The monsters of Vanderpump Rules are really starting to grow up. Bubs Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz haven’t had a real public screaming match since their summer 2016 wedding, even when Schwartzy was outed for possibly cheating during his periods of blackout drunkenness. Stassi Schroeder and vocal feminist Lala Kent have put away their metaphorical dueling pistols and are now the kind of friends who plan events together. DJ James Kennedy was even purposefully invited to Jax Taylor’s Mexican birthday vacation. This is maturity!
But, as this recap points out, all of that emotional stability means the necessary drama of a Bravo reality show has fallen on the shoulders of Jax’s relationship with one of the few unquestionably pure souls in the Vanderpump world, Brittany Cartwright, whom he cheated on. This past season of the Real Housewives spin-off has given us countless looks at why this coupling is doomed — like Jax’s screaming meltdown a few weeks ago — but nothing has boiled down the Cartwright-Taylor household’s problems like a single scene in Monday night’s “Nothing Here For Me.”
The episode proves Jax doesn’t want a partner — he wants an obedient, sexy shadow to follow him around everywhere.
The scene in question begins when Jax announces an unnamed friend in Tampa, Florida, has offered him a job in the hockey field, an industry Brittany explains her partner has never before spoken about with such passion. If Jax were to take this career opportunity, he would have to uproot his and Brittany’s entire life in Los Angeles and head to southern Florida. Traditionally, both parties in a relationship talk about such a big move, as it would affect both people. In fact, someone in Brittany’s position would be asked their opinion on such a massive, out-of-left-field life change. Instead, Jax proclaims, “As of right now, I don’t see much holding me back. There’s really nothing here for me.” All Brittany can do is purse her lips in reaction, since Jax is oblivious she qualifies as one of the things “here” in L.A. for him.
While this kind of hurtful squabble is pretty par for the course when it comes to these two, the next part of the argument highlights the pair’s real issue. Once Jax is done explaining he wants to end the “Peter Pan lifestyle” he has been enjoying in West Hollywood, Brittany agrees with him… but it still doesn’t make the bartender happy. The problem for Jax is that Brittany doesn’t agree with him in the precise, ego-soothing manner he desires.
“I’m ready for you to grow up to,” Brittany says with a smile, clearly excited about a possible responsible future, despite the fact her boyfriend still hasn’t asked her thoughts on such a big change. Instead of appreciating this kind of blind support, a physically exasperated Jax tells his girlfriend, “I just want you to say, ‘Okay.’ … I don’t need ‘You,’ or ‘I,’ or, ‘But.’ Remember just to say, ‘Okay, sounds nice. Period.’” If this doesn’t sound like a 1950s housewife handbook, I don’t know what would. Jax literally wants to control the exact way in which Brittany agrees with him, because her supporting him simply isn’t enough.
Later, Jax doubles down on his complete dismissal of Brittany's thoughts by conflating “talking about” his job opportunity with his partner and merely telling her they're heading to Florida. In Jax’s mind, a one-sided conversation like that is merely how things should run. When Brittany points out that isn’t how healthy relationships function, Jax ignores all of that and counters, “What do you want to stay for? You can’t say friends because we’re not children.” Brittany tries to explain this shouldn’t be an overnight decision, and all Jax can add is, “For you.” Not, “us.”
In a confessional interview, Brittany explains, “It’s very frustrating that Jax isn’t even thinking about my feelings, especially after all of the heartbreak I have gone through.” Those heartbreaks include Jax cheating on Brittany, who moved from Kentucky to be with him, and her then hearing recordings of him cruelly mocking her. When Brittany points out all she wants is a conversation, as equal partners would have, Jax either shames her or tries to make her feel guilty for such demands. By the end of the tense conversation, when Brittany tries to highlight the fact she’s had to make compromises and sacrifices, Jax storms out of the room.
How can Brittany be expected to make a life with someone who would rather pre-script all of their conversations, attack her when she goes off-book, and then pretend she doesn’t have a single thought in her head? Remember, at no point in the entire episode does Jax honestly ask Brittany her opinion on a move to Florida. On the other hand, Jax does ask the couple’s dog Monroe if she wants to head to the Sunshine State; probably because the apricot poodle can never vocalize her answer.
After watching Jax ignore his girlfriend’s pleas for simple conversation, it’s easy to understand why everyone on Vanderpump Rules is desperate to get her out of this relationship. Last week, in “Watch Your Back,” Scheana Marie invited cute new SUR bartender Adam Spott to an evening out specifically because he is interested in Brittany. As Schena admits in “Nothing Here For Me,” she was hopeful Adam’s flirtation would remind Brittany her current cheater of a beau isn’t her only romantic option. By the end of this week’s episode, Lala Kent feels the need to scream at Jax to “respect” Brittany because their relationship is “a partnership.” Jax literally waves away any such information. Even Lisa got in on the romantic intervention, taking Brittany out to the horse stables for the specific purpose of urging the young woman to leave Jax.
Unfortunately for everyone hoping to see Brittany head for greener pastures, Instagram proves she is still very much with Jax, and they are both still in Los Angeles. At least we can all take solace in the fact she looks very, very happy as far from Tampa as possible.
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