Now wrapping up its fifth season on Bravo, Vanderpump Rules initially set out to chronicle the lives of the beautiful bartenders and servers at Lisa Vanderpump’s West Hollywood hotspot, SUR. Over the years, it’s morphed into a spellbinding reality show following a core cast of ten — a swirling stew of best friends, contentious couples, icy frenemies and bitter exes, half of whom don’t even work at the restaurant anymore.
Some cast members have managed to stay grounded while others refuse to take off their rose-colored glasses despite overwhelming evidence that all is not as fabulous as it seems. Who’s the worst offender? Let’s find out!
Of everyone on the show, Ariana is the most level-headed. She doesn’t throw punches or fling wine across a crowded room. She’s one of the only people who’s managed to stand up to Stassi and all it took was remaining calm and sticking to her guns. Seriously, that’s all she did. Yes, she takes comedy seriously — which is one of the only things fans mock her about — but she doesn’t try to pretend to be someone she’s not (which is a gorgeous mermaid-unicorn who looks stunning in a bikini).
Sure, Sandoval has his own braid guy, and he’s been known to shave his forehead in an American Psycho-esque quest for the perfect complexion, but he doesn’t waver when it comes to the SUR crew. He’s a loyal buddy who voices his concerns when he feels people act out of line. It makes it easy to giggle at his “fundragers” and his bonkers photoshoot with Joe Simpson, but at least he seems to be in on the joke.
Jax Taylor, a half-empty Muscle Milk protein shake container left out in the sun, is not delusional, he just craves attention. Although it was weird that he began the season screeching about how his girlfriend Brittany hooked up with Kristen, he just came off as being disloyal, not out of touch with reality. But as we saw during his birthday roast, he has a good sense of humor about his past transgressions, which makes him endearing.
Kristen has changed the most this season. She’s strangely self-aware, which is surprising because she’s displayed some truly nutty behavior in the past. The way she delighted in participating in James’s demise at his club gig illustrates how much more growing she has yet to do.
Tom Schwartz has been frustrating this season. This is a guy who couldn’t be bothered to finish a sales pitch for how he’d represent Lisa Vanderpump’s sangria line. He seems to hope his relationship with Katie will magically work out somehow, which, yeah, that’s some serious optimism on his part.
Stassi used to be the kitten with the sharpest claws, but her life right now is basically an interpretive dance of Natalie Imbruglia’s lyrics to “Torn.” This season alone, we’ve seen her drunkenly weep on a bathroom floor, shrink from confrontations with Ariana and wear a lot of shirts with complicated cut-out patterns on the sleeves. And the way she foists herself on Katie and Tom like a whiny third wheel is cringe-inducing. Get it together, girl!
Conservative, Kentucky-born Brittany doesn’t seem to give much thought to her glaring incompatibilities with Jax, a self-described sociopath. Her rose-colored glasses are firmly fixed in place if she thinks her relationship with her chronic cheater boyfriend has any chance of long-term survival.
Scheana Marie Shay
In one of the more annoying storylines of the season, Scheana chastised SUR hostess Lala Kent for sleeping with a married man, glossing over the fact that we were introduced to Scheana in the first episode of the show because she was having an affair with Eddie Cibrian, who was married to Brandi Glanville at the time. It’s not a crime to be a hypocrite, but to not recognize that viewers will connect the dots definitely makes her look out of touch. And the way she keeps insisting her marriage is going swell even as viewers know she’s about to get divorced doesn’t help her case.
James Kennedy’s insistence that he’s “the white Kanye West” — even as he spins to a near-empty restaurant crowd — pushes him to the near-top of the list. His grandiose statements, his inability to take responsibility for his actions, and his horrible treatment of women all paint a picture of a man with a British accent and a chin dimple who believes he’s above rebuke. His glasses are so rose-colored, he’s convinced he’ll be playing Coachella literally any minute.
Oh, Katie. Her behavior this season has been impressive, but not in a good way. She attacked Ariana at her bridal shower, then blamed Ariana for ruining the mood. She bashed Scheana at a bridesmaids’ spa day, then accused Scheana of spoiling the vibe. She’s unable to see the role she plays in these scuffles. And every time she’s called on her bad behavior, she doubles down on it, as if having a wedding is an excuse to be a cold-blooded tyrant. She lobs hurtful insults at Tom Schwartz and sends vile text messages so often, her friends get together to commiserate over it. Congrats, Katie. You’re the winner of this exhaustive list!
Who do you think has their head in the clouds the most? Tell us in the comments!
Anna Goldfarb is the author of the humor memoir, Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through. She lives in Philadelphia with her three-legged cat, Eleanor. Follow her on Twitter @AnnaGoldfarb. Photos by Gabriel Olsen and Charles Sykes/Braco/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; GIFs via Giphy and Tumblr.