At this point Tom Sandoval is a reality TV veteran. Heading into his fifth season of Vanderpump Rules, he’s seen and heard it all and is still impressed that the show has managed to retain so much realness despite the influence of fame, money, and cameras. In a new interview, Tom sheds light on the role of production and editing and how the show changed friendships and perceptions.
“I’m really proud of it, because I feel like it’s one of the realest shows on television. Especially in our environment.” What makes Pump Rules different, according to Tom, is the “deep feelings” and “love/hate relationships,” which doesn’t occur on shows when castmates meet each other on camera or hang out only when filming. “Like even when I watch Housewives, they’ll have this drama, and something really small, but it just like carries on – like five episodes. And it’s like something that would not even make it into our show.”
Very true – for the most part this cast has long-standing, organically psychotic relationships which
drag on continue no matter when cameras are rolling. The pettiness between the Pump Rules cast “cuts much deeper” because of those close relationships, and Tom understands the goal is to make good TV, not appease the cast members.
For instance, off-camera Tom and Ariana Madix are nerdy intellectuals, something viewers really have never seen. “You know, I’m on the show, I’m not a producer. Sometimes I wish it were more lighter – all the funny stuff was in there,” but, “they seem to really like that drama.”
Tom is adamant about keeping things as real as possible. “I’m open and honest and real and take every situation for what it is,” he insists. Because of this, he was actually one of the cast members who got “the most angry” about Lala Kent hiding her true life last season. “There’s people that I don’t like who are on the show but at least they really put themselves out there. That’s all we can really, like, kind of ask for with each other.”
Tom told Lala, “If you come back on the show… either put yourself out there or don’t come back. I think Lala’s great. Really great! She’s good for our show – she mixes it up; just like James [Kennedy]. She’s a little bit of a wild card.”
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He jokes, “I’d love to show up and film and be like, ‘Yeah I’m like this secret agent, who like has this perfect relationship, we never argue. I’m like so successful.'”
That said, Tom never blamed Stassi Schroeder for her boyfriend Patrick’s refusal to be on camera because it was his choice. “I know he was very anti-our show for a long time,” Tom explains about Patrick. “I can’t confirm, but I heard that he would, like, talk very down about it.”
Speaking of Patrick, apparently rumors are true that he’s had a change of heart and will finally make an appearance. Tom can’t confirm how much Patrick is filming, but he won’t be getting the Brittany Cartwright treatment by becoming a main cast member.
How much is Stassi paying him? “I am sure the stuff with him will be very limited, just because people don’t really know him.”
Scheana Marie, who got married and divorced on the show, is now filming with her new boyfriend Rob Valetta. “Not like, a lot,” Tom clarifies, because Rob doesn’t really feel comfortable exposing his life to reality TV. But Scheana is SOOO worth it. Oh, the lengths people go to for love.
Patrick and Rob are essentially ‘extras’ says Tom. “We’re not gonna be like diving too deeply in to their personal lives because it’s not really fair. Like, they’re not, you know, like main cast members, if that makes sense.”
The most interesting part of the interview is when Tom explains the role of production and editing in crafting the show.
Tom tells The Tomorrow Show he doesn’t subscribe to blaming editing like other cast members do. “Yeah, maybe they’ll troll you a little bit on editing,” he acknowledges. “But for the most part, like, if somebody comes across a certain way, then that’s kind of like how they are in real life.”
He continues, “Some people got ‘hero edits’ in the beginning of our show and now they don’t, and it’s more evenly edited. And some of those people now say that they get bad edits, but it’s not true. What you see is what you get on our show.”
“I feel that sometimes they [producers and editors] even the playing field,” Tom adds, “because some people are a lot more shitty than others and so they don’t want it to be such a contrast and so obvious. So they have to, like, kind of edit somebody worse than they are and edit somebody way better to kind of just like bring it to here.” HAHA!
“I think they [production] want people to question – like not just take one side, but want people to be a little back and forth.”
Tom is sometimes embarrassed by his on-screen melodramatics but wants to make good TV. “I’m always more worried about the content and the scene. I’m worried about like, you know, when I’ve maybe drank a little too much, got way too overly emotional about something. I don’t know, I mean, that stuff to me is always the cringe worthy stuff.” There’s only been one time he feels production has done him “really dirty” by cutting and pasting clips from drastically different segments.
On whether or not the casts actually works at SUR when cameras aren’t rolling, Tom reveals that it’s sporadic due to their hectic filming schedule. All SUR staff are part-time employees, except for managers, and normal SUR staff shifts are 6-8 hours. When the cast isn’t filming their shifts, they are now limited to two or three hours to manage the onslaught of viewers coming to the restaurant to “basically interrogate” cast members while they’re working. “Some people would have like panic attacks,” because the fan interaction was so intense.
Regular SUR staff sometimes angle to get cast by talking trash about the current cast members, but then have gotten really upset when their own messiness starts to become a focus. “They would literally pull their mic off, freak out, and like quit,” laughs Tom. “I saw it happen at least five times or six times.” He adds, “I don’t even know if a lot of people working there would even want to be on the show because it’s just so much. I mean, it’s very stressful.” Because you’re never really ‘off’.
On how the drama stays real, Tom insists the entire cast sometimes “forgets” cameras are rolling, and occasionally everyone has begged production not to air a particular comment. “They’ll usually just do that,” he says.
“Obviously people are affected differently by the show. Some people feel they need to look a certain way, or like come across this way, and maybe they self-edit themselves more than others,” describes Tom. “I pride myself on my integrity on the show. I don’t mind if you make me look like an idiot sometimes. They’ve edited me to make me look dumb, and that’s fine – I’m totally cool with that. Like, you know, Ariana’s birthday thing – the bulldozers and all that shit. That was awesome! I loved that. I don’t care. But when you attack my integrity that’s when I have a real problem. I want the show to be real and honest and that’s it.”
Tom updates us on his future with Ariana. He’s tired of the marriage question: “When people ask that, I feel like it’s rude and they don’t even realize it. But it is, really.”
Tom and Ariana are committed, and he’s fine with
a TV wedding marriage not happening. They’re currently working on their cocktail book, which will be out soon. But the bigger news – they’re possibly considering kids! “It’s not in the far off, but it’s not in the immediate future,” Tom hints. A Pump Rules baby?! Could we even handle that?! I mean these people can barely get through a wedding without imploding all over WeHo!
TELL US – DOES TOM KEEP IT REAL ON REALITY TV? WHICH CAST MEMBERS FAKE THEIR LIVES THE MOST?
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