Vanderpump Rules, Season 4, Ep. 1: Decade Party For Douchebags!

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Your face looks super great in this photo, Kristen. Photo: BravoTV.com

Welcome to the season 4 premiere of Vanderpump Rules, a reality TV show about the most vapid, shallow, and useless people in America!

Just a few lil’ #PumpRules facts about me:

Even though I’m a self-avowed Bravo Super Fan, I haven’t recapped Vanderpump Rules on the blog yet, mostly because, up until last season, I haaaated this show. Even though I LOVE Lisa Vanderpump, I couldn’t even stand to hate-watch it. Let me be clear: My bar for quality reality TV programming is set pretty low. As in, I once got incredibly emotionally invested in Daisy of Love, so we’re not gonna pull any punches here about my need for intellectualism in TV, mmkay? However, what Vanderpump Rules taught me was that I actually need just a lil’ bit of redeeming personal qualities in my reality TV stars. And the cast (with the exception of Lisa and Peter) on the first two seasons? Had none.

And to be honest…I kind of prided myself, a lil’ bit, on the fact that it was the one reality TV show that I would not deign to watch. “I’ll watch all of these other basically-meaningless reality TV shows, but not that one! I would defend, both to myself and completely-disinterested others. It felt like (a completely ridiculous, totally shallow, hey-I’m-single-and-childless-and-this-is-how-I-fill-that-void-in-my-blackened-soul) line in the sand.

We’ll probs get more into how the cast of this season has changed (or not) later on in this post, but what you basically need to know is that, during Season 3? (Much to my shock and dismay) I actually found myself looking forward to the show every week. Mostly it was because I was watching it with Paulson, and there’s no better person to watch a show with than a stand-up comic who hates all the same things you do. But also…it somehow got really good, y’know? With the addition of Ariana (love her), Vail (love her x 2), Kristen’s total fucking craziness about Tom, and fun stuff like Jax getting told to grow the fuck up by Carmen and James blatantly bragging about how Kristen told him he had a bigger dick than Tom…I mean. I still feel like I’m wasting an hour of my precious life every time I’m watching it, but considering that I’ve also been wasting hours of my life vouyer-viewing Jelena’s videos about one another…I think I’ll get over it?

So anyway! On with the show –

THE MOST (NON)DRAMATIC STAFF MEETING EVER!

Our season kicks off with a staff meeting, which is a really nice, convenient way to catch up with all the intellectual pursuits that our cast has been busy with since season 3. For instance, Jax has had yet another nose job.

Lookit how he's literally trying to look hot while also looking totally busted

Lookit how he’s literally trying to look hot while also looking totally busted (courtesy of Instagram)

They had to take skin from behind his ear and put it into his nose, because he “developed calluses” (or, y’know, this) that created a bump, so he went in for his 3rd procedure.

Gratuities at SUR are down, Lisa announces, which means that service is also down…what do these kids think they’re there for? To star on a reality TV show? NO! They’re there to provide great service to all the customers who come in to get served by servers who are starring on a reality TV show!

Also, apparently a glass of wine was thrown at PUMP by former employee and current psycho Kristen while her boyfriend, James was DJ’ing, and Lisa is determined to get to the bottom of it. “She jus’ day-drinkin’ on a Sunnn-daaaay!” British James explains. NOT GOOD ENOUGH, JAMES. You wanna lose your DJ’ing gig at PUMP and go back to being just a busboy? DO YOU? Do you want to give up ALL OF YOUR DJ DREAMS because your girlfriend does not understand that one does not throw a glass of wine at a premiere WeHo establishment? These questions hang in the air between Lisa and James. What will James do? Will he give up on not-love to save his love of spinning records?

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This is your future, James, if you let Kristen get in the way of your DJ dreams! (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

Lisa declares that Kristen is no longer welcome at her restaurants whilst James is working in the. James actually seems relieved about this.

