Why Vanderpump Rules Pausing Production Is For The Best

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Just before the penultimate episode of Vanderpump Rules Season 11, it was announced that fans will have to wait a little longer for Season 12. Instead of filming over the summer as usual, production is on pause indefinitely. However, this doesn’t mean Pump Rules is canceled.

The phrase “on pause” might give Bravo fans bad flashbacks. But in this case, we think a break is just what the doctor ordered. It’s no secret that Season 11 has been a letdown and that the Scandoval well has run dry.

We agree with Andy Cohen that this break is the right move, and here’s why.

Production should’ve paused before Season 11

It made sense that Bravo wanted to strike while the Scandoval iron was hot. But in hindsight, maybe a few more episodes capturing the immediate aftermath should’ve been tacked on to Season 10 instead. Because as Season 11 comes to a close, it’s clear following the usual filming schedule was a bad call.

Scandoval broke in March, the reunion taped two weeks later, and Season 11 began filming about three months after that. At that time, the cast received more attention in the press than ever. Thanks to tabloid coverage, social media, and podcasts, it felt like we already saw Season 11 before it even aired.

Because of the quick turnaround, everyone re-embracing Tom Sandoval felt rushed and forced. As Andy admitted, it was unreasonable to expect Ariana Madix to forgive and act friendly with Sandoval three months after their breakup. The cast insisting Ariana needed to get over it enraged her large fanbase and caused viewers to side with her even more.

Let the lawsuits play out

It’s reasonable that Bravo wants to let the dust settle with the cast’s multiple legal battles before going ahead with Season 12. Rachel Leviss’ revenge porn lawsuit against Sandoval and Ariana includes some incredibly serious allegations.

In addition to Rachel’s lawsuits, former VPR star Faith Stowers filed a suit against Bravo. Faith’s included troubling accusations about Lala Kent. Plus, Tom and Ariana have another legal battle over their formerly shared home.

At this time, no one knows how the cast’s legal battles will shake out. But it’s better to wait and be safe, rather than sorry.

Scheduling conflicts

The break also makes sense from a logistical standpoint. Ariana will be busy hosting Love Island USA in Fiji this summer. And it seems that Lisa Vanderpump will be back in France this summer for Season 2 of Vanderpump Villa.

Likewise, Lala is pregnant, and set to welcome her second baby during the usual filming window. It makes sense to give her some maternity leave.

The cast needs a break (including from each other)

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Andy recalled that, with the Real Housewives, “we would say, ‘You know what? Let’s put cameras down for, you know, four or five months and come back to them,’ and they will have lived, you know, life. Things will be different.”

A major issue this season was the lack of storylines aside from Scandoval. Hopefully, giving the cast time off to “live life” means new and interesting material will arise organically. Longtime viewers know that’s when the show thrives. That’s why Scandoval was, initially, a return to form. And why, this season, audiences responded more to Jo Wenberg and Tom Schwartz’s painfully real situationship.

It also seems like cast members can’t stand each other. In early seasons, they still worked at SUR. These naturally forced interactions. Now, the show pretends they’re a “friend group”. But, as Katie Maloney said, they don’t hang out. Clearly, they’re all sick of each other and need some space. Time apart might make it more believable the next time Scheana Shay cries about missing her “best friends”.

Let the audience miss Vanderpump Rules

Photo Credit: Kim White/Bravo via Getty Images

Viewers are also growing sick of the cast, and definitely have Scandoval fatigue. For the past year, fans have been inundated with constant updates and press coverage.

For instance, Sandoval and Ariana appeared on other reality shows throughout 2023. Sandoval gave many interviews bashing Ariana, Rachel, and his co-stars, making the redemption arc even less believable. Not to mention comparing Scandoval to the murder of George Floyd. It felt like Vanderpump Rules never went on hiatus. As the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Where does the show go from here?

The show needs a rethink. Hopefully, the break means an evaluation of where Season 11 went wrong.

Audiences did not respond the way producers or cast members expected. Production tried to repeat an already stale storyline where the cheating man is welcomed back while the scorned woman gets villainized. But viewers were over that back in Season 7. Instead, it would’ve been refreshing for a season of Vanderpump Rules girl power. If anything, trying to villainize Ariana only made viewers support her more.

Time off gives production a chance to make necessary changes. Does the cast need a shakeup? Should some move over to The Valley? Should producers with obvious favoritism be reigned in? Does Bravo need to bring in new producers who don’t have that same bias? There is precedence for behind-the-scenes changes. Previously, an editor was let go after publicly admitting to humiliating Scheana.

As a start, production could reign in the cast’s podcasts and social media a bit more. Imagine if, for instance, Heather Gay was going off at Monica Garcia for a year before the explosive RHOSLC Season 4 finale. Maybe the VPR cast should take notes from the Housewives of Lala and Katie’s home state.