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The line between Stassi and Ariana has always been pretty well drawn, but in this week’s festive new episode of Vanderpump Rules, it’s becoming clear which of the two blondes is experiencing actual personal growth and which one is stuck in a freakish time loop that even her best friends cannot abide anymore. Ariana might be a little sour every now and then, but the three years she’s got on Stassi are really showing in this birthday-themed episode of Sur squabbling. The immaturity is real. Real bad, that is.
Let’s take it from the top.
The episode begins with the ladies planning their respective parties. Stassi wants to ring in her 29th with a murder-themed party to sound the death knell of her 20s (also, she wants to look “shot-in-the-head chic,” which is code for “dead sexy”). Katie and Kristen are both along for the ride with very few complaints and are even willing to stomach her oh-so-vain funeral idea of hosting a taxidermy photo booth with her lifeless body. Hey, at least with this party idea they can come in their regular clothes and just lean hard into some zombie makeup.
Ariana, meanwhile, is having a “Kings and Queens” party to celebrate her 32nd, which means Sandoval gets to reach deeeeep into his costume closet to have some fun with this one like the drama
queen king he is at heart. The trouble for Ari is that she’s starting to realize how much of a toll her insecurity is taking on her relationship with Tom and herself, so she’s got the business of a quick therapy session to attend to before anything else.
She opens up to her new doc, and by extension the whole VPR-watching world, about her struggles with body dysmorphia — which, combined with a naysaying ex-boyfriend, has given her a lack of confidence that has negatively affected her physical relationship with Sandoval. The fact that he’s been so tied up with the other Tom certainly hasn’t helped.
The conversations Ariana has with both her shrink and her special someone are revelatory, raw, and productive. Ariana’s never really come off as being shallow, per se, but she earns extra props for her effort at self-betterment. After she’s agreed to (1) work with her therapist to start catching herself in the act of hating on her own physique and (2) work with Tom to try to strengthen the intimacy of their relationship in more ways than one, then we can get to the business of her regal soiree.
Ariana and her girls — Scheana, Lala, and Billie Lee — all have a ball dressing up in their skimpiest gear and calling it queenly on account of their crowns. The fact that everyone’s dressed to impress at this thing only heightens the mood of the night, which seems to really lift Ariana’s spirits, despite Sandoval’s Maleficent headdress. By the end of it, this is a party that really does make the birthday girl feel like a monarch.
Good timing on that therapy sesh, Ariana!
Meanwhile, we also have Stassi’s party. If you can even call it that. (Recap continues on page 2)