Apparently Tom is a little too caught up in the Reality TV Star lifestyle, because according to Lisa, he’s only worked 6 shifts in “months.” You would think that Lisa was accusing him of robbing a bank or something, with how upset Tom gets about this accusation. “Don’t throw me under the bus and make me look like an asshole, Lisa!”

Um. Excuse me?! NOBODY TALKS TO QUEEN VANDERPUMP LIKE THAT. Also, she’s literally your boss, Tom.

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Then we see Katie and Scheana in the bathroom, applying more makeup before they get out there and give great service to customers who only really came to see them in tiny dresses and lots of makeup. They’re talking about the staff meeting, because wasn’t that staff meeting just soooo crazy, you guys? Like, I thought the presidential debates were rife in tension, but MAN, that staff meeting was coming from all angles! Luckily, they stop bringing the room down with such important topics and move to talking about Scheana’s 30th birthday party. Scheana’s going as The Material Girl, you guys! But first, she needs to get a belt for her costume. Switching gears onto other crucial topics, Katie relays a bit of intel that her former bestie Stassi and her BF, Patrick, have decided that they needed to live in separate places, so they’re no longer living together (wait…the most selfish person in the universe had a hard time cohabitating with her boyfriend? So weird!). Which brings up the fact that Katie recently gave her Peter Pan boyfriend, Tom Schwartz, an ultimatum – give her a ring in six months or it’s OVER! What?! You mean getting a puppy and a ring on a necklace last season from your boyfriend of 20 years** was not enough to show you that Schwartz is committed to commitment? Or wait…mayhaps it was the fact that he cheated on you last season that causes you to question his intentions? I don’t know. All I know is that these brain-busting complex inner-relationship workings of the servers at SUR got me feeling this kinda way:

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Psycho Girlfriends Might Come & Go, But Screen Time On A Reality TV Show Lasts Foreva

Meanwhile, Jax is stuck in the back of the bar because he looks super gross with his dumb nose job, and Lisa doesn’t want him scaring the customers who only came in to watch him make them their dranks. James brings him some glasses to wipe down, and Jax decides to dispense some wisdom to the British young’in about the fact that Kristen is threatening James’ promising “DJ career.” Then Jax brings up that James and Kristen have been hanging out with Jax’s ex, Carmen.

Carmen, you might remember, is the girl who totally dumped his ass last season.

Because she’s smart.

James lets it drop that Carmen may have kissed someone in a hotel room not too long ago. Jax apparently texts Carmen about this. James gets a call from Kristen, grilling him about whether he told Jax about Carmen. James lies to Kristen about telling Jax this.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THE BIG DEAL? Carmen and Jax BROKE UP. She kissed someone, WHILE THEY WERE BROKEN UP. Was this classified information? Did the Pentagon swoop in after this happened, warning her about a potential leak? “Listen, Carmen, if this gets out, it could potentially cause a stir at SUR…” (#rhymes)?

Meanwhile, Scheana, Tom, and Ariana hang out at their place of employment and spend some time gossiping about Scheana’s bday party. The fact that James is DJ’ing is discussed, as well as the almost certifiable-fact that, even though she wasn’t invited, Kristen is still probably going to show up, which means Ariana will have a terrible time at this party. Scheana plays the neutral card, saying she wishes certain people gave her a reason to not like them. Are you joking, Schay-Schay? Kristen said last season that she wished your best friend would get hit by a Mack Truck. Have some goddamn loyalty.

Jax walks outside to see Kristin standing in the parking lot. “Oh god, what are you doing here,” Jax says, as he walks past her. Here’s the thing: I genuinely think Jax is a sociopath; he literally has no moral compass, he’s so dumb and vain that it causes physical pain just to hear some of the words that come out of his mouth, and he gleefully and methodically sets every good thing that comes into his life on fire and then stands around with a dopey look on his face, wanting to know how this all happened, but every once in a while – like in this particular moment – he is pretty much my favorite person this show.

