by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It was spectacular, the unraveling of Tom Sandoval’s career, like watching fireworks fall into each other and explode all at once. There he was, a seminal protagonist of “Vanderpump Rules,” shining brighter than any star in the sky. Then, darkness.
I refer, of course, to “Scandoval,” Bravo fans’ label for the revelation that cast members Sandoval and Raquel Leviss were carrying out an affair for months while Sandoval lived with his longtime girlfriend Ariana Madix. Madix also happens to be a close friend of Leviss. …
… The cast’s web of sexual dalliances is vast and inscrutable. Most of them have cheated on at least one other cast member and just about all of them have been cheated on by another cast member. Sandoval and Madix came together after cheating revelations took down his longtime relationship with Kristin Doute, although this may have happened when Doute and Sandoval were still together (only the erstwhile night staff at the Golden Nugget knows for sure). …
… “Vanderpump Rules” is the sexual revolution’s dark side, exaggerated for cable television but familiar to millennials hovering from 30,000 feet. Without marriage, children, homeownership, and other responsibilities, the cast wandered through their thirties drinking and cheating and influencing and regretting.
Katie desperately wanted to marry Tom Schwartz, despite the tumult in their relationship. He wanted to keep on keeping on. She drank too much, he cheated on her. Their marriage didn’t last. They sold their house and split custody of their dogs.
Ariana, on the other hand, never wanted to marry Sandoval. She wanted to be with him forever, but without the formality of marriage or ever having kids. He wanted marriage and children. They stayed together anyway, bought a house, got pets, and seemed content to go on like that. Obviously, he was not.