‘Vanderpump Rules’ Season 9 Recap, Episode 4

Vanderpump Rules

Palm Springs and Tiffany Rings

Season 9

Episode 4

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Photo: Bravo

Call me Karen and let me speak to the manager because I want my money back. We have invested the better part of five years with Raquel, a strawberry salad with unicorn dressing, and, yes, most of the time I was making fun of her, but how did they hide this fact from us? We find out, in this episode, that Raquel’s biological mother, Susan, got pregnant by accident, and her sister, Laura, was having trouble conceiving. So Susan had Raquel and then gave her to Laura to raise. I mean, what sort of insane modern arrangement is this? The only person I know of who understands how this works is Mary M. Cosby.

This is by far the most interesting thing about Raquel, along with the fact that she has a sister named Kate, who is also her cousin because she was raised by her aunt, who is also her mother. I will need to know everything about this family tree that looks more like a twig immediately. This is the new Katie Maloney fell through a skylight doing a Monopoly photo shoot. It’s like you think you know everything about a person and then you find out they were raised by their aunt, who is also their mother, and they don’t mention this every time that they walk into a room.

We don’t discover this until much later in the episode, which starts with Raquel stewing in happiness from the proposal at Rachella, which we find out from Tom Sandoval cost $25,000. I’m sorry, what? And he says that he and James split the cost because, “Nothing brings me more joy than helping a friend realize his dream.” I’m sorry, I love my friends and would do anything for them, but very few of their dreams are worth $12,500 of my dollars. Do you know how many dozens of Entenmann’s chocolate donuts that is? I think those would bring me if not the same, then possibly even more joy. I’m going to need a breakdown on how much production paid for all of this because there is no way for Tom to rationalize this expense.

Back in town, James is driving Raquel to work, and he’s very upset about her ring and doesn’t want it to get dinged while she’s waiting tables for Lisa. I know that I always make Raquel seem like she’s dumber than an eject lever on a helicopter, but she is correct that the strongest substance on earth is a diamond. (Unless you’re Erika Jayne, then it is her.) There is no way that it is going to chip or get dinged.

James might be worried because while the box for the ring said Tiffany & Co, James claims that it’s a “Tiffany diamond” that he got from a jewelry-dealer friend of his downtown. Is his name Jared? Was her name Kay? Maybe his name is Zale and he owns the shop? I don’t believe any of what he’s telling us, including that it cost $100,000. Also, Raquel needs to stop calling it a “Tiffany’s” ring. It’s Tiffany. Just one. “Tiffany’s ring” is something that an ’80s pop icon wore onstage while singing a cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

And then Raquel said, “What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” and I said, “I think I remember the film, and as I recall, I think we both kind of liked it.” And Raquel said, “Well, that’s one thing we’ve got.”

Later, James takes Raquel out to dinner with his mother, two brothers, and Raquel’s sister-cousin Kate and her husband, Greg. James tells the table about the pretend fight he’s having with his friend Max, and Kate says, “So you can cause problems if you’re drunk or sober.” Oh, yes, I love this, Kate. Give her my address and a glass of Chablis because we have much to discuss. Raquel says that her family has met “Drunk James” and “Angry James,” and you wonder why they might not want her to marry him. If I met Drunk James, I wouldn’t even let him buy my daughter a mango boba, nonetheless an engagement ring.

James says that his family accepted Raquel right away, but her family was slower to warm to him. He says this like it’s negative about her family. I’m sorry, it’s easy to warm to Raquel, an eyebrow pencil wearing a fedora. It’s not so easy to warm to James, a toxic belch that causes cancer of the everywhere. Why would they warm to him when he’s done nothing but be awful to Raquel and basically everyone around him since puberty? That’s like saying, “Oh, her family hasn’t really warmed to a chronic case of acid diarrhea.”

Speaking of chronic cases of acid diarrhea, it’s Katie Maloney-Schwartz, everyone! What the hell was that electroshock workout that she was doing with Lala, and how can I get one? Will that get me abs? That is really the only existential question that I will ever have, and Mark Zuckerberg has figured that out because my Instagram feed is just hot dudes working out, gays strangely wearing one-piece women’s bathing suits made for men, and some strangely erotic Bike jockstrap ads. The workout looked like torture but also like something that doesn’t really work, so I am happy to see KMS being subjected to both of those things.