Jax and Kristen get into an argument about what James did or did not tell Jax, and then Kristen tells us that things with her and James haven’t been great for a while, and the last thing she needs is for him to go around and spill *her* secrets. So wait…is Kristin the one who made out with Carmen in a hotel room? And again – WHY DOES THIS EVEN NEED TO BE A SECRET. My favorite moment comes when Kristin tells Jax to learn to control his anger, that he’s in his thirties, “bro.” “So are YOU!” Jax defends.

“Right, but I can control my anger!” Kristen argues back.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Did I also mention that most of these people are absolutely fucking delusional? Kristen gets just a little bit heated and she’s throwing wine glasses and sucker-punching everyone in her path. But you’re right, Kristen. You definitely can control your anger.

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On the other hand, the reminder that these people are in their 30s does make me feel a little bit better about where I’m at in my own life. Which is really the best argument for watching a show like this: Their bad choices only serve to validate my somewhat good ones.

Which again happens when Kristen gives me my second favorite moment of the night: “[Since getting fired from Sur] I’ve really been focusing on my t-shirt line, and one of the things that I’ve been working on, in therapy, is to not act like a psycho.”

SO MUCH. SO MUCH PERFECTION IN THIS STATEMENT. I don’t even know where to start…

But maybe let’s try with some photos of her complete t-shirt line:

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Photo credit: JamesMae.com

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Photo credit: JamesMae.com

Like, what does this even mean? Is this Kristen’s poetry? Is it a quote from last season? And who are the people who look at this thinking, “Yes. YES! This perfectly defines my life. I’ve just found my new go-to! I’m going to wear the hell out of it.”

Like, I ain’t mad ‘atchu, girl…everybody needs to create the things they wanna create, and if you feel like a t-shirt line is going to get you there, then…I don’t know. I don’t know. Who am I to say it’s not going to work? Who am I to say that only having three shirts thus far makes me think that “concentrating” on your “line” is maybe not going so well? Who am I to say that maybe an inspirational t-shirt line from someone no one actually finds inspirational might not work? I’m chasing my own dreams of getting paid to watch TV shows like this one. Maybe I have no place to speak on this.

But I’m gonna do it anyway.

These shirts are shit.

Anyway! James comes outside, sees Kristen, and rightfully wants to know what the hell she’s doing there if not to start a fight. “Are you drunk? Are you drunk?” He asks, as he lovingly caresses her hair. Which is, like, the best snapshot of their relationship we could have ever asked for. He walks away to go get his DJ equipment, and tells us that he would rather lose his girlfirend than lose this DJ’ing career.

“Because girls will come and go, but dreams are with you forever.”

Put THAT on a t-shirt, Kristen!

James ‘as got a fuckin’ job to do, yeah? And he doesn’t need ‘is girlfriend, comin’ ’round to ‘is place a’work, fuckin’ shit up for ‘im, yeah? Stop fuckin’ shit up for ‘im, Krisss-ten! Stop fuckin’ shit up for your boyfriend who somehow has a posh accent when ‘e’s calm but then develops a cockney accent when ‘e gets pissed!

It’s magical. The entire thing is magical.

Moms, Flowers, Perms: As The Vanderpump World Turns 

It’s a new day in LA! Our eyes are assaulted by Jax coming out of the shower, a gentle blur on his manly bits as he towels off. His mom is here!

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Photo credit: BravoTV.com

She’s in LA for a visit, and America is surprised by how nice and funny she is. Right now I’m literally in the deep throes of gathering and compiling research for an intensive topic of study I’ll be pursuing soon at an institute of higher education that focuses on the scope of human behavior – from survival to empathy for victims to being a perpetrator of crimes against humanity – as it relates to horrifying yet generation-defining atrocities, such as the Holocaust, The Manson-La Brea Murders, The Jonestown Massacre, the John Wayne Gacy/Ted Bundy serial murders, etc. One of the threads of this study focuses on what factors encourage seemingly normal, ordinary people (like the Manson girls) into committing atrocious acts in the name of following their leaders…basically, how do people become monsters? Is it an already-inherent, dormant trait? Or is it a thing that is born and then influenced over time? …So, naturally, I expected Jax’s mom to be a horrible person, because then it makes it that much easier to understand how Jax became such a garbage human, yeah? Except that she’s not – she’s absolutely lovely! (She probably hates her son, though, I bet. Maybe she’s just gotten really good at covering it up? I mean, it’s probably really hard to reconcile the fact that you’re responsible for inflicting such an awful excuse for a human being upon the world…maybe she’s just learned to cover up her pain with humor? That’s what I would do, I bet.)

