***Note from the Editor: Please welcome our newest member of the TVgasm family and one of your auto passes from our last Auditiongasm, YentaPatrol!!
Take my face.
Bravo TV has once again decided to bring us a twisted slice of “Americana”, by giving us an up close and personal look at the lives of five “Real Housewives” from New York City. The fact that none of them are housewives, or for that matter the fact that one of the woman isn’t even married, must have at some point been pointed out to the person in charge of casting.
Can’t you just imagine a bedraggled, unshaven and slightly tipsy, casting director waving a wine glass at Andy Cohen as he tells him, “Listen Bitch, they’re women, they’re rich, and they agreed to do the show.” You’ve got to feel for the man. Outside of the Trumps there’s just not that many reality fame ho’s in Manhatten society. Participation on reality shows generally doesn’t get covered on the high society pages. But this, my friends, ain’t the society pages. Welcome to The Real Housewives of NYC.
The first of the five faux hausenfrau to be introduced to us is Ramona. In a voice over, Ramona tells us that she’s “proud of being sexy” while we’re shown shots of her dancing. Does anybody else remember that episode of Seinfeld where nobody has the chutzpah to tell Elaine that she can’t dance?
I’m so sexy, I’m so sexy, I’m so sexy
We are introduced to Ramona’s husband, Mario, with more of the same uncomfortable shots of Ramona/Elaine dancing. If this couple was in the seventy’s you know that they’d be hitting every swingers club they could.
Ramona has one daughter named Avery who is clearly unimpressed with having a sex goddess wannabe for a mother. Ramona tells us that, “My husband and I raised Avery conservatively…Sometimes she wishes I would be more conservative.” Well you know, if you’re going to act like a stripper, it’s probably not a good idea to instill too much virtue in your daughter; mixed signals and all that.
Before Mario and Ramona knew each other, they worked out at the same gym and Ramona noticed that he watched her a lot. One night happening to be at the same restaurant, Mario approached Ramona and asked, “Aren’t you the girl that wears the black g-string with the green ruffle?” Ahhh, how romantic; even if the imagination boggles at the picture. Curious, I actually searched for any piece of clothing that remotely fit this description.
What do you wear on the treadmill?
By the way, Mario owns a third generation family business that makes religious articles. Angels with g-strings anyone?
Our final scene of this Ramona segment is an up close and personal look of her going for what she optimistically calls beauty “maintenance”. And we thankfully leave Ramona with her telling us in a voice completely devoid of any irony, “I believe New Yorkers that live in NYC, there’s a chicness about us that you don’t find anywhere else in the country, and everybody aspires to be like New Yorkers.”
Our next “housewife” is Jill Zarin. Jill has been married to Bobby for the last seven years. From a previous marriage she also has a teenage daughter named Allison who lives with them.
Jill explains to us that, “the Manhattan circle of society is a small circle and entrÃ©e is quite expensive.” To enter it’s important to donate to charities or do things like naming hospitals after yourself. Granted it’s been a while since I lived in NYC, but I don’t remember there being a Zarin General Hospital. However, Jill assures us that while she never wanted to live in NYC, now she’s a “Manhattan socialite and she gets her picture taken in all the fancy magazines.”
Husband Bobby, whom I must say seems like a definite mensch (good guy), and step-daughter Allison have a typically strained stepfamily relationship. And we’re treated to shots of some of the awkwardness between them.
Jill like Ramona resides in the upper east side. As we leave Jill’s world she tells us that, “Bobby and I could live anywhere in the world, but we choose to live in New York.” I’m beginning to wonder if the show is supposed to be replacing the “I heart NY” and “take a bite out of the big apple” tourist slogans. It’s been a while since there’s been a catchy one.
Off to our third housewife who neither stays at home nor is a wife. Bethany has a health food business and wants to be a modern healthy Martha Stewart. Some of you may recognize her from that other reality show “The Apprentice”. That poor casting director was definitely having a tough time if he had to recycle a slightly used reality contestant.
Bethany tells us that she’s been called the runaway bride. She’s been married once and engaged twice. After that, she was always getting in relationships to have the family she never had. (Okay time to grab your tissues her story goes on). She says “My friends think of me as an orphan. I pretty much raised myself. My mother was married 3 or 4 times and I was never in the same place twice.” Apparently, her entire family consisted of horse trainers and exercise riders and she describes going up to the betting window at five years of age and hanging out by the shoeshine box. Listening to her I can’t help feeling like I just fell into an episode of “The Little Match Girl” on PBS. Don’t get me wrong I love the little match girl, but what the heck is she doing in the “Real Housewives of NYC”.
Poor little match girl
Oh good, the match girl has a marital prospect and he’s coming to dinner. Maybe we’ll get to watch her become a legitimate housewife in the next six episodes of this show. Go little match girl! Get your man!