After the workout, Lala talks about how she’s concerned that Scheana is with Brock, a man who has not seen or talked to his kids for four years. I agree with Lala; that should give Scheana more red flags than the recent memes going around Twitter. There is also the excellent point that Scheana is about as good at picking suitable partners as Emily Blunt is picking star vehicles. (Come at me, I have receipts.) Lala does the right thing, confronts Scheana with concern, and gives her the chance to explain what Brock told her about the situation. All she gives us is, “He’s such a good dad, and it’s been really hard for him.” Her evidence is that he has the kids as the lock screen on his phone. If that’s the justification we’re using, it means that I think about Melanie Griffith and Goldie Hawn smoking cigarettes in fur coats every day. Oh, wait. I do.

The last story line for the episode revolves around Katie wanting to work at Schwartz & Sandy’s, the worst named bar in the Milky Way. Lisa does that thing she loves where she sits the partners down with their significant others, asks about Katie’s role in the business, then backs away once the whole conflagration turns into an argument. Sandoval is upset because he didn’t go into business with Katie, and now she wants to take an active role and, like he says, she thinks she’s more entitled to her opinions than she possibly should be. But I also think that Katie is right (one of my nuts just dropped off, looked up at me like it was disappointed, and then joined the Jack the Ripper tour that has congregated in front of my house) that Sandoval just doesn’t want anyone around who doesn’t think he is a genius. Yes, they are both right, but they are also both like an opened tub of Fage a week after its expiration date.

Sandoval’s rationale for not wanting to work with her is that she is, well, Katie. He brings up how rude he was to her at Stassi’s book signing and the rage texts she used to send. He can’t even articulate what he means, but Ariana does perfectly. She says, “Tom’s past experiences with Katie are coloring whether or not he wants to work with her now.” Yes. Totally. I get it. But Katie should also tell him that his evidence is old, she’s a different person now, and she will prove him wrong. Instead, she just calls him an egomaniac and behaves exactly how everyone expects she will

I think this would all be solved if Schwartz, a half-liquidated gummy worm left out in the sun, could stand up to anyone. He can’t stand up to Sandoval, and he certainly can’t stand up to Katie. What’s ironic is that Katie wants him to be “more assertive,” but what she wants is for him to assert her opinions to Sandoval. By being assertive in the way she wants, she is making him just as passive. No one wants Schwartz to think for himself, and, honestly, that is probably best because Schwartz’s thoughts are like summer lightning: far away, sporadic, and not setting anything on fire.

Katie was very relatable in this episode, talking about her struggles with fertility and how it was making her feel like a failure and how it was making sex with her husband feel like a chore. Lisa is very empathetic. She says, “Katie sees Scheana and Lala and [dramatic pause as she looks over her shoulders before uttering the names] Stassi and Brittany all having babies at the same time.” What? Do not bring up the names of the fallen. That is acknowledging the past happened, and that means we must acknowledge the mediocre present, and I think she wouldn’t want to compare for Lisa’s sake.

To find out if they can conceive, Schwartz has to collect a sperm sample, and, of course, he had to ask Sandoval over for some assistance. Sandoval, the king of being prepared, brings over a box with lube, a jizz rag, GOOP’s vagina candle, and a bunch of other stuff. Um, dude. You forgot the one thing you will do for a friend that will really get them off: giving them $12,500 to realize their dreams.

Schwartz goes into his bedroom, which now smells like Gwyneth Paltrow’s lady hamper, and after about ten minutes, he still hasn’t emerged. “Are you all right up there, little man?” Sandoval shouts from the overly large foyer in a modern townhouse.

“No,” he shouts back.

Sandoval climbs the stairs and goes into the room. Schwartz sits on the edge of the bed, naked from the waist down with his lube sticky right hand half-open and resting palm up on his thigh. “I just can’t get in the mood,” Schwartz says. “Maybe it’s this candle. The smell is really … heady? Is that a word.

Sandoval blows out the candle on the dresser and walks toward his friend. For a moment, he towers over him, but then he gets down on his knees directly in front of Schwartz. He rubs his hands along the light hairs on the inside of Schwartz’s thighs, slowly, lightly, like a feather shedding sparks of nuclear energy. As he gets closer, he forms a triangle with his two thumbs and his forefingers, propping Schwartz up in the middle. Based on his posture, it’s already starting to work. He looks up at Schwartz, who is smiling because he is both happy and afraid. Sandoval smiles back and then closes his eyes and lowers his head, knowing that, even without $12,500, he is about to make his friend’s dream come true and give him immense, ineffable joy.

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