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Early Seasons of Vanderpump Rules Is My Roman Empire

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

Reality TV is one of my favorite ways to unwind. What better way to relax after a stressful day than watching a bunch of immature adults fight over the dumbest things? Now, there are so many choices of what you could watch. You could turn on one of the 70 Real Housewife franchises, Love Island, or even Big Brother. But the one you need to watch right now, is Vanderpump Rules. 

You may have heard of this show due to Season 10’s “#Scandoval” making national headlines in March. If you thought that scandal was crazy, you have to watch the earlier seasons of the show. Lucky for you, I made this handy dandy guide of some moments you have to watch but be warned, you’re going to want to binge the whole series.


First, what is Vanderpump Rules?

Vanderpump Rules or VPR, premiered in 2013 on Bravo, whose claim to fame was the successful Real Housewives Franchise. Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, Lisa Vanderpump, is a successful restaurateur who owns several bars around West Hollywood. The show focuses on the lives of SURvers and bartenders who work at Lisa Vanderpump’s bars: PUMP and SUR. It also includes the most iconic theme song of any TV show. And I can’t forget about the SUR Alley.

Season 1

Season 1 introduced us to some key cast members. First, Stassi Schroeder, the HBIC of SUR. She has some of the most iconic moments of season 1. Next, we have Jax Taylor, the self-proclaimed “number one guy in the group” and boyfriend of Stassi (at least for now). We then have Kristen Doute, SURver and “crazy” girlfriend of Tom Sandoval. Tom Sandoval, the level-headed bartender at SUR who is now currently in some controversy. We also have Katie Maloney, Stassi’s BFF and who seems to be the most normal cast member. We then have Scheana Shay, the new girl at SUR who is bullied due to news breaking of her having an affair with a married man (Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, Brandi Glanville’s husband to be exact). 

Stassi and Jax fight about their relationship at brunch where Stassi delivers an iconic line: 

“I am the devil, and don’t you forget it.”

After Stassi and Jax break up, Jax crashes Stassi’s birthday party in Vegas wearing one of his signature chunky-knit sweaters. After fighting with Jax and Tom Schwartz (we’ll get to him later), Stassi throws a drink on Schwartz, and he retaliates by pouring a drink over her head. That’s not the craziest part of the night though. Stassi’s new boyfriend Frank doesn’t like that Jax crashed Stassi’s birthday, leading to a heated argument between the two. Let’s just say that Jax then tries to fight Frank in the parking lot after taking off said sweater. Reality TV gold.

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As Jax moves on from Stassi, he takes up comfort in SURver, Laura Leigh. They’re even caught hooking up in the SUR bathroom multiple times by Lisa Vanderpump. Jax then dumped her shortly after, trying his best to get back with Stassi. Laura Leigh then quit SUR due to booking a movie and was never seen again. 

After lying for the whole season, Jax finally admits in the season finale that he cheated on Stassi with a random woman in Vegas. Thus, breaking the record for the biggest liar on Bravo (so far).

Season 2

Season 2 opens up with Katie having the worst dye job I have ever seen and Scheana obsessing over her broken front tooth. We’re also further introduced to Tom Schwartz, Katie’s boyfriend and Sandoval’s BFF.

Speaking of Sandoval, we learn that he cheated on Kristen with “Vegas Skank” (sound familiar?) Jax is once again desperate to get back together with Stassi, even getting a tattoo of her name on his arm. At the same time he’s getting cozy with other girls, because he can’t seem to stop cheating (and lying).

Ariana Madix is introduced as a new bartender at SUR who is friends with Sandoval, much to the dismay of Kristen. At SUR, there are rumors going around that Ariana and Tom hooked up while he was with Kristen. There’s also a rumor that Kristen and Jax slept together, which Stassi whole-heartedly believes. To prove this, she texts Jax from Kristen’s phone about them hooking up to which Jax denies. 

Then we have the Stassi Birthday trip. Have you heard it’s her birthday? Here’s where Schwartz throws his drink at his own girlfriend. Jax tells Stassi that he knows Ariana and Tom hooked up which leads to Stassi confronting Tom. We also get this amazing quote after Tom admits he hooked up with Ariana at “The Golden Nugget”. “The Golden Nugget, that’s like an all-time low.”

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Jax finally admits that he slept with Kristen, which makes Stassi plan on confronting Kristen in front of everyone. This is where the slap heard around the world happens. As Kristen continues to deny the hookup, Stassi gets so fed up that she slaps Kristen in the face. 

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The season ends at Scheana’s engagement party where she performs her single, Good as Gold. Kristen then finally admits that she slept with Jax. In the end, Tom then punches Jax in the face and Scheana, of course, makes it all about herself.

Season 3

Now onto season 3 where Ariana Madix and Tom Schwartz are officially full-time cast members. Tom and Ariana are now dating while Kristen is dating a DJ named James (we will know more later). Stassi is no longer working at SUR and moves to New York until she comes back to LA. Kristen unearths a rumor about Tom. She believes Tom cheated on Ariana with “Miami Girl” and reaches out to the girl online. James and Tom get into a fist fight at Scheana’s birthday party over pretty much nothing.

We then see Jax getting a nose job and Stassi and Scheana on the outs, yet again. Stassi delivers yet another iconic line when Scheana waits on Stassi at SUR, “I’m not sure what I’ve done to you, but I’ll take a Pinot Grigio.”

