Illustration of the cast of "Vanderpump Rules"
'Vanderpump Rules' is must watch reality TV. (Illustration by Sophia Clendenen, University of the Arts)

Why Bravo’s ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Reigns Supreme

The hit reality TV series follows the staff of Lisa Vanderpump’s LA Restaurant, Sur, as they indulge in alcohol and adultery, all while waiting tables.

Culture /// Screens x
Illustration of the cast of "Vanderpump Rules"

The hit reality TV series follows the staff of Lisa Vanderpump’s LA Restaurant, Sur, as they indulge in alcohol and adultery, all while waiting tables.

Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” currently has eight seasons available on Netflix and every single one of them is worth your time. Sur, the restaurant that staffs the cast, is owned by Lisa Vanderpump. Vanderpump is known for starring on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” for owning five restaurants in LA and for her status as a wealthy socialite. Vanderpump, often referred to as the “Queen of LA,” is seen in a different light in “Vanderpump Rules” as she must manage her restaurant and the drama that her staff creates, all while maintaining her famous persona.

“Vanderpump Rules” is a reality TV show like you’ve never seen. In much of reality TV, especially Bravo’s reality TV, the cast is so wealthy and well-known that they aren’t willing to make complete fools of themselves for a quick coin. The young and immature staff of Sur throw all expectations out the window as they shamelessly cheat, lie and fight. Watching a young LA budding socialite lie through their teeth about something that will clearly come out just episodes later is both stressful and relieving. With a cast full of stars who have not been held responsible for their actions in a while, the editors at Bravo unleash quite the surprise.

Meet the Staff

While Sur’s staff undergoes quite a few changes throughout the course of the show, there are some notable characters that will stick with you for most of your viewing experience.

Stassi Schroeder is the most notable character right from the beginning of Season 1. Stassi is notorious for holding her friends accountable while refusing to hold herself accountable. From Episode 1, Stassi’s relationship with Jax will drive you crazy. The couple fights constantly and has no business being together, but has stayed together for years. While there are many relationships on “Vanderpump Rules” that will have you questioning the cast’s sanity, Stassi and Jax take the cake for Season 1. In later seasons, Stassi becomes estranged from nearly the entire cast as she cuts off anyone who even looks at her funny. While Stassi is definitely the queen of drama in the early episodes, her misguided belief in her own integrity will leave you — almost — rooting for her.

Jax Taylor is the hyper-masculine bartender of your dreams. Jax’s drama in the show takes the form of cheating, drinking, lying, or all three. If you need a character that you can read like a book, Jax is the one.  Jax quickly becomes notorious for lying and will lie about pretty much anything regardless of whether it will inevitably come out later or not. His drunken persona often becomes the star of the show. As early as Episode 4, Jax has his shirt off in the parking lot of a bar in Vegas, ready to fight his ex-girlfriend’s new man. This scene will not be the last time you see Jax drunkenly charge at his friends for drama that he started.

Kristen Doute originally appears timid and somewhat unimportant to the show’s drama, but that quickly changes. Kristen, often dubbed “crazy Kristen,” will leave you flabbergasted on many occasions. Her relationship with Tom throughout the first couple of seasons is full of cheating, lies and screaming. Viewers quickly wonder how the pair has lasted for over four years, and their breakup marks some of the best drama “Vanderpump Rules” has ever seen. In later seasons, Kristen’s relationship with James leaves you wondering if Kristen needs to rethink her taste in men.

Tom Sandoval, another bartender at Sur, is arguably one of the most lovable characters on the show. Whenever things get a little too crazy and fractured, look to Tom for some relief. While he makes plenty of mistakes himself, has a habit of cheating and gets into several screaming fights, he seems to genuinely care about his co-stars and is very apologetic when he makes mistakes. Tom definitely has his flaws, but seeing how he is treated in his relationship with Kristen will leave you rooting for his comeback.

Katie Maloney’s early seasons aren’t necessarily representative of where she’s at later on. In alcohol-fueled arguments about next to nothing, Katie is described by her co-stars as “Tequila Katie.” Katie’s most important relationship on the show is with Tom Schwartz, her current husband. The rollercoaster that is Katie will leave you loving her one episode, and upset with her the next.

Tom Schwartz, Katie’s boyfriend from the get-go, only works for Lisa Vanderpump for a few episodes. Schwartz seems to be scared of work and scared of commitment. His relationship with Katie definitely has its hiccups but will leave you rooting for them for sure. Schwartz is a loving character who isn’t often at the center of the drama.

Scheana Shay moves to Sur from Lisa’s other restaurant early in the first season of filming. One of the first pieces of drama in the show occurs when Stassi refers to her as a homewrecker for her relationship with “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Blandi Glanville’s ex-husband. The way that she is ruthlessly attacked for a mistake she made years ago will leave you rooting for her, as none of the other stars are held to the same standard. But her loveable first seasons are juxtaposed by her cocky behavior later on.

There are many other loveable and deeply hateable characters that appear throughout the eight seasons of “Vanderpump Rules.” You will love Ariana Madix from the beginning of Season 2, when she is ruthlessly attacked by Kristen for her friendship with Tom Sandoval. James Kennedy will become your greatest fear for the way he speaks to women, his problems with alcohol and his disrespect for authority. Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” is a must-watch example of why you shouldn’t mix budding LA stars and bottle service.

Writer Profile

Michael Boland

DePaul University
Political Science, Journalism

Hello! My name is Michael Boland and I am a double major in political science and journalism at DePaul University. I am passionate about all things politics and just recently moved to Chicago!

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