If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that 10pm shows are not my strong point. Unless it’s Housewives or starring somebody I have a personal connection to, chances are I’ve succumbed to my desire to sleep by the time the opening credits commence. In my home DVR stands for Doubt I’ll View this Recording, so you can save yourself from reminding me that the technology exists. Jersey Belle was supposed to be one of those series that missed my radar…but you know how they say everything happens for a reason?
Last night my children had epic tantrums simultaneously right before bed. The whole event left me so traumatized that I was too disturbed to sleep. I was still wide awake at the end of Real Housewives of Orange County and still had half a glass of wine to finish. In the television industry they like to lure viewers to new shows with what is called a strong lead in. The strategy worked in my case when my wracked nerves and low expectations hung on for Bravo‘s latest series, a show that follows an Italian/Jewish New Jersey PR maven transplanted to the deep Christian south of Birmingham, Alabama. I was quite pleasantly surprised. Jersey Belle has a strong cast of relatable characters each with interesting and REAL stories to tell. The previews for this show, which wreaked of contrived drama from the main subject and her pearl clutching cohorts, did not do the premiere justice.
Jaime Primak Sullivan (@JaimePrimak) Is a no holds barred Jersey girl living in Mountain Brook, an upscale suburb of Birmingham with her Southern Fred Gwynne look alike husband Michael and their three children. She is unfiltered, unrefined, and unapologizing…just the way we breed them here in my neck of the woods. As her posse of stereotypical Deep South debutants roll their eyes and drop their jaws at her brutal and, often vulgar, honesty, she tries to make sense of a prim and proper monogrammed world where nobody has ever eaten a cannoli. Just when she feels like she is going to suffocate she gets to escape to LA where her PR biz ties her to folks like Wayne Brady and Chris Klein, both who appear in future episodes of the show.
Arden Ward Upton (@ArdenWardUpton) is Jaime’s best friend, and the poor little rich girl of the group. An accomplished photographer who has photographed President Obama, she appears to have that brooding artist thing going on. Despite her jet setting equestrian lifestyle with her most eligible third husband-to-be, she focuses on her lack of relationship with prince charming’s mother and that Jaime may miss her wedding ceremony. I, like Jaime, have trouble feeling sorry for her.
Danielle Yancey (@daniellehyancey) appears to be Jaime’s nemesis, well as nemesisy as her impeccable Southern breeding will allow her to be. Nobody is more offended by Jaime’s mouth and style. In one scene Danielle can barely hide her disgust at the revelation that Jaime purchased her wedding dress at David’ s Bridal, oh the horror! Danielle and her Ken doll husband Bart live a picture perfect life in their dream house, however, not all is coming up tea-roses. As the season progresses we are witness to their struggle to conceive. As obnoxious as Danielle can be, I will find myself cheering her along in her journey as I am an advocate for and survivor of infertility. **Danielle, please check out PricelessLife.org **
Luci Beavers (@luci_beavers) is what keeps this show grounded. Alas a Bravoleb that doesn’t live in a McMansion. Luci is a divorcee’ who lives in a 1950’s style cape (or ranch, I couldn’t quite tell). After trading what she thought she wanted for single motherhood,Luci was shunned by several hypocritical bible thumpers in the community. She rolled up her sleeves, went back to work, found a new love, and discovered that, despite a saucy tongue, loyal Jersey girls like Jaime are the best kinds of friends to have.
In an odd way I already liken these four women to the Sex and the City, Golden Girl, foursome of Reality television. I hope they can keep delivering the laughs as the season rolls on. Tune in to Jersey Belle on Mondays at 10/9 CST on Bravo. And y’all in the South…watch while eating this:
*2 cups ricotta cheese
*8 ounces cream cheese
*1 1/2-2 cups confectioner’s sugar
*1 tsp vanilla
* 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Serve with strawberries, graham crackers, cherries, Oreos…the possibilities are deliciously endless! Freeze portions for later use. Tastes good slightly warmed as well!