Jax brings up yet another rumor, this time being that Katie cheated on Tom Schwartz. Kristen then brings up a rumor that Schwartz cheated on Katie. Schwartz admits to cheating on Katie but won’t call himself a cheater for some reason. 

Jax is, for the 3rd season in a row, the biggest liar on the show. While on a boys trip paid for by one of his girlfriends, he returns the favor by cheating on her. 

Kristen gets in further contact with Miami girl and flies her to LA to confront Sandoval. She ultimately gets kicked out by the SURcurity. After this setup and telling her manager to “go suck a d”, Kristen gets fired. 

We also experience our first VPR wedding complete with Scheana wearing a crop top wedding dress and a drunk Kristen punching James. Schwartz takes this time to profess his love to Katie by giving her a ring… on a string. 

Season 4

Season 4 starts off with Jax having another nose job. He also introduces us to Brittany, Jax’s girlfriend of the week. 

Kristen and James’ relationship is more volatile than ever with James cheating on Kristen and lying to her face about it. Meanwhile, James thinks Kristen is cheating on him so he decides to hook up with the new girl at SUR, Lala. 

Scheana texts Ariana’s mom saying that Sandoval is not a good boyfriend to Ariana. Jax continues to lie to his new girlfriend, Brittany, about flirting with Lala. While on a trip to Hawaii, Jax gets arrested for stealing a pair of sunglasses.

For Ariana’s 30th birthday, she felt sad about her dad not being able to be there and Tom going to Vegas the following day. Tom responds with the most hilarious yet ignorant response, “I will always be here for you, but apparently, we’re gonna be crushing stuff with bulldozers.”

After Stassi comes back to LA, she talks to Lisa about the things she said to her. Lisa delivers her best line of the series after Stassi says “Lisa, you hate me!” “You’re not important enough to hate, sit down.”

After a night of drinking, Jax tries to establish himself as the #1 guy in the group. Yet, he is still lying about him and Lala flirting with each other. 

Stassi, Scheana and Katie finally make amends enough so that Katie invites Stassi to her wedding. Schwartz and Katie decide to host their engagement party at Lisa’s house and Kristen and Stassi crash it. Lala and Kristen get into it as well as James and Jax, par for the course. 

Season 5

Stassi returns as a full-time cast member, thank you producers! Sandoval also grows his hair out and dyes the ends of it blonde (puke). 

Jax spreads rumors about his own girlfriend and Kristen hooking up because he has nothing better to do. James and Lala body shame Katie and the rest of the girls while crashing their party. “I can see that everybody here has not been working on their summer bodies.”

Jax and James get into it and James says one of my personal favorite lines (while clapping) “You need to get more cosmopolitans! PUMPTINI!”

We are introduced to Raquel for the first time, as James’ girlfriend. We’ll see her again in a couple of seasons as Sandoval’s mistress. James cheats on her with a waitress from SUR and James flips out after hearing that people were talking about it. I swear this man has been given more chances than anyone I’ve ever known. 

Another waitress says she also slept with James while he was with Raquel. She even took a picture of them in bed together. 

Rumors fly that Lala is dating a married man which is how she got her range rover. Ariana gets approached to do a cocktail book, but Sandoval gets jealous and wants to be included in the book. Surely, this won’t cause problems further down the road…

The girls from SUR that slept with James confront him at one of his shows. It goes south real quick and James almost ends up in a fist fight with Jax, again.

The gang heads to New Orleans for Tom and Katie’s bachelor party. Just weeks before their wedding, their fighting reaches an all-time high. The guys dress in drag and fight with the girls over Tom and Katie’s relationship. Sandoval even kicks open the door while Schwartz is sitting on the bed and declares “he’s a f-ing battered wife, look at him!”

Working through their issues, Tom and Katie finally get married with the ceremony officiated by Lisa. Sandoval wipes his tears into a dog because “he just loves love.” Jax pretends to break up with Brittany… at someone else’s wedding. This man is truly something. And she doesn’t break up with him after?

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Lisa approaches the Toms with an opportunity to partner at a new bar, TomTom. Stassi crashes Tom and Katie’s honeymoon, truly a power move. Scheana had the first wedding on the show, and now she has the first divorce too. 

And that is the first 5 seasons of Vanderpump Rules. This show is unhinged in the best way, I swear.

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Ava Dandurand is a writer with Her Campus at NC State University. This is her first year at NC State and writing with Her Campus. She is currently pursuing a degree in Natural Resources with a concentration in Policy and Administration. She graduated from CCTL Early College in 2023 with both her high school diploma and associate degree in science. She also was president of the Model UN team, leading a group of fifteen people to a regional competition. She has written two articles in her local paper, Iredell Free News. She has written about environmental justice issues in her hometown. After graduation, she hopes to pursue either Environmental Law or Environmental Research in Boston. Ava is originally from Milford, Massachusetts but moved to Mooresville, NC in 2012. She lives with her mom, dad, and dog, Scout. She loves listening to music, writing, reading, singing, watching reality television, exercising, and playing the Sims. Her favorite artist is Taylor Swift and has seen her twice in concert. She is currently obsessed with Modern Family, Legally Blonde, Vanderpump Rules, The Bear, Dance Moms and Schitt's Creek.