And, it turns out it’s her 60th birthday this weekend, too, so Jax is going to take her to Scheana’s bday party! And then they talk about all the stuff that Jax has stolen from people, including stuff he’s stolen from his mom and Lisa. What a great son!

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Lata’ in tha’ day, James shows up at Kristen’s apartment, bearing flowers for being so “rude” to her the night before. Really, James? Does no one in this cast have any sort of personal resolve when it comes to their romantic relationships? She literally showed up at your place of work for the sole purpose of telling you off + picking a fight, and now you’re bringing her flowers?! Kristen was just working really hard, concentrating on her t-shirt line, when James arrives, and so she’s less than enthusiastic about James trying to apologize for stuff that she did. They start talking about the party that night and how Kristen’s not really invited and James doesn’t really want her to go with him because she’s probably going to start a fight…but he also doesn’t *not* want her there, he tells her, so of course, in the end, it sounds like Kristen’s going to go to a party she wasn’t invited to, which is obviously going to be a really time for everyone.

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Jax and his mom have lunch at Villa Blanca with Scheana and her mom and Lisa. I’m going to just skim over this because I could literally give two punches about Jax and also lunches with parents on shows like this are always so boring. I don’t care what you were like as a little kid (I don’t even really care what you’re like now that you’re not a kid). The one fun fact that we find out during this lunch, however, is that Jax is dating a girl named Britney who’s from a small town in Kentucky, so everyone just straight up calls her Kentucky. Which I’m sure she totally loves.

Meanwhile, two of the most deep and complex men in America, Tom and Schwartz, hit up a salon in LA to really dig deep into the complexities of committing to a perm. “I’m going to a Decades party, and I’m going as ’70s,” Schwartz explains. “You’re really going to do this?” Tom asks, with the kind of levity that’s usually reserved for asking someone if they really want to donate a kidney or join the military or, I don’t know, do anything that is at least an ounce more serious than getting a goddamn permanent.

These fucking guys. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

These fucking guys. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

Which, by the way, if you needed some hardcore knowledge dropped on you by Tom, is why they call it a perm in the first place – because it’s permanent. It’s a commitment. And Tom is proud of him for making this commitment, but also…it’s a perm, and we all know that there are few things Tom takes more seriously than the state of his and his fellow bros hair.

Schwartz, on the other hand, is looking at the perm as a symbolic gesture. “You don’t want to be the guy who has a perm and doesn’t have his shit together, right?”

Oh, you mean the part-time model who can’t seem to hold down even a server job and is still pursuing his part-time modeling career but can’t seem to commit to his long-term girlfriend AND has a perm? Yeah. Nobody wants to be that guy.

But! He’s unofficially declared this The Year of Tom and has decided that he’s going to go through a metamorphosis! He exorcised all of his inner-douche last year,” he tells Tom.

Really? You did? Because the fact that you’re sitting in a salon chair, getting a perm, might contradict that.

And the fact that you declare, “I’m like a perm pioneer” later definitely does.

The good news is that, after being with Katie for 20 years, Schwartz is finally starting to feel ready to propose. Lucky Katie! I bet she feels so excited at the thought of living her life with someone who declares, “It’s got zest! It’s got pizzazz!” when his perm is finally complete.

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The Douchebag Decade Party

The gang starts to arrive at Scheana’s party. Ariana’s got the Mod gig going on, and Katie modeled her costume after the ’90s classic, Clueless (even just writing the title of that movie makes me wanna gather a bunch of my friends and stuff our faces with Snickers and Nacho Cheese Doritos while we revel in one of the best movies ever made in the history of the world).

