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TV Review: Bravo’s The Real Housewives Of Orange County

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Okay, I’ll admit it. While I hold myself to high standards (I consider myself well versed in movies and literature and would even perhaps define myself as a movie and literature snob), I do have a fondness for a particular show that some may deem lowbrow. One could even make the argument (and rather successfully, I suspect) that the show in question is just as responsible for the dumbing down of American T.V. as is The O.C..

The Real Housewives Of Orange County explores the incredibly shallow lives of actual families living in one of the nations most exclusive and costly gated communities. It’s trashy, style-obsessed, skin-deep, shallow, gaudy, and tasteless – and insanely entertaining. You can flip this on and end up watching for three hours straight even if you hate (like I do) reality T.V. The people on the show are just so shallow and unconcerned about anything but themselves, you can’t help but enjoy every moment they’re on screen.


Another testament to the show’s attractiveness is the fact that I never watch shows on a schedule, even ones I like. My Name Is Earl is a good example. I saw a few episodes and liked it. It was definitely a good comedy, although slightly sappy, but I never managed to watch it regularly. It just didn’t grab me. Same with Just Shoot Me. Even with a show like 24, which I got into (I need to catch up on the first seasons though to be truly into it), I never got hooked. So this is where The Real Housewives Of Orange County (or TRHOC), succeeds so well. It’s hooked me. I’ve even started setting my DVR to record episodes I know I’ll miss.

Maybe it’s because being a film snob every day of the week is tiring, and TRHOC provides a welcome break, or it’s that I simply have an underlying need for throwaway lowbrow shows that needs to be fulfilled once a week. Who knows? But now that I’ve had my Housewives Of O.C. fix for the week, I’m off to watch The Squid And The Whale again.

TRHOC show-times are available at Bravo (which is quickly becoming my favorite channel ever!).

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About Cameron Graham

  • http://breathoffreshink.com Chris Evans

    I have to admit–when I saw the commercials for this show I knew I’d hate it–particularly because it reminded me of The O.C.

    But I absolutely LOVE that show and cannot miss an episode of it. The producers put it together SO well–I’m addicted.

    I hope it’s back for a new season.

  • Priscilla

    I LOVE this show. My favorite reality show! Cant get enough of Slade and Jo!!! Hope to see more next season!