Were told in a voice over that Jason is the little match girls soul mate as she greets him at the door with an embrace and tells him, “I’m already drunk and the house is on fire.” A little later she’s shown sitting on the counter nuzzling Jason and telling him, “I love you, you’re my best friend, and your bald too.” Hmmmm, maybe Patty the matchmaker can help her out here. I might be wrong but I’m thinking this might not be the way to a man’s heart.
I have to say that Jason seems really sweet and says nice things about her cooking before we leave the little match girl and head on to Alex.
Alex and her husband Simon Ben Campton have all the appearance of being couple from an Agatha Christie murder mystery. He’s the butler/valet masquerading as a man of society and she’s the small town pretty girl who’s fighting her way up the social ladder. Of course they get married, obtain social status, are threatened with exposure from a jealous society matron who recognized them from back in the day, and promptly decide to poison her. Between these two and the little match girl’s romantic struggles the next six episodes should be packed with action.
I always knew they’d find out he’s really the butler
Alex and Simon met on an international dating site. It took two dates for them to recognize that they were soul mates and from that point on they embraced the codependent lifestyle whole-heartedly. Alex tells us that she and her husband are so close that, “sometimes it can seem like we are one person in two bodies.” See, creepy, just like a murder mystery. Simon works in the luxury hotel industry and currently manages a small luxury hotel in NYC, kind of like a butler/valet.
They have two children Johann and Francois ages one and three and a French au pair to teach the kids French. I have to say it doesn’t seem to be working, Francois doesn’t seem to recognize a word of French.
Alex tells us that “in New York, status is everything to a certain group of people”. Simon tells us thoughtfully, “Our role in Manhattan society is still getting there.” They’ve been patrons to the Metropolitan Opera for the last three years and that’s helped their cause. Simon adds a little sadly, “Obviously we’ll never be old money or old family.” And of course there’s that small issue that they now live in Brooklyn, NOT Manhattan. But Alex knows her limits, she comes from a small town in Kansas. She might go as far as Brooklyn but she’s adamant that she “doesn’t ever want to live in the suburbs,” followed by that famous grimace shown in the previews. Probably, not the shot she wanted to be known by. Here’s a better one:
I’ve got a great ass
Luanna grew up in Connecticut and was a contestant in the Miss Connecticut Beauty Pageant. She tells us that she didn’t do very well because she was kind of chunky and had bad hair. It doesn’t look like much has changed. Luanna’s a countess, by virtue of having married while gold-digging, oops, I mean working in Europe as a model.
The Count and Countess have two kids and a nanny/housekeeper/slave that the Countess calls “My right hand man, Roseanna”. Did anybody else read the Nanny Diaries? The Countess is packing up to go to the Hamptons for the summer. Or rather, Roseanna is packing up the family to go to the Hamptons for the summer and the Countess is harassing her. I’ve got to say that this woman is striking me as a real B**tch.
Don’t make me mad
About the Hamptons, the Countess B**tch tells us that, “everyone wants me to come to their events so I really have to pick and choose what I do over the summer, but I manage.” It’s a tough life being a countess.
We have a quick clip of the little match girl explaining that the “Hamptons is a complete concentration of Manhattan wealth. Such a vulgar display of wealth–it’s a combination of waspiness and jew.” Politically correct the little match girl is not. But I’m guessing there’s a little jealousy going on as she adds in a snippy voice, “I stay in the city a lot. I’m a little anti.” Well, if nothing else that’s all encompassing.
We move on to Jill getting in the car to leave for the Hamptons. She tells us that the cost of houses there range from 3 million to 50 million and that everybody in NYC wants to live in the Hamptons. Jill goes on to tell us that she met the Countess B**tch at a premiere of a movie and they’ve been palling around ever since.
But Ramona, not so much. They’re more like tennis friends and they socialize minimally. Jill tells us that this summer she and Ramona are going to have a tennis match, and that will be interesting because, Ramona thinks she’s gotten better than Jill and she hasn’t. Jill then adds “Nanny, nanny, boo-boo” and sticks her tongue out as she blows a raspberry at the camera. Just kidding, but I get a little bored by tennis talk.
Anyway, Jill is practicing with her tennis pro who used to be Ramona’s tennis pro and gets some dirt on Ramona’s weak points. Ramona, we’re told has a weak backhand.
We also find out that her daughter Allison has arthritis and wants to get healthy and lose weight. So Jill has been working to get her in to a friend’s detox center. I’ve got to say that Jill is growing on me. Despite wanting to poke fun at her, I have to say that so far she seems like a decent warm person.
Ramona also has her own new tennis pro. Apparently, they’re like an obligatory fashionable accessory. Her tennis pro likes to take his shirt off when he plays. And frankly, when he introduces himself on camera, he makes my skin crawl as he explains with an arrogant head toss, “I’m a tennis pro in the Hamptons by day.” Leaving us with the question of what he does by night and my skin is still crawling. Ramona is apparently unable to function, much less play tennis, when his shirt is off. However, her friend suggests that he take his pants off as well. “Not in my contract,” he reminds her, adding, “Some things are better left to fantasy.” And now, I’m gagging slightly.
