. That’s why we’re all here and the world is watching.
Just as I think that everyone surrounding Andy is an absolute garbage person, we get the Scheana Shay redemption arc that no one sees coming. Sandoval, after a pause longer than the mint green sash on Raquel’s dress, says that right when everyone found out that night on Watch What Happens Live, Scheana called Ariana and said on speaker, “I punched that bitch in the face, and I threw her phone in the street.” I do not believe Scheana said that or that she punched Raquel, but I am choosing to believe she said this to Ariana at the moment. Print it up, put it on a T-shirt, cross-stitch it into a pillow, write it in the sky with enormous balloon letters that will never pop. I think I will get “I punched that bitch in the face and threw her phone in the street” tattooed on my right forearm so that I can point to it whenever I have to punch a bitch in the face or throw her phone in the street.
Scheana was heartbroken and sincere but in the best way possible. She talked about how close she was with Tom and Raquel and how she asked Raquel never to do anything that would make them not be friends and Raquel said she wouldn’t, but she was probably already getting Tom Sandoval in her Most Extra at this point, so it didn’t really matter. But then Scheana ends her time at the reunion with two perfect gestures. She gives Andy a vinyl copy of her certified banger “Good as Gold” (would buy, put a link in your bio ScheSche) because he once joked that in 2023 she’d have a full album. Then she retired to her trailer, put on her comfy clothes, clutched a White Claw, and watched the Vanderpump Rules reunion. Yes, Scheana is all of us, right here on our couches, doing the exact same thing.
Naturally, the episode cuts off just as Raquel sits down in the chair — but not next to Sandoval, where she was originally placed. Her reactions this whole episode, especially in her conversation with Andy, were a little strange. It was like watching someone fully realize what they did and what the consequences would be, but like 19 months later. She says that her entire character is now in question. Um, no duh! You screwed your best friend’s man on local television. (As in, it is only local to women and gays.) What did you think was going to happen?
She also talks about how she regrets filing the restraining order and presents Scheana with a motion to dismiss it. This is like Randall Emmett missing a flight because it is too little and it is far too late. While in her trailer, she says, “As things are unfolding, it’s like more realizations and more regrets.” It’s as if the lightbulb went on that maybe Sandoval and Ariana’s relationship is better than Tom made it out to be, and maybe he didn’t actually ever try to break up with Ariana, as he claimed. She also tells Andy that she thought there was some way that she and Ariana could be friends when she found out about the affair. Does this woman have no idea how people will react to her? Does she not realize the hurt that she was going to cause? No, there is hardly anyone at this reunion that is a good person, but there is clearly no one worse than Tom and Raquel, two insecure people who are also so self-involved they think they can get everything they want without having to pay the price. Well, the bill is due, and neither of them can afford it.