Fact Check: Is Lindsay's Beach Club The New Vanderpump Rules?
'Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club' is being sold as Lindsay's spin on the cult Bravo hit 'Vanderpump Rules', which is currently in its seventh season. But does the comparison hold up?
Since the show's inception, it's been described to potential viewers as being "in the style of Vanderpump Rules". In fact, promotion has been so heavily Vanderpump-adjacent that Pump Rules' number one podcaster in the game, Lara Marie Schoenhals, recently announced that she'd be expanding the Sexy Unique Podcast to also recap episodes of Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club.
Given that Vanderpump Rules is one of my three areas of expertise in life (the others are Britney Spears and Titanic), I felt equipped to fact check the claim that Lindsay's show would live up to the high standards set by my beloved Pumpheads.
Most of the Vanderpump comparisons come from the premise of the show, which is as follows: A bunch of hot servers work and party together while a "benevolent" matriarch figure watches over them, offering "sage advice" on their personal lives (whether they asked for it or not) and scolding them when they inevitably f**k their lives up. They do this while simultaneously plugging their establishment.
The main difference in the premise of the shows lies within the intentions of its servers (or, SURvers).
“Working at SUR is different from working any other restaurant,” Stassi Schroeder declared in the pilot of Vanderpump Rules.
“The servers all want to be models, actors, writers, singers. The servers at other Hollywood restaurants just want to be waiters at SUR.”
In the Vanderpump universe, the cast is shown -- to varying degrees of success -- embarking on journeys to fulfil their creative endeavours, which include but are not limited to: fashion journalism, beauty journalism, singing, modelling, acting, music, podcasting, sketch comedy, cosmetics, t-shirts, lifestyle brands fitness apps, chunky knit sweaters, cocktail books, self-help(?) books (I'm unclear on what Stassi's book is actually about and I CBF Googling it SORRY!) statement necklaces, and currently, beer cheese. What's refreshing about the premise of Pump Rules is that the cast was able to be completely upfront about their hunger for fame in whatever form it was delivered to them.
Where the premise of Vanderpump falls apart is in its continued ties to the restaurant. Where the show once leaned into a real picture of struggling SURvers thirsty for fame, the cast has achieved their goals of becoming famous, only to be held hostage by the show's contractual obligations to work at the restaurant, so as to maintain the premise of a show that no longer fits its cast. It's frustrating to watch scenes where the cast discusses money from a perspective that forces them to pretend that their only source of income comes from busting their asses for tips every night.
LiLo's Beach Club, on the other hand, has tightened the reins on its cast even more, by demanding that the servers deny their desire for fame. Where the early days of Pump Rules saw Lisa Vanderpump making allowances for the staff to head off to photo shoots and auditions, Lindsay talks about wanting to find people who are committed to their roles as VIP ambassadors for the club. This leads to scenes that feel less like the organic, fame-hungry days of early Vanderpump, and more like a recent season of The Bachelor. Lindsay even tells a girl at one point that she doesn't think she's "here for the right reasons", a line pulled directly from Bachelor nation.
"I think you want your own show," Lindsay says, prompting a quick denial from the server. "Then don't wear a bra when you meet me for the first time," Lindsay snaps, strutting out of the surprise staff meeting she decided to hold at 9pm.
With Lindsay at the helm of both the beach club and -- more importantly, the show, of which she is an executive producer -- the girl's plot arc for the rest of the episode follows her as she tries to prove her passion and dedication to her work as a server. It's entirely absurd, given that she's just been cast as a reality star only to be instructed onscreen by her executive producer to act as though she doesn't want to be famous, but she can't point that out, because that would get her fired from the show.
Where Bravo has refused to allow its cast to break the fourth wall and address their fame on camera, MTV has done the opposite with Teen Mom OG and Teen Mom 2. Breaking the fourth wall after the cast became famous, the show now includes producers on camera interacting with cast members, and shows the cast attending various events as public figures. Should Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club turn its cast into stars, it's not out of the question that the show would pivot into a similar mode.
One of the most truly entertaining parts of Vanderpump Rules is watching the show's editors' troll the cast all the way down to hell. Once, they cut from a confessional interview with DJ James Kennedy, where he emphatically boasts about his successful DJ career and how he's "f**king killing it, mate!", only to have the editors cut directly to a scene of him emceeing an event, reminding people to pick up their dogs' poop, and making announcements about lost and found items.
In another scene, they intercut a confessional interview with Tom Sandoval describing his passion for trumpet playing, with... well, honestly, you should just watch it for yourself because I can't think about this scene for too long without crying tears of laughter. From 1:08, friends:
The point is, there are so few reality shows where the editors are given the freedom to openly loathe their cast, and it's one of the things that makes Vanderpump so entertaining to watch. From the pilot, LiLo's Beach Club shows no signs of trolling, which is sad for viewers and Pumpheads everywhere! Moving on!
While the show has grown and evolved over the years, Vanderpump Rules was initially centred around a small group of servers who -- aside from Scheana -- had all been working together and friends with one another for years. The bonds were all established, and six of the cast members made for three romantic relationships.
These bonds make the show. They make the stakes higher, and they make viewers more invested, as they know that the drama unfolding on camera would be happening regardless of the show's existence or not. As we see relationships and friendships crumble, we're not watching the end of a one month fling, we're watching the dissolution of a six-year relationship. It means more to them, so it means more to us.
Back at the Beach Club, there are no real stakes and no real bonds... yet. In fact, the set up is far closer to that of Jersey Shore than Vanderpump, in that we're meeting strangers who are living and working together for a summer, rather than a group who have been friends for years. It's not to say those bonds won't be formed in years to come -- certainly, the Jersey Shore cast's obsession with referring to one another as 'family' proves that when you cast a show well, it will deliver.
There's also a level of representation on Beach Club that Vanderpump has yet to achieve. Where Pump Rules has -- for the most part -- remained mostly straight and very white, Beach Club has a diverse cast that includes (but is not limited to) a Pakistani Muslim girl and a bisexual guy.
Lindsay Lohan vs Lisa Vanderpump
Lindsay Lohan arriving at her staff's house at 9pm after they've all gotten drunk to "get to know them" is roughly on the same level of inappropriate professional conduct as most of Lisa's antics, but there really isn't enough to work with to offer an informed comparison of these two #bossbitches just yet.
With that being said, I have never seen Lisa Vanderpump compare herself to Steven Spielberg, which LiLo did in the first episode of her show, and I just feel like everyone needs to take a moment to really stop and consider that.
... Thank you.
Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club is thriving with potential, and I suspect if we invest in it, it will deliver. Is it Vanderpump Rules? No. Could it be? Unlikely! But it could be the next Jersey Shore, the next Floribama Shore, or it could just be its own delicious s**tshow. However it plays out, I'll be watching.
Feature image: Getty Images