‘Vanderpump Rules’ Recap, Season 11, Episode 12

Vanderpump Rules

How’d You Like Them Apples

Season 11

Episode 12

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Photo: Bravo

As Bravo fans, we’ve had to watch so many half-empty parties with so many shitty themes. There have been vodka launcheshair-brand launches, and an engagement party with a deranged mermaid launching herself off a pool deck. There have been bunco partiesIce Queen birthday parties, and whatever the hell NeNe’s Girls & Gays Never Forget All-White Party Seafood Soirée was. This episode, so much of that was washed away by Lala’s sperm-donor party, which I would like to nominate as the best party in Bravo history.

So many parties have themes, but so few of them are life-altering. No, not life-altering, life-creating. This one has stakes; it has real implications, which are currently growing in Lala’s supple young womb. We are not merely at this party to squabble about missed invitations or forgotten apologies. We are here to pick a mother(non)fucking father. I don’t know if this was Lala’s or the producers’ idea, but I ate up every minute.

When your friend has a new boyfriend, you go out to dinner with them, and as soon as he runs away to the bathroom for a sneaky vape by the urinal, your friend is like, “What do you think?” and you tell her “yes” or “no.” You are influencing who her future baby daddy might be. You, in some small way, are helping to decide. That is not the case for mothers who need sperm donors — they get to pick in the comfort of their own home? Hell, no! I want input. I want my opinions to be heard. It also makes complete sense that, like NeNe’s Seafood Soirée, only girls and gays have a say in the baby matter (or, in this instance, the baby batter). Straight men have been unwillingly knocking up women since Eve’s first “I have a headache.” They’ve done enough damage. Let them sit around talking about their feelings with their painted nails and XL Talbots suits somewhere else.

The setup is great. Lala hands out binders to all the women with her top-three choices and then they show a happy face or a frown to vote for the prospective DNA donor. By the end of it — bam! — Lala knows who’s going to knock her up and everyone has a little bit of say, like all those first dinners with a boyfriend all at once and without the absolute worst part of it: the toilet-vaping boyfriend.

The one thing I hated about the party is the one thing I hate about Vanderpump Rules, and that is it often thinks we’re stupid. Lala can’t have the party at Ariana’s house because it’s now a mess, so she goes to Tom Tom to ask Lisa if she can have it at Villa Rosa, the stockings-and-gloves counter at Neiman’s that has been out of business since 1972. Lala says she has the catering and balloons all set for the party tomorrow, but she doesn’t have a venue? And the party is tomorrow? Come on, this whole thing is manufactured for television. Why show us this whole scene of Lala asking to have it there instead of just saying, “Lisa is gonna let me use her house.” If they’re lying about silly little things like this, it makes us think they’re lying about the big things, too. But having Lisa at the party was totally worth it for her kicker at the end of the scene: “I had more fun conceiving your baby than I did my own.”

This episode isn’t entirely about what’s going up in Lala’s cooter; it’s mostly about a certain podcast that dropped right in the middle of filming. Yes, the one where Bethenny Frankel interviews Rachel. We hear about it first in the filming of Scheana’s video for the remake of the world’s No. 1 Uber Eats jingle, “Good As Gold.” Ariana is mad that on the podcast Rachel said they were only acquaintances, which Ariana sees as Rachel trying to justify her actions or lessen the impact of what Rachel did to her. Sandoval is upset that she said she never loved him and that their relationship is over, something he says he won’t believe until he hears it from her mouth.

Now that you’ve heard about how Tom and Ariana reacted to Rachel’s podcast, I bet you’re wondering, How did Scheana make this about herself? That’s a question I have shortened to the handy acronym HDSMTAH. It’s just like WWJD but longer and with more dance singles. Scheana is upset that Rachel said she was paying rent when living with her. She says, “You contributed $1,000 to my $4,300-a-month rent, you didn’t pay for parking, you didn’t pay for cable, you didn’t even stock toilet paper, and you had sex in my BED!” Scheana is incensed about her linens and also that Rachel didn’t buy her any pens or batteries.

While we’re on the subject of the big breakup, what is going on with Tom and Ariana’s house? Well, she made a counteroffer to Tom (which is not an offer to buy just the counter) and will let him buy the house. He says he may not want the house anymore after her two-month delay and most likely can’t afford it. He says this at Tom Tom in front of Logan, Ariana’s No. 1 gay, who dutifully reports it back to Mother. Ariana is pissed because she says she could have told him as soon as the breakup happened that he couldn’t afford the house and they both could have been well moved out by now.

“Being right is hard sometimes, especially when it’s always the case,” she says about the matter in confessional. That must be the frustrating part of this whole house thing for her. She spent ten years knowing better than Sandoval, standing by his silly schemes, waiting for him to figure out what she already knew. The one bonus of the affair is she will never have to put up with that again, but here it is, one last time, ruining her life.

