Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
On the one hand, no one should ever feel sorry for the women of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which premieres Oct. 14 at 10 p.m. ET. Thousands of people across the country, and in California in particular, are losing their homes to foreclosure; meanwhile, these women are blithely leading Bravo's cameras around their opulent cribs and cliffside pools. And yet you do come away from the preview clips (which are available on Bravo's website) feeling, well, a little stirred with sympathy.
Possibly, it's because the many Housewives installments you've already seen have inured you to these outrageously swanky surroundings. Twenty hot tubs and a chef's kitchen, with marble imported from Italy? Oh, whatever -- you've already seen such chic delights over in New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, D.C. and the O.C. A McMansion is a McMansion is a McMansion. It's no longer interesting to ooh and ahh at their shoe collections or their boob jobs. So what's different about these ladies of leisure? What's left to see, if you're not focused on the grand foyers or silver-dipped spiral staircases?
First off, there's Camille Grammer, wife of 55-year-old actor Kelsey Grammer. But even as the cameras roll, the 42-year-old Camille is being traded in for a new, 28-year-old girlfriend. In a sad irony, the Real Housewives franchise came along too late to catch Camille in former years, when she was the younger trade-in wife (she was his third) -- in a marriage to Kelsey that lasted 13 years and produced two children. Now that those glory days are over, it probably would have been better for Camille if she'd remained in the shadows during the divorce, allowing Kelsey to emerge as the dog who left her. But appearing on this show, admitting to having four nannies, hurts the only bit of integrity she had left.
Adrienne Maloof, whose family fortune comes from operating a sports-and-entertainment empire, is perhaps the most pitiful of the bunch. At least she appears that way. Maloof is married to a plastic surgeon and her face has been frighteningly pinched, pulled and distorted in much-too-extreme attempts to fight the aging process. The idea that her plastic surgeon spouse hasn't tried to help (or was it he who inflicted the harm?) is just upsetting.
Lisa VanderPump, a British import and nightclub developer, seems relatively down to earth -- except in the scenes with her houseguest/personal trainer/gay best friend, Cedric. "He used to kind of be, you know, the beautiful face on the door" of one of VanderPump's London clubs, she explains. Now they work out and have ridiculous, frivolous conversations, all the time.
So the prize for most sane Housewife will have to go to Taylor Armstrong, by default. She's a true, wealthy Housewife (to a venture capitalist) who fills her time with volunteer work and swimming in her pool with her 4-year-old daughter, Kennedy.
A lot of people would gladly trade lives with these posh socialites. But once this show starts airing, a lot of people will probably change their minds.