Photo credit: BravoTV.com

Photo credit: BravoTV.com

Tom and Schwartz, who look like “slightly rapey” (Katie’s words, not mine) cops from the ’70s – roll in on rollerskates and perform an obviously-rehearsed dance for the camera. Tom declares that when he gets into costume, it’s a head-to-toe transformation. “I give myself a name, a backstory, and Chip Harley is damn near invincible.”

"Chip Harley", everyone. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

“Chip Harley”, everyone. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

I do not see one single permed-like strand on that head. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

I do not see one single permed-like strand on that head. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

GOD. THESE PEOPLE ARE INSUFFERABLE, ARE THEY NOT? Like, the thing is, there are a few people who could declare that kind of thing and sound…somewhat funny. Somewhat interesting. Like, James Franco, maybe. Aziz Ansario, definitely. Julie Goldman (omgIloveyouandIamsoexcitedyouhaveanaftershownow) would crack that shit UP. But Tom is the kind of try-hard who takes the thing that he sees someone else doing and pulling off in a hilarious way – like drinking 40’s in a back alley – and just fucking murders all of the humor in it. You know? Stop trying to be funny, Tom. You’re not funny. You’re the kind of attractive person who thinks you should be funny, and could be funny, but you’re not really funny. Just be okay with being attractive. It’s enough for you. It should be enough for you. 

Jax, his mom, and a girl who’s actually named Carter shows up. Peter wins the night with his metalhead costume (can we just pause for a minute and create a safe sharing circle about the fact that I’m kind of in love with Peter? He’s the only one who actually appears to be halfway smart, thoughtful, and genuinely in possession of a good sense humor).

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I’d do him. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

Scheana finally shows up to her own party, and everyone congratulates everyone on how hilarious they look. “All of my friends totally nailed their looks,” Schaena declares. Good. Good news for all. Friendships have been saved, everybody! Nobody did not nail their all-important look, thus saving the night from spiraling down into a shallow-shit show. Breathe easy, America!

Photo credit: BravoTV.com

Photo credit: BravoTV.com

Kristen shows up, wearing boobs and legs as a costume (“Oh, Kristen must have misheard! She thought it was a cleavage party, not a costume party,” Ariana quips). “Clearly I was not technically invited,” the t-shirt mogul tells us. “But I know that really deep down, Schaena wants me at her birthday party.” So strange how things change, ’tisn’t it? Two years ago, back when she was besties with Stassi, Kristen could barely stomach the idea of having to go to Schaena’s birthday party. Now that she’s lost all of her friends, though, now she’s all, “But Schaena loves me! Even though I did nothing but make her life totally miserable during the first two seasons of this show, she wants me there, I know she does!”

Meanwhile, James is DJ’ing in his ’60s Woodstock Rock Star costume that he “styled” himself –

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Peter, Max, and James. (Photo credit: BravoTV.com)

Lisa and Ken show up (sans costume, because you can do that when you’re a queen), and we see the first sight of trouble between Scheana and Shay (basically, Schaena’s the star of the relationship, according to Lisa, and Shay just kind of fades into the background). Kristin finds James and starts acting like his mom in regards to how much he’s drank already tonight. Which is always really sexy, right? Guys love it when girls do that, because it’s not controlling or belittling at all! Kristen walks up to the bar and starts lecturing Max – Lisa’s son – about how he needs to keep an eye on James, that he’s on his way to become a drunken asshole, about which Max literally gives no fucks.

Tom rolls up to Lisa and Ken and Ken gives him the what-for about disrespecting his BOSS, Lisa. Tom apologizes, but we both know he doesn’t really apologize. Because he’s Tom! And being smart is not part of his ’70’s-themed strong-suit. Lisa talks to Kristen about the wine-glass throwing, and Kristen once again deflects all responsibility to James. “I love being at PUMP, but if it’s going to be an issue, I can spend $15 on a glass of wine at many other bars in LA,” she tells Lisa. “Well maybe that’s a good idea, then,” Lisa purrs. HAHAHA, Kristen, nice try.

