Image Credit: Bravo

Unpacking The Last 10 Minutes Of The 'VPR' Finale

I’d like to start by thanking Bravo, Andy Cohen, and Lisa Vanderpump for giving us 11 seasons of pure mayhem with the creation of two-time, Emmy nominated masterpiece, Vanderpump Rules. I would thank the show’s legendary mega-villains, Jax Taylor, Tom Schwartz, and Tom Sandoval, but that would be like applauding a toddler for saying “fuck.” Extremely entertaining, but we can’t encourage that kind of behavior, you know? Barely a day goes by when I’m not channeling the energy of these trailblazers or quoting their famous work (I’m sure they’ll be putting a video clip of “suck a dick, Diana” in the MoMa any day now). It feels impossible to imagine the madness could ever come to an end but the season 11 finale feels like, real final y’all. Were the editors popping off for our entertainment or were they not so subtly giving us the cinematic goodbye we deserved? After all that fourth-wall-breaking rage between the already fractured cast we have to ask: is Vanderpump Rules ending? Let’s unpack the last 10 minutes of the season 11 finale like it’s our last because it honestly might be.

Is Vanderpump Rules Ending?

Lala, Katie and Jo
Image Credit: Bravo

After Scheana’s “Apples” performance at Kyle Chang’s whiskey launch party, she has an emotional moment (that’s only slightly hard to take seriously in her tooth fairy outfit) with Sandoval backstage to thank him for flying out his sound guy. It seems for Scheana (and her mouthpiece Brock), all the “genuine” things Tom Sandoval does for them (with a dollar sign attached in the public eye) are becoming too hard to ignore for Ariana’s sake. Scheana then goes over to Ariana, still breathless from belting every word to her best friend’s new song, to tell her as much. While Ariana firmly requests Scheana stop singing this sad little song about Sandoval’s alleged redemption in her ear, she does say that Scheana will always be family, even if she makes up with Tom. It seems like in that moment, Ariana is working out how to maintain her boundaries while reassuring her friend she’s not getting cut out for pursuing a relationship, however foolish she may find it to be.

Their sweet moment gets interrupted by Tom pouncing on the opportunity of Ariana being vulnerable in the corner by trying to confront his ex. Ariana (the same woman who literally screamed “Get the fuck away from me” on repeat a few weeks ago) shockingly hightails it out of the event without hearing Tom out for a second, which naturally sends Sandoval into a narcissistic spiral. Tom is furious that Ariana wouldn’t just let him apologize because he’ll “always be there for her” and in the next breath screams to all the girls how fake Ariana is because she never liked any of them. Tom whines that Ariana should know him better than to ever believe that he (the lead singer of a cover band called the “Most Extras” for whom he bankrolled a nationwide tour at the height of his public shaming) could ever be performative.

Lala becomes visibly irate at the news Ariana walked out because she’s sick of Ariana acting like the people’s Beyoncé by choosing to film with who she wants (and not just because that would make Lala the Michelle or even worse, Latoya). Over a melodramatic montage of the ages beautifully highlighting every major Vanderpump Rules moment, Lala explains in her interview that everyone has had to be as real as possible on this show and that Ariana doesn’t get to change the rules now because it’s hard. She of course has to acknowledge she herself entered the show on the back of a scandalous lie before the producers cut to Katie explaining for the millionth time how boundaries work and why Ariana is justified for sticking to them. Is it weird I teared up at their vintage interview footage? The editors ended this episode with a poetic climax that one would certainly expect for a series finale.

Ariana, Scheana and Lala
Image Credit: Bravo

What Tom, Lala, and the others don’t seem to understand is this is Ariana being real. The real Ariana who is more than one TV gig doesn’t benefit from a conversation with someone who broke her trust so badly that she realizes she never knew them at all in the first place. It doesn’t matter if Tom didn’t “murder” anyone (I mean, he murdered my ability to enjoy white nail polish but whatever). He destroyed the version of the cast that existed before his transformation into the most self-pitying VPR villain to date, solidifying these are not the same 20-something-year-old partyers who bitch slapped each other and blacked out in Mexico together the next weekend. Ariana’s new reality is one that simply does not involve Tom Sandoval, and if that means sacrificing the most dramatic filming opportunities for sanity, she’s shown she’s willing to do that.

So how will the show go on? Instead of scolding Ariana at volume 10 behind her back, have Lala and Brock the Magician considered inviting their own tumultuous exes, who have also not committed capital offenses, on the show to bring the toxic reality the show once thrived on? Tom (again seconds after saying he wanted to make peace with Ariana) says if she wants to be on the show she should get off her “lazy ass” and film with him and Scheana doesn’t disagree. That has been the status quo for the last ten years of the show. If Vanderpump Rules isn’t over, this friend group and its trauma du jour certainly is, so both the viewers and the cast are left asking themselves: what do we have left to watch, anyway?

Call me crazy, but I think it’s not hard to picture Lala and Scheana slinging spit up on The Valley, while the Toms try out a much-hypothesized cringeworthy spinoff. That way Ariana and Katie can ride off into the sunset leaving Bravo (sad) and Sandoval (yay) behind.

Marissa Dow
Marissa Dow
MARISSA is a trending news writer at Betches. She's more than just another pop-culture-addicted-east-coaster-turned-LA-transplant...she's also an upcoming television writer and aspiring Real Housewife (whichever comes first). Live, laugh, balegdah.