Vanderpump Rules — Bravo’s reality show about the staff at Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant SUR — ended its fourth season this week with a ceremonial throwing of drinks. The show is a reality Melrose Place, following a cast of six(ish) staffers as they navigate Los Angeles and attempt to make their dreams come true so they can quit their day jobs. The cast is a reality show dream: beautiful people with delusional amounts of confidence and very bad impulse control.
As the seasons pass, everyone gets more jaded; perversely, though, their dreams of fame are coming true via Vanderpump Rules itself. And so the cast is now trapped forever at SUR restaurant, like ghosts at a haunted mansion, even though none of them really work there as waiters anymore because they have become what every waiter dreams of: reality TV stars. I met up with noted reality TV fans (and indie-pop stars) Tegan and Sara Quin at SUR to discuss Vanderpump, The Bachelor, and ideal snacks.
Tegan & Sara on Their Love of Reality TV
Molly: So which one of you actually watches Vanderpump Rules?
Sara: When my girlfriend and I started dating, one of my her prerequisites for moving in with me was that I had to get cable so that we could watch Bravo. At first I was very judgmental about it, but the truth is that I've really enjoyed getting back into reality TV. I got into Teen Mom and Laguna Beach. Jersey Shore, big time. I wasn't that into the Housewives shows – but then Vanderpump Rules got me into it. I find it much more reflective of the world I know in L.A.: They're all struggling, and they're musicians, and they have dogs that get groomed by someone I know. I really like them. I'm laughing at and with them. When I told people what I was doing tonight, there was a wide spectrum of responses. From "What is that?" to "Oh, I watch that, too" to "I love that!" to "That is the stupidest show." I love participating in things that aren't just universally loved or hated.
Molly: I've done other reality shows, but I didn't understand. I was like, why would anybody watch this show that's obviously going to be really staged about, like, the waiters at a restaurant – and then everybody I knew was watching it and I was like, well, I want to know what everybody else I know is talking about, and so I started watching it and then I couldn't stop.
Tegan: How many seasons are there?
Molly: The fourth season is ending. It's about the people who work at this restaurant.
Tegan: We were out on tour when I was [binge-watching reality tv], and one of my questions is, is it sad to sit and watch this TV alone? Because I had people to watch it with. We're doing The Bachelor with friends, and it's my first time watching it. Friends of mine were like, Oh, you should come over and join us for the show, and I was like, "This is my time!" I've finally been invited into a — what is it called? a coven? — of Bachelor watchers. I said, "Oh, I'll try it once," and then it was so fun to watch with other people. We had to pause it so many times because everyone talks through the whole thing.
I didn't know what to bring. I was very nervous. I brought a big container of these plastic diamond rings that have a strobe light in them so when you push on them they flash. And I suggested if you like what's happening onscreen, as a way to quiet yourself, you could press the button.
Molly: Did you see the episode where they were swimming with the pigs?
Tegan: Funniest thing I've ever seen.
Molly: I'm also kind of new to Bachelor.
Tegan: And what do you think of it?
Molly: I love it. It's such a weird, surreal world. Like the fantasy date at the end where they clearly have sex but can't talk about it.
Tegan: I get really hung up thinking about what people watching it are feeling and experiencing.
Molly: Of course.
Tegan: I really want them to do a gay Bachelor.
Molly: I enjoy it as a group psychology experiment. You really understand why people get so crazy in confined quarters competing for something they can't all have.
Tegan: But why does every single person on the show not understand the premise of the show and just cry the whole time that they have to go on group dates?
Tegan: Is the food known to be good?
Sara: I think it's good!
Molly: Nobody I know has said it was good.
Sara: Look at me being Canadian. "It's good!"
Tegan: I can't remember the last time I was somewhere where there was meatloaf. What's this place called again?
Molly: SUR. It stands for "Sexy Unique Restaurant."
Sara: We watched the music video [for cast member Tom Sandoval's band Charles McMansion's song "Touch in Public"] before we came over here. It's actually really impressive for how much they spent on it.
Molly: They shot it at the North Hollywood library! I was like, ooh, I've been to that library! At first you watch Vanderpump Rules and you're like, "These people are so pathetic, I'm so much better than them." Then you are suddenly realizing, "Wait, these people are so pathetic and we're really not so different after all."
