After weeks/months of anticipation, media cattiness (the women aren’t really part of Vancouver high society!) and scandal (The Province’s reveal that cast member Reiko Mackenzie’s husband Sunny Mackenzie is Sun News Lal, a man acquitted, along with “notorious crime boss Bindy Johal in Vancouver’s sensational gangland murder of brothers Jim and Ron Dosanjh” in 1994), the Real Housewives of Vancouver premiered April 4 on Slice TV with two back-to-back episodes.
Like many Vancouverites, I was intrigued enough to see the Vancouver version of the franchise—the first Real Housewives franchise set in Canada—to watch the premiere, despite not being a Real Housewives fan. Personally, I thought the build-up and pre-show scandals were more interesting than the show itself. (Let the cattiness begin!)
In the first episode, we meet the five women who comprise the Real Housewives of Vancouver’s main cast: Jody Claman (whose personal style is all about huge jewelry and furs, thus reminding me a bit of Miss Piggy), Mary Zilba (former beauty queen/singer who I’m guessing will be the “nice” one), Christina Kiesel (the “young one” who gets birthday botox at home from a dentist named Dr. Doug), Ronnie Seterdahl Negus (the “bitchy one” who buys Christina an unfunny “goldigger/hooker” t-shirt for her birthday), and Reiko Mackenzie (who, despite the aforementioned scandalous history and a penchant for Ferraris, struck me as the most well-adjusted).
Since they’re setting up the cast and relationships, the first episode doesn’t really get going until the second half, when the ladies head to Whistler for a “girls getaway.” Before that, it’s mostly Vancouver real estate porn: we get a glimpse into Jody’s West Vancouver condo, Mary’s Yaletown condo, Christina’s Coal Harbour pad, Ronnie’s $10 million West Vancouver mansion, and Reiko’s Shaughnessy home, which has a rather hilarious outdoor pool that looks like it was made out of faux rocks, Las Vegas-style.
Once the women get to Whistler, the real Real Housewives “plot” appears, with Jody cutting down Christina for not wanting to work (Christina claims earning spousal support from two ex-husbands involved plenty of “work”) and Mary for sleeping with her ex (which Jody thinks is a sign that Mary is weak and “needs therapy”), while Mary’s frenemy Ronnie looks on and Reiko acts uncomfortable.
That was the whole first episode.
The second episode was, for me, quite tedious. The “plot” centres around Christina’s 30th birthday party and Mary and Christina’s preparations for “confronting” Jody about her take-down at Whistler, but the confrontation itself doesn’t happen until the last ten minutes of the episode and isn’t very dramatic or interesting, anyway. The rest of the hour is mainly some shopping, drinking, and Christina’s at-home botox. Yawn.
Though I wasn’t entertained by the ladies’ interpersonal drama (that’s why people watch the Real Housewives, right?), I did get a legitimate kick out of the travelogue-style view of Vancouver. The city looks amazing, which can only be a boon for tourism. I mean, the Real Housewives of Vancouver don’t just live in better houses than you or ingest better, custom-made vitamins, they also live in a better Vancouver, where it’s always sunny, Whistler’s fresh air is “euphoric,” and everyone in the Downtown Eastside’s Sunrise Markets loves rich ladies from West Van.
It was fun to see the women popping up at Vancouver hotspots and local favourites: Mary rides the Aquabus from Yaletown to Granville Island, Christina’s pals have drinks at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, the ladies grab a bite at Cactus Club, Mary and Ronnie shop at Obakki in Gastown. But even with the Vancouver glamour shots, I don’t think I’ll be tuning in again; it was just too boring. These ladies will need to ratchet up the melodrama and bitchiness if they’re going to make this a multi-season show.
Enough about my opinion—What did you think? Did you love the Real Housewives of Vancouver or did you hate it? Discuss!
5/3/2012: Thank you to everyone commenting! To keep the conversation going, please stay on topic—keep the focus on the RHOV—with no personal insults toward other posters! Let’s keep this light and fun, please, so we can all enjoy it.