Vanderpump Rules Recap – 1/4/16

January 5th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Vanderpump Rules - Season 4

You know how some things just stand out in ways that can really surprise you? Well, there’s this quietly amazing moment in The Big Short that has stayed solidly in the very forefront of my mind since I saw the movie about a week ago. And it’s weird that it’s this scene that I can’t stop thinking about because it’s not a particularly showy scene. In fact, it’s not even an actual scene. Instead, it’s part of a montage near the end and there is no dialogue taking place at all because, by then, there’s just not a whole lot that needs to be said. The economy has crashed spectacularly – and sorry, but I refuse to label such a thing with a spoiler alert because if you don’t know the economy went belly-up in 2008, that can’t be my problem. (Feel free, though, to blame any combination of your parents, the liberal media, Donald Trump, or whatever virus you caught the last time you ate at Chipotle.) Anyway, two minor characters in the film –formerly so pompous and pleased with themselves for saddling financially unsophisticated homebuyers with outlandish and impossible mortgage rates – find that they too have been crushed by the very system from which they used to profit. These are guys we first met as they sat on bar stools and flushed hotly at just the thought of excess and we see them near the end at a job fair where they must start over without an expense account. The expressions on their faces – framed in enough of a close-up that we can see both abject terror and sweaty desperation – allows us to know that it’s not simply the economy that has crashed; everyone and everything fell. The blame scattered. There was more than enough chastening to go around.

It certainly says something about the stellar performances and the cinematography in The Big Short that a single shot that was maybe eight seconds long resonated so powerfully. The film itself? It’s brilliant. It is perfectly paced and far funnier than I expected a story about a flawed banking system to be, but I think the things that felt most intense to me were not just the homes that were lost or that sweeping shot of a vacant floor at Lehman Brothers or a security team ushering Finance guys out of a building like they were in danger of being shot. For me, it was about that moment when the realization set it – when it really set in – and people finally understood that everything had to change.

It’s those days and nights of gripping fear that are punctuated with a loss that feels like an exclamation point that brings about change. Rarely do we randomly stumble upon the idea that everything about ourselves must be overhauled. No, it’s more of a dawning comprehension, an internal skywriter who slowly sweeps out the words, “Nothing you’re doing is working for you anymore,” in loopy cursive and you finally have to stare at the entire sentence and admit, f*ck: I need to make better choices. And look, making the declaration is the first step. It’s an active form of realizing that things can’t continue the same way anymore. It’s putting some cohesion into what – for way too long – was simply an abstract idea you allowed to do the backstroke because fighting the current just felt exhausting.

But it’s a new year – and it’s time to f*cking swim.

I’m not sure that Jax or James or Kristen or Lala understand what it means to commit to changing and I seriously believe that gaining notoriety on a show for being their very flawed selves will not lead to anything different. But oh, what I would give to stare at a moment onscreen while James mutters, “You know, I really am an assh*le who is crippled by massive inferiority that runs through my tiny brain and then lands on my low-cut tank tops like glitter – or dandruff. That must be why I behave like a toddler on blow most of the time!” I’d also probably pay to watch Jax stare at himself in a mirror – which so far seems more than doable – and hear him say, “I am an adult! I should stop trying to come between a twenty-two year old DJ and whomever he wants to bang! I should stop removing cartilage from my nose! I should be a better man tomorrow than I was today…” Seriously, I’d sell a family member to hear those words, but nobody is for sale today. See, I’ve got a birthday coming up and those people send presents.

Unfortunately, you have to believe someone when she says a change is afoot for it to have any sort of significance. So when Kristen shouts to the heavens that she is no longer a psycho-bitch-lunatic, I don’t even consider leasing out a second cousin. Sure, Kristen has somewhat behaved so far this season. She apologized to Ariana and did it without sneering or calling the woman she was apologizing to a whore. She is going on a date with someone who doesn’t work at SUR. She didn’t kill James when he hocked a loogie on her front door – though I kind of consider that a strike against her. But it’s not appearing like she’s actually moving on from all the people she’s claimed have hurt her so recklessly because all we see her do is try to wrangle her way into parties they throw to which she’s not invited. And if that’s not the whole story – if she’s not as pathetic as she appears on this show – maybe she should consider hopping off the gravy train that is editing her to appear like a crazy person.

I get it, though. Change is hard. Letting go of how you identify yourself because those identifiers are no longer healthy or possible feels like a loss. And I know that the losses in the movie slid down so much more smoothly than a real loss does because 1) these financial events already happened 2) I never so much as worked in the mailroom at Lehman, which is good because I know nothing about money and I would have bankrupt the place somewhere around 2004 and 3) Ryan Gosling narrated the thing and any loss would probably feel way more palatable if Ryan Gosling was sitting at the foot of my bed proclaiming truths like, “Yes, he’s a jerk. But Nell, you should have known better. Besides, you don’t like men with furry chests anyway!” My interior monologue just sounds so much more convincing coming from him. Sadly, Ryan Gosling appears nowhere on Vanderpump Rules tonight and yes, that shocks me too. Instead, it’s time to see what changes (genuine or faux) are in store for our Vanderpumpers this week.

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