It’s time to ask: HDSMTAH? She arrives at Ariana’s with Brock, a non-sentient Spam sculpture of Hercules, to clean the house. Now that Tom has fired Ann, the house is a disaster. The dining-room table is covered with Christmas swag to be regifted, and laundry is littered across all surfaces in the hallway, where there is a pile of boxes to rival the ones usually found on the Summer House front porch. Ariana thinks that if she’s moving, she’s not going to open and unpack all the boxes; she’ll just put them in the moving van when it inevitably arrives. Yeah, that’s a plan, but don’t you want to know what’s in those boxes? Don’t you want to try on all those ASOS dresses? Regardless, Scheana cleans while Ariana sits there and wonders how much the maid is going to cost for her new house.

While Ariana watches Scheana organize like some kinky cleanliness sub, Sandoval is rehearsing with his band and sputtering through the worst falsetto I’ve heard outside of dads yelping after getting hit in the balls on AFV. DJ James Kennedy goes by to talk about opening for his band at an upcoming gig, and it’s honestly the best conversation anyone has had with Sandoval since the affair.

Tom says he was really broken up about the podcast, but James is a little thrilled by it because Rachel said she never loved Tom and the reason she fell for him is that she wasn’t really over James. He tells Tom that he’s done talking trash about her, and for the White Kanye to be done talking shit about someone is practically amazing. Tom says he’s upset that Rachel discarded him because he never got closure. “Fuck closure,” James says. He’s right. The problem with this word entering the pop lexicon is that people think it means they need to talk to or see that person one more time. No. Closure does not come from another person; closure comes from within. If Tom wants this to be over, it can be over. He just needs to close it himself, as he did with Ariana’s dog when she was in there with the Chinese takeout remains.

Then James tells Tom some very hard truths — that it doesn’t sound like they were really in love, that they were just fucking a lot — and then says Ariana was his true love and he really fucked that up. Tom insists that, no, he and Rachel actually hung out for six hours talking, and only about six minutes of that was boning because he still gets really excited. Then he tries to say that he and Ariana weren’t that happy, and James accuses him of doing exactly what he has been doing since the scandal broke: rewriting history to make himself look and feel better. As James gets frustrated, he resorts to typical James behavior, saying, “Have fun with your fucking band. I’m not opening for you at El Rey; I’ve moved on to bigger and better things. This is a joke to me. I gotta go, bye.”

The real shocker, however, happens a moment later when Tom says, “Go push some buttons on your laptop.” The old James would have gotten red in the face and started screaming, the rage spittle flying from his face as he eviscerated Tom. Now, he just laughs and says he has to go. Who is this person, and what did he do with our little rage monster? Could he possibly be growing? What he did was great, though. No one has challenged Sandoval to his face so thoroughly or dismissed him so quickly. He needs real friends to tell him he’s so full of shit he’s like a Coachella toilet after Lana Del Rey’s disastrous set.

However, we’re not quite finished with Sandoval’s stupidity in this episode. He invites Schwartz over for a three-way with Craig, his new, superhot, mustachioed assistant, who I hope has an OnlyFans and I am going to start looking for it right now. He tells Schwartz they could afford the house if they move in and he pays $6,000 a month in rent. Schwartz is not only pissed because it’s $2,000 more than he pays now but also because the “optics are bad.” Poor Sandoval, he’s still so toxic to the fandom that even his best friend won’t move in with him. But this is a terrible idea. Do you want to spend the next several years of your life picking up Sandoval’s crusty socks?

That used to be a job for Ann, who is no longer allowed in the house. She’s sitting in her apartment in North Hollywood, swiping through Zillow, checking out houses, and seeing what’s out there in the real-estate market. She loves this. This is her happy place: imagining how other people live or how she could live one day if only she makes it big/wins the lottery/marries a billionaire/starts a scam where she bilks old ladies out of their retirement à la Jen Shah. But this isn’t for fun. She copies the link to a glass monstrosity in the Hollywood Hills and pastes it into the draft of an email. “This is the one,” she types with about 18 exclamation points after it. Then she fills in the “To” field of the email, starting with A and then R and then I and then …

During a boys’ day at Jax’s pool and a girls’ night at Malibu Barbie’s Dream House, we hear more about Nia’s postpartum depression and Jax and Brittany’s (lack of a) sex life, but the biggest bombshells are two blind items dropped by the boys and Luke, a scrotal poison-ivy infestation. While the guys have Bud Lights in the pool, they all talk about how Michelle has been hanging out with the famous hot director she met by the pool at the Chateau Marmont, which is just down the street from their house. Okay, who is it? I have no clue. Most directors, sadly, aren’t that hot. Is this Wes Anderson? Brett Ratner? I’m at a total loss. Then, when discussing Jesse and Michelle’s marriage woes, Luke says he wants to share something he’d better not say. What the hell tea does he have, and why is he not spilling it? Does it have to do with Michelle cheating? Because Luke’s dissembling only gets worse as Jesse says he could never tolerate cheating. Suddenly, this show is Crazy Days and Nights, and I have never loved it more.

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