  • SK

    The unatractive personality types are so obvious I would not have watched one episode if watching it hadn’t re-confirmed the ol’ saying “money can’t buy you happiness”. And therefore it made me feel really happy and succesful. hahah. Also, if not for flipping the channels and spotting a familiar face (Laurie) I would never have taken a moment to see what the Spice Channel and Bravo had teamed up to do. Or at least I thought that’s what it was. A strange show. And I’m not convinced that it would ever have been “picked up” or sold if not for the women and their associates other careers and connections. It’s just so,…nothing. It never takes off. Everything you want to see happen doesn’t. haha. Such rotten children (except for possibly Kimberly’s and perhaps Shane). There were those who weren’t shown much so I can’t say all of them were so. But so much deception and misleading statements by the main female characters. Implying things for either entertaiment purposes or to mislead the viewer from the truths? Unhappiness and greed. The only parents(Grandparents shown) of the main “adult” stars display no feelings of pride or happiness for their grown kids “success”. And go so far as to express their unease, concern, disapointment and possibly embarrassment. The only strong, confident, sober, financially wealthy and apparently happy men (who also make any decisions)ever shown are those which were not in relations with these women. The women wear the pants. Vickie is scary. I like strong, healthy, intelligent women but,…c’mon Vickie. Stalking your kids even. If that wasn’t staged and intentional it was psycho. Jeanna’s more preoccupied with money to be involved with her kids school. So there’s no surprise Shane failed classes, thus ineligible to play his senior and perhaps most important year to demonstrate to scouts he’s good enough to do what Jeanna herself said was the top priority for Shane. His life and future. And yet she was too busy to attend his graduation because of a convention or something which she mentioned is planned yearly. As if her sons graduation wasn’t planned. And hadn’t been since his birth. “It’s only money” she said as she focus’ on “it” first and foremost. And she demonstrates. Hmmm. The only thing perfect is “the gate” and houses themselves. Troubled past’, children,relationships/marriages/divorces,drugs, apparent alcoholism, greed, spoiled kids, unfullfillment, disappointments, financial worrys (presumably from living beyond their means) as well as unemployment issues. The only surprise in this entire series was when Slade was first introduced. “Too much!” I first thought. Former Female Adult Film stars and a Pro Wrestler (the name) with the obnoxious personality, abrasive and arrogant attitude to go with. And then it turns out that he’s nothing more than a poor fool who’s been taken advantage of by some obvious gold digger bimbo type and perhaps the producers of this show (if he’s “for real”) for having him sign on to be humiliated in front of cable viewers, his friends, family and his employer. An Executive Vice President? Wow,…for how much longer one must ask. I can’t imagine my shareholders wanting my chief officers displaying such poor judgement, weaknesses and unassertiveness as Slade did. And it’s so uncecessary for a guy like him with all he’s got going for him. A relatively young, healthy and wealthy male exec like himself could easily get women as attractive as Jo, even more so. But also with personalities, virtues goals and motives, values and character to match. Girls like Jo are for fun for now. Not for marrying at this time and not for guys like him. However, guys like him are for girls like her to use. So she’s not to blame. That’s our world. Nor is Laurie after watching her try to deal with the worst of all the kids and by herself as Jessie makes multi-millions with a company she may have very well invested into and supported in it’s infancy with her No. 1 Adult Film Star of the 90’s earnings. What on earth happened to that money?!!! It makes it seem as if Jessie James and his shows producers decided to not “pick up” his original show which Laurie was briefly introduced and may have had an interest in. But instead keep Jessie only and create a new show which would feature his talents and reputation (which is what their selling anyhow) and just have him build and do any ‘ol stupid thing. Fun to watch the first time. Afterwards it’s for kids only. As an entertainer and someone to watch I would say that “he’s a talented bike builder as well as mechanic/fabricator”. And self promoter. But I believe it’s already been genetically proven that there are no known descendents of the Outlaw Jessie James and so when he lied on the first show to the viewer when he said he was I began to sick of the crap real fast. But enough of that other lame show. Back to the women. And Lauries dilema. Her money? Her share? Wasn’t it for her kids. My goodness, an attractive woman like that doesn’t need that much. Everythings for free. She should know that by now. However,…it would do her daughter from her first marriage some good not to have it given to her as it apparently always has. Laurie seems so nice. But that may be her weakness. She doesn’t seem to be good or having much experience with handling money, work/business and she seems the type to be taken advantage of. It’
    s funny I thought after first mentioning how she got little from the divorce settlement and then later she mentions she got some settlement money. Almost as if her ex Jessie gave it to her only in response to the bad publicity Laurie’s show was potentially giving Jessie. Kids in Jail, out of work, in debt with collectors after them while he’s doing so well. Good thing for Laurie that Steve’s around for her now but I’ve never met a lead vocalist/frontman for a band who wasn’t looking out for himself which makes their match up look mostly lucky and convenient for him and not the right for her and her kids. Oh,…Vicki’s husband ( I can’t even think of his name) is so content with his lifestyle that he doesn’t seem to mind his over-bearing wife. I’m sure he has his strengths though their not displayed. Kimberly (God Bless Her) speaks almost nothing more than of her kids and her love for them. Always with them in the car and verbally expressing her desire and hopes of sharing all those moments with her family in a way unlike that of her co-stars. And in their defense I’m sure they all want the best for their families but it is my opinion that Kimberly has a bond with her family that is the closest thing to normal healthy family. Her character reflects of of her kids. Of course, mortality can make us all saints when the time comes. And I know nothing of her disposition and priorities before she was diagnosed. Jo,… Buyer beware is a term that comes to mind. She comes off as having done nothing wrong. Hah! But it’s what made it watchable for many I suppose. I first viewed cuz I thought I was suddenly getting free
    SPice Channel. And then I was teased because it was anything but what I would have expected. And then I was repulsed by all the crap in their lives and the personalities and ultimately I was joyous in knowing again that I’m as successful as anyone in the O.C. or elsewhere simply because I have true satisfaction with my life and I’m happy. Yes,…it’s the “feel good movie of the year”. ha

  • http://breathoffreshink.com Chris Evans

    o__o..

    …Dude..you just wrote a novel.

