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Lisa Vanderpump: Villain or saint?

Lisa Vanderpump shoots Vanderpump Rules
Lisa Vanderpump appeared on both Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules. Pic credit: Bravo

As I change my location drastically from one side of the couch to the other, I realize that something has been gnawing at me.

I can’t help but notice my emotional whiplash from the way Lisa Vanderpump is portrayed on Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Is she a caring and level headed matriarch or a master manipulator? What the heck is going on and who is benefiting from it?

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Lisa Vanderpump appeared on RHOBH for nine seasons before ultimately announcing in 2019 that she is exiting the show.

This decision was most likely in part influenced by the continuous run-ins Lisa was experiencing with her castmates.

It all started going south for when Lisa had a tiff with her former BFF Brandi Glanville.

Brandi claimed Lisa instructed her to bring a magazine featuring cheating rumors about castmate Kyle Richard’s husband on the girls’ group trip.

When Brandi called Lisa out, Lisa denied it and claimed she didn’t see the magazine until after the trip. This started a huge rift between the former besties.

According to Brandi, Lisa really did not like her after the incident and told production it was either her or Brandi on the show.

Brandi smirks during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live
Brandi and Lisa used to be best friends before things turned sour. Pic credit: Bravo

Lisa’s other notable and final run-in was with a long time friend and cast member Kyle Richards. The two had fought in the past but always managed to find their way back to each other.

This time, however, Kyle believed that Lisa tried to use her as a pawn to make another castmember, Dorit, look bad. Dorit had adopted a dog from Lisa’s rescue. When the dog did not mesh well with Dorit’s family, Dorit parted ways with her furry buddy.

The dog, unfortunately, ended up at a shelter, and that made Lisa understandably upset.

The puppy gate ensued, and all the cast members saw Lisa as being at fault. Lisa was painted as someone who could not take responsibility for her actions or own up to any wrongdoing.

Vanderpump Rules

Lisa Vanderpump poses with castmembers of Vandepump rules
Vanderpump Rules features a completely different version of Lisa Vanderpump. Pic credit: Bravo

On this show, Lisa is often portrayed as a moral compass. She is a caring mother hen who patiently monitors the group’s problems.

Case in point — Stassi Schroeder and Tom Sandoval’s book signing blow up this season. When Stassi had her book release party at TomTom, Sandoval was majorly triggered.

He felt that Stassi went over his head and planned the party without his approval.

When the bar had a hard time staffing the party with bartenders at the last minute, Sandoval completely lost his cool and had it out with Stassi, yelling at her during her own party.

Lisa learned of the incident because, obviously, TomTom is one of her establishments.

The way she handled getting to the bottom of who was at fault and addressing everyone involved was classy, efficient, and boss ladylike.

James Kennedy sits at an interview with Andy Cohen
James Kennedy had his fair share of problems on the show, but Lisa Vanderpump always appears to have his back. Pic credit: Bravo

Lisa has consistently been the voice of care and reason throughout the seasons.

When James Kennedy offended just about every girl working at Sur and made life difficult for the rest of the staff, it was Lisa who stepped in to talk to him about his drinking.

The compassion and tough love Lisa provided to James was just what he needed.

It was gentle enough to make him see that he was cared about but tough enough to make him want to whip himself into shape.

Last but not least, Lisa, who is a great advocate for the LGBT community, acted as the forward-moving voice of reason when Britney and Jax’s pastor started spewing some less than savory nonsense.

With her guidance, the couple was able to replace their controversial wedding officiant with Lance Bass. And really, when that happens, everybody wins.

Which show depicts Lisa correctly?

Lisa Vanderpump attends lunch
Lisa Vanderpump will always appear as a staple character on Vanderpump Rules. Pic credit: Bravo

In my ruminating, I was able to come up with the only explanation that made sense. The producers largely influence Lisa’s portrayal in both shows.

What this means is that the show’s producers influence which storylines get more attention.

Here is the clincher: Lisa Vanderpump is an executive producer on Vanderpump Rules and a mere (former) castmember on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

This means that she has a say in what light she is painted in on Vanderpump Rules.

Lisa Vanderpump is an extraordinary woman in many ways.

Her work in support of animal rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community deserves a lot of praise. But Lisa is also human and seems to have an aversion to not having control of a situation.

Lisa possibly exited RHOBH due to her inability to steer her portrayal in a way that seemed appropriate to her.

But she is always going to have a flattering role on Vanderpump Rules, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Vanderpump Rules airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Bravo. 


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