While Vanderpump Rules’ SUR eatery and the headquarters of Hollywood’s most powerful institutions are separated by only a few miles, they essentially feel like a world apart from each other. No one exactly expects to see the likes of Jax Taylor heading up a Walt Disney Company division, right? Yet, Monday night’s Pump installment, the punnily-titled “UnFaithful, suggests just how the ridiculous, usually lovable reality show fits into the cultural conversation started by dragging super producer and alleged serial predator Harvey Weinstein into the cold light of day. Why? Because even in the world of the SURvers, no one wants to believe women when they reveal the bad behavior of the men hiding in plain sight. Yes, we're talking about the chaos around Jax's eventual admission he cheated on girlfriend Brittany Cartwright with Faith Stowers; a fact he and the people close to him vehemently denied until they no longer could.
Of course, Jax Taylor’s “naughty” actions, as Lisa Vanderpump would say, pale in comparison to the reported monsterous behavior of men like Weinstein and Matt Lauer, but, the same systems protect all of them. In the case of Pump Rules, the goal is to keep people from believing Jax actually cheated on girlfriend, and most-loved cast member, Brittany with Faith, another woman in the SUR orbit. As we see in season 6 premiere “Masquerade,” Faith says she slept with Jax — toe sucking and all — after he intensely pursued her via social media DMs. Faith later explains she believed Jax was single, as he supposedly professed, at the time of their hookup.
It’s instantly clear Faith gets nothing out of such an admission since the backlash would be, and is, intense. Not only could the former SURver immediately get labeled a homewrecker, but the response would likely be even worse since Brittany is Vanderpump’s Miss Congeniality winner. Lying about sleeping with the her boyfriend wouldn’t win anyone friends, and it’s easy to disprove since Faith claims Jax’s seduction went down over Twitter, where direct messages are forever. At best, Faith, who has sporadically appeared on the Bravo reality series over the years, could expect concocting a story about some adulterous hookup could net her some new screen time, but, again it would be for the worst reason and put her in the world light. That’s the kind of desperate move even a “Friend Of The Housewives” wouldn’t pull in any of the Real Housewives franchises.
So, if we can understand Faith has no reason to lie about sleeping with Jax, the logical next step would be to simply believe her. While people like Kristen Doute, who herself once helped Jax cheat, are immediately on board, both Jax himself and his best friend Tom Schwartz immediately put the She’s Lying wheels in motion.
While Schwartz is usually the group’s well-meaning, often inebriated goof, his response to the news of Jax and Faith’s affair is the pinnacle of the problem at hand. Although I’ve already explained how detrimental fabricating the cheating allegations would be for Faith, Schwartz can’t even consider any of that. Instead, the newlywed tells pal Tom Sandoval, “My instinct is to defend Jax.” This is a mind blowing instinct to have when you remember Jax cheated on Vanderpump co-star, and Tom’s best female friend, Stassi Schroeder, and has consistently been known for juggling romantic partners while lying about it. Even with this information, Schwartz’s knee jerk reaction is to defend his friend, someone with a well-known history of infidelities. Interestingly, Schwartz didn’t even need to speak with either Jax or Faith to come to this conclusion.
Schwartz’s drive to protect Jax continues into the next day, when many of the SURvers are discussing how plausible Faith’s revelation is. Rather than believe any of it, Schwartz, whom Ariana Madix claims “hasn’t stopped” drinking for hours, calls Jax during a daytime birthday party to inform him of the speculation. He seems most concerned about whether Jax is “alright,” rather than the two women who were played by Jax. “I”m falling apart really bad,” Schwartz says over the gossip. Brittany didn’t get the same call. Faith definitely didn’t get the same call.
While Schwartz’s defense of Jax was actually pretty maudlin, the under-fire bartender protected himself in a far more sinister manner. Jax essentially turned the entire terrible situation on its head, placing the blame on Brittany, all with a fairly aggressive tone. At Scheana's party, Brittany begins to believe Faith, likely also realizing the fellow SURver has no reason to lie. Instead of apologizing, Jax curses at his girlfriend and claims Faith’s story is a fabrication. “You want to get me irate?” he screams, which has the air of a threat. “Over something that didn’t happen?” By asking this, Jax places the blame for any subsequent relationship problems entirely on Brittany, since she’s the one “canceling” things over someone else’s allegations. In this version of events, Jax is totally innocent because Brittany is the one ruining everything. Apparently, Jax is the real victim here.
Yet, of course, all of this would have been easier if everyone involved immediately believed Faith. By the end of “UnFaithful,” Jax comes clean. “You did have sex with her?” Brittany asks as she angrily packs for a trip to Las Vegas. Finally, Jax admits, “Yes, it true.” So, Schwartz didn’t need to go around defending Jax, and therefore implying Faith was a liar, and Jax didn’t need to yell at Brittany for making him “irate.”
Maybe next time everyone on Vanderpump can simply believe women.
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