Saturday, November 29, 2008

Real Housewives of Orange County : A Transcontinental Leap

It is impossible to watch even one episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta without recalling the words of Miss Margaret Mitchell, and it will henceforth be impossible to read Miss Mitchell's words without recalling NeNe.:

"...But Atlanta was of her own generation, crude with the crudities of youth and
as headstrong and impetuous as herself..."

Thanks to the miracle of Dish Network's Tivoid, I was able to televiport directly from the Atlanta reunion show to the season premiere set in the SoCal enclave of Coto de Casas, and I enjoyed the immediacy of that transition.

Although I recognize that their own view would be very different, from my perspective, the Housewives of the various locations seem to have share much more than the relatively small if visible and entertaining cultural details, such as accents, that separate them, and the new season promises to reassure viewers who need it that little seems to have changed in the lives of the California hamsters.

These are, in the reality show universe, Old Money people, since they have had a lot of it for ten or twenty years, as opposed to the Atlanta cast, who just received theirs ten minutes ago, and while all the Housewives, regardless of location, are obviously selected for their strong drama potential, the OC hamster selection process seems to also cleave very closely to the SoCal enclave stereotype that has been presented to the world via a whole schedule full of other shows, and rightly so, as the world cannot seem to get enough of this remarkable subculture.

While the Atlanta bunch are still actively choosing how to spend their newly minted money, their SoCal counterparts have pretty much done that. Vicky, for example, has a "lake house" that is paid for, and which she plans to sell in order to purchase a million dollar pleasure yacht.

That the yacht contains household appliances is beyond anything she has ever imagined, she is surprised and delighted.

Lauri, over a breakfast of eggs and what appears to be rather revolting little nodules of some meat product, asks her recently acquired "multi-millionaire" husband George where they will go on their honeymoon.

Without hesitation, he replies "Dubai," which Lauri does not like, and indicates this by an insistent declaration that Dubai would be a good stopover, for shopping, she adds with a meaningful glance George-ward, but she wishes the honeymoon to take place on an island where they will be pampered.

It is as clear that Lauri has never even so much as talked to anyone who has visited Dubai, with the possible exception of George, and whose opinion on the subject does not interest her, as it is clear that Vicki has never set foot on a pleasure yacht of the type she had already determined to purchase.

George suggests, with resigned cheerfulness, that they ask a prominent billionaire for the loan of his private island. Lauri seems pleased enough with this.

Tamra's son is moving into a new apartment, and her segment consists almost entirely of the process of Ryan and Simon moving a large TV into the headstrong youth's new digs.

He has left his low-wage job at the car part place, and is now making what is considered at least an Orange County-style Living Wage of sorts at a construction company. What, if anything, he actually does is not clear.

Tamra's mother has decided to get a face lift, and while they are at the plastic surgeon's for her inistial consultation, Tamra announces that she wants to age gracefully and nestles back onto the examining table and has her lips injected.

Poor sad Jeana is still separated from her head-injured husband, Matt. Apparently still refusing treatment for the sequelae of a severe head injury some years ago, he has moved back into the house with Jeana. To cope with his presence, she plans to redecorate a couple of rooms.

Kara, who surprised many viewers last season by choosing to attend Berkely, has remained strong in her traditional SoCal enclave reality show values, and seems to be enjoying living in a different cultural milieu and cultivating contempt for her fellow Berkelians.

The older son, whose name escapes me which would probably please him, apparently does not want to be on the reality show any more, and Jeana was obliged to bribe him by hiring a chef to make a special breakfast in exchange for his appearance in a scene or two and uttering a couple of monosyllables.

All in all, despite the variological intrigue of the teleleap from Atlanta to SoCal, nothing much has happened in the enclave, and that's how they like it.

The biggest change, I guess, is the departure of Tammy? Or did she leave season before last? Whenever it was, it was obvious that she put the needs of her family before our entertainment, proof that she never really did fit in, anyway.

This season features the addition of two new hamsters. From only a couple of frames in the pre-show promos, I thought that Gretchen's fiance Jeff reminded me of a post-surgery Kenny Rogers, and apparently I'm not the only one, as within minutes of introducing the new couple, both Jeana and Gretchen mentioned seeing the same resemblance.

And that is about the extent of thoughts and comments that would be appropriate for me to share about Jeff and Gretchen.

Jeff has leukemia. I hope that he will beat the disease and regain his health, and keep him, and all who love him, in my prayers.

1 comment:

Laura said...


Tammy left mid-last season so as to tend to her trainwreck eldest daughter, who was having a difficult time dealing with the loss of her father. Totally understandable. I hope all is well. But whatever happened to Tammy's ex, who worked in Vicki's office for a while? I liked him.

I heard a rumor that Jeff passed away this past September. Not sure if it's true or not, though.


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