Charity begins at home with juicy gossip and “Jesus juice.” We learned this and other urban Texas anthropology on the crazy-fun first episode of Real Housewives of Dallas. It’s Bravo’s latest in its hit cable franchise of reality shows about wealthy big-city women who navigate life accessorized by frozen foreheads, full makeup, and fancy wardrobes.
RHOD most closely resembles the tone and gloss of the long-running Real Housewives of Orange County, with the decor of Beverly Hills and a hint of the high-society aspirations of NYC. Leader of our local pack is raven-haired queen bee LeeAnne Locken, a taller, tougher Bethenny Frankel type, taking no shizz about her background as “a carny kid” and reading the filth when she feels like it. “It’s a little Plano in here,” she sniffs, exiting a room where two other housewives are giggling over poop jokes.
LeeAnne admits she’s not a millionaire (her house is a modest brick ranch, not a McMansion). She says she “lives in sin” with her handsome police officer boyfriend, with whom she’s seen eating Tex-Mex from takeout containers. She’s all over Dallas’ charity circuit, however, not writing checks but arranging for donations of goods and services for the many fundraising events she attends. (Sometimes three a night, she says.)
Enter LeeAnne’s natural nemeses: charity scene newcomer Brandi Redmond, a former Cowboys cheerleader, and her blond bestie Stephanie Hollman, an Oklahoma transplant who lives in a fortress on the third hole of the Four Seasons golf course. Their husbands earn big bread and they stay home with their tots and/or step-tots, who play on tiny motorized cars and don’t mind their mommies getting tanked on “Jesus juice” (white wine) before tea time.
Brandi and Stephanie chirp in baby-girl voices and brag about passing gas. They’re too earthy-talking for LeeAnne, who overhears them comparing bodily functions at a fancy charity luncheon and raises a carefully sculpted eyebrow in disapproval. Countess Luann de Lesseps of RHONYC would not approve either, but Orange County’s Vicki Gunvalson probably would. (If you don’t speak fluent Housewives, just follow along as best you can.)
We only briefly saw RHOD’s Tiffany Hendra, a former actress-model from LA, and her musician husband Aaron, a Keith Urban look-and-sound-and-hair-alike. They hit up a hipster coffee joint and visited Guitar Sanctuary in McKinney on the first episode. Tiffany is pals with LeeAnne, with whom she browses for sparkly gowns at posh consignment shop Vintage Martini on Henderson. “You cannot be caught dead wearing the same dress twice,” says LeeAnne. (But presumably it’s okay if someone else wore it before you.)
Cary Deuber and husband Mark work side-by-side at the Lemmon Avenue Surgery Center, where he’s a plastic surgeon and she’s his nurse. “I’m not a trophy wife,” says Cary in the opening tag lines. “I’m a lifetime achievement award.” She looks fun and sounds smart, like Orange County's plastic surgeon wife Heather Dubrow. More of Cary will be seen in future episodes where she shoots Botox into other housewives’ faces.
Marie Reyes, billed as a “friend” of these h-wives, was barely glimpsed this week. She’s a nurse, too, and a trained Botox injector.
Our city and its well-cast ladies look great on this show, with its swooping aerial shots of the skyline and so many backyard swimming pools glistening in the sunshine. Pour yourself a tumbler of J-juice and dive right in.
Real Housewives of Dallas airs at 9 pm Mondays on Bravo.