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Vanderpump Rules Is Forever Changed by 'Scandoval,' On and Off Camera

The effects of Raquel Leviss and Tom Sandoval's affair reach far beyond what's captured on camera.
  • We'll never see these three (Raquel Leviss, Tom Sandoval, and Ariana Madix) in the same place again in a post-"Scandoval" world. (Photo: Nicole Weingart/Bravo)
    We'll never see these three (Raquel Leviss, Tom Sandoval, and Ariana Madix) in the same place again in a post-"Scandoval" world. (Photo: Nicole Weingart/Bravo)

    Before news of “Scandoval” broke, Scheana Shay was primed to carry some of the biggest storylines in Vanderpump Rules Season 10. She was the one who encouraged Raquel Leviss to go after a newly single Tom Schwartz, and her wedding to Brock Davies in Mexico was going to be her redemption from her previous on-air wedding leading to a marriage that very messily fell apart on the show. Instead, the focus of her big day has shifted as viewers hunt for clues that Tom Sandoval and Leviss were carrying on their affair behind the scenes of Shay’s nuptials.

    But of course the shift in the dynamic of the Vanderpump Rules cast isn’t reserved to just what’s captured in each episode. Off camera, the ripple effects of “Scandoval” caused Leviss to file a restraining order against Shay for allegedly punching her in the face upon hearing the news of Leviss and Sandoval’s affair (Shay has denied the allegations). That’s something that could stay on Shay’s record for the rest of her life, and will make Shay and Leviss less-than-cozy scene partners in any future episode of the show. It’s just one of many reminders that the fallout from this tumultuous drama is far reaching, and the behind-the-scenes consequences affecting the cast’s everyday life will also drastically change Vanderpump Rules seasons to come.

    The upcoming Season 10 reunion, which filmed on March 23, already looks like it will be unlike any other in the show’s history. Leviss’ restraining order against Shay resulted in two separate seating charts, rotating Leviss and Shay in separately. It will be the first time that either Sandoval or his ex Ariana show up to a reunion single — in fact, it will be the first reunion in which none of the main cast are paired with each other, diminishing the teams of couples that typically break out and instead creating a very clear split between #TeamAriana and the much smaller #TeamTom.

    The dynamic at the reunion will also be decidedly different because Andy Cohen has made it clear via his recent Instagram presence that this was the most excited he’s been for a reunion in a while. He emphasizes that he is a fan of the show and has no connection to the production other than hosting the reunion, so he’s entering this with the same questions, concerns, and loyalties as many of the viewers.

    In the past month alone, there have been major changes related to some cast members’ ventures outside of the show. Sandoval and Schwartz’s businesses, TomTom and Schwartz and Sandy’s, have taken a huge hit in the wake of “Scandoval.” Members of #TeamAriana flooded both bars with negative online reviews, an especially hard blow because much of Season 10 up until now has been focused on Sandoval and Schwartz’s financial struggles. The initial outpouring of negativity prompted Schwartz & Sandy’s to release a statement on Instagram reminding people that anything that hurts the business also hurts the non-famous staff trying to make a living. If Schwartz & Sandy’s in particular continues to struggle, that means that Sandoval’s firefighter mom won’t see a return on her $250,000 investment.

    Madix and Katie Maloney’s sandwich shop Something About Her, however, is already thriving despite the fact that it has yet to actually open. In the days following the initial news of the affair, the Something About Her Instagram page revealed a fitting new graphic — a very sharp knife, seemingly ready for revenge — and dropped a link to an online store selling sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, and phone cases with the logo. Even Cohen was spotted sporting some merch on his Instagram stories post-reunion. The strong show of support for #TeamAriana has the duo making money before the restaurant’s doors even open.

    And things are looking up for Madix in other professional avenues, too. She started on the series as an aspiring actor bartending to pay the bills, and while she has a few credits under her belt, like a guest role in the Anger Management TV show and a cameo as herself on The Other Two, that part of her career never really took off. But on March 22 it was announced that she would be starring alongside Meagan Good in the Lifetime movie Buying Back My Daughter. Madix has always been among the most driven Vanderpump Rules members, so these successes aren’t entirely karmic redemption. But the outpouring of support for her at this time certainly can’t hurt.

    If the show gets renewed for an 11th season (and based on this season’s ratings, it seems likely), each of these ripples could completely alter its structure moving forward. Madix’s Lifetime movie could lead to more bookings, making her unavailable to film. Sandoval and Schwartz may dedicate all their time to making sure their investment in Schwartz and Sandy’s doesn’t sink rather than spend time on camera. Even though Leviss dropped her restraining order against Shay, it’s unlikely that the two will film together if both return for the new season. Sandoval and Leviss may take themselves out of the spotlight to avoid future hate. If all are invited back to the show for Season 11 and decide to take that offer, there may be more gymnastics around who wants to film with who else when and where — the series will feel more orchestrated than ever.

    Part of what initially made Vanderpump Rules fun to watch is that the young cast hardly considered the consequences of their actions. The group of twentysomethings invited us into their messy lives, ready to make mistakes without experiencing many lasting effects from one season to the next. There was always a chance to rebrand and redeem themselves from past dramas, and that growth was exciting to watch as well. But now, a decade later, the effects of something like this very public affair hits much harder, and the lives that the cast members have set up for themselves are far more disrupted when long-term relationships, mortgages, businesses, and legal actions are involved. “Scandoval” has created more than one mess that will be difficult to clean up.

    Vanderpump Rules airs Wednesdays at 9:00 PM ET on Bravo and streams on Peacock the next day. Join the conversation about the show in our forums.

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: Vanderpump Rules, Bravo, Ariana Madix, Katie Maloney, Raquel Leviss, Scheana Shay, Tom Sandoval, Tom Schwartz