After it leaked online, Bravo had to move faster than DJ James Kennedy running from Pump to SUR with his DJ equipment between gigs to get up a full version of the season 10 Vanderpump Rules finale trailer, which teases some of the most explosive Scandoval moments yet.
If you’re like “what the fuck is Scandoval and why does it sound like a mid alt pop music group”, well, it is a portmanteau of “Sandoval,” one of the SURnames of the two Toms who are part of the Bravo reality television series Vanderpump Rules, and the word “scandal.” The scandal in question is, in short, that Tom Sandoval cheated on his longtime girlfriend Ariana Madix with fellow castmember Raquel Leviss. I’ve written about the sordid details before. And if you’re like “okay but why is the managing editor of Autostraddle following this so closely and writing about it here”, I’m sorry but this is taking up an untoward amount of my brain space and is the only television show lately that feels like a genuine escape. I don’t know how to explain the potency of this drama to the uninitiated!!!! It’s somehow the most engrossing reality television twist of recent years! If it sounds very stupid to you, just don’t read this!
Plus, I have a column called Bravo Dyke, so it just feels right to keep touching down on Scandoval, which is also a frequent topic of discussion in my very lesbian household. Also, Ariana is bisexual, so that makes this narrative relevant to this website for lesbians, bisexuals, and queer people, okay?! In fact, Ariana recently had to defend her own bisexuality when a fan responded to the false rumors that she was in an open relationship by asking if she’s no longer bisexual, prompting Ariana to say something that goes without saying here at Autostraddle: “bisexual ≠ polyamorous.” These are not interchangeable words, people!
The season 10 preview is indeed very juicy but sadly does not include as many Bad Hats as the midseason trailer did. This is especially a personal affront to me, because when my preferred way to watch straight people on television is for them to be wearing Bad Hats.
Take a look at the Vanderpump Rules finale trailer:
We see Sandoval telling Scheana he was planning to break up with Ariana, and Scheana pointing out that he didn’t though and instead chose to cheat with Ariana’s friend. I do think this line would have been better delivered in a comically large hat, but I digress, Scheana is correct here. We also finally see the conversation between Sandoval and Ariana that results in her screaming “I don’t give a fuck about fucking RAQUEL,” a line we’d previously only seen delivered without audio in the midseason trailer.
She says this in response to Sandoval saying he and Raquel just became really good friends, and you know, I actually find a lot of peace in the fact that his words sound familiar. My friend said she doesn’t usually like cheating/affair stories — whether they’re in scripted or unscripted series, books, etc. — because they’re boring. She’s right! There’s not a lot of new ground to break there. It’s definitely why, when it comes to scripted series in particular, cheating as a plot device can seem so lazy. But there’s something about the mundanity and cliches in the way Sandoval talks about “why” he cheated that’s oddly soothing. It’s like, yeah, these people are unoriginal! They think they found something special or are uniquely tortured individuals, but they’re not! They’re just like everyone else who chooses to cheat rather than break up because it’s the “easier” thing to do.
There are a lot of reasons why I think Scandoval feels like such a riveting moment in reality television, and perhaps at the end of the season I’ll dig deep into all of them, but I do think part of it is rooted in the same reason Kelsey McKinney’s podcast “Normal Gossip” is so popular. Scandoval is packaged explosively, and the reality television context adds a few layers, but at the end of the day, the drama is pretty commonplace, and we can view it without opening ourselves up to any scrutiny or drama ourselves.
Anyway, the trailer ends with a genuine jumpscare by revealing the owner of a pair of strappy sandals ominously approaching the camera to be none other than Kristen Doute, Sandoval’s ex girlfriend who accused him of cheating on HER with ARIANA back in the day. But Kristen and Ariana are now friends, because the relationship dynamics in this friend group are impossible to predict and as unstable as they come.