Lisa Vanderpump and Tom Sandoval at the 'Vanderpump Rules' season 11 reunion
(Bravo)

Will ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Return for Season 12?

The Venn diagram of people with healthy boundaries and those who make entertaining reality TV are two completely separate circles.

Ever since Scandoval broke last year, it feels like all eyes have been on Vanderpump Rules, which just concluded its 11th season. So it’s surprising, then, that there’s no news yet on Season 12 of the long-running hit series.

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…Or is it?

Look, as a huge fan of trash TV it’s time to face some hard truths about this show, which at its peak, I believe to be the greatest example of the reality TV genre: VPR has been on a downward trend for quite some time. This is for a few reasons, in my expert opinion (yes, expert, and you are too, if you’ve clocked thousands of hours of watching Bravo):

The cast is too famous and too upwardly mobile (for) now

Notice how I didn’t say rich, because if you watched the dreadfully boring season 11, you’d know Scheana had to borrow money from Tom Sandoval not too long ago. Long gone are the delightful days of the main cast living in crappy apartments, fighting each other just so they could ensure a paycheck to pay their bills (and hefty bar tab.) The entire basis of the show is fame hungry broke people willing to debase themselves for ratings because they lack shame and a savings account. It made for magic. To be clear, every cast member absolutely earned their paycheck, and I do not begrudge them one ounce of their creditworthiness. It’s just that when the struggle is no longer real, the drama is no longer as good.

All the storyline drivers are gone

Look, I believe Bravo made the right call in firing original cast members Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute in 2020 for their horrendous, racist actions. I also think that Jax Taylor probably had to be a nightmare to work with at the time, if the show got rid of him in 2020 too—because those three drove almost every single VPR storyline since its inception.

Now, look, as a human being, I absolutely support Ariana Madix laying down boundaries and sticking to them while filming VPR, and refusing to make nice with her ex, Tom Sandoval. Notice how I say that as a person, because as a reality TV fan who loves nothing more than rooting around in the trash all day like a raccoon outside of a Red Lobster, I am here to tell you: the Venn diagram of people with healthy boundaries and those who make entertaining reality TV are two completely separate circles. Bless her, Ariana never drove the drama on the show, and that is not a knock against her at all.

Do I blame Ariana for securing the bag while pursuing other opportunities? Absolutely not! I blame the production, because they know their cast, and they know what works, and they did nothing to mitigate the fallout. The paltry five minutes we had with Jax Taylor, who was obviously there to promote his new show, The Valley, which airs directly after Vanderpump Rules, was pathetic. He ran circles around everyone, and injected the much-needed trash juice that has been sorely lacking in this show for ages.

So, this all leads me to why we are here: will there be a season 12 of Vanderpump Rules? Right now, no. The official party line is that the show is delaying production until the fall to allow Madix time to pursue other opportunities, like hosting Love Island and reprising her role as Roxy Hart in Chicago on Broadway. Good for her!

However, for all the reasons I’ve laid out above, perhaps the better question is: should VPR return at all? We have The Valley now, which scratches the itch VPR once did in that it’s delusional people fighting over nothing. As a fan of what VPR once was, I think the best thing that could happen is if it were put on “pause” for some time (like what happened to Real Housewives of Miami) and let the cast breathe for a bit. Come back in five years and see where everyone is and whether there’s a show there anymore. It’s what we all need.


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Author
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.