Big Rich Texas and Jerseylicious accentuate the same old/same old
02/19/12 10:23 AM
Ready or not, they again stand ready to make their states look bad. Style Network photos
By ED BARK
So which of these two is the bigger offender when it comes to casting their state in a ludicrous light?
Well, Big Rich Texas pretty much bitch slaps Jerseylicious, judging from their respective second and fourth season premieres on The Style Network. It's a guilty pleasure traipse through yet another prime North Texas collection of glitzy, ditzy, ritzy moneybags. And its featured villainess, Pamela Martin, has no equal on Jerseylicious, where a couple of the real-life characters are actually pretty likable.
Big Rich's Southfork is the Woodhaven Country Club. The principals regularly gather there for the purposes of drinking, dressing up and dressing down.
"I'm sorry, but that bitch can't open a paper bag," Pamela says of the hapless Leslie Birkland, whose capital crime is apparently not being as rich as she says she is. Otherwise why would she belatedly back out as an investor in the club?
"The trash goes to the garbage. Go to the garbage," Pamela's husband, Ignacio, chips in during a dust-up at Woodhaven. It's trash TV gold.
Leslie has a friend -- throughout most of the season premiere at least -- in collagen-pumped Bonnie Blossman. Her sardonic, spoiled daughter, Whitney, is newly returned from Seattle after a break-up with Leslie's unseen son, Tyler. But Whitney has Leslie all figured out. "Get your head out of your ass," she helpfully tells mom. "She's a scam artist."
This particular mother-daughter dynamic also gives Whitney license to playfully call Bonnie a bitch after being told that she can't have a boob job just yet. Leslie's goddaughter, Kalyn, has no such problem. She's built like Charlene Tilton in her vintage Dallas years, with the camera loving every second of it.
Leslie envisions Kalyn as the next Miss America. But first she'll have to take off a few pounds before being fit to win the Miss Dallas and Miss Texas pageants en route to the big tiara. God mom thinks this will be great for her business, whatever that is. After some reluctance, Kalyn finally says, "OK, I guess."
More catfighting kicks in during a pheasant-hunting outing at the Mesquite Ridge Lodge, where a new Big Rich arrival, party planner DeAynni Hatley, is hoping to impress one and all. DeAynni has jumbo teeth and a big ol' horse laugh, which Pamela mimics derisively.
There are more words for Leslie, too, after she shows up in a partly pink camouflage outfit. "Leave it to Leslie to make 'camo' look like a hooker outfit," Pamela hisses. Delightful.
Big Rich arguably has more substance, though, than Bravo's recent Most Eligible Dallas and its deeply vacuous denizens. Overall, though, no one in the nation at large will see anything more than the usual paint-by-numbers portrait of a city that actually stands for a lot more than wretched excess in the name of naked greed.
OK, a few words about Jerseylicious, where the hair stylist wars are heating up. The show's newest hard-edged broad is Cathy Giove, who is accused of "poaching" on the Gatsby Salon.
Giove has grand plans to open her own hair emporium in partnership with high-strung Anthony Lombardi, a former Gatsby employee. She plans to get the word out via a "gala affair" she throws on behalf of something called the Cricket Professional Stylists Association.
"Elegance is a word that is not spoken enough in today's backward society," Giove proclaims while Gatsby owner Gayle Giacomo and her manager daughter Christy look on unimpressed. Insults are later traded while party-goers look on appreciatively.
Christy seems level-headed and former banished Gatsby stylist Gigi Liscio also seems like a pretty good egg, although needy of course. The Season 4 opener goes relatively light on the heavy-duty Jersey stereotypes, save for the stacked-up hairstyles on display.
English is still mangled a little, too, with Gatsy stylist Olivia Blois Sharpe newly determined to "prove my 'invalubility' while Giove says, "We need a little break from all the stress and 'neuroticness.' "
Neither Texas or New Jersey are in any imminent danger of becoming a refined Massachusetts or anything. Big Rich Texas and Jerseylicious are two more gaudy baubles at the expense of states that no self-respecting "reality" TV producer ever wants to take seriously.