As the previous six Real Housewives series have shown, the first episode is all about getting to know our new harem of ladies, to see what makes them tick. The drunken catfights and social snubbing come later. But for now, it is all niceties and flashes of wealth and glamour and class. (Though as New York's Countess taught us, that last one cannot always be bought, my friends). The women of Miami are more easily distinguishable from each other, at least physically, compared to the recent overload of blonde-haired, big-lipped Beverly Hills Housewives... so let's get distinguishing.
Lea: I care about a lot of things. What others think of me isn't one of them.
Lea is the queen bee, the social connector of the group. "My job is to go around and make sure everyone is having a good time, and if everything else fails, I just get them drunk!" she says, which is exactly what she does at the episode-end dinner party she throws. It seems that this will be a weekly occurrence, which, though it may seem manufactured, is a good recipe for drama. Housewives + copious amounts of wine -- yes please. From Texas originally, Lea came to Miami in the 1980's and married her husband Roy, after being a juror in a high profile-trial that he was a lawyer in. Every young girl growing up in the Alamo's dream! Did he win the trial? "Of course Roy won that one. You think he would've married me if he lost!" Really though, Lea seems like one of the saner ones of this group. Though her admittance, time and time again, that she likes to "collect" people gives me pause. I imagine Lea with a basement full of raggedy old housewives. Their failed pop singles and houses repossessed left them in a tragic, woeful state, and here's Lea to swoop in, supply the wine, and just watch them go at it, Roman Coliseum style. Still though, she somehow seems kinda sweet. (Maybe it's the fact that she's addicted to her Blackberry. Who can't relate to that?)
Larsa: My husband's got moves, but I run the game.
Larsa's mom is Lebanese and her dad is Assyrian, but people in Miami always speak Spanish to her because they think she's Spanish. #Lebanese/AssyrianGirlProblems, Am I Right? Larsa has been married to Scottie Pippin for 13 years and lives in Ft. Lauderdale (which as someone who grew up in South Florida, I can tell you, is not Miami). But hey, it's got the heat and some of the tackiness, so I will give Larsa a pass on this one. She and Scottie Pippin moved down from Chicago because it (Ft. Lauderdale? Miami?!) is the "only place where we can basically have a boat in your backyard." As good a reason as any. Larsa is very self-involved. When she goes to a gun range with her visiting brother and sister, she says (in a theme that will be continued many times throughout this episode alone), " I'm normally good at everything I do... Listen, I feel like I did so well. Didn't I do great." Again, at the dinner party later, while cooking: " I just do everything well. I wanna hire me, at the restaurant." Larsa also seems kind of insecure and feels the need to state her beauty over and over again. When one of the other housewives puts a shawl over Larsa's head to see what she would look like if she had to hide her face ( just the kind of thing one housewife does to another, you know), Larsa proclaims, " Why would I have to hide my face? It's so pretty. It would never be hidden." Can't argue with logic like that. She also has to make sure to keep up her pretty face and her hot body for her former NBA husband. Going into a boutique, she proclaims, " I want something that's hot, but yet cute. You know what I mean?" I do, Larsa! I do! And one last thing, Larsa -- the line about shooting your nanny if she stole your bags... you're not Bethenny Frankel. So enough with the attempts at humor. Just stick to what you are normally good at. Which is everything.
Cristy: In my world, attitude is everything. I'm keeping it real.
The husky-voiced, born-and-raised in Miami Cuban-American, made an impression as a saucy sidekick, but I think there is more to her than meets the eye that we will hopefully see throughout the season. She is introduced on the beach, saying sassily to a waiter, in her husky, latin flair, "You have mojitos or you have mojitos?" Cristy, he has mojitos. She was married to former NBA athlete Glen Rice, which is how she met Larsa. Ah, the days of being young and an NBA wife. Cristy is either turning 29 or 39 or 49. I'm not entirely sure, after all the joking, but I suspect it is actually 39. Maybe I can ask her psychic Veronica, who sort of looks like Chaz Bono, which is not an insult or a compliment but just the facts. Veronica Bono tells Cristy that this is her year, and she will be finding somebody very...and then she does a wild psychic-air-quote gesticulation while saying the word "stable." Comforting. Cristy's mean streak also comes out a little bit later, when she attends Miami Fashion Week with Lea and Adriana. After Adriana walks on the catwalk for fun once the show is over, Cristy tells us viewers in a hushed aside, " Who wants to go on a catwalk when the show's over and everybody's gone? Myy daughter and her little friends that are eight. They did that after the last fashion show and that's cute when you're eight, ten, eleven." ( Not 29, 39, 49, like you Cristy.)
Adriana: I speak five languages, but I can get a man with no words.