  • http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-qkDlFXcyeqsyFgDMSIqn4oYU Cameron Graham

    It’s longer than my review . . .

  • Tera

    C’mon. If any one of us had that kind of money, you know we would be spending it on similar things. Remember that this is Hollywood, and editors can put spin on it any way they want. They shoot hundreds of hours of film and only use 7! Seriously, take it at face value. As much as we would like to deny it, this show portrays conflicts that we each deal with.

  • DCL0784

    SK, you know you loved show… at least it’s obvious you watched every minute of it!

  • http://breathoffreshink.com Chris Evans

    One question…

    Can I marry Slade or Shane? Like…seriously.

    Jo’s an idiot.

  • Rebecca

    I watched the show and agree with SK. I have to say that the most hilarious part of the series was the episode when they focused on Slade and he was doing his weird karate moves while wearing some kind of gel mask. He looked like Christian Bale’s character from American Psycho. I thought there was no way this guy can be for real! Then to watch Jo dumb herself down around other people. Her stupid “rescue dog” comments around Slade’s parents. It really doesn’t matter how much money you have if you are going to act like a total moron. It sure was entertainment for the rest of us.

  • Kim B

    I got hooked on the show while on vacation and yes I did spend 4 hours non stop watching. I must lead a sheltered life, because I couldn’t believe that a 16 year old girl, Cara would have already been through 2 brand new cars and go shopping, spending 2500.00 plus on school clothes at one store and her parents not blink an eye. What does her Mom do for a living?
    I learned something from this board, Larie was married to Jessie James!?! This blows my mind also and what I really don’t understand is that they are divorced and he has not seen his children in 4 years. What kind of Father is he? I guess he’s too busy with his new love interest, isn’t it Sandra Bulock?
    I wonder why Kimberly wasn’t on the final show? Would it have anything to do with the lies that Jo implied she told about Laurie and Slade sneaking around after he and Jo got back together. Another shocker was Jeanna’s husband not being on the show much due to rehab for alcoholism. I think Jo should consider joining him.
    p.s. When does the new season begin?

  • Stan from Placentia CA

    Does anybody know where to get a license plate frame that says “Coto de Caza” at the top and “Land of 85% Enhancements” at the bottom? This would look much more appealing than say Yorba Linda’s “Land Of Gracious Living”; don’t you think?

  • Mindy

    Supposedly, Kimberly wasen’t on the final show because she was on vacation but I bet it’s because of her and Jo’s little spat…

  • Mindy

    Was it mentioned on the show that Laurie’s ex is Jesse James…I thought his kids were with Janine Lindenmuller?

  • Cameron Graham

    I agree with you Mindy, I don’t think she was really on vacation!

  • SK

    First time I’ve ever commented on almost anything regarding TV. Yeah, I guess I did get carried away. But, I stand by it. Or I think I would if I took the time to actually read it.

  • Kim B

    Does any one know who Laurie’s Ex is? Did she really pose in play boy years ago?

  • Katie

    I really feel sorry for the kids in this show…
    None of the parents seem to be teaching true esteem, based on the right values. Like putting
    other people ahead of ourselves, and studying
    ahead of sports! Why aren’t any of these families showing their children the blessing of
    helping others through charity work, etc…
    After all, happiness in things/talent is short-lived, but real joy last forever!

  • rusty

    “C’mon. If any one of us had that kind of money, you know we would be spending it on similar things” WRONG!
    I just managed to catch a lil bit of this show. How empty, how shallow, how devoid of any true joy of life. I have been lucky enough in investments to perhaps attain the above mentioned “kind of money”. If I lived the type of life depicted therein, I would consider my life a failure and a wasted opportunity.

    Artificial beasts are a suitable reflection of an artificial life for the depicted citizens of OC. pity them

  • ME

    I think its so interesting how defensive the “characters” become when the public shares their opinions. Ladies, being a part of a reality show is an open invitation for comments. What you think is reality and what we think is reality may not be parallel. Deal with it. If someone sees plastic, they call plastic.

  • Angel

    There isn’t going to be a season 2. At least not with that cast, according to a recent article. The creator, who lives in Coto got such a negative response from the rest of the people that live in Coto, that he now gets flipped off by his neighbors while he drives down the street. The developers are going to take the show to a different town, like La Jolla.

