Image Credit: Glenn Watson/BravoHere’s what I learned about Will Smith’s favorite city from The Real Housewives of Miami, the latest iteration of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise: It is not New York. It is not L.A. It’s a great place to find women with big, floppy hats, ridiculously long, flat-ironed hair, and sexy accents. Its largest PR firm employs a staggering 12 people. And some people refer to it as The Magic City. (Okay, fine, I actually learned that last fact on Wikipedia.)
I still don’t know, however, if Miami has what it takes to host a decent edition of Housewives. That’s mostly because this premiere episode was high on exposition and low on drama. To be fair, that’s par for the course when it comes to pilots; the series has plenty of time to prove that it’s more of an Atlanta than a D.C. And while I was occasionally bored during tonight’s proceedings, there were few things that, as the Fresh Prince once said, brought the heat for real — which is enough to keep me interested for at least a few more episodes. (Warning: If you’re not a fan of the seminal rap hit “Miami,” then prepare yourself, because I plan to reference it early and often.)
Let’s talk about the ladies in the order in which we met them. Lea Black, wife of lawyer Roy Black, likes “collecting” people (like Natalie Cole, Rick Ross, and, er, Dennis Rodman) and commissioned an oil painting of her son that’s displayed above her pool. I liked this because it reminded me of the portrait of Scarlett O’Hara that hung in the belle’s own mansion. Lea appears to be the oldest of the ladies, and she also seems like the self-appointed den mother of the group. Was anyone else getting a tiny bit of a Jill Zarin vibe from her?
Larsa Pippen is married to a certain former Chicago Bull, with whom she has four adorable children. On a shopping trip, she tells her companions that she’s looking for something “that’s hot, but yet cute, you know what I mean?” Oh, Larsa, we do indeed know what you mean! One tip, though: That thing you held up in Curves is meant neither for the bedroom nor for dinner. It’s meant for the incinerator.
Adriana De Moura is a Brazilian art dealer-slash-wild child who tells us during the credit sequence that while she speaks five languages, she “can get a man with no words.” We believe it. She’s divorced but engaged to a stud named Frederic who has a boat called “The Mojo,” proving once again that the designation “housewife” means next to nothing on these shows. Adriana sort of makes waves when she struts down a runway during Miami Fashion Week (an event that appears dedicated to showing off ugly lamé bathing suits). All in all, I expect great things from Adriana this season — not least because she once discovered that her husband was common-law married to a 17-year-old escort girl. (“A NASCAR girl?” Marysol asks when Adriana confesses this last fact. “NO, ESCORT,” shout the rest of the Housewives. Gold.)
Cristy Rice is a Cuban-American Miami native who was once married to another NBA player, Glen Rice. She’s the type of woman who has her psychic make house calls — i.e. my favorite kind of woman.
Marysol Patton owns the Patton Group, that aforementioned 12-person PR dynamo. She seems fine and all, but what I really love are the people she surrounds herself with. There’s her friend David, who at one point remarks, “Someone’s phone is ringing. It’s like Tito Puente’s in your purse.” Even better is her mother, a Joan Rivers lookalike who says hilarious things in an inscrutable accent. The montage at the end of the show promised that there would be more of Mother Marysol, which in itself is enough to keep me watching.
Finally, there’s blonde Alexia Echevarria, who calls herself “the Cuban Barbie.” But the name isn’t totally accurate: “Barbie is silent because, you know, she’s a doll. But I’m like, alive,” she explains. Alexia has two children: sweet 13-year-old Frankie and 17-year-old Peter, who is extremely cute (is it weird for me to say that?) but is perhaps not the sharpest machete in the armory. At a restaurant, he peruses a menu and then asks his mother what “grass-fed beef” means. Sheesh, Miami really isn’t New York or L.A.!
In retrospect, there was a lot to like about this premiere. What say you, TV maniacs — will RHMIA find a place in your hearts and on your DVR queues? Or does this not seem like the type of town you could spend a few days in?