Adriana is the most typical Latin bombshell of the group and gives off a Sofia Vergara vibe. The fact that her first line was in Spanish and was subtitled validates this for me. Thanks producers! She has a 10-year-old son named Alex, who she is genuinely sweet with, and a fiancée Frederic, who swooped in once she got divorced. And whoa boy, what a divorce it was. As we find out in the end of the episode, she was "collected" by Lea after she found out that her husband had a secret (!) wife and child with another woman. A 17-year-old woman no less. We, along with the other housewives, find out that this has left her traumatized by men, but boy oh boy, is Adriana vivacious towards the male gender nonetheless. Because of this unsettling past, she gets a pass, for now at least, for acting like a wild and crazy single woman while she is, in fact, engaged. But poor Frederic better watch out. At the Miami Fashion Show, she ogled maybe... every.single.man sauntering down the catwalk in a Speedo, and this is Miami, so know that there were many. She also made sure those around her knew of her lust, with proclamations like," I can have him come try on the bathing suit in my house," "Wow , it keeps getting better," and "My god, this guy is a god." She even got the gay guy sitting next to her to share his fan so that they could both cool themselves down. Miami is heating up! Really though, I like Adriana. I like her a lot. After the show, as previously mentioned to Cristy's ire, she walked down the catwalk because, "I'm Brazilian. I love life. I love to dance. So don't dare me to do something fun, because it's second nature to me." Seriously, don't dare her to do something fun. She WILL do it. We don't want to upset Cristy.
Alexia: Beauty is power if you know how to use it.
I'm going to let Alexia introduce herself. "People call me the Cuban Barbie, but Barbie is silent because she's a doll. But you know, I'm like, alive. I'm the real thing, so of course there's a lot more to me than just the physical beauty and the outside. But poor Barbie, she's a doll, she couldn't talk, so nobody knew how smart or how dumb she was."
That is pretty much enough for Alexia for now, but I will also say that her two children ( at 13 and 17) seem scarily dependent on her. I say scarily for a multitude of reasons. First, this is a woman who said the above quote. Second, when you choose a tiny maroon speedo for your 17 year old son because you think his girlfriend will like it on the cruise they are about to go on and your primary worry is not that your son will get said girl pregnant or drink and party all the time, but rather gain weight on the cruise and ruin his modeling and acting career from all the eating -- then you perhaps should not have anyone be so dependent on you. They are making a poor choice of who to be dependent on. But hey, as Alexia said about her son when trying to scare him into not eating on the cruise, " It's your life. It's your future."
Marysol: I put others in the spotlight, but somehow it keeps finding me.
Marysol is great and all, but let's be honest, she is on this show because her mother is the find of the century. Or as her mother puts it in her own words, " I'm a woman of this century, Marysol. I am not a Victorian Lady." But more on Mother Elsa later. First, let's talk Marysol. She owns a PR Group, is surrounded by women, her father is American, her mother is Cuban. (Everything leads back to her mother.) Marysol is one of those loud, PR-types who calls her gay friends "girls" and says that she would never do plastic surgery... "until it gets really bad", at which point she swirls her hand around the general region that is her face and we all marvel at the giant lips and pulled back face she is sporting and think " Oh, it must've gotten really bad." Despite all of this, or maybe because of all this (and even without Mother), Marysol is my favorite of the Miami mavens, after Adriana. She is cute and nervous and seems to be afraid of everything. Want to ride horses? No, I'll break my neck! Watch your fingers while dicing the vegetable. " I've had many a bloody accident with a mandolin." That was an actual quote. Marysol got divorced 11 years ago, and has been dating younger men for quite some time. They are just into her, ok! It is this need of hers to discuss her current decade-younger love, Phillipe, which brings Elsa, her mother, into our television sets, our lives, our hearts. In what must be an homage to a horror movie, Marysol walks up the stairs and we hear, but do not see, an indescribable voice calling down, "Who's there?" I would say this being a reality show, you very well know who is there, seeing that a camera crew is in your house ready to capture every word, but with Elsa, who knows. This kind of persona cannot be faked. Her face, however, can. When we first lay our eyes upon Elsa, it is like looking at the lovechild of Cat Lady Jocelyn Wildenstein and a pudgy Marlon Brando in "The Godfather," dressed up in an exciting and festive floral print, giant near-empty wine goblet in hand. She only becomes more surreal the more you look at her, the more she speaks. According to Marysol, people come to her for spiritual advice, but don't worry, she's not a professional, not a charlatan. Elsa is the only person in existence who rolls her s's and her x's, along with her r's. " Is he sexxxxual? How is sssex with a Frenchman?" she asks Marysol when she brings up Phillipe. Of course, Marysol doesn't want to talk about sex with her mother and besides, "You can't categorize it because he's a French, he's an individual." Ladies and gentleman, I think we found our new Gilmore Girls.
I am very much looking forward to a wild season with the ladies of Miami. The first episodes of the Housewives series often bore me, but not this one. And hey, if nothing else at all happens in the entire series, we will at least have Elsa burrowing into our souls with those three little words everyone waits to hear: "I'm a witch." Season Pass.
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