On Monday, March 27, Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz finally tied the knot on national television, ending the collective nightmare that has been their wedding planning process — and Season 5 of Vanderpump Rules — with a round of "I do"s.
And while much of the cast has finally aged past the era of drunk fighting and sunglass-stealing, Season 5 was still an emotional rollercoaster filled with love, heartbreak, tequila and summer bodies. But naturally, not everyone got off the ride in one piece. Below, we did our best to rank the major players by their actions, and by where they stood with the SUR fandom by the end of the year — leaving out Lisa Vanderpump herself, of course, because you really can't compare the lady with the mini ponies to the dude who wrote "Topman."
Katie has spent the last few months of her life being crucified by Pump fans on social media over her behavior this season, so we'll try not to pile on here. But the Twitter eggs are mad at Katie with good reason. Once a likable (when sober) protagonist, Katie spent much of Season 5 terrorizing select members of her bridal party over mindless nonsense, not to mention her fiancé himself, for not putting her emotional needs first. The latter would have been understandable, but Katie's emotional needs shifted approximately every 15 seconds each episode. Whatever she was going through during filming, we hope she's feeling better now — for her own sake, but also for the sake of every single human who has ever been the recipient of a "Tequila Katie" text message.
10. Lala Kent
Literally the first thing Lala did this season was walk up to a table of co-workers and comment on the fact that they'd gained weight. She also may or may not have had sex for a Range Rover, and her wealthy, mysterious, older boyfriend may or may not have made her co-stars sign an NDA to attend a party at his house in Coachella.
Basically, Lala has all the makings of a reality TV legend, but she just can't seem to separate her emotions from this "reality" we see on television. Whether it's the pressure coming from her reportedly married boyfriend or the pressure coming from her own admitted struggle with anxiety, something keeps pulling Lala away from the show for too-long periods of time. Which is a shame, because otherwise she'd rank way, way higher on this list for her lip liner alone.
Not putting James Kennedy dead last on this or any other list feels wrong, because we all know that James Kennedy is an overprivileged goon with delusions of grandeur, and that he treats women like garbage.
But since virtually no one else in the cast besides Mama Lisa, the oft-absent Lala, and the Tom Sandoval- Ariana Madix dynamic duo — who definitely lost a bet somewhere down the line — were willing to film with James this season, he wasn't given the chance to be as terrible as he had been over the past couple of years. Also, his sobriety plot line was actually kind of endearing, especially as he turned to Ben & Jerry's in lieu of vodka sodas.
James will never be one of this series' protagonists, but he does seem to be trying just a little to work on himself and get better. And even if he fails, we'll always have this magic moment to remember fondly.
Stassi, once the de facto protagonist of Vanderpump Rules, has failed to carry her own plot line since she quit the show only to return a couple of years back. She's still whip-smart and the show's resident queen of one-liners, but the abysmal way she treated Scheana Shay — and to a lesser extent, Ariana — throughout the season knocks her down several pegs.
7. Jax Taylor
Jax definitely wins the award for Most Improved this season — but when you consider where he started, that isn't necessarily saying very much. On the plus side, Jax didn't cheat on anybody or steal anything this year (at least that we know of), and little things like keeping Brittany out of the fight in New Orleans and flying Schwartz's brothers to his wedding revealed a softer, gentler side of him that we'd never seen in the series' previous four seasons.
But he also verbally abused Brittany for not making him enough sandwiches, and frequently berated her for not being "grateful" enough to him for covering most of the rent on their WeHo 1-bedroom. And while showing up at James' first post-Pump DJ gig with all of his SUR-enemies was hilariously petty, it was still petty, especially coming from a 37-year-old man.
Basically... Jax still has a ways to go.
