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Goodbye, Reality TV Jay Cutler. ‘Very Cavallari’ Is Officially Ending.

After years tracking Cutler’s every move, one man mourns the end of a surprisingly iconic reality TV character—the good and the not-so-good

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

All good things come to an end. Or, in terms that Jay Cutler might understand: All deer eventually die.

Since Kristin Cavallari and Cutler announced their divorce with matching Instagram posts on that cloudy, Sunday afternoon in April—I’m actually not sure it was cloudy, but my memory’s already colored in the moment with moody lighting—Very Cavallari has been on borrowed time. Without both halves of the couple, the show never would have been able to continue. In many ways, it was a brand extension promoting an image of Cavallari as a woman who has it all, a flourishing business and a delightful home life. The divorce dents that image, but also makes it clear just how much the show was a projection. Season 3 of Very Cavallari mainly centered on the expansion of Uncommon James and how supportive Cutler had been as a husband, when in reality the couple was apparently on the brink of splitting up. The tabloid reports depicting their breakup as highly acrimonious are likely overstatements—except the one about Cavallari calling Cutler “lazy;” that one’s probably dead on—and viewers know that reality TV is never a perfect reflection of reality, but this discrepancy would be too difficult to square.

Let’s be honest, Cutler was never going to do a season of TV that documented the end of his marriage. And without Cutler, well, Very Cavallari is a very different show. The various Uncommon James workplace dramas aren’t as entertaining if you don’t have a straight man in the background rolling his eyes. There was a beautiful, delicate balance between Kristin getting mad at a social media editor and Jay forcing another employee to place traffic cones up and down his driveway.

So this is how it ends, with a couple Instagram posts and a disastrous trip to the Bahamas—if E! filmed Jay and Kristin getting stuck after taking a vacation just as the coronavirus began to shut down the U.S., it’s truly a crime that we’ll never get to see that footage (#ReleasetheBahamasCut). We won’t get to see Cutler’s foray into football broadcasting or which exotic animals he buys next, nor will the show ever explain how Cutler’s Uncommon James bracelet works. (Will the store still sell that bracelet, by the way? Shit. I kinda wish I’d bought one now.)

I’ll miss so many things about Very Cavallari: Jay Cutler ordering exotic game at every restaurant; Jay Cutler carrying around increasingly large Yeti mugs; Jay Cutler wearing T-shirts shaming vegetarians; Jay Cutler mowing his lawn with a giant tractor; Jay Cutler dropping his phone in a river and barely batting an eye; Jay Cutler pretending to be a boss at Uncommon James; Jay Cutler turning the Italy episodes into a fashion show; Jay Cutler inadvertently (or not) killing multiple pets; Jay Cutler moving out of a multimillion-dollar house and then, for whatever reason, not selling it; Jay Cutler watching deer cams; Jay Cutler pretending to open a butcher shop (RIP, Cuts); Jay Cutler getting good at oral sex by reading an article in GQ; Jay Cutler explaining that his post-retirement goal was to do as little as possible.

But weirdly, I also find myself already mourning the end of the other stuff on Very Cavallari. The non-Jay parts of the show were often painful, yet I’ll also miss Brittainy’s forever-ongoing breakup with that old guy who looks like a troll; I’ll miss that dude Wirth, Jay’s style inspo who disappeared after Season 2 despite opening a gym next door to Uncommon James; I still kept thinking this is the week when Shannon, the mean, fired social media editor who’d frequently skip work, would return.

Perhaps that is the power of Jay Cutler. He lures you in with his sense of uncaring and his mediocrity and his deer cams, and then one day he’s the only thing you know. Suddenly, you’re tethered to him, writing thousands of words about his every movement and becoming enamored with even the worst elements of everything adjacent to him. You know that things could be better—and should be better—but you’ve become comfortable with the way things are, and want them to stay the same because change seems too scary; whoever replaces Jay might be worse.

It took me three seasons of Very Cavallari and almost three actual years, but I finally understand what it’s like to be a Chicago Bears fan.