There are a lot of things the cast of Vanderpump Rules excels in: making or serving Pump-Tinis, blacking out on camera, really, anything with alcohol. But, no one would accuse Lisa Vanderpump's Sur underlings of being good at relationships. Tom Schwartz and Katie Maloney have been dealing with breakup rumors since their wedding, after all. And they nearly broke up at their own group bachelor(ette) party. Still, Bravo is trying to convince us another love story can grow from the vodka-soaked ashes of Pump’s drama. That couple is local "reformed" playboy Jax Taylor and the very sweet, very Southern, Brittany Cartwright. The duo stars in Bravo’s newest docuseries, Vanderpump Rules: Jax And Brittany Take Kentucky, which premiered on Wednesday. Jax And Brittany’s debut, "Welcome To Kentucky," closes with a major hint the titular duo may end the series engaged. But, a few massive red flags before that moment prove these two probably should not get married. All relationships come down to respect, and Jax And Brittany shows bartender Jax doesn’t exactly have that quality in spades when it comes to Brittany.
We get our first sign Jax and Brittany might not be long for this world when Brittany’s "mamaw" Peggy Turner makes her grand introduction on the reality show. Within minutes of gracing the camera with her queenly presence, Mamaw announces there will be absolutely no alcohol allowed on the sprawling family farm premises. The decree is inspired by Brittany’s late grandfather Clarence Turner, who "did not believe in alcohol," according to Mamaw. In voiceover, Brittany explains her "papaw" died less than a year ago and was the "strength of the family." While talking about the loss, Brittany becomes visibly choked up in a confessional interview. Of course, Brittany’s prospective future husband should be able to respect any sort of rules that specifically honor someone as important to her as Clearance. That is not what happens.
Although Jax’s response to the no drinking rule is played for laughs, it’s actually pretty alarming. When Mamaw defends her proclamation, saying, "You don’t have to have alcohol to have a good time," Jax immediately shoots back, "It sure does help, though." Awkward. Things don’t get any better at the welcome home bonfire, where Jax sneaks in at least one handle of alcohol by poorly hiding it in a truck. He invites a bunch of Brittany’s friends to the vehicle under the guise of showing off the car, when he’s actually very obviously holding an alternative soiree inside. "This party is fine, except for Mamaw. We don’t want her to know," he assures his girlfriend's many pals. But, the boozy bash isn’t actually "fine" since it is directly disrespecting the memory of Brittany’s beloved dead grandfather.
Jax’s defense for his subterfuge isn’t even that good, since it’s deeply self-centered. "This is where I know what I’m doing," he explains in voiceover. "At 37-years-old, if I want a drink, I wanna have a drink — sorry, Papaw." What Jax is missing is the fact Mamaw isn’t singling the bartender out like a teenager sneaking sips of warm Budweiser, specifically banning him from imbibing in her home. Instead, she’s an older woman mourning her husband’s death and is asking everyone to remember him in one small way by avoiding alcohol under her metaphorical roof. As a girl who loves wine so much I’ve been to vineyards from North Carolina to Italy, I understand why this decree is deeply annoying to Jax. But, for the person you love and their family, stone cold sobriety for a few days is probably worth the sacrifice. Plus, it’s not like Mamaw said Jax couldn’t drink anywhere else in Kentucky.
All of this is even sadder when you realize Jax ignores Brittany’s feelings about the ban. When Mamaw first drops the no alcohol news, her obedient granddaughter immediately agrees, no questions asked. Later Jax tells Brittany the request "isn’t going to fly with him," conversation over. Brittany tries to explain she doesn’t want to "upset" her grandma with drinking, but Jax is already explaining rules can be broken. At the subsequent bonfire, as Jax is leading her friends to the alcohol like the Pied Bartender, Brittany sounds extremely nervous about their illicit activities, saying, "This is too many [people] going at once." It's fine if Jax wants to jeopardize his own relationship with his possible grandma-in-law, but it’s sad he’s also putting Brittany’s connection with Mamaw at risk, since guilt by association could definitely be a consequence.
Sadly, alcohol isn’t the only way Jax’s flagrant disregard for Brittany’s family’s values rears its head. Mamaw and Brittany’s mom Sherri Cartwright asks the Bravo couple to sleep in separate beds on the family farm since they’re not married yet. Obviously, the request is purely ceremonial since Jax and Brittany live together in Los Angeles, but it still makes the conservative Cartwright-Turners "more comfortable," Sherri explains. Although Brittany instantly assures her mom she’s fine with the setup, Jax mocks it. Later, after Sherri leaves the room, Jax hops into bed with Brittany. Again, he doesn’t ask her opinion on the matter and she seemingly goes along with it just to make him happy.
Despite all of these red flags, Jax ends the episode telling Sherri and Mamaw he's considering proposing to Brittany soon. He's so serious about a possible engagement, the Sur employee reveals he has a "ring designer" and shows the women what he wants Brittany's ring to look like. Everyone is so blinded by the carats, they give Jax their immediate blessings to marry Brittany. Considering the fact the previews for next week's Jax And Brittany confirm Mamaw will find out about Jax's boozy truck party, only time will tell if he will still be "allowed" to slip a ring on Brittany's finger by the time he leaves Kentucky.
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