Who Expected An IVF Storyline In Jax & Brittany Take Kentucky?

Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo.
There are a lot of moments you would expect to find in Vanderpump Rules: Jax And Brittany Take Kentucky. Jax Taylor ignoring girlfriend Brittany Cartwright’s wishes. An ill-advised jug of alcohol being thrown into the mix. Drunken yelling. Various people looking at Jax with a suspicious glint in their eyes. But, there is one thing you would definitely never plan to see pop up during a game of Jax And Brittany bingo: a thoughtful in vitro fertilization story. Yet, that’s almost exactly what we got with the latest installment, “Let’s Make A Baby.” The episode showed us just how difficult welcoming a child has been for Brittany’s brother Wes Cartwright and his wife Melisha Cartwright, turning J&B into more than just a ridiculous place-holder until Vanderpump Rules comes back.
The first signal we get that Jax And Brittany is trying to take this plotline seriously is the inaugural IVF conversation between the titular Bravolebrities and Wes. None of Jax’s usual snark or smirking behavior seeps into the surprisingly honest conversation. Jax asks his would-be brother-in-law what in vitro exactly entails, since all the West Hollywood bartender can comprehend is that it’s a “big procedure.”
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Wes explains, “What happened was, in the spring this year we found out my wife’s tubes were bad.” While “bad,” is a terrible term for this medical diagnosis, Kentucky local Wes never expected to be on television, and he’s clearly barely equipped for this starring role. Wes goes on to explain, “So with in vitro fertilization, they take an embryo, which is a sperm and an egg, and they place two in the uterus.” It’s highly likely a producer instructed the cast members to have the chat, since no one normally speaks like this. Although the conversation feels a bit staged, the extremely basic explanation shows the reality show is aware some viewers might not know the specifics of IVF, and Jax And Brittany cares about breaking it down for them.
While Jax And Brittany is usually a silly production dedicated to dragging Jax and putting him in humiliating situations, “Make A Baby” gets surprisingly personal when it comes to Wes and Melisha. In a confessional interview, Brittany explains her brother and sister-in-law suffered multiple miscarriages and the loss has been “a really hard struggle for them.” Despite the fact that camera-trained Brittany is the one sharing this story, it’s impossible she didn’t ask Melisha for approval first. So, it’s hard not to think about how Melisha felt agreeing to open up her life and most intimate grief with the entire Bravo-watching population. It’s similarly emotional to see Brittany admit, “They’ll be such great parents. I’m just so excited. I just hope everything works out.” There’s no pretense of “good TV” here. It’s just a young woman hoping for the best for her sibling and dreaming of welcoming a new baby into their family.
The most unexpected level of honesty in “Make A Baby” comes from just how real it is about the costs of in vitro fertilization. When IVF usually enters the pop culture sphere, it's ushered in by celebrities opening up about their own experiences with the procedure. While women sharing their stories — and proving to other women their own private “issues” aren’t issues at all — are always of the utmost importance, one component is usually missing from A-lister’s revelations: the topic of money.
Vocal IVF advocate Chrissy Teigen and her husband reportedly bought a $14 million mansion in 2016. She doesn’t need to talk about how much she spent on IVF because money isn’t a massive issue for her and her family. However, non-celebrity women with fertility issues do have that very real hurdle to jump. If the treatment isn’t covered by insurance, it could cost between $16,000 and $20,000 dollars, as Wes explains to Jax and Brittany. Jax’s eyes almost pop out of his head when he hears this number. It’s refreshingly realistic to watch Wes and Melisha host an actual fundraiser in their community in the hopes of affording the pricey procedure.
Of course, Jax And Brittany could be all IVF explainers and thoughtful tretises on how expensive it is for some women to welcome a child. Of course, there has to be some signature Jax Taylor nonsense to fill the half-hour series. We see that during the all-important fundraiser, when the Vanderpump Rules star’s sweet gesture turns into a major financial commitment. At the top of the event, Jax pledges to match whatever amount is raised that evening. Aw, how nice. Then it slowly starts to dawn on him that attendees are dropping serious cash on the Cartwrights. One person hands over a $1,000 check. Someone else donates $110 umprompted, possibly just to mess with Jax. Cue the bartender repeatedly touching his face in anxiety and “jokingly” telling Brittany he “blacked out,” hinting he can’t possibly match the nearly $12,000 raised. While Jax seemingly still made the donation, the jokey, “Oh, he’s so nervous!” mini plot does take away from the genuinely touching IVF manner at hand.
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No matter how silly “Let’s Make A Baby” becomes, there is some good news in all of this. Melisha’s Facebook profile is filled with proof her IVF procedure was a success and she is currently pregnant with a baby boy who will be named Presley.
It's hard to fathom Jax Taylor legitimately helped make a baby — and he's not having a panic attack about it.
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