By Lesley Rousso
Bravo TVs newest series Newlyweds: The First Year is a docudrama following the lives of four newly wedded couples from right before they get married through the next 365 days. Each couple is unique in their own right and from what I can tell, this series proves to have some very interesting moments to come.
We are introduced to Indian pop star Tina Sugandh and American entrepreneur Tarz Ludwigsen three days before their wedding as they decorate the yard of their South Carolina home. Tina is intent on starting to make a baby immediately and Tarz, well, not so much. Tina is gorgeous and boisterous and apparently they moved in together after the first date. I can relate to that since Darren (my husband) and I basically did the same thing. We see Tina having a conversation with her dad, very traditionally Indian, about Tarz, very American. Dad is not thrilled, to say the least.
Kathryn Bougadis and John Lagoudes, yes they nauseatingly rhyme, are also three days away from their nuptials. When we meet Kathryn, a former TV producer,she’s leaving New York City to start life in Oyster Bay with her hubby to be. John owns a Long Island tanning salon and, as Kathryn explains and cries, there was no question of where the couple would be living. John proposed to Kathryn after only six months of dating and they are now getting married. All of this happening in the span of just one year. Kathryn loves mani/pedis with the girls and goes with some friends and John’s sister after moving to L.I. ( My local Vietnamese nail salon doesn’t serve Cosmos…Yo Modern Nails, get with the program!) Kathryn is trying to bond with her future sister in law who has a very close relationship with John. There’s a tense moment as John’s sister points out that Kathryn completely left her our of the engagement party photo book. Freudian mistake? Some underlying problem? It remains to be seen.
Blair Late and Jeff Pedersen are the third couple and have been dating for three years after meeting at a gay pride party. Jeff, a federal investigator is almost seventeen years Blair’s senior, a fact he lied about upon meeting him because he wanted Blair to give him a chance. The self described “monogamous” couple live in the Hollywood Hills and are set to become legal domestic partners (same sex marriage is not yet legal in California). Blair, an entertainment reporter has been out basically his whole life with an extremely accepting family. Jeff, not so much. When he came out to his parents at age 35, they rejected him, which Blair throws in Jeff’s face as they argue over money.
The fourth and final couple are New Yorkers Kimberly V, a celebrity stylist, and Alaska Gedeon, a director of artist and repertoire (that’s talent scouting for a record company in English). The first scene is at a birthday party Kim is throwing for Alaska. They are watching the video proposal Alaska had surprised Kim with after six years of dating. It’s a truly genuine, wonderful moment. This self described power couple is moving in together and traditional gender roles are apparent as they shop for decor. Alaska declares himself “head of the household” when he vetoes Kim’s choice of linens. She goes along with him but still seems to have a mind of her own (just ask her bridesmaids who’ve been told to drop ten pounds before her wedding. The couple will be bicoastal between NY and LA, which I am quite positive will prove to be problematic.
The episode ends with three weddings, with Jeff and Blair’s to be shown in a later episode. The couple sent Jeff’s parents an invitation, we’ll just have to wait and see if they show. I’m excited about the previews, which promise a very exciting season! Stay tuned because I think this show will be great fun. Two thumbs up (Andy) Cohen.
Editor’s Note: The season premier of Newlyweds exceeded 1 million viewers.