6. Tom Schwartz
It is virtually impossible to stay mad at human puppy dog Tom Schwartz, which is probably why Katie needs to get blitzed on tequila in order to yell at him. But to the Vanderpump Rules producers' credit, Schwartz did get a more honest edit this season, after years of being the guy who could do no wrong. Even in the worst moments of Tequila Katie, it was finally made clear to viewers that their issues weren't her fault alone, which was pretty necessary given the many horrible things Schwartz was doing.
It was definitely a major bummer to see everybody's Pump Rules crush gaslight his fiancée and call her a bitch, but better to show the truth than to continue painting Schwartz with LVP sangria-tinted glasses.
Doute didn't do very much this year, but still, how can you not give her points for going from "crazy social pariah who will surely be kicked off the show" to "pretty chill, pretty popular lady in a happy relationship and seemingly high Pump Rules standing" in, like, a year? She loses some of said points for always siding with Katie and Stassi, and for joining in on the stoning of Scheana Shay, but mostly we're just thrilled she's not beefing with Ariana and Sandoval anymore. Small victories, fam.
4. Scheana Shay
Poor, sweet Scheana just wants everyone to like her, and doesn't see why there's anything wrong with that! And normally, there isn't — but if the people you want to like you are named Katie, Kristen, and Stassi, then you need to take a sacred vow of silence towards Lala Kent and sucker-punch Ariana Madix in her perfectly chiseled stomach before winning their seal of approval.
Scheana didn't play by these rules, so she had a tougher-than-normal time this season, especially as her marriage crumbled behind the scenes. Still, despite all the people-pleasing and the bad relationship-denying and even the colored contacts, Scheana managed to be a genuinely likable human throughout, as per usual.
3. Brittany Cartwright
There is virtually nothing bad one could ever say about Brittany. Sure, her mom getting all out of sorts about Jax kissing his gay roommate once — when she seemingly couldn't care less about Jax having multiple affairs with women — was troubling, but you can't blame Brittany for her mother's relationship with the LGBTQ community.
And for her part, Brittany was one of the first cast members to insist on working a Los Angeles Pride party the day after the Pulse massacre, despite widespread rumors that the parade may be the target of another shooting. She consistently goes high while everyone else around her is lower than low, and we can't wait to see her in her element in her rumored spin-off series with Jax.
2. Ariana Madix
Once Ariana got over her thing with Kristen and decided to just have fun, Stassi's approval be damned, she truly became unstoppable.
She is still way too droll and low-energy — too unwilling to get stuck in the mud with her more shameless castmates — to ever be a true reality TV "star." But of everyone on this list, Ariana would be the coolest to drink a beer and play Settlers of Catan with, and much like Brittany, she showed up at Pride — and convinced her boyfriend to do the same — when it really counted. She seems like a cool, genuinely down-to-earth girl, and she managed to fly above the petty drama this year even when Stassi brought it right to her doorstep.
... So she should probably quit while she's ahead, but we selfishly insist on more "Jordan Tyler" in our lives next season.
1. Tom Sandoval
We are as genuinely shocked as you that the No. 1 guy on this list is a man who has a "braid guy."
But vanity issues aside, Sandoval is a class act. He consistently puts the needs of others above his own, treating his girlfriend like a true equal and always going the extra mile for his friends. He also agreed to film with James when no one else would, which means he'll be eligible for sainthood by 2028.
There were two things that really set Sandoval apart this season, though, and the first was the episode dedicated to the Pulse shooting in Orlando. Everyone in the cast worked through his or her grief in different ways (many by making a literal massacre all about themselves), but Sandoval seemed especially affected — and especially willing to jump on the bar in tight pants through his tears, for the sake of his beloved gay community.
Second was his utter commitment to dressing himself and his friends in drag for Schwartz's bachelor party. "Jen Rod" brought in actual queens for authenticity, which truly paid off later in the night when Jen and "Visa Manderhump" had their drunken, tearful argument in the hotel hallway.
Basically, Sandoval seems like both a genuinely nice guy and a great creator of reality TV moments, making him the undisputed king of Vanderpump Rules Season 5.
Vanderpump Rules airs Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo.