I desperately need to believe that Bravo TV’s VANDERPUMP RULES is, top to bottom, a work of fiction. Because if it’s not, then what are we to make of Kristen Doute?
The series, now in its third season, is billed as a reality show following the lives and loves of the staff of a Los Angeles restaurant named Sur, which is owned by THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS mainstay Lisa Vanderpump (thus the title). And from the beginning, it has featured beautiful people behaving very, very badly.
That, in essence, is what the show is selling: bad behavior. There’s nothing inspi or aspi rational about it. While there are several “storylines” unfolding at any given time, each season has shared a common theme: One of the Sur employees is accused of cheating, swears up and down it isn’t true and is eventually — and dramatically — revealed to have been lying. In Season 1, the cheater was aging player Jax. For Season 2, Kristen was in the hot seat, denying to the heavens that she had cheated on beau Tom with — who else? — Jax, only to wind up confessing not only the truth, but details that would have made readers of 50 Shades Of Grey blush.
This season, the accused cheater is Kristen’s ex, Tom. He’s now involved with fellow Sur employee Ariana and accused of having slept with a girl named Annemarie (who, whenever she appears on screen, is identified as “Miami Girl” since that is where the alleged indiscretion took place). This is all standard fare for the show, which at heart seems to be a morality tale about the perils of dipping your pen in the company inkwell.
But here’s the thing: If the unfolding events are in any way, shape or form real, then Kristen is a raving sociopath in need of serious help. The twisted creature seems to spend every minute of every day plotting the downfall of a man who has made it clear he no longer loves her. Worse, the person to whom she often reveals her obsession is current beau (and, it probably goes without saying, fellow Sur employee), James.
When Tom recently broke down in tears and told Kristen that all she wanted was for her to be happy in life, her reaction was to step up her plan to bring Miami Girl to Los Angeles in order to blow his relationship with Ariana out of the water. And as she filled first James and later, the audience, of her plot, her eyes gleamed maniacally.
The last person I saw on television who terrified me this much was THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL ubervillainess Sheila Carter, played to the hilt by Kimberlin Brown. Which leads me back to my main point: If this is all as scripted as a soap, then VANDERPUMP RULES’ Kristen Doute deserves an Emmy for her performances. But if it’s not, then she is a genuinely evil person with the kind of issues which should not be exploited for the entertainment of the masses but rather explored by a therapist behind closed doors.
But knowing how reality TV works, it’s more likely she’ll get a two-part DR. PHIL special.