Imagine tripping into Stranger Things’ Upside Down and finding a sweet, considerate golden retriever rather than the killer Demogorgon. You would be grateful, but baffled. It’s likely viewers felt a similar level of relieved confusion upon entering Vanderpump Rules season 7, which kicked off on Monday, December 3.
The premiere, “A Decent Proposal,” revolves around Jax Taylor’s impending engagement to longtime girlfriend Brittany Cartwright. As the episode’s title suggests, it ends with an entirely decent proposal, albeit one that took place about five yards away from a portable outdoor toilet. As we now know from recent interviews and countless Instagram photos, the soon-to-be-married couple is still going strong to this day.
But, you might me wondering, how did we arrive as this supposed lovable lap dog version of Taylor when the last time we saw the bartender on Vanderpump Rules, he was resigning at Pump and storming off into the night after breaking up with Cartwright? That dramatic ending closed off a season of bad behavior from Jax, from his meltdown for the ages at SUR to him infamously cheating on his girlfriend and lying about it until the audio of his affair was played at his own housewarming party.
Well, Mister Jax Taylor apparently went through a full personality revamp between Vanderpump Rules seasons 6 and 7 — and we’re not just talking about the reiki. This season, we’re watching a man re-made by grief following the death of Taylor's father, Ronald Cauchi.
As multiple people point out in “Decent Proposal,” Taylor spent his months-long filming hiatus trying to be the kind of partner Brittany Cartwright always thought he could be. The first time we see the couple, Taylor is doting on Cartwright, calling her his “dream girl” and admitting he previously took her “for granted.” As he says in a talking head interview, “She’s the best person I’ve ever met, so I was really adamant about working hard to get her back.” Cartwright confirms that work includes him helping with their dogs (which are his as well), shopping for groceries (which are also for him to eat), and buying his girlfriend’s tampons (a very mundane activity a grown man shouldn’t be grossed out by).
Cartwright detailed her renewed relationship similarly in November 2018, telling Us Weekly, “I see him every single day making efforts and he’s completely changed the way he treats me, the way he talks to me, the way he listens to me. Every single thing about our relationship is better … He does things before I even ask him now. Even just helping around the house.” Taylor is also reportedly going to church, sometimes even without his religious fiancée in tow.
All of Taylor and Cartwright’s friends agree the former’s growth over about eight months is commendable. Even his ex-girlfriend Stassi Schroeder — who told Cartwright last season she wouldn’t be able to attend her pal's hypothetical wedding to Taylor — is excited about the engagement. “All of us have noticed a giant change in you,” Schroeder admits before threatening Taylor with “obscene” retribution if breaks Cartwright's heart again.
Taylor clearly posits his emotional tune up was inspired losing his dad Ronald Cauchi (Taylor was born Jason Michael Cauchi) in December 2017. Cauchi died of stage 4 cancer after going through multiple rounds of treatment. The loss left Taylor understandably devastated. But, he now wants to live up to the legacy Cauchi left behind.
“I love you so much dad and I miss you more and more each day," Taylor wrote in an Instagram caption on his late father’s birthday, mere days after his June proposal to Cartwright. "Since you have left you have changed me in so many ways, thank you for being my father. My new goal in life is to be exactly the man you are to your family.”
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Happy birthday to my angel in the sky, I love you so much dad and I miss you more and more each day. Since you have left you have changed me in so many ways, thank you for being my father. My new goal in life is to be exactly the man you are to your family. Jenny and I are still getting messages from your friends on what an incredible man you are... I am so fucking proud to be your son dad. My only wish is that you could see me and Brittany on our wedding day, and meet your grandchildren, but I know you will be with me in spirit and help guide me the rest of my life. I love you dad.. until we see each other again, keep the fireball ready and the redwing game on, I’ll see you soon. Cheers pop 🥃👨🏻✝️
As Taylor suggests in “Proposal,” his dedication to his father’s memory is what pushed him to finally marry Cartwright. It also helped that the SUR waitress completely took care of Taylor in the wake of his father’s passing, despite how terribly Taylor has treated her. That’s why the bartender used the money Cauchi left him to purchase the massive $70,000, 3-carat engagement ring he gave his bride-to-be. “Every time I look at it, I can think of my dad,” Taylor admits at one point during the Vanderpump Rules season opener.
Thankfully, it sounds like Taylor is still trying to be the kind of man his dad would be proud of. “I'm busting my ass — I'm continuously busting my ass ... It's not something that happens overnight. I've completely changed my life, for so many reasons,” he told Entertainment Tonight ahead of the VPR season 7 premiere. “I actually feel the best I've ever felt in my life. I'm a lot healthier, I'm happier.”
Let’s hope Taylor can keep up the good work, because if he doesn’t, there are some witches in WeHo who have some particularly gross crucifixion plans in mind.
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