the cast of vanderpump rules all sitting on chairs at the finale

There Was No Reason the ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Reunion Needed To Be That Mean

Season 11 of Vanderpump Rules showed that misogyny is alive and well in reality television. Ariana Madix was someone people championed behind until they wanted a storyline and let their own selfish desires win. And the reunion for the show was horribly mean for no reason at all.

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Madix became a household name when Tom Sandoval, her boyfriend of nearly 10 years, cheated on her with her best friend at the time, Rachel Leviss. Dubbed “Scandoval,” the situation had many flocking to the show to see what was going on. It was why I started watching it, and I was team Ariana from the very start of her involvement on the show. What I absolutely did not expect was to see season 11 as the “Sandoval redemption arc” that it was.

The man-child who decided to implode his own life and become a rock star used the cast and the show to paint himself as some kind of victim of a witch hunt. He was on a public show and cheated on someone who was, essentially, his wife with her best friend. We have the right to hate him. Refusing to take accountability for his actions, Sandoval spent the season making everyone his friend again and turning them against Madix.

That brought us to the finale. People like Lala Kent and Scheana Shay were seemingly struggling with the idea of supporting women and instead wanted to be there for Sandoval. In the last moments of the final episode, we saw Kent go on a rant about how Madix was somehow ruining the show by respecting her own boundaries, and Sandoval even said that Madix leaving the event was “good for him.”

This footage was shown to the cast at the reunion and was unnecessarily mean to Madix. Why?

Showing the cast Kent’s rant and Sandoval’s moment was horrible

Fans watched the finale before the reunion. The cast did not have the same luxury. Together at the reunion, Madix and the rest of the cast had to watch what happened after Madix left a party in San Francisco, and she had to hear what her so-called “friends” said about her when she was gone, all while sitting right next to them.

All the footage did was show Madix, while on camera at the reunion, what her friends said about her behind her back. It was upsetting to watch and just rude, because what exactly was that meant to accomplish?

This whole season was sexist

I was shocked to see someone like Kent acting in a way I thought was very sexist. For the most part, Kent has talked a lot about women and being supportive and was there at Madix’s side during Scandoval. Suddenly being supportive isn’t good enough for her? Because it isn’t good television? To be honest, it was good television watching Madix refuse to let Sandoval win.

Instead, what this season did was show that Shay and Kent don’t actually care about the wellbeing of other women. They care, instead, about the person who will keep their storyline alive. The way people wanted Madix to just move on and be okay is not supportive. Three months is not enough time to let a 9-year relationship go, and instead, everyone just looked like they wanted to uplift a man—one who often screams at women and tells them how to act and is not an example of a “feminist man.”

Kent’s feelings were more rooted in her own upset over her breakup from Randall Emmett. When it imploded because of Emmett’s actions, people were questioning what Kent knew and weren’t “supportive” in the way that they all were with Madix. So instead of being understanding and telling everyone else that they need to do better, Kent went on the defensive about Madix. It just came across as vindictive instead of being a “friend.”

Is the cast just jealous Madix found success?

Since the affair, Madix has been offered commercials and a hosting gig on Love Island, and she was Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway. She was so good in Chicago that she is returning to the show later this summer. Was all of that too much for her so-called friends?

During the season, Madix did not want to be around Sandoval, and the consensus of the cast (mainly Sandoval and his supporters) was that she should have just left the show then. Why is that her job when Sandoval is the one who cheated on her? Why is she supposed to just let him win?

One of the narratives this season that was really infuriating for me as a viewer was everyone, led by Kent, acting as if Madix needed to just get over it. Filming took place roughly three months after the news broke. Sorry, but if someone I was spending my life with cheated on me, I don’t think I would just get over it in a few months.

The entire season was spent with people telling Madix that her feelings were not valid. and then. at the reunion, when everyone is supposedly trying to come back together and be friends, the producers wait to essentially bully her in front of everyone? It is just very mean-spirited.

What was the reason for keeping that from the cast? To make Madix cry on camera? Or so that a fight would break out at the reunion? Instead, it just made Kent look like a villain, made Sandoval continue to look like trash, and it made it seem like Vanderpump Rules just wanted to tear someone down.

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.