    Which, I guess is too bad for the actors in the first season.

  • Melissa

    When I first saw this show advertised, I thought hell no, I will not watch that crap and give them the ratings. Then my husband started watching and I made fun of him and asked why the hell are you watching that crap? your a dude? well I come back in the room and he is STILL watching! It was the marathon! he watched the whole thing, took our precious day away. The worst part, I wathced it with him, he hooked me. We spent quality time together making fun of the cast.

  • terri

    Laurie is not jesse james ex! She looks like janine lindmuller(porn star) who is his ex! They could be twins!

  • Kia

    june 20, 2006……..i met jo and slade today at my work. they stopped in for lunch at my restaurant, california pizza kitchen around 2:30pm. i just wanna say that they are two of the nicest people i’ve ever had the pleasure of serving. as a bartender, i come across both a*holes and nice people, and let me tell you, jo and slade are nice! they appreciated my service and looked so completely in love! how sweet!

  • Suzy

    I was born in Orange County & I have lived here my 21 years on earth. I am so sick of everyone thinking if you live in Orange County you must be rich. IT’S NOT EVEN LIKE THAT! I just want everyone to know who is not familiar with Orange County…it’s not how they protray it to be on TV. There are only a handful of communities/cities in Orange County where you have to be rich to live there (no affordable homes for average people). If you’re ever here, instead of driving through Coto or Laguna Beach go ahead & take a drive through Santa Ana (Bristol or Harbor St. to be exact) & you’ll see how most of Orange County really is!!!

  • formerETHS

    There are LOTS of nice areas in OC. Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, etc are like so many southland cities. The nice reputation of “OC” means places like Laguna, Misson Viejo, some parts of El Toro and Lake Forest, Trabuco, Newport, etc. Which doesn’t make it any less “real”, BTW.

  • adrianna

    hi i loved the show i was wondering if there will be more episodes

  • http://www,sportsset.om JE Curran

    I watched it because I am moving to Orange County next month. My opinion of the show is boring and inane. As for the housewives themselves, their conversations are mind-numbingly insipid.

    I can stomach their shallowness, their self-absorbtion, but their boring verbage was like submitting myself to the drip, drip, drip, of Chinese water torture. Gawd, if they are examples of what Orange County women are truly like, I guess I will rarely be leaving the house.

  • madalaine

    Jeanna is such a shallow bitch–and in so much denial…. she has $$ and can’t get enough…. sounds like an adiction because she has an unfulfilling life. Definitely in the sex department! Her kids are shallow demons.

    Laurie is nice but essentially too nice and more than a tad on the Patrick the Starfish side…. If she spent more time with her kids, she wouldn’t have one in a halfway house.

    Jo— Jo, Jo, Jo….. she may play stupid because it makes her more lethal, but she KNOWS she doesn’t want to be tied down, so why not just go out on her own– oh yeah, cause she won’t have the ‘Cedes anymore… And Slade– stalker boy…. he’s gone a little nuts in the eyes…. When he said he was Jo’s best friend, I just about peed myself. He threw her out, took her mode of transportation after SHE gave up her job for him…. some friend! (And I think that Jo TOTALLY got naked at the Playboy party, btw, not to mention that Slade is all bojangly bowlegged!)

    Vicky— she is a stroke waiting to happen. She is so busy proving that she is all that and a bag of chips– for whatever childhood reason, she has to be praised all the time and she has to make herself attractive— and she wants to be a MILF??? Freak.

    And the new chick— she’s an accident waiting to happen. Her house is flooded and she can’t get in– and it happened when she was babysitting Jeana’s kids?? So, what is the hold up with getting it fixed? If she can lease a house in Cota Country, then she can certainly fix her house.

    Duff is a freak too. He’s on the prowl for her, but she’s not biting– at least not yet…… until she needs more $$.

    These people are even more dysfunctional than the other 99% of the world!

  • Elena

    SLADE, WAKE UP & SMELL THE ROSES BABE! YOU BUY HER A GUITAR, DIAMONDS & MORE YET SHE STILL WANTS TO GO OUT WITH THE GIRLS?!? OH, AND “THAT WASN’T THE GUITAR I ASKED FOR”! PLEASE, THERE ARE SOOO MANY WOMEN THAT WOULD LOVE FOR HER MAN TO BE THAT ATTENTIVE! JO IS IMMATURE & SELFISH!

