They’re ba-a-a-a-ck! Along with the tulip shoots pushing up through the snow, the robins, the melting ice, and the mud, the coming of spring marks a new season of Reality TV. But is it really new?
From the commercials, I see the same young faces and half-clad bodies with not a single love handle to be spotted in the entire group. The days and times might be different, but it is quite clear from the lack of Silver Sneakers, that not one television executive heeded my suggestions for winning an “older” audience.
Moreover, I noted with mixed emotions, that The Real Housewives of Miami may or may not be returning for the 2015 season. While I shall sorely miss Lisa, Lenny, and Marysol, perhaps I now stand a chance of some forward-thinking producer paying attention to my updated version of:
The Real Housewives of Century Village
The stars of this show are six friends of a certain age who reside in a retirement community located in South Florida.
The group consists of Connie, a platinum blonde; Carole, an ash blonde; Roz, a champagne blonde; and Sue, a golden blonde. Zipporah, playfully referred to by the others as “Zip the Lip,” is the token brunette. Jane, the non-conformist of the group, courageously allows her hair to remain its natural gray – although this is subject to change now that Mr. Lerner, her neighbor, has become available due to the recent death of his wife, may she rest in peace.
Connie, Carole, Jane, and Sue are widows. Roz, however, is recently divorced, her husband having left her for his physical therapist while he was recovering from a knee replacement. After forty-five years of marriage, Roz bitterly recalls the day she watched him hobble off, leaning on his walker, with his suitcase strapped to his back. Zip the Lip is the only housewife who is still married.
For the first show of the new season, the camera pans in on each of the six amigas at home, preparing to meet for a shopping spree at the latest south Florida outlet mall. This is the first outing to this new destination. You will recall last season’s final episode where we left the women in deep sadness, lamenting the demise of Loehmann’s.
The first vignette belongs to Roz, who is trying to apply her mascara while weeping over her divorce. She explains to the audience that while she still loves him, at the same time, wishes he was dead. She gets some comfort from the fact that their children are not speaking to him. As she rearranges her champagne blonde hairdo, Roz tells the viewers that the one good thing that came out of all the intense grief surrounding her divorce was that she lost twenty pounds, and is back to her college weight. She stands up from her vanity to show off her skinny pants with matching jacket from Chico’s, size .05. She dons the jewelry she recently purchased through binge buying on the Home Shopping Network, and steps outside to the parking lot to meet her friends.
Connie, Carole, Sue, and Jane are introduced consecutively. Connie, who is the most affluent of the friends (her husband owned a chain of funeral homes) walks us through her decorator-appointed condo as she searches for her Bottega Veneta handbag, which, unlike her friend Sue’s – she assures us in confidence – is not counterfeit.
We meet Carole, the most indecisive of the group, in her bedroom, still in her bathrobe. Half the contents of her closet are strewn on the floor as she tries to decide what to wear. We politely leave her to resolve her quandary.
Sue has just stepped outside, and is locking her door as the camera catches up with her. She is a vision in pink with her Chanel jacket and Prada sunglasses. (But are they?)
Practical, non-conformist Jane, the only one of the crew wearing sensible shoes, is distracted as she talks to the camera, keeping an eye out for Mr. Lerner, should he emerge from his condo. Her plan is to dash outside and “accidentally” bump into him, offering words of comfort, and a helping of home-cooked brisket. We now understand the purpose of the sneakers, which clearly do not go with her otherwise coordinated attire, complete with dangling earrings.
We are introduced to Zipporah in her kitchen, where she is still yelling at her husband about how he ruined the previous night’s meal. Fresh from a French cooking class, she was intent on showing off to Connie and Sue, whom she had invited for dinner. But the stupid lout had brought home three cucumbers instead of zucchini squash, completely ruining her plans for ratatouille. Phil is saved from further debasement when Roz knocks on the door to tell Zip that everyone is waiting outside.
During the last half hour of the show, the audience is treated to a discussion about whose car they should use, and who should ride with whom. Carole, of course, is vacillating. Connie and Roz are somewhat on the outs, since Roz accused Connie of cheating at Mah jongg. And Zipporah sullies the air by telling Jane that her dangling earrings make her look like a slut.
Jane still holds a grudge against Sue for sneaking into her bathroom and taking her last Depends, leaving an empty box in the cabinet. Connie is whining because, although she has the largest, most expensive, most comfortable car, it isn’t fair that she always drives.
We leave the six friends as they argue in the parking lot.
Previews of the next week’s episode invite us to be flies on the wall as the real housewives of Century Village finish their post-shopping spree luncheon, and discuss how to split the check.
I hope this show is a success, because I’m already hard at work revamping other, remaining reality series. For example, in my version of The Amazing Race, which will be called I’m Still Walking – That’s Amazing, ten couples compete for a grand prize, which is yet to be determined, but might be a lifetime supply of early bird dinners at the local deli. Considering the age limitations and reduced stamina, the playing field will have to be modified, let’s say from racing around the world to fast walking around a gated community, while telling Phil, the host, about their latest maladies.
And my version of Survivor? I’m considering an intimate portrait in real time of those facing the challenges of life after being voted off the condo board.