There’s been a lot of wind-up to tonight’s Vanderpump Rules Season 7 premiere. First, the VPR kids got obsessed with 90 Day Fiancé. It was all fun and games when Beau posted videos of them watching together, or Stassi interviewed Darcey on her podcast. But, as he is wont to do, Jax took things too far. His venomous social media attacks on Jonathan and Fernanda, Ashley and Jay were brutal. No matter how much he slims down (shmadderall), no matter how much work he does on his face, Jax just can’t hide the ugly person he is. Eventually, he turned his vitriol on his own cast. When James and Raquel were denied an adoption at Vanderpump World Dog Day, Jax jumped on IG live to make sure we knew. If he stopped at petty, it would have been just another drunken night in the life of Jason Couchee. But homie don’t play. In a quickly deleted video (thank you, Brittany), Jax seemingly announced Stassi’s engagement. While I think Stassi has some heavy karmic retribution coming her way (seasons 1-5, nazi, #metoo, the Choad), that’s a real dick move.
Even cast-adjacent hanger ons got in on the fun. Faith Stowers’ cousin made some big claims: Faith is a victim of VPR racism (probable), she and Jax have sex tapes floating around (likely), and Jax isn’t the only boo-ed up SURver she slept with (please let it be Schwartz). Most recently, Stassi created National Outfit of the Day Day and wrote a book about being basic. Jax came out with some crappy add-your-own mixers that are only interesting because his partner is Lisa Vanderpump minion (and former boy bander) Lance Bass. As much as I’d prefer to talk about the Faith goss, you know this season will focus on Stassi’s book. And Jax’s canned juice. And Lala’s movie. And TomTom. And Brittany’s engagement. And Lala’s engagement. And Stassi’s engagement (maybe). So why am I even excited about the premiere? Because it’s Vanderpump f***ing Rules. These kids could turn the back of a cereal box into drama. And I’m so here for it.
We start out where it all began. Scheana and Lala flounce into SUR like they own the place. They sell the fantasy of hard working restaurant employees but we know they haven’t picked up a menu since Season 6 wrapped. The folks whose work keeps the doors open aren’t super receptive to the interlopers. Billie snaps at Lala. James puffs up his chest. Ready or not, VPR is taking over SUR. Just don’t ask them to serve. That is so 2013. Across town, Brittany is enjoying her first season as a TV Waitress. Instead of rolling silverware or shining glasses, she gets to lounge at home and play with makeup. I don’t begrudge her. Between Jax’s cheating, the illicit tape, the reiki, and the most embarrassing break up in reality TV, Brittany has paid her dues. Now she savors her position as Queen Bee. But the best part is this season’s “new” Jax. He’s loving, thoughtful, and completely devoted. He gave up his fake job in Tampa for Brittany and he’s never been happier. Don’t believe? Watch him make her a sandwich. See, new man.
Lest you worry that all of this love and harmony is going to get boring, never fear. The Vanderpump Rules cast is a wily bunch. One week before cameras started filming season 7, DJ James Kennedy threw a particularly memorable See You Next Tuesday. He thought his freestyle, “Remember when Jax fucked Faith,” was the new summer banger. Brittany, from her position in the front row, disagreed. Now the Jax/James bromance is over. All that remains are threats of bodily harm (Jax) and more threats of bodily harm (Jax). James is cocky and unrepentant, proud of his wit and swagger. His facade crumbles the moment Jax storms the DJ booth for a showdown. He stumbles all over himself apologizing, pathos personified. But Jax is furious. He’s slaying a dragon to save his princess. So he drops his atomic bomb: James is not allowed to any Jax and Brittany events. Mic drop?
James tries to salvage his reputation by selling Lisa Vanderpump a tale of big, mean Jax. She sees right through it. James isn’t the only Brit who can rap: “You’re a little shit / I gave you a pass / Now mister Taylor’s / Gonna kick your ass.” Jax didn’t kick his ass but James is the topic of conversation all over town. He committed the ultimate Lala offense (reminded Randall he’s Ray Jay) in her sacred land (Coachella) so she’s finally cut all ties. Kristen, always ready to jump into battle, and Katie, always there, plot his destruction over piercings. Time’s up, James Kennedy. The witches are coming.
Lisa Vanderpump has an unusual storyline this season. She’s mourning the loss of her brother in a way only Jax and Lala (who recently lost their fathers) truly understand. She’s gaunt, fragile in a way she’s never shown before. She cries. She says the word “suicide” even though it hurts. She continues to direct the cast but she makes it clear she’s not at full strength. Before the season began, a friend asked if we’d see any of the Lisa Vanderpump/RHOBH drama on VPR. I blithely assumed we’d get the same old LVP. Vanderpump Rules is her comfort zone. She’s holds all of the power. I should have known better. In the throes of excruciating pain, she’s using Vanderpump Rules to position her RHOBH storyline. She’s a sniper from the side, Bobby Fischer reincarnated. The sadness is real but Lisa Vanderpump knows how to play hurt.
As Jax prepares to propose to Brittany, two distinct camps emerge. Stassi, madly in love with Beau and ready to toe the Bravo line, pushes the Jax redemption arc. Hard. She pushes it at drinks with Beau and Schwartz. She pushes it at the dog park with Brittany. The only place she doesn’t push it is with her fellow Witches of WeHo. See, Katie is on Team Bitch, Please. Team Rational Thought. Team The Faith Affair Only Happened A Year Ago. But Jax’s delusions are stronger than logic so the proposal proceeds.
First stop is the obligatory Kyle Chan ring promo. Then Jax sweeps Brittany off her feet with a fancy black Uber and seafood served in paper. (No snark intended. I bet that shrimp is good.) Since Jax has nowhere better to hide the ring, it spends dinner down his pants. Brittany’s ring jabbing Jax’s gonads will carry me through every bit of wedding planning this season. Eight sharp corners, poke poke poke. Anyway, Jax proposes. Brittany pulls off a pretty convincing, “wait, wut?” and crumbles into his arms. A handful of fellow patrons offer applause. Brittany gets her Monica proposal and she couldn’t be happier.
Next week: SURprise engagement party; Jax asks Lisa for his job back; Gay Pride in WeHo; James fights with Raquel.