Image Credit: NBC

This Isn't The Lala We Want, But Is It The Lala We Deserve?

If there’s one thing Lauryn Kent is going to do, it’s give us Lala — and we got enough Lala on the Vanderpump Rules season 11 premiere to fill a modern farm home in Valley Village. After VPR took the nation by storm, there’s been one question on every Bravo fan’s mind: What could possibly follow last season’s world-shifting Scandoval that could hit even half as hard? Our favorite former SURvers rallied around Ariana Madix when they were last all together at the reunion, but would that hold up now that Miss Leviss pulled herself out of the equation and Sandoval busied himself by getting bloody noses while filming a show in New Zealand? The answer isn’t yes, but it isn’t exactly no, either.

A solid Bravo premiere episode gives viewers a taste of what’s to come, who’s leaning which way and which relationships are most poised to shift, and the first episode of Vanderpump Rules season 11 did exactly that. The biggest shift is coming from Lala’s direction, who we see questioning the intentions of Ariana’s new boyfriend, Dan, in her first scene of the season. After opening up to her mother (who lives with her now, BTW) about her ongoing custody battle with R*ndall Emm*tt, she calls the speed of Ariana’s new romance “weird.” Will anyone other than her mom agree with her on that? TBD. (whispers: probably not.)

Image Credit: NBC

Later in the episode, “Good As Gold (Uber One Remix)” hitmaker Scheana tells us that Dan is one of the “good ones” and that he’s workout buddies with her husband, Brock. In another scene, during which Scheana tells us that Sandoval blocked her on every single one of her Instagram profiles (including the accounts of her podcast and her toddler daughter), Brock low-key defends Sandoval in what felt like a hint of what’s to come. If he’s lifting bros with Ariana’s new man but also sticking up for her ex-boyfriend and Enemy No. 1 of the group, things might get complicated for Brock. Let’s watch this space – I know Summer Moon is.

Anyway, back to Lala. Later in the episode, when the crew convenes at TomTom to listen to James Kennedy DJ, Lala and the rest of the women rally around Ariana when she gets emotional over the fact that she’s sitting in the exact same seat she was in when she was last at TomTom — the night she found out about Sandoval and Rachel’s affair. The night everything changed.

Vanderpump Rules - Season 11
Image Credit: NBC

Lala gives us all whiplash, though, when she pulls Lisa Vanderpump aside to confess that she’s feeling a little guilty about how she treated Rachel at the reunion because, well, she’s kind of been in her position before. She tells Lisa, “I know what it’s like to have a man in front of you painting a beautiful picture saying, ‘You’re the one for me. You’re my soulmate,’ and you see what your future could be like with this person — and you’re willing to fucking risk it all.”

Lisa is all of us when she says she’s shocked that Lala is the one to express empathy for Rachel. I mean, this is the woman who famously told her to “send it to Darrell” and was getting off her stool every 30 seconds at the reunion last year to scream at her. The sudden changing of her tune doesn’t exactly feel inauthentic, but it does feel like something she recognizes will change things up enough to keep this season interesting. One could say she’s playing the game. 

Someone needed to stray from the rest of the group, and Lala volunteered as tribute — and while we might not all agree with her sentiments, we do need to applaud her instincts as a reality star. 

Image Credit: NBC

After she spills her guts through tears to Lisa, Lala steps outside onto the glamorous loading dock behind TomTom (it goes without saying, but the back alley of SUR will still always be that girl), opens up her phone and… sends a voice note to Rachel on Instagram asking her if she’d ever like to talk. If only it was talk to text: “Rachel, how could you do this to me – question mark”

Just when you think this premiere has breadcrumbed us enough with the fact that Lala is about to make the most unpopular move possible, the girls get together for dinner where Lala not only confesses to Ariana that she contacted Rachel, but also shares that she feels like Ariana won’t let her in and that she tolerates her but doesn’t like her. She feels like she’s the dog in everyone else’s fights, but she’s always left alone to fend for herself. Katie, Scheana and Ariana comfort her, and we cut to Ariana astutely reminding us how angry Lala got whenever anyone hung out with Randall after their breakup. Makes you think!

When the trailer dropped for this season, the line that nobody could stop talking about was Lala saying, “I have never experienced someone who gets cheated on and suddenly she becomes God.” It seemed unfathomable at the end of season 10, but it seems like Lala starts to question why Ariana gets to be the No. 1 girl in this group — and not her.

Gibson Johns
Gibson Johns
Gibson Johns is a podcast host, freelance writer and semi-professional live tweeter. He's interviewed over 100 Bravolebrities, was a Swiftie before it was cool and his favorite celebrity conspiracy theory is that Demi Lovato has a secret twin named Poot. As far as he's concerned, it may not be about the pasta — but it's always about Tom.