Vanderpump Rules viewers have a lot of questions after that explosive Season 11

Vanderpump Rules viewers have a lot of questions after that explosive Season 11 finale. Including a question that’s been bugging me all season. Namely….since when are Scheana Shay and Tom Sandoval such great friends?

When Ariana Madix joined Pump Rules, she was introduced as Scheana’s BFF. This was a little surprising since they’re polar opposites. But over the years, we’ve seen lots of adorable bestie moments between the two. In the finale, for instance, Ariana said Scheana is “family”.

But this story that Scheana and Sandoval have been best friends for 15 years? And that he was the only person who had her back from day one? That’s a little harder to buy. No wonder Ariana felt gaslit. At the end of Season 10, Sandoval told Scheana he didn’t care about her and that they were never really friends. He also supported Rachel Leviss’ restraining order. Nevertheless, this friendship became a huge storyline and source of conflict this season. Here’s why it ultimately fell flat.

I’ve watched and rewatched this whole show, and I never got the impression that Scheana and Sandoval were more than acquaintances. In early seasons, the guys were occasionally nicer to Scheana than Stassi Schroeder or Katie Maloney. But even then, it seemed to be Jax Taylor (obviously, he’s not Scheana’s friend anymore) or Tom Schwartz more so than Sandoval.

Obviously, producers can’t show everything. They memorably didn’t show the beginning of Ariana and Kristen Doute’s friendship. But if there was any footage of Sandoval and Scheana’s friendship, surely editors would’ve included it this season. In Season 10, editors showed years-old, never-before-seen footage of Sandoval and Billie Lee hookup rumors, Sandoval’s frustrations about his relationship, a conversation with James Kennedy about Rachel, etc. However, when Sandoval said he missed Scheana’s friendship, all we got was a very short montage with three clips of the two briefly interacting in group scenes.

The classic storytelling rule “show don’t tell” applies here. This season included a lot of Scheana telling us that she and Sandoval were super close. But we weren’t shown that, either in footage from the past or in their current interactions. If you want the audience to become invested in this friendship, you have to prove it was a real thing. If it was entirely off-camera, you still have to paint a picture the audience will believe. You can’t just tell the same story over and over again about Upfronts. Speaking of which…

Enough about Upfronts

Photo Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

When Scheana first mentioned the Upfronts story, it was a stark reminder of how long the OGs have known each other. Sandoval, Scheana, and Ariana, for instance, worked together at Villa Blanca before the show.

Yes, it was nice of Sandoval to make sure she was included in the cast photos. No one is all good or all bad, and this was an instance of Sandoval doing good. But it didn’t paint the picture of some grand friendship.

At this point, “Sandoval included me in the group picture at Upfronts twelve years ago” is the new “Rob Valletta hung up a flatscreen tv in seven minutes”. The more Scheana says it, the less convincing she is.

Also, to split hairs for a second, they are on opposite sides of the group in every photo from this event.

Sandoval did not have Scheana’s back from day one

Kristen perhaps inadvertently blew up this storyline on her podcast. Speaking about her own icing out by The Valley cast, Kristen made a comparison to the early days of VPR. On the April 27th episode of Balancing Act, Kristen recalled, “Me, Tom Sandoval, Jax, Stassi, and Katie all met up, and we were like, okay, so if we just can’t give Scheana any attention, let’s ice her out of the group, she’s like not one of us, and it just made her a million times more relevant.”

Speaking of Kristen, the other example Scheana gave of Sandoval’s friendship was lending her and Brock Davies money during the pandemic. That’s a nice thing to do, but Sandoval also offered a loan to Kristen when her VPR salary was cut. And no one would accuse those exes of being great friends.

Scheana’s texts to Ariana’s mom

Honestly, I’m surprised Scheana didn’t get the “I told you so” route this season. Because her texts to Ariana’s mom back in Season 4 sound a lot like the internet comments about Sandoval now.

Sandoval seemed closer to another Shay

Didn’t it always seem like Sandoval was closer to Scheana’s ex-husband Mike Shay? He certainly took Mike’s side in the Shay divorce.

Sandoval doesn’t act like Scheana’s friend

Even if they had a friendship in the past that we never saw, Sandoval did not act like Scheana’s friend this season.

Before filming started, Scheana said that Sandoval almost threatened Brock. Sandoval’s team was accused of planting rumors that Brock also hooked up with Rachel. Then Sandoval brought up Scheana’s past affair with Eddie Cibrian. Ariana comforted her about that at the time. Despite all of this, Brock argued that Sandoval was a better friend than Ariana.

In the finale, Scheana forgave it all because Sandoval flew in his cover band’s sound guy. This felt very phony. You’re telling me The 27’s don’t have a sound guy? Or that the VPR production crew couldn’t provide one?

Plus, post-Scandoval, there was a ton of discourse about Sandoval’s tendency for grand gestures. For instance, paying for James’ proposal to Rachel. It seemed like the cast agreed this was a tactic Sandoval did for his own sake, to look good, not because he genuinely cared.

After all that…they don’t even talk

Scheana talked about the finale on her podcast, Scheananigans. In the May 10th episode, Scheana admitted she doesn’t talk to Ariana or Sandoval anymore. She also broke down over Sandoval’s comments that Ariana “talked sh*t” about her castmates. Never mind that Sandoval later admitted this was an exaggeration. Between his rant about Ariana and the hot mic moment, Sandoval didn’t seem genuine. Instead, it appeared as if he wanted to manipulate Scheana, and that’s not what a friend does.


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