Kristen then chats up Scheana, who tells us that there’s just something about Kristen that she just can’t hate. Moments later, we see Ariana telling Tom that she may or may not have a fake friend. Which I actually kind of get. If Ariana is important to you, Scheana, you don’t buddy up to someone who legit tried to ruin their life + wished death upon them, y’know? Tom declares that whatever Ariana decides to do, he’s with her 100%…which is, like, one of the only moments when I’m like, “this person might actually be capable of depth.” And then he says, “You’re, like, my world” and the moment is gone again.

It’s the end of the night, and everyone’s up on the roof, ballin’ with bottles of Fireball. Like, this is kind of the part of the series that I just find so fascinating…a bunch of people in their late ’20s and early ’30s in LA, intent on making it seem like their lives are full of bottle service and club entries and “totally WILD!” rooftop parties. And admittedly, I probably just don’t get it because I’ve never in my life thirsted over going to a particular club, much less wished to receive bottle service at any and all clubs, so…yeah. Not really my people.

James waterfalls a bottle of Fireball, and when everyone’s like, “James, whoa, James!” he looks around with wide eyes like he can’t possibly comprehend what the fuss is all about. Tom provides us with a stunning metaphor about how James drinking from a bottle of Fireball is like the money shot in a porno, which is gross double-time because it forces us to think about Tom watching porn. James is so fucking crazy! He’s drinking so crazy! This party is sooooo crazy! Kristen tries to bum Max out by talking to him about how much James has had to drink, which again, Max could literally give not one single fuck about. She then goes and sits next to James, telling him to chill. “None of us need to get too turnt right now, you know?”

And again, this is a stellar example of why I love-hate this show so much: Real people don’t actually use “turnt” non-ironically whilst having serious conversations. They don’t drop that word and then basically look around to see who noticed how on top of it they are with their Urban Dictionary usage. Kristen, along with Tom and Schwartz, is exactly the kind of person who is so concerned with appearing cool that she loses all hope of actually ever really being cool.

But my irritation with this quickly melts away with James’ repeated whiny usage of her name in conversation. “Krisss-tin, I don’t want you to get so upset, Krisss-tin. Krisss-tin, listen to me, Krisss-tin.” It’s kind of my favorite thing that he does, especially because of his accent. James then goes off and hits on Jenna, one of Scheana’s friends, and then tries to tell Tom about how he has a weird kind of love for him. “And if we made music togeth’a, it would seriously cause a bridge!” HAHAHAHA. Tom calls him DJ Lightweight (Tom! You’re so funny, Tom!) and then literally almost falls over backward when he tries to stand up on his roller skates. Tom then takes his pants off and declares that “the last thing Chip Harley is ever going to let happen is a party wind down” (like, I am def. not a grammar queen myself, but I can’t even begin to dissect the grammatical incorrectness of that statement). So he jumps into the pool with his roller skates, which everyone goes CRAZY about! Are you JOKING?! OMG, Tom, you did NOT just do that! Tom, you’re WILD! Tom, you are HILARIOUS! That was the craziest thing any of us have ever SEEN! Omg, you guys, we were on the roof after this costume party and Tom just JUMPED INTO THE POOL WITH HIS ROLLER SKATES STILL ON! And we all cheered and laughed and remembered how cool we all were!

The End.

Photo credit: BravoTV.com

Photo credit: BravoTV.com

Next time on Vanderpump Rules, we meet La-la, whom James is apparently going to cheat on Kristen with, and we also meet Kentucky, who’s in LA for a fuck visit with Jax! Ariana and Schaena get into it about Kristen, and it looks like Schaena finally does the right thing.

See you poseurs again next week!

* with the exception of Lisa Vanderpump #Queen
** Not an exact number, but I also don’t care enough to look up the exact amount of time they’ve been together

//

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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