The Real Housewives of Vancouver is the latest addition of the existing franchise which already includes Real Housewives from Atlanta, Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey, and Orange County, just to name a few. I have never watched any episode of any of the Real Housewives series, so I figured what better time to give it a whirl now that it has arrived in Canada. Oh Canada! Finally, our chance to shine and show the other housewives what we are made of!
Or maybe not.
In the premiere episode “Let the Games Begin,” we were introduced to the cougars wives: Jody Claman, Mary Zilba, Ronnie Seterdeahl Negus, Reiko Mackenzie, and Christina Kiesel. My first impression? How much plastic surgery does one actually need? From the moment that I was introduced to Jody, I realized that I would never get the next two hours back of my life. I promised myself, despite my initial reaction that I would give it an honest chance, so I did and continued watching with an open mind.
First we meet Jody Claman, a self-described “mom-trepreneur” who runs a boutique type establishment with her 24-year-old daughter (who just happens to be a fresh-faced carbon copy of her mom) is a self made woman. Jody has just penned a new cookbook in honour of her late father (her latest mom-trepreneurial endeavour) and has invited the other wives for a girls’ weekend in Whistler to test out her recipes on them. So it begins . . .
Jody invites her friend Mary Zilba, who is introduced to us as a Canadian pop star, to the girls’ weekend. Mary’s claim to fame is a beauty pageant and seven Top 40 singles from being a Canadian pop star. You, like I, may have never heard of her. Save yourself, I looked her up, watched about 10 seconds of a video, and that was about all I could stomach. We learn quickly that she recently broke up with her boyfriend, whom she is still sleeping with. Mary, in turn, invites her friend Ronnie Seterdahl Negus, a self-proclaimed “domesticated Goddess” who lives in a gated community in West Vancouver. Ronnie is a mother of five and makes it clear that she doesn’t want to raise spoiled kids. She loves travelling on her private jet and refers to Mary as a little sister whom she needs to take care of and protect. Ronnie has never been away for a girls’ weekend, so this will be the first time.
Reiko MacKenzie is introduced to us picking up her new Ferrari 458 Italia and her matching $10K personalized Ferrari luggage. We learn she grew up in a rough suburb and has a husband (his money, not hers) who chased her for 10 years until she finally gave in. She also has two daughters, Ashanti and Alizee (yes, the liqueur). She loves buying exotic cars; she tells us it’s an aphrodisiac. She currently owns three Ferraris, one Lamborghini , two Bentleys, one Range Rover, one Honda minivan, and a Smart Car, in case we were interested. Her original plan was to become a lawyer, but she got married right away when she was given the option to not work. Her mother helps her raise the children and claims that she is living every woman’s dream.
Finally, we meet Cristina Kiesel, who claims to be 29 years old. Her primary source of income is her two divorces. She claims to have worked hard for her money. Her ex-mining husbands made gold digging easy. She spends a lot of her time with her best friend Kevin, having brunch and drunken lunches. She claims to fall in and out of love all the time and has been horny lately. She has a dog, Napolean (“Naps” for short) and talks to him, a lot. He even joined her in the black stretch limousine for the weekend.
The women make their way to Nita Lake Resort in Whistler, individually, where Jody has set them all up in suites for the weekend. Jody – meaning the chef from the hotel – has worked hard preparing all of the dishes from her new cookbook for the tasting and waits for the housewives to arrive. Reiko arrives first and is the only one who seems to eat any of the food. Mary, Cristina, and Ronnie arrive next and aren’t really interested in eating anything, since they have a dinner reservation they all need to get to. It doesn’t stop them from mentioning over and over and over again how skinny Reiko is.
They went to dinner after the tasting, and I sat in awe while the claws came out. I have realized that cougar claws are terrifying, especially cougars with duck lips and bad Botox. The gist? Jody, the bully cougar, attacks Mary, the emotional cougar, while the other plastic cougars watch. It was slow and painful, all based on Jody’s opinion of Mary sleeping with her ex-boyfriend, I think. To be honest, I am not quite sure. Ronnie, the one who earlier claimed she felt the need to take care of her friend Mary and protect her, did nothing of the sort.
Honestly, the best part (using the term loosely) of the premiere episode was when Jody mentioned that she prefers to hang out with friends who have a little less, because they are less complicated than her rich friends. I gave it a chance, I did. I promise you, I was open-minded. After watching the first hour of the two-hour premiere, I could say 100 per cent, I will never get that time back, ever.
The second episode, “Oh, Bully,” which aired right after the first (lucky us!) focused on Cristina’s 30th birthday (I still do not believe this woman has just turned 30). A party for Cristina was planned by her friend Marika Palmer in Marika’s own swanky apartment overlooking the city of Vancouver. This episode focused on the party and whether or not Mary should confront Jody the “bully.” Mary and Cristina had the chance to chat over chardonnay while they discussed the incident in Whistler and decided that Jody was a bully.
The housewives all arrived at the party, mostly in black stretch limos (which I still don’t get) and all wondered if Cristina would actually show up. Ronnie looked fabulous in a Roberto Cavalli white dress; Jody looked ridiculous wearing a tiara. That is all that stood out – oh, other than the fact that these women love their skin-tight dresses. While waiting for the birthday girl to arrive, the time had come for Mary to confront Jody about how she treated her badly in Whistler. Jody told her, simply, to “suck it up buttercup” and to get a therapist if she can’t deal with it, which seems to be her response to anyone that tells her to smarten up. Cristina finally arrives at her party in a fabulous pink cocktail dress that throughout the evening keeps falling down – about 10 different shots of her adjusting herself are shown.
Next comes gift time! The most notable gifts were from Ronnie, who gave a Forbes magazine listing the Forbes 500, for Cristina to select a new husband/boyfriend, and a white t-shirt with “Golddigger” on the front and “Looks like a hooker, only smarter” on the back. Cristina laughed it off and later on in the evening after some shots, confronted Jody the Bully herself, then replaced her dress with the t-shirt, and danced around wearing that and only her underwear while grinding up on her BFF Kevin.
Overall, the women, the fashion (I had high hopes for the fashion), the dialogue, and everything other than the selected scenery of our beautiful country makes The Real Housewives of Vancouver a real disappointment. I wasn’t expecting much, but these women are painful. By the end of both episodes, we know what we can expect from the season: more claws, more Botox (literally, more Botox injections on screen), and more Jody (who has quite possibly the most annoying speaking voice I have ever heard). So, basically just enough for me to make sure to tune in on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on Slice. Or not.