  • corvero

    somehow i think the whole show is a fake….

  • isabelle

    I am so repulsed by Jo de la Rosa, who is dumber than a box of rocks. What makes her think that she deserves the best? Because she has a set of fake boobs? What has she achieved in life? If that boyfriend of hers would stop thinking with his dick, he’d realize what an embarrassment she is!
    isabelle

  • Ramon

    I can’t see why everyone is so hooked on this crap. After surviving through one episode of this mind-numbing reality show, I wanted to rip my eyes out and stomp on them. Furthermore, I can’t believe people actually congregate about the brilliance of a show that focuses on a group of arrogant and shallow people that have conversations about nothing. What is the purpose of this program? To make society dumber? If so, then well done to the producers.

  • Trish

    Ok… Are we seriously considering putting Jo on the radio? Like, are they SERIOUS??

  • Bridget

    I am sorry but JO has got to go. I never respond to anything but she has got to be the dumbest girl I have ever seen and she is a horrible singer! and…Slade??? what a loser for thinking she is so great. Slade, get a life! there is no reason someone lilke Jo should be on TV. She needs to go back to school. She ruins the show.

  • vanessa

    I just love the show, I never miss an episode! Hope that there will be a season 3!!!

  • Sweepy

    It’s a cheap shot to call them shallow. They are as complex as many characters you find in literature, yet you must unpack it through their coy and alcohol infused behavior in front of a Hollywood camera, which brings with it all kinds of complex feelings for women hooked on the Hollywood dream of being famous and beautiful and rich. The struggle Jo went through in coming to terms with her feelings, in recognizing the condescending and controlling aspects of Slade, and yet having been sheltered and to young and inexperienced to be able to communicate respectfully about it, I think any woman who was 21 and cute and still immature and having too much fun drinking is likely to relate. Laurie is delightful as a true snake, unfeeling of her children’s pain, determined to smile through an ultra-strict stance that only serves her personal freedom and interests. Jeanna is a laughing Buddha. Vicki is emotionally ill, she has addictions, yet she is also a success, she floats on that high energy that some people are lucky to experience, and she happily feeds it into her work. Yet she is a mess, she seams about to implode. Her story is both tragic and delightful, as are each woman’s story.

    I do not as much care for the 3rd season, but the first I could watch over and over. With the exclusion of the ever complex Jo and the cancer survivor turned therapist from the first season, the women who remain are now all too similar: uneducated, married and had children very young, live a somewhat to very wealthy lifestyle, leave behind a string of broken relationships, and are hooked on the hollywood mystique. But the first 2 seasons have been there and done that. Getting bored with it now, plus I’m bored to tears of anything involving the 20-year-old children or Laurie’s wedding. Jo was interesting because she was a youngster placed into a world of grownups (and expected to behave as such by many bloggers for some reason). 20 year old kids just being kids is definitely a yawn. but the first 2 seasons I will definitely buy on DVD!

  • Dana Fraser

    Is is true that Slade in “real life” went broke? Of course now, he has money again by representing a woman who would be SUPER rich by being naked and NOT singing.

  • FYI

    A midday chat with the Real Housewives of O.C.
    October 27th, 2009, 5:53 pm · 24 Comments ·
    posted by RICHARD CHANG, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

    Coverage of real estate troubles of ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’

  • Lucy Catford (London)

    The programme is currently being shown in London, we are up to where Vicki is considering divorcing her husband, (very sad)!!

    Go Vicki, the woman is making her own money, she is a brilliant inspiration, and by far the best house wife on the show. Followed by Tamra who managed to rid herself of that nasty controlling Simon, her new boyfriend Eddie, is a million times better.

    I also like Peggy who seems like a very nice person. Alexis seems incredibly jealous of her, always trying to compete. Alexis married a fat, ugly dubious man simply for his money. While Peggy genuinely has the hots for her handsome husband. Alexis is probably thick, and probaly left school with no qualifications, so runs around looking for older, ugly men to latch onto. Peggy’s husband respects and adores her, Alexis’s husband treats her like a doormat, and a maid.