I have always been a Bravotee, devoted to wondering if Jonathan Anton of the hit show Blow Out, was really that crazy; and to exploring my connection to the Real Housewives of Orange County -- the original crop of bitches that wouldn't let me leave my bed during those Saturday marathons.
I was less devoted to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, preferring Weird Guy Interviews the Talented Guy, James Lipton's Inside The Actors Studio. And then came along Jeff Lewis. My devotion to watching his show stripped away any notion that I should ever date a real estate gay.
The citrus crop came back; an orchard of crazy New York bitches, I mean housewives; a sassy lesbian that owns a gym; the unlikely jury of German barbie doll, old queen with a penchant for using references only a drag queen would get, and tough Latina fashionista. Then comes the skinny foodista and reluctant bear Chef Tom Colicchio, and next thing I knew I was tuning in to Bravo on weekdays, Watching What Happens.
Now I have to give up the Bravo moniker, which quickly became an inside joke among my friends ("watch what happens bitch!") -- the same friends who now lovingly jab at my transformation from Bravotee to Bravoite. As a member of the cast of the upcoming show Miami Social, airing July 14th, I really am what happens.
And on June 23, my transformation will be complete -- that's when Bravo unveils its new "By Bravo" campaign. With it, Bravo shrewdly takes ownership of the wealth of emotions its cast members deliver to the audience, specifically, at least in my case, through the use of a few choice words and a few eye rolls.. There might also be a surgical enhancement or two; an incessant ability to spend money in a recession; and a preference for cocktails over water. And, oh yeah, the desire for romance.
Standing under the bright lights shooting the promo at City Stage studios in New York City, I was a member of the elite docu-drama upper crust, skipping the audience adjustment period, and thrust into the spotlight of a highly charged campaign that features everyone from Kathy Griffin to the lone little white girl with the peachy attitude from Real Housewives of Atlanta to Miami Social's younger and, yes, richer counterparts on NYC Prep. Slogans were thrown to me: Okay Michael, now say, "Drama by Bravo," and "Tuesdays by Bravo," and "Food by Bravo." Wait, we don't eat in Miami!
Luckily, I brought a stylist to the shoot, well not so much a stylist but a friend, who helped settle my nerves and fix my hair. This is much bigger than Miami Social my friend wisely observed, "This is about Bravo, bitch."
So I had arrived. There I was at the Green Screen Gates of Heaven. I felt like the kid that skips kindergarten and goes straight to first grade, not necessarily because he's smarter but because he has a relentless Jewish mother. And although a former tabloid boss warned me, "you don't want to be one of those people you write about," I took the leap of faith -- who says I don't?
I am the person who says, "I'm gay, but not a big queen," and then ushers kisses to a male sales associate while drinking champagne and bitching about trying to avoid a mid-life crisis, a few years before mid-life and undeserving of the Tom Ford bowties I bought to make me feel better.
I'm also the person who declares Kim Kardashian is not a big enough draw to get me to cover a red carpet event (I used to be an entertainment writer for In Touch!) and that she is nothing but a reality TV whore -- my ultimate acceptance that people who live in glass houses can absolutely throw stones. My former boss need not worry.
Then there's what the other cast members say and do -- a continual feast of one liners in action that even have the seasoned dumbfounded. A standout in the super tease that invites viewers on bravotv.com to meet Miami Social, is when a frazzled Ariel Stein, throwing an event for Puma, demands, "get the fat girl out of my table," even though that's his friend Kelly.
Yes, it sounds funny, but its perverse, like Lina, the girlfriend of cast member George French. After another of their bang out fights sprinkled with four letter expletives delivered with her Russian twist, she steps out of the bedroom wearing a peace offering: a cheerleader skirt, a little white camisole and a pair of cheap white patent leather shoes, straight from the Hookers-R-Us look book. "Meet Lina number 2," she says with the pout of the girl next door followed by the confident smirk that sex makes everything better, even if you do wear white eye liner.
Interchangeably, and equally as entertaining, is Hardy Hill's girlfriend, Trixia. Wait, you remember Hardy Hill from Big Brother fame, don't you? He was one of the least offensive of the crew, which might put him in the boring category. His girlfriend Trixia makes up for it. She wants babies. Period. And she just doesn't understand why Hardy didn't bring her home one from the nightclub. I mean, "all our friends have one!" Yes, some on their second or third.
Then there's no-stranger-to-reality-television, Katrina Campins, who spends her entire existence explaining that all she does is work. And work. And work this shtick to death. Almost nauseating at times, though, unlike myself, content that she is alone on rainy Sunday mornings, which prompts Hardy to say that he is getting Katrina C batteries for Christmas. Clearly, her dildo is not from this season.
There is some normalcy to the cast of Miami Social. Sorah, George French's ex wife, and George coexist in the same chic Miami hi-rise as when they were married. He lives in their marital apartment on the 11th floor, while she lives on the 4th floor, and her boyfriend, Gonzalo, lives on the fourteenth. Well, almost normal. Needless to say, elevator rides in this building are always interesting. Throw in Lina number one, known for causing a scene at the valet, and it's Melrose place on steroids.
Everyone on this show has something to say, every minute on the minute. It's just too good to be scripted. No matter what the new campaign says, you still have to watch to see what happens.
Anticipation By Bravo.