How The Pandemic Saved VPR



Vanderpump Rules Season 9 is reportedly on the way, but many are asking “why bother?”. As fans of the show know, the newly "woke" Bravo network went on a firing spree two years ago. First to go, were newbies Brett Caprioni and Max Boyens, both fired for ancient “racially insensitive” tweets, apparently made during their tween years. Then Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute were axed because they alerted the police that one of their part time cast members fit the description of a wanted felon; a black women who was drugging and robbing White men at clubs. Then Jax Taylor and his wife Brittany Cartwright were fired because Brittany’s minister was labeled homophobic because he objected to gay marriage.  Talk about "guilty by association"!


Now Lisa Vanderpump is revealing some new details about the newcomers who are joining the Vanderpump Rules cast this season. In a recent interview with Hollywood Life, Vanderpump revealed that some of the new cast members on Vanderpump Rules Season 9 didn’t necessarily want to be in the limelight at first. “There are a couple of new faces, absolutely, and there are people that maybe didn’t want to be on the show as much come to the forefront a little bit more, but there’s still a very big existing cast,” she told the outlet. “You’ve got James and Raquel, Tom Sandoval, Tom Schwartz, Katie, Ariana. You’ve got Scheana and Brock, you’ve got Lala and Randall and you’ve got a couple of new faces. There’s a lot of stuff going on. You can tell they’ve been locked up for a little bit — that’s for sure.”


Though Scheana Shay and Lala Kent will be mothers on Vanderpump Rules Season 9, that doesn’t mean there will be less drama. The two were recently feuding after Shay revealed that Kent didn’t invite her to her gender reveal party. When Kent appeared on the 12 Doorbells of Christmas  episode of WWHL with Andy Cohen,  she said she didn’t have a relationship with Shay. “It’s pretty much nonexistent,” Kent told Cohen of their friendship.


When it comes to reality shows, there is always the question of how real a show is. When  Vanderpump Rules first premiered on Bravo, it showcased the lives of servers, bartenders, and hostesses who actually worked at SUR. VPR was a realistic cast of young hustlers in Hollywood, waiting tables and trying to build careers in entertainment. But by season three, the success of the show became it’s own liability. How does a “reality” show sustain believability when the audience is keenly aware that a show is a big hit, and with a hit show comes fame and money, so why would established reality stars be waiting tables? The answer is, of course they weren’t.


But for many seasons, the show when on (as scripted). Even though we saw the two Toms become partners with the Todds and other cast members experiencing similar successes, we were supposed to believe that these people were still living in dumpy L.A. apartments and slinging hash at SUR. But by season 8, the declining ratings could no longer be ignored, so they tried to remedy the situation by bringing on new (hungry) cast members.   However, instead of sending the OG’s out to pasture (to make room for the new), they tried to mix the new with the old, and the results was disastrous. There was no bridge; the newbies had no connection to the OG cast, and it felt like we were watching two different shows. VPR had officially lost its way.


Then the pandemic hit. But in a weird and ironic way, the pandemic could actually be a blessing in disguise, because they were forced to retool the show. As everyone knows, the restaurant industry was, and continues to be hit particularly hard by the shutdowns, and a peak into the post pandemic world of a struggling industry could be very interesting.


So far, we know Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval Tom Schwartz, Katie Maloney Schwartz, Scheana Shay, Lala Kent, James Kennedy, and Raquel Levis are all set to return for Season 9. In keeping with their pledge to add more diversity to the show, Bravo has added five new cast members as well.