How Vanderpump Guidelines’s Ariana Madix is successful the Scandoval

The realest factor about Bravo’s hit-show-turned-true-crime-affair-documentary Vanderpump Guidelines is one thing that nobody can really say on digital camera: Everybody within the solid’s actual job is to create nice tv.

Technically, the present started with the self-esteem that that they had different jobs: working at Lisa Vanderpump’s Attractive Distinctive Restaurant a.ok.a. SUR. Sadly, these enticing folks’s long-held desires of being actors or writers or musicians or no matter had been extraordinarily unlikely to come back true on their very own phrases, thanks partly to their messy private lives. Over time, and with every passing season, it turned increasingly clear that the solid members had been accruing actual fame from the present itself, thanks completely to these messy private lives. They couldn’t really acknowledge that, nonetheless, as a result of it will break the phantasm that these folks had been simply servers and bartenders at an acronym restaurant.

And nothing has damaged that phantasm, or the unusual economic system of the present and its attendant companies, fairly just like the “Scandoval” — a hidden-in-plain-sight affair between solid members Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss that broke the nine-year relationship between Sandoval and girlfriend Ariana Madix.

Scandoval has turned Vanderpump Guidelines into Bravo’s crown jewel. The finale tallied a mixed 4.1 million viewers from Bravo and Peacock, a sequence excessive. Vanderpump’s rise in viewership introduced extra media visibility and business consideration to Madix and her solid members, the elusive off-camera success that they’re all chasing collectively.

This horrible factor that’s occurred to Madix has, on the similar time, been the perfect factor for the solid’s collective companies and job safety. Witnessing the solid scramble and Rumpelstiltskin Madix’s private catastrophe into gold is each unusual and satisfying TV. It’s the clearest the present has ever been about its personal artifice, how actuality tv is made, the way it operates, and the way profitable it may be.

Oh no, this horrible factor occurred — right here, cry into some cash

Within the lead-up to the reunion, trailers promised that the three-part occasion can be stuffed with revelations. Within the first reunion episode, one reveal was Madix and Katie Maloney reporting they made round $200,000 in on-line merch gross sales hooked up to their yet-unopened sandwich store, One thing About Her.

“We had been at all times going to do merch within the store, and we thought that was one thing we might do, like, down the highway,” Madix instructed Andy Cohen. “However then folks had been saying ‘How can we assist you?’ And so we launched it early.”

The assist for Madix has additionally manifested in an interview with the New York Occasions, an invitation to the White Home Correspondents’ Affiliation Dinner, an commercial for bougie division retailer Bloomingdale’s, a pretend transfer from the house she shares with Sandoval sponsored by SoFi, a rumored casting on Dancing With the Stars, and, amongst different perks, a Watch What Occurs Reside solo interview with Cohen himself. Madix can also be reportedly courting a brand new man named Daniel Wai, a muscular health influencer. Plus, with all this mess that she’s endured, it looks as if her standing as a solid member on the following season of Vanderpump Guidelines is all however cemented — even when the solid continues to be negotiating new contracts. Madix has grow to be the fan favourite. Individuals will wish to see her life post-Sandoval.

Lala Kent, Lisa Vanderpump, and Ariana Madix pose together in long dresses.

Lala Kent, Lisa Vanderpump, and Ariana Madix on the White Home Correspondents’ Affiliation Dinner.
Stefani Reynolds/AFP through Getty Pictures

Madix isn’t the primary Bravolebrity to make use of a present to advertise their very own enterprise; that’s sort of the entire sport. Her producer and boss on the present, Lisa Vanderpump, has been the grasp at shilling her eating places and her wine. However Madix is likely to be the primary Bravoleb to realize this degree of monetary and cultural success by one thing like an accident. Like every good tragedy, it’s nearly becoming that her ex Sandoval’s enduring storyline on the present has been his a number of, fruitless makes an attempt to get extra legitimately well-known, so well-known that he wouldn’t want the present anymore.

Followers have chosen Madix within the fallout, and the outrage in opposition to Sandoval has pushed them to assist Madix in quantifiable (merch gross sales) and unquantifiable (fame) methods. The payoff for being a wronged occasion on Bravo is fairly good-looking — way more than being the person who wronged.

Madix’s fellow solid members neatly started closing ranks behind her too. Within the first two episodes of the reunion, Lala Kent and DJ James Kennedy have been probably the most vocal anti-Sandovalers. They mock him at each flip, and even rebuked bosses Lisa Vanderpump and Andy Cohen when instructed to chill it.

Granted, it’s very straightforward to see that Madix is the wronged occasion, however you can also’t dismiss that it behooves Vanderpumpers to trigger drama, be messy, and on this case, have larger-than-life feelings about Sandoval and Leviss. Kent, together with solid member Scheana Shay, just lately appeared with Madix in an UberEats business that smirks at Madix’s newfound “freedom.” Kent has additionally been promoting “Ship it to Darrell” merchandise, a reference to Leviss legally threatening her with a stop and desist. Kennedy, lengthy hated, is now perceived as a fan favourite, the No. 1 man within the group. Maloney, a companion within the sandwich store, is making financial institution from these merch gross sales.

On-screen, the story is easy: Madix and her buddies hate Sandoval. However off-screen, these persons are additionally her co-workers. Her break-up has grow to be a approach for them to money in. On Bravo, private distress is a tide that raises all boats.

