If you take a look at Twitter on a Monday evening you’ll see many, many people are in agreement on one thing: Vanderpump Rules season 6 is absolutely crackling with energy right now. Bravo can thank Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright for this universal social media fact, as the pair are dragging their unquestionable raw and real relationship woes in front of the camera for all of us to devour. When Brittany cries over her longtime boyfriend’s cheating scandal, we can all see this isn’t put-on for the folks watching at home. No, this is a young woman who convinced herself she could fix West Hollywood’s most infamous bad boy — and is painfully coming to terms with how wrong she was.
In an startling scene during Monday night’s Pump Rules, “Back In The Saddle,” viewers were introduced to the dark side of Jax and Brittany’s no-holds-barred attitude about their rocky relationship, as Jax viciously screamed at his girlfriend over the phone. In a reality show where everything is drunken cry-fights and Tom Sandoval’s ever-growing hair, Jax’s meltdown was one of the only genuinely terrifying moments in the world of SUR.
To understand why Jax was so frighteningly angry, you have to understand what led to his one-sided screaming match with Brittany. In last week’s “UnFaithful,” Jax admitted to sleeping with Faith Stowers, a former SURver. It’s the kind of confession that would usually take the bartender an entire season to disclose; this time the admission arrived in a matter of days, if not hours. Obviously, Jax believes his relatively quick truth-telling is something he deserves a pat on the back for and serves as proof his girlfriend should forgive him. The fact Brittany begins having understandable and constant hate-slash-love sex with Jax — she told her friends she was craving "affection" — only confirms Jax’s assumption everything will work out.
Then, Brittany’s phone call comes in towards the end of the “Saddle,” crumbling all of Jax’s unearned confidence that he’ll get away with cheating one again. At this point, the bartender is aware Brittany is at a sleepover with every single other Vanderpump woman, who have all gathered to essentially throw a “Fuck Jax” party, as harmless bub Tom Schwartz dubs it. Before Brittany even leaves for the party, Jax is already annoyed, warning his partner, “It’s between us … I couldn't care less about them.”
While Jax is attempting to play things cool over his mounting anger — “You people need to leave us alone and get a fucking life,” he seethes in a talking head interview away from his partner — all that tension explodes when Brittany calls to ask if Jax slept with Faith multiple times. The question, of course, arises thanks to sleepover gossip, as Ariana Madix explains everyone in the Pump Rules’ crew’s orbit agrrees Jax was unfaithful “a bunch of times.” Jax’s cheated-upon ex Stassi Schroeder confirms how likely that is, as does Kristen Doute, who once helped Jax cheat. This is exactly what Jax didn’t want to happen.
When Brittany questions the validity of the these serial cheating rumors, the calm, cool, and collected Jax we’ve seen all episode changes. In one split second he goes from defending himself to ripping into is girlfriend, legitimately screaming at her, “I promise I didn’t do it. SHUT UP.” Jax’s demand, which was broadcast on speakerphone, is so loud, everyone at the sleepover stops what they’re doing. Stassi’s jaw drops open, Kristen reels around to stare at the phone, and Ariana’s eyes nearly pop out of her head. “Will you stop? Will you stop!” he continues to yell.
The scariest part of Jax’s instant transformation the moment he doesn’t hear what he wants is his body language. Out of nowhere, his shoulders hunch up and his hands start flailing as he angrily lumbers down the street, alone, yelling at Brittany, who simply wants answers.
It’s hard not to imagine how this argument would go in person, with Jax’s hulking frame towering over the petite Brittany, who, according to photos, likely stands just above her boyfriend’s shoulders without heels. If he’s willing to shout her down over the phone in such a brutal manner, what’s to stop Jax from behaving in a similarly intimidating way in the privacy of the Cartwright-Taylor apartment?
Earlier in “Saddle,” Jax alleges he’s “never manipulated any[thing] at all” when it comes to Brittany. These few seconds of unforgettable footage proves how wrong that claim is. A giant man screaming at you to “shut up!” over the phone is the ultimate form of manipulation. It would instantly scare most women, whose primary goal is usually self-preservation.
Yet, on top of the obvious coercion, there’s another level at play. It’s the fact Jax yells at Brittany, “Will you stop?” By asking that question, he places the blame for the current romantic discord on his girlfriend, rather than himself. You see, he’s not screaming because he’s possibly a serial cheater being called on his lies, or because he definitely has untreated anger issues. Rather, Jax is screaming because Brittany won’t stop talking; if she would only “shut up,” everything would be fine.
When you compare this argument to the usual Pump Rules spat, it feels different. A big reason the “Saddle” fight stands apart from the rest is because no one is drunk to the point of blacking out, so everything seems more rooted in stark reality. We know Jax isn’t yelling because he finished an entire handle of dark alcohol — something sure to create oversize anger and screaming — so he doesn’t have that excuse. While Schwartz inexcusably called now-wife Katie Maloney a “moron” on their alcohol-doused Bachelor-Bachelorette party, everyone knew we were watching two inebriated, emotional people have it out before their wedding. On the other hand, Jax’s intimidating meltdown is just him. It’s all so classically Jax, Brittany is barely affected by the tantrum.
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