Sara: No, we're not.
Molly: They're all the perfect level of wanting to be famous. Like, they all want to be reality TV stars, so you don't feel like they're being exploited. This is exactly what they want — to have their personal lives on TV.
Tegan: The people who choose to be on reality television, they truly are doing their dream, even if they're embarrassed. When I was watching "The Women Tell All" [the late-season Bachelor episode in which eliminated contestants discuss their experiences] the other night, I was thinking “they're embarrassed”, but they're also totally excited to get another moment to be there to talk about themselves.
Molly: Who were you rooting for on Bachelor?
Tegan: At first I really liked Jamie, and I also really like Jubilee. They were both kind of funny, and they had attitude. I was kind of sad about Jubilee. She just fell apart from the pressure.
Sara: I have Jojo in my top four. So I'm doing well in my voting. I'm in, like, a Bachelor – what do you call it?
Molly: A K-hole?
Tegan: No — I'm in a pool, and I'm doing well. I think two of my top four made it.
Sara: I'm shocked that one of the twins made it as far as she did.
Tegan: The fact that they always just wrote "Twin" under the twins is so funny. Every time they come onscreen, everyone at my Bachelor party laughs. The other funniest thing is listing people as "unemployed." Like why did they do that to that poor girl?!
Molly: Oh, my god, Olivia – the one who is like, "I wanted to be a newscaster and then I gave up on my dream because this is more important to me." Girl, be a newscaster!
Tegan: The scene where she talks about how the other girls were making fun of her feet, and the camera does all the cutaways to her feet buried in the sand?!
Sara: The episode where they kick [Olivia] off, where [Bachelor Ben] dumps her. There's the storm, and her face is just so dewy and wet. To me that was just a legendary piece of reality television. I have not stopped talking about that episode.
Molly: Did the show stage that storm?
Sara: When they zoom away they make it look as if she's literally been left on the island alone, and they just get further and further away. I was like, "Are they going to do a space shot? Where they keep going further and further until they get to the International Space Station and you know that that girl is still on that island?"
Molly: Alone, forever. With the twins, did you ever think, “That's not fair to reduce them to being a unit”?
Tegan: No, I think it's hilarious. I like that one is friendlier than the other.
Sara: And what does that mean? Tegan thinks it's funny because she thinks she's the friendly one. OK, she's friendlier, but it doesn't mean anything but that she has lowered expectations. That's all. I play a little harder to get in life. Is that so wrong? And Tegan thinks I'm a snob.
Molly: But you're the Vanderpump Rules fan!
Sara: I love Vanderpump Rules. But it fits into that niche of things that other snobby people like.
Molly: What got me into it is that everyone I knew who had discerning taste in garbage was like, "Vanderpump Rules is the best."
Sara: I'm all for absorbing and analyzing things that a lot of people like. I just have to feel like there's going to be something valuable or cerebral to take away from it, you know?
Molly: I don't just love to participate in everything. I can't do Game of Thrones.
Sara: I love Game of Thrones.
Molly: Everybody loves it, except for me.
Sara: For me, I have a really hard time being critical or negative about things, especially publicly. I really worry about hurting people's feelings. That's totally our upbringing and being Canadian.
Molly: OK. Dark night of the soul. What do you get at a corner store? You get one sweet item, one salty item, and a beverage.
Sara: I would get just regular Perrier, no flavor water. Sour cream and onion chips. If I were in Canada, we'd be talking a whole different ballgame – my chip of choice is Old Dutch rippled sour cream and onion. It's a bit sweeter, a little creamier. Here in America, I guess I lean towards a Ruffles. If they don't have the Ruffles, I don't mind a Lay's. And a sweet, M&M peanut.
Tegan: I would do ginger ale. Canada Dry is totally fine.
Molly: Is Canada Dry actually Canadian?
Sara: I'll text Justin Trudeau right now and find out.
Tegan: And the salsa verde Doritos. And then I get a Skor bar. It's a thin chocolate that has a caramel piece inside it, and what I like to do is just take it and bite gently through the chocolate and then pull it off with my teeth. What I'm left at the end with is four sticky fingers and a chunk of caramel, which I then nibble on.