Jax gets flayed for his birthday
Vanderpump Rules Season 5, EP 12 AIR DATE: Jan 23 CR: Bravo
Credit: Bravo

There’s no day when Jax being force-fed a gallon of his own medicine isn’t a beauty, but when Brittany’s mother is in town to witness his public flogging, too, well, that’s a cherry on top of the cocktail then isn’t it? The good news is, the zingers that come out of his birthday roast are pretty incredible — how about Ariana coming through with that fiyah!?

The bad news is, Brittany’s mom isn’t exactly the wokest person alive right now, and her anti-rainbow tendencies start to shine through big time once the subject of some girl-on-girl and boy-on-boy behavior from their past slips through the wisecracks.

Speaking of “offensive,” is something sour brewing between Katie and Schwartz or what? Either the stress of wedding planning is getting to them, or there’s some serious toxicity flowing between them that even the most potent ganja isn’t going to help cover.

Let’s take it from the top.

Showering cash

Being a bridesmaid is a wallop to the wallet, in case you haven’t gotten that memo yet. Not only do you have to invest in a dress, shoes, makeup, hair, nails, and a half dozen other day-of expenses, but there’s also the matter of party planning and shower gifts to consider. Scheana gets a bad rap for not always being game for whatever Stassi, Kristen, and Katie command at any given moment, but when it comes to the bloated budget for Katie’s bridal shower, she’s kinda right. If they didn’t clear the financial side of things together before throwing such a pricey soiree, why should she be on the hook for 500 big ones without being able to ask questions?

On the other hand, it is bad form that Scheana decides to bring all this fuss to Katie directly, especially during a work shift. That said, Katie’s entitled attitude about the whole thing is also disconcerting. Harrumph.

Scheana’s desperate for a friendly ear about the whole thing and turns to Lisa, who kindly instructs her to air her grievances with the girls, get over it, and, most importantly, get back to work. They’ve got sass on tap at Sur today, folks. Scheana also needs a friend who’s willing to hear out her marital woes with Shay, who’s “at the studio” ’til all hours of the night recording and not answering her texts because he’s busy — or so he says. Scheana rightly feels she can’t talk to the other three about it because they’d throw it in her face at a later time — that’s a bingo prediction for sure — and since Ariana’s already an outlier here, she’s more than happy to branch off into their own little pal posse.

Of course, Scheana’s no saint. Whatever ounce of pity she might’ve earned for her secret relationship troubles she squanders right away by trying to cause some trouble for James and Raquel on behalf of her pal Ellie. Ellie swears she hooked up with the DJ as recently as March and has the photographic receipts to prove it, and Scheana’s ticked off that James is gallivanting around with this “dumb as f—, beautiful girl” on his arm who refuses to believe the rumors about her beau. That’s not vindictive at all, is it? No wonder she’s the life of the party with this crew right now.


Speaking of wedding-related barbs, a work trip to the local paint store leaves Katie and Schwartz in a smattering match. After they both refuse to accept blame (or admit to each having high blood alcohol levels) during their last bout about who should’ve carried the shower gifts upstairs, things get ugly over a table of pink swatches. Tom resorts to calling Katie a b-word, and she storms out and threatens to leave him stranded at the store. That doesn’t happen, of course, and by the time they get to Tom’s party, they’re back to normal. Their drag-out diss matches are so ordinary by now that Schwartz calls it a “casual Thursday.” Cool story, bro.

NEXT: A tale of two parties …

The one thing Scheana is good for today is telling Katie that it’s not just Schwartz’s drunken rages that cause their problems. She tends to imbibe and gibe just as harshly as he does, if not more so. Everyone else pretty much agrees to that point, so Katie finally decides to pursue an alternative method of intoxication and gets a prescription for the marijuana joint to calm her anxiety and irritability down a touch. Stassi joins her on the green shopping adventure and is delighted at the array of options available to customers, up to and including an herbal lube substitute that’s guaranteed to get the girl juices flowing. What a time to be alive, am I right!?

Party time, excellent

Tom might just be the most thoughtful person on this show, to be honest. Sure, he has his moments when he’s as terrible as anyone, but there’s something to be said for the fact that he decided to turn his birthday bash into a “fund-rager.” Not only is he successful at culling cash from the crowds — to the tune of $8,600 raised for Elev8, a non-profit that benefits children in Haiti — but his soiree is almost in no way about him at all. In fact, aside from Tom “Batman-ing” with his hanging sit-ups and paying to have his hair braided beforehand, he pretty much turns all the attention of his big day onto the cause and guests at hand. Props for that.

Jax’s party is the exact opposite in every possible way. There’s no charity involved, it’s all about him, and it’s totally mean spirited. That said, it’s also incredibly hilarious to see him squirm so much. Since Brittany’s mother Sherri is in town for the occasion, Brittany and Kristen do their best to prime her for the subjects that might come up during the roast, up to and including a “rumor” about them hooking up once upon a time, so she’s already on guard before she ever steps in the door for the party. And while several predictable subjects come up during the flaying, from his arrest record to his former flings, the topics of Brittany and Kristen’s rumored dalliance and Jax’s history of making out with guys get under her conservative skin the most. They’re gonna have a talk about that later, she warns him. [Cue the scream meme.]

Apart from that, though, it’s a total success. The best jabs, to my ear, were as follows:

Kristen: “Jax, I’m not saying you’re dumb, I’m just sayin’ I once heard you ask Lisa what was in a vodka tonic.”

Ariana (to Kristen): “Thank you for the intro, Kristen. You might want to wipe your mouth. There’s a little bulls–t on the corner. Also why are you emceeing this? At least when Jax f—ed you it was so bad that you kept your mouth shut for once.”

Ariana: “Jax loves watching the Maury show because it’s the only time he hears, ‘You are not the father.’ If you can’t be a good example for people, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”

Lisa (via video): “I’d like to have all my stuff that you’ve stolen be put back. I’d also like you not to post public pictures of your genitalia. I’d also like you to spend more time behind my bar than you do behind bars.”

Schwartz: “If you’re one of Katie’s bridesmaids there’s a 57 percent chance he’s had his penis inside of you.”

Brittany: “You stole my heart just like you stole me the pair of sunglasses.”

Jax’s big gift — an Andy Warhol-esque mosaic of his hilarious hangover face from the year before — is probably going to be his most prized possession, to be honest. Count on that to get prime placement in Jax’s pad, whether or not he and Brittany survive his self-sabotage and her mother’s threats to haul her precious puddin’ back to Kentucky to save her from such a scoundrel.

Extra sprinkles:

  • Lala’s decision to earn herself prime milk carton placement, even where her boss is concerned, is rubbing absolutely everyone the wrong way. Guess she better hope that Mr. Man of hers is worth the eventual alienation that’s going to come of this.
  • Is it just me, or did Brittany’s accent get thicker tonight? As a southerner myself, it’s starting to sound extremely put on and inauthentic. Which shouldn’t be too surprising, given the class of human being she’s with, but still.
  • It’s pretty rich that Katie’s giving asides about tacky wedding party behavior after those invitations she sent out, no?
  • James is definitely going to get himself fired by Arthur. One million, billion percent guaranteed. Talking about wanting a drink on day one when he’s already on razor thin ice? What a putz.

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