Our Vanderpumpers stand solemn and still in a makeshift enchanted forest. A golden light, the kind that only falls during that magic hour right before the dusk, illuminates the blissed-out looks on their faces. For once, there is no evident contention between any of them. For once, nobody is projecting blame or backhanding someone across the face while wearing a large spiky ring. They are, each and every one of them, steadfastly focused on the present; at this moment, they have silently agreed to forget the past and to not even contemplate the certain messiness of the future, the one that will begin as soon as the bride slips out of her dress that’s apparently been constructed from dingy doilies. The floaties they went tubing in just a few days ago will have to be deflated for the long trip home. The empty cans of Coors Light will get tossed into a recycling bin. See, nothing lasts forever – not a wedding, not even an edible made from the finest cocoa, granulated sugar, and weed one can locate in all of Los Angeles proper – and even though the Bravo editors have worked overtime (and have seriously earned their paychecks) to keep us fixated on this one perfect second in time, those of us who aren’t slightly stoned and standing on top of twigs in some forest cannot help but understand that, despite the evident joy radiating off our television screens, what we are shamelessly being sold here is nothing but a comforting narrative, one that is completely unfaithful to all the interlocking tales that have come before.
I’ve long been aware that I am an easy cry, though it’s far more typical for me to cry happy tears. Such a thing occurred just this week when I was (again) shut out of snaring myself a ticket to an event headlined by Bruce Springsteen and then, just an hour or so later, I received a text from my smoking hot fairy godfather with a picture of the ticket he’d procured for me. I cried right then and there – in public – and it was a combination of things that caused my reaction: the knowledge that I would be in a room with the one artist who has defined every single profound stage of my life; the Technicolor fantasy taking hold that maybe this would be the time I’d meet him and we’d end the evening weaving one another friendship bracelets while deconstructing every lyric he’s ever written; the understanding that another person did whatever he had to do just to make me happy – all of it together yielded a joy that manifested out of my tear ducts. When it comes to movies or TV, I’ve also been known to cry the second a montage begins, especially if it’s scored by some instrumental music heavy on the violins. There are times I hate myself for those tears. I’m aware, even as I rustle around my purse for some probably-used Kleenex, that I’m so being manipulated, that the movie isn’t even all that good, that what I’m really reacting to is a carefully assembled collection of sounds and images and yet I’m still sitting in a dark theatre dabbing at my eyes. Under no circumstances am I saying here that no movie moment deserves my tears. In fact, I’ve long lived under the assumption that if you didn’t bawl your f*cking eyes out when Mufasa was thrown off a cliff, you’re categorically dead inside.
As neither Mufasa nor his spirit showed up at Katie and Schwartz’s wedding ceremony, I did not tear up during last week’s episode of Vanderpump Rules and I didn’t expect that I would. But I did buy in for a while to the idea that these people are such wonderful friends who root for one another and support one another and have gathered in the woods to honor a couple who will probably be together for all of eternity – and then I fell with a thud right back to Earth. Oh, right, I said to myself. Because in just the wedding party alone, these minor skirmishes have occurred:
• Stassi slapped Kristen hard in front of friends, strangers, and a camera crew.
• Katie was sliced out of Stassi’s life for a good year or so for reasons a mere viewer like myself cannot even begin to comprehend.
• Kristen slept with Stassi’s boyfriend and has publicly fantasized about murdering both Sandoval and Ariana with instruments that include – but are not limited to – a sharp knife and a Mack truck.
• Jax singlehandedly tried to break up the bride and groom.
• Jax also started a rumor that his girlfriend (perhaps the bustiest of the bridesmaids) went down on Kristen (perhaps the most clinically insane of the bridesmaids) one drunken evening.
• Staying on Jax for a second, it was also this man who proves definitively that modeling has an expiration date who leaked all the information about the time Schwartz cheated on Katie in Vegas. Did he do such a thing so Katie could carefully weigh her options and then make an informed decision about whether or not she wanted to remain in her relationship? Please. Jax spread the news because his terribly limited belief system is ruled by one thought alone: When confronted about being a lying assh*le, deflect by pointing out everyone in this hemisphere who has also at some point told a lie. And should you have to point at a friend and subsequently ruin his life in the process, well, that’s just the way the steroids crumble.
• The groom has continually announced that the bride is crazy while the bride made sure to let every person who has ever watched Bravo know that the groom suffers from periodic impotence.
So even though the ceremony is picture perfect (you know, as long as the bride’s dress gets cropped out of every frame of film), it’s patently impossible for many viewers of this show to buy what we’re being peddled here. We’ve seen too much. We know too much. The people who literally helped us form our negative opinions about the bride and the groom are the actual bride and groom! And so, though I wish Katie and Schwartz well because why in the hell would I not, I will not be the least bit surprised if Scheana ends up with a new member in her Divorced Women’s Club, an organization that will serve no shellfish at its gatherings and whose offices will be lined with humungous photographs of Scheana stabbing the crop top she wore to her first wedding with an icepick while she wonders if maybe Stassi will show up at some point and pass her a note written on loose-leaf paper that’s been folded into a triangle with “Do you like Scheana?” scrawled next to the words “YES” and “NO” and Stassi will have finally checked the “YES” box and all will glorious in the universe.