The show caters to the base impulses that reality TV satiates, and it does so better than any other reality program. (Image by Bravo TV)

“Vanderpump Rules” is a reality television show that airs on the Bravo network. It began in 2013 and is now in it’s seventh season. The show is named after Lisa Vanderpump, an actress from another popular Bravo television show, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

Although Vanderpump has gained much fame and fortune from starring in two hit TV shows, much of her success is thanks to the many restaurants that she co-owns and operates throughout West Hollywood.

The show “Vanderpump Rules” follows along Vanderpump and a handful of her employees that make up the staff at her restaurant, SUR. At the start of the show’s first season, the main group of staff that made up the cast of the show was quite small and tight knit. Over the years, the size has grown and with that, so too have egos, drama, bank accounts, boobs and hearts.

The main talent in “Vanderpump Rules” includes: Stassi Schroeder who loves Ranch dressing more than life itself, Katie Maloney (aka “Tequila Katie”) and Kristen Doute (aaka “Crazy Kristen) who together make up the “Witches of WeHO (West Hollywood).” Then there is Jax Taylor, best known for his cheating habits, Tom Sandoval, cocktail connoisseur, and Tom Schwartz, best known for ruining every outfit with sandals.

Collectively, these six have been working for Vanderpump and members of the show since the beginning. As previously mentioned, the cast among other things have expanded. It’s as if in each new season a new cast member appears.

A majority of the show consists of the SUR staff hooking up with one another and/or cheating, gossiping and spreading rumors. Mix in a lot of alcohol, and drama and pregnancy scares ensue. What’s more interesting is that almost none of the staff are native to California. Most of them flew out to the Golden State when they were young to pursue their dreams of becoming a performer of some kind, so while waiting at SUR paid the bills, “Vanderpump Rules” has actually been their doorway to fame.

Reality TV has gotten a bad rap over the years, and many people struggle to understand what there is to love about watching others live their lives. It has also been argued, that while reality TV shows claim to be just that — reality — a majority of it is staged, edited and cut up to be viewed in a way that is more interesting for viewers. For these reasons, lots of people veer away from watching such programs.

Although reality TV shows like “Vanderpump Rules” might lack some credibility for not being completely accurate, for the most part, they display enough of a human experience to convey a realistic lifestyle. “Vanderpump Rules” is filled to the brim with drama, gossip and fights that would initially turn anybody off from watching it; the show really does seem totally pointless. However, despite its trashy tendencies, it also has heartfelt and educational moments too.

For example, Vanderpump is a well-known advocate of the LGBTQ+ community and a supporter of animal rights. Vanderpump annually participates in West Hollywood’s Pride celebration and owns Vanderpump Pets, a luxury pet store. A percentage of the profit made from Vanderpump Pets is then donated to the Vanderpump Dog Foundation. Combining her passions for business and philanthropy, Vanderpump has used her public platform to bring attention to a number of social justice issues. She also encourages her staff to participate in such events.

I first discovered “Vanderpump Rules” in 2013, my my senior year of high school. I just had a tonsillectomy and was entering a period of recovery. In the midst of getting better, the operation left me feeling drowsy and unwell. For about a week and a half I had been plastered to the sofa, mindlessly watching whatever was on.

During this time is when “Vanderpump Rules” began to air. At first, it was background noise, something to look at. I questioned why such a program was being televised. As the week or so of recovery progressed, I became enveloped by it. I must have hit a sweet spot, because it was back to back episodes of “Vanderpump Rules” for days and I couldn’t get enough.

My mom came home from work, ice cream in hand to aid in the burning sensation at the back of my throat. She looked at me and then looked at the TV and then back to me again and asked, “What in the heck are you watching?” I didn’t know how to describe the hold it had on me, so I replied, “It’s trash and I love it.” She laughed and rolled her eyes. I soon began to wonder what it was about such a seemingly vapid show that was so gripping?

To be polite, my mother would join me on the couch and watch “Vanderpump Rules” alongside me. One evening she made the comment, “Aren’t you glad we don’t have those kinds of problems?” That’s when it hit me. I love “Vanderpump Rules” because it’s an experience that I can vicariously live through without really experiencing any of the actual detriment. In this sense, “Vanderpump Rules” is visual hot garbage worth devouring.

Once I understood why I was so drawn to watching “Vanderpump Rules” my obsession increased, and once I was able to explain the fascination to my mother, she couldn’t agree more. Now she’s just as captivated as I am. Nowadays we record each episode of the latest season and watch them together, nails diminishing from biting in anticipation as each scene unveils hidden secrets that don’t belong to either of us.

The amount of drama, gossip and fighting that I have seen in “Vanderpump Rules” is more than enough to make up for the amount of high school and teenage shenanigans I thought I missed out on during my post-operation recovery back in the day. Even now as a young adult, I think to myself, I never want to experience the social and emotional turmoil that goes on in “Vanderpump Rules.” Thankfully, it’s not my reality.

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