The first season of Bravo's Real Housewives of Miami was like a flower in the lush Everglades. It was pretty to look at, just like every other flower in the known universe, but when you got close, there was no scent. It just didn't smell. It didn't stink, but it didn't have any enchanting perfume either. It was just a blossom, sitting there in the middle of the forest not doing anything, being boring. Bravo should have cancelled it. Really, they should have.
But no, that Bravo is smarter than all of us. It retooled the formula, got some new ladies in there and then showed us the flower again. This time, when we went to go look at it and got our nose just close enough to the pistol and stamen, the flower came alive, opened it's great maw, and swallowed us whole. Yes, Andy Cohen and Co. finally gave this thing some teeth, something worth watching, something that is totally consuming and will consume you.
Now I don't think I'm going to be recapping this mess (though I may not be able to stop myself) because I'm worried that the first episode won't replicate how good the rest of the season is and I don't want to get stuck writing every week about that boring old orchid blossom. Also, starting in October Thursday night is Jersey Shore territory, but, man, it seems like we're going to be in for quite the ride. Let's look at the cast of new and returning Housewives and judge everyone a little bit, shall we? I mean, this exercise is completely worthless unless we can judge everyone a little bit.
We start the show with Marysol Patton and her mother Elsa going jewelry shopping. This really serves no purpose other than to tell us that Marysol and her husband are now separated and to remind us Marysol is only on this show because of her mother. Her mother looks like a blown out birthday cake candle that is all melted up at the top and covered with some sticky frosting down at the bottom. She talks about the plastic surgeon who ruined her face, so at least she acknowledges that she looks there is a giant blob of mud on her neck. I shouldn't be so mean to Mama Elsa, because she is hilarious and wise and some sort of psychic wizard.
"You'll be surprised what destiny has in store for you," she tells her daughter at the jewelry store. "I see women. I see lots of women in skimpy clothes and Roman sleeves. I see women with plastic surgery and limp plumping gloss. I see high heels and Versace prints. Oh, and yelling. Lots of yelling and false accusations. There is a slap, and a flying glass, and the sound of a million monkeys caught in a tornado. This is what I see in your future. Lots of gossip and fighting women and a trip to New York to sweat next to a Jewish gay in a small television studio in Soho while he tells you to plead the fifth. This is what I see in your future. I am psychic." Then she runs home and replenishes her energy by feeling around in a big silver buffet tray full of kitty litter that is speckled with feathers and jewels and dice and the head of a live chicken and the earthly remains of Larsa Pippen. And the souls coalesce around her, their specters of a million shrieking harpies eddying about her in a spiral of spirits, like wrapping her up like a mummy covered in smoke and when she inhales they all go down her mouth, like so much smoke from a hookah and she stammers backwards, trips over her tiny dog (who had been hiding in the closet for three days) and falls onto her fainting couch. This what happens with Momma Elsa.
Now we fly over to meet new housewife Ana. Oh, this is a delicious morsel, this Ana. She is just the kind of complicated mess that fuels the engines of a million reality television program recaps. She is a middle aged Cuban lawyer who loves to cook and has two teenaged brats that like to make fun of her. Well, all teenage daughters like to make fun of their mothers, that is just the way the world works. That is just Persephone plucking the pomegranate in the orchards of the underworld and tossing it at her mother. That is the universe. What makes Ana so delicious is that she has a soon-to-be-ex-husband named Robert. They have been separated for years and she says they're "friends," but she spits the words out like a bit of chew juice hitting a spittoon and making a brassy ding. "Yes, we're (deep swallow) friends and he comes over all the time for dinner and he has his own girlfriend and it's just (deep swall) great." I'm sorry, but she does not seem OK with it. She seems like she doesn't want to divorce him and keeps him around so that she can continue to control him, hold on to that little morsel of company that is left before her daughters move away and she's shuffling along that big, airy house of hers wearing printed caftans and taking swigs of white wine right of the bottle. Oh, and get this, she works with Robert too. They're both lawyers together. This lady is giving me red flags all over the place.
Next up is Karent, a woman whose name is infested with the cancer of an extra consonant. Yes, that T is just dangling off the end of her name like a malignant tumor. KarenT is from Columbia. No, not the university, the country. She used to be in beauty pageants and she used the scholarship money to become a dentist, a profession that is about as glamorous as podiatry, chiropracty, and waste management. KarenT lives with her parents, because she says it is normal for women in Latin cultures to live with their parents until they get married. Oh, that's so cute. Sorry, Karent, but you're not 25 anymore and waiting to start a family of your own. This is sort of like still wearing a promise ring to your 25th high school reunion. It is like having a crush on David Cassidy when you're peri-menopausal. Just admit that you are a middle aged woman who supports your parents, that's cool; admirable, infact. But don't use it like Botox. It's not making anyone think you're younger.
The only really interesting thing about KarenT is she is dating someone named Rudolpho, who is a telenovela star (I wonder if he knows ¡Que Viva! from Housewives New York). Rudolpho, I can tell, is smarmy and there is some drama going on with him and Ana and texting. I'm sorry, but middle-aged ladies should not be having drama about whose boyfriend is texting whom and whether or not their relationship is real. That is some Pretty Little Liars level shit.