I work nights too
Simon and Alex prefer to go to Saint Barts in August. Alex tells us, “We love it because it’s so European, and the native tongue is French.” Watching these two pack, it is clear that they have seriously embraced the concept of fashion, both good and bad. For instance, the butt floss bikini on Alex my husband would probably consider good, but the speedo on Simon, I got to go with bad.
What would Tim Gunn say?
Simon and Alex are hopeful that their three year old son, Francois, will suddenly start spouting fluent French; after all they are paying mega bucks for a French au pair to live with them while they speak English at home. Alex tells us, “I expect Francois to move from speaking English here to speaking French at Saint Barts.” This is followed by shots of them trying to speak to the kid in French, which is clearly not working. Now it sounds like Simon may actually speak French, but I’m having some doubts that Alex actually knows anymore than a few well-rehearsed pigeon phrases.
There are some attempts to get Francois to order juice and say the word for apple in French. Finally, Simon whispers “pomme” in Francois’s ear. “Pomme” Francois tells his mother. Alex nods happily, her kid spoke French. “Deux pomme jus?” she asks him then oddly follows up with a random “Je ne sais pas.” Which makes no sense, but what the hay, Francois happily says “yeah” and off they go. While Alex’s voice over explains that they completely embrace the culture.
Back in the Hamptons, Ramona and her friends are hanging out by the pool when Mario joins them saying “I want some action.” This innocuous statement leads to a conversation about who taught Ramona to pole dance and who dances more like a stripper. Apparently, Ramona is suddenly offended by a friends comment. They have a little tussle that cumulates with her friend pushing Ramona into the pool and jumping in after her. By way of revenge Ramona decides to throw her friend’s little dog into the pool. I have to say that Ramona’s daughter Avery is the only one yelling no at this point. I also have to say that Ramona is nuts. You don’t terrorize another person’s dog. Embarrassed once again by her mother Avery tells the camera, “Sometimes they just get a bit too carried away. Like they’ll do silly ridiculous things that are unnecessary.”
Ramona and her friend kiss and make up. Avery objects to their kissing and mutters, “We’ve got lesbos in the house.” Okay, I feel for this kid, but somebody’s got to tell her that this is not a cool point of view. When her mother along with two of her friends happily identify themselves as MILF’s, it’s too much for Avery who storms off leaving her mother to wonder why her daughter is judging her. Remember, you raised her conservatively. Not a good idea if you’re planning on pole dancing and embracing MILFdom.
Alex and Simon go shopping. Their goal is to get a dress for opening night at the opera. The owner of the boutique opens up bottle of champagne and says they needed to stay until champagne is all drunk. Hmmm, I wonder if Wal-Mart could try this. Simon figures that this will take 3-4 hours, which he says is the length of a standard shopping trip. He also tells us that, “I’m blessed to have a wife, who’s blessed to have a model figure and she looks awesome in everything she puts on.” For her part, Alex can’t imagine shopping without Simon. In fact, they’re each others stylists. They end up buying twenty-three different pieces and spending around $25,000. I’m telling you, all Wal-Mart has to do is start cracking open the champagne and profits would soar.
Meanwhile, the Countess B**tch has decided to start off their time at the Hamptons by buying their ten year-old son a dog. They decide to name the dog “Astin” because the Count wants to have two dogs and name the second Martin, after which he will buy an Astin Martin.
Being a responsible mom, the Countess B**tch has called a family meeting to make sure that everybody understands that they will all be responsible for Astin, “but” she adds brightly, “of course Roseanna is going to take a little bit more of a hit than we will, unfortunately for her.”
Hey, Roseanna can clean it
Roseanna’s expression as she views the dog is priceless.
The son tells us that his mom’s last dog wasn’t fully potty trained and Roseanna had to clean up after it. This is followed by Roseanna acknowledging that the family will probably be tired of the dog after a week and she will have to do everything. Will some kind person out there please give Roseanna a nice job where she isn’t expected to clean up the urine and feces from a dog that the owner got on a whim and neither bothered to train nor take responsibility for.
And finally, we close with Jill deciding to talk to Bobby about Allison’s trip to Martha’s Vineyard, because she needs Bobby to get her a plane to fly them there. Any stepfather who is willing to support his wife and stepdaughter to the extent of providing a plane and being on a “need to know basis” concerning his wife’s spending is an uber-mensch (a really, really good guy). It’s just sad that Allison is too young to appreciate his good qualities.
The previews for the rest of the season promise us high fashion, cat fights, the b**tch countess in high form, more drama from Ramona’s middle aged promiscuity, Betheny’s maternal clock tick, tick, ticking, and the co-dependancy couple having separation anxiety.
So what do you think? Will the little match girl get married and be able to afford to go to the Hamptons? Will Francois learn French? Will Jill beat Ramona at tennis? Will Roseanna be saved from the B**tch Countess?