Lisa Vanderpump doesn’t wish to have to choose a facet

Sandoval and Leviss’s affair has additionally benefited Vanderpump herself. The previous queen bee of the Actual Housewives of Beverly Hills produces the present, and Scandoval busted the present out of its lull and right into a rankings peak. Ten seasons in, there’s by no means been a greater time to have a bit of Vanderpump Guidelines.

Whilst Vanderpump has a component in orchestrating the machinations and dramas on her sequence, nonetheless, she additionally portrays herself as a mom determine on it.

Lisa Vanderpump sitting subsequent to Tom Sandoval, who was referred to as a “worm with a mustache” through the Vanderpump Guidelines reunion.
Nicole Weingart/Bravo through Getty Pictures

Within the finale episode, there’s a second when Sandoval involves her home and seeks consolation from Vanderpump. Logically, it is sensible as a result of she’s been there because the very starting and mentored him. She’s lengthy created alternatives for him, each private {and professional}. On the sofa at her property, he cries so aggressively that it invitations scrutiny about his personal authenticity, after which picks himself up and continues to cry whereas staring out of one among Vanderpump’s lovely home windows and into her expansive yard. It’s raining, and he’s crying, and he or she’s watching him cry. You’ll be able to nearly see Vanderpump understand that this can be a completely unhinged TV second, and he or she takes a cut up second — perhaps analyzing how she’ll be perceived, how to not smash the shot, find out how to make higher tv — earlier than she goes over there to consolation him.

A lot of Vanderpump’s eating places — SUR, Villa Blanca, and the Vanderpump Cocktail Backyard in Vegas, amongst others — stand to profit from the hullaballoo, however she has been vocal in downplaying the affair, saying that Sandoval and Leviss didn’t really homicide anybody. (Maybe this leap in logic is why Vanderpump manages a restaurant on a tv present as a substitute of being a prison protection lawyer.)

She once more requested for cooler heads through the reunion, telling solid member Lala Kent to not name Sandoval “harmful” and, like Cohen, proceeded to level out that “loads of different folks” on the solid cheated with each other previous to the Scandoval.

It’s price noting that Vanderpump additionally has a monetary stake in Sandoval and Tom Schwartz’s eponymous TomTom bar. TomTom, which opened in 2018, was endlessly promoted on the present. A number of episodes had been spent on Vanderpump, Sandoval, and Schwartz conceptualizing, creating, and eventually opening the West Hollywood locale. Her ties to Sandoval’s identify could clarify why she’s been demonstrably kinder to Sandoval than the remainder of the solid because the scandal broke (a alternative followers have seen).

Sandoval has additionally appeared conscious of how a lot his affair is affecting his personal private enterprise (followers review-bombed his restaurant Schwartz and Sandy’s on Yelp), and has tried to do what he can to alter the narrative. Within the second a part of the reunion, there’s an prolonged sequence the place he pleads with producers to talk with Leviss off-camera, and is irritated when he’s denied. There’s additionally a second when host Andy Cohen asks Leviss whether or not she’s been coached by Sandoval. And, at one level, the TomTom co-owner mutters beneath his breath that he’s shedding the reunion.

Whereas seeing Sandoval get his comeuppance is sweet actuality tv, there’s a query of whether or not or not that is really sustainable for the present. For these financially invested in his story — Vanderpump, Sandoval, Cohen, and arguably the remainder of the solid — followers can’t simply hate Sandoval, they should like to hate him. Essentially the most difficult factor for Vanderpump Guidelines is find out how to preserve this momentum going heading into subsequent season or whether or not that’s even attainable.

The cast of Vanderpump Rules sit together and talk on television.

Each these males have kissed this girl.
Nicole Weingart/Bravo through Getty Pictures

On the one hand, Vanderpump and Bravo want the solid to be themselves, vicious to the purpose the place folks watch. On the opposite, Vanderpump and Bravo and ostensibly Cohen want the solid to stay largely intact to maintain the rankings going. Although the solid members hate Sandoval and Leviss on tv, they’ve additionally acquired to comprehend that Sandoval and Leviss are excellent for everybody’s fame. And for viewers, this all turns into an odd tv expertise as you’re watching the strains between efficiency and enterprise and actuality vaporize with every body.

Since Leviss and Sandoval are so disliked, solid members gained’t be champing on the bit to movie with them and danger being perceived as pleasant. There’s additionally the chance that one or each gained’t come again to the present (since Scandoval broke, Leviss has launched statements in regards to the toll it’s taken on her psychological well being). And if the primary culprits are gone, what occurs to the central drama of the present? What in regards to the rankings?

Through the reunion, maybe to mitigate among the harm, Cohen identified that just about each single solid member on the present has cheated and that being so vehemently anti-Sandoval and Leviss makes them look like hypocrites.

However that is Andy Cohen, and that is Bravo, and that is Vanderpump Guidelines.

Cohen calling out the Vanderpump Guidelines solid for being hypocrites is sort of a ringmaster berating his clowns. Individuals come to the circus for clownery, and Vanderpump Guidelines is the circus. The rankings don’t lie. The three-part reunion doesn’t both. Vanderpump’s stars know what sells and what’s going to make them well-known. By the Scandoval, it’s most likely probably the most trustworthy (and profitable) the present has ever been.

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