Next up is returning Housewife Lea Black. She is sort of like Pig Pen from the Charlie Brown comics, but instead of dirt swirling around her it is noise. She is like one of those annoying sirens that they set off at random intervals at cheesy dance clubs. She is like a bag full of hoots, cackles, screams, and other various and assorted noises. She is also one of those people who says something totally awful and vapid and then punctuates it with a hoot and a holler so that you think she's joking. She is not joking. Whatever awful thing she just said she means. "Oh, this house was built in the '70s. It is so old. HONK CACKLE!! HAHA!" No, she means it. "This woman seems very nice, I'm just not used to skanks at my charity event. HONK CACKLE!! HAHA!" No, she just called you a skank to your face.
Lea Black bought a house on Star Island, which is where Diddy, Rosie O'Donnell, and Gloria Estefan and other celebs live. She wants to tear the whole house down and rebuild. Sorry, Lea, that is not the problem. The problem is that you have a pool in your back yard that is shaped like a giant penis. That might be the first thing you wanna fix, maybe. Just maybe. Unless you wanna live in the Hacienda De Dick.
Next door to Lea is Rosie O'Donnell's Craft Center and Lesbian Orphanage. Next to that lives Lisa, who is married to the Boob King of Miami. He sounds like the kind of plastic surgeon who advertises on the sides of buses and takes most major credit cards. But, hey, he can afford a house on Star Island the we're trying to scrounge together couch change to pay the burrito delivery guy as he waits there impatiently in the door. Good for you, Lisa's husband. Lisa is the kind of girl who takes all her awful qualities and "owns them," as if that makes them better. Yes, she is proud to be vain, materialistic, awful, and bitchy. She is the kind of person who would refer to herself as a "diva" and not realize that there is some irony that can be wrung out of that statement. She is the kind of woman who asks her husband to bring home Botox because there is a tiny part of her face that has become mobile. She is the kind of woman who is training her maid, Daysy, so that she can have plastic surgery like she's a real life contestant on The Swan. She is the kind of woman who, at the end of a workout, offers Daysy a drink, even though she knows she is in AA. She is the kind of blithe awfulness that this franchise was built on since the beginning.
Next up is Joanna Krupa, who is meant to be the star of this here show. She is actually quite a "get" for Bravo, considering she is a real actual model, not a "model" like the rest of the Housewives who claim they are models and just have some awful pics and a Model Mayhem page. She is like Victoria's Secret for real and was on Dancing with the Stars and is legit. She also has the best Real Housewives tagline of all time: "I'm a model, just not always a model citizen." We didn't see much of her other than the fact that she threw a temper tantrum because she wasn't going to be on the cover of a magazine and the editors tricked her. I can't really bitch about that. This is sort of a real argument. I don't know why she is calling up and screaming at her agent about how many covers she's had over the years. This is a fact the manager knows. You don't need to shout it at her, Joanna. Have her shout at the editors, don't misplace your anger. Joanna has a hunky boyfriend named Romain who is the heir to the lettuce fortune and has a nightclub that is named Mint, which is possibly the worst name of a nightclub ever. He should just call it The Douche Hut, book Skrillex, and call it a day.
Who we really need to talk about is Marta, Joanna's sister who lives with her and Romain and does not get along with her sister's boyfriend. (Fiance? Whatever.) If I were writing a novel based on this show, the main character would be Marta. She is the not-as-cute younger sister of a famous beautiful person. Every one of her words drips with jealousy. She is also kind of a mess, going out to clubs and making out with dudes and not going home to wash her face and just showing up at her day job (as her sister's assistant!) in last night's makeup. She is just sad and complex and devious and just a little bit of all of us. I love Marta. I want to go with her to Mint and watch her get shitfaced and make out with some guy named Jose who she thinks is rich because his watch weighs more than her sister.
Who is left? Oh Adrianna. Do we have to talk about her? I would rather not. She is sort of a like a Brazilian Blowout come to life. She is the kind of woman who dates the villain on Miami Vice and he wants her to live on his yacht and she says she will only if there is a walk-in closet and room for her baby grand piano. Why do you need a piano on a boat? Do you remember how that turned out in The Piano? Yeah, not good. Adrianna, like Lisa, is just sort of blithely awful. That was fine last season when she was the only one (both Larsa and Christie, who are not on the show anymore, were awful in their own special ways) but now she has to fight against Lisa for the "I'm so vain and I think it's cute" slot. That is the worst slot. Someone should blow that slot up forever.
After we meet everyone they all get together at a party and Lea snubs Lisa so that she can talk to Mama Elsa, who wasn't psychic enough to know she would pass out at the party. Also, KarenT and Ana and Rudolpho had some sort of epic kiss kiss scare down like they were living in a telenovela. There was some fight with Romain and Marta over text and, wow, there are a lot of people on this show. This thing is packed. Not only are there more Housewives than any other city, but there is also Alexia, an original Housewife who is only around part time because she is caring for her son, who was in a bad car crash. Then each housewife has a friend or a sister or a boyfriend or a mother or two parents or a missing dog or something else. This thing is as sprawling as a western city, pockmarked with strip malls and sadness. It's gonna be a really crazy year.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]