Screen Savors: The material mommies

The Real Housewives of Orange County reality show spotlights the lives of the rich but not famous.

pretty woman (photo credit: courtesy)
pretty woman
(photo credit: courtesy)
While it's not exactly Orange County living for us - we're more blah then bling - after catching HOT 3's new The Real Housewives of Orange County, we're glad it isn't. Part of the station's late Friday afternoon "reality doubleheader" package, the Bravo network production (19:30) introduces us to Vicki, Jeana, Jo, Kimberley and Lauri, the real "Desperate Housewives" of Orange County. But after spending almost an hour with these ladies, all we could think of was how happy we are not living their luxurious lifestyles. Don't get us wrong - sure we wouldn't mind having a pool in the backyard like Jeana, the former Playboy playmate and real estate agent who shows off local homes featuring extras like a wine cellar that holds 6,000 bottles. But obviously there's something wrong when daughter Kara is jealous because brother Shane got a silver Merdedes for his 16th birthday. Told by a friend it was "a girl's car," he gave it to her, and now she's mouthing off that she only gets "hand me downs." In our house, we talk that way about pyjamas. Then there's Kimberley, a stay-at-home Mom who moved in from Baltimore and found she's got to make "a huge attempt to keep up and present a certain way." Like, duh. Where did she thing she was moving to, Newark? For Kimberly, presenting "a certain way" means going from a 32A to a 32D because that's what hubby Scott wants. "Scott has been great, and this is something that was important to him." We bet. What about the future impact on your body, lady? But hey, in Orange County, as she explains later when she takes 13-year-old Bianca for her school party make-up session, "girls get breast implants for high school graduation." So much more practical than a laptop or a set of encyclopedias... no? Truthfully, we stopped watching about three-quarters through, probably because we just couldn't tolerate the selfish, self-centered, money-crazy people in it. The only ones we could find some sympathy for were Lauri, a divorc e trying to find a way to make it on her own after leaving her big house following the break-up of her marriage, and Jo, a 24-year-old engaged to a 36-year-old man with two kids, who was beginning to wonder whether her dream life was turning into a nightmare. Just as Lauri has started to make ends meet, in walks daughter Ashley, 18, with dog in tow informing mom she's back from LA, where things just didn't quite work out. "I won't have to pay my bills!" says Ashley about why it will be great moving back in with Mom. "I don't want to have a job either, but I do," explains Lauri, the kind of plain talk we try to speak around our house. As for Jo, the poor thing has nothing to do all day since her husband Slade - yes, Slade. What, a former male model should be named Leroy? - only wants her to stay at home and be there with dinner and herself ready for him when he gets back from work. Oh, and help take care of his two kids from two other women. Of course, he doesn't like it much when she wants to go out at night with her friends instead of reading Bob the Builder books to his boys. "I just wish she'd like to spend more time with us as a family," moans Slade, who drives a Hummer but thinks like Hannibal. "Maybe this isn't the best relationship for you," he suggests as they meet for lunch to clear the air. Hey, Jo, wake up and smell the coffee: TWO KIDS FROM TWO DIFFERENT WOMEN!!!! Soon poor Jo meets the other ladies, including Vicki, also divorced and reliving her youth vicariously through her daughter, who admire her $115,000 engagement ring. Jo gets some expert advice from Kimberley about what to do with all that alone at home time: Fix up the closets and prepare a little welcome home dance for when hubby gets home. That's when we gonged this baby. Circumstances may have determined that we live a more restrained lifestyle, but at least it's one where our kids don't say: "That's how we show our love for each other around here - we buy each other things," as Jeana's daughter Kara notes after she and mom go Mercedes shopping.