(Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of FashionScoop.com’s management and publisher)
To begin this very necessary conversation, let’s begin with the title, shall we? The Real Housewives of Dallas. Let’s begin with the title. Real. Housewives. Of. Dallas. Real. Ponder that word. It can mean authentic. It can mean existing. It can mean factual, genuine, and bona fide. How does Bravo TV mean it? Are they real or are they a cabal of publicity whores? Or more specifically, are they “Real” Housewives of Dallas? Well, technically yes, they are real, but only in that they do indeed exist. We simply can’t call them authentic, factual, genuine or bona fide. So let’s replace “Real” with “Existing,” as in the Existing Housewives of Dallas.
Moving on to the use of the word “Housewives.” Are these women housewives? What are the common conceptions “housewives?” Women that clean the house? Change diapers? Cook endlessly? Are involved in the lives of their children, and understand that the Mister is the King of the Castle? Is it June Cleaver? Donna Reed? Roseanne Connor? Is the housewife wearing lipstick, pearls and a shirtwaist dress? Or is she in rollers, sweatpants and a bra?
Regardless, “real” “housewives” do not have extra-curricular jobs. Of the cast, only Brandi Redmond and Stephanie Hollman claim to be housewives. Yeah. The kind of housewives who appear to drink a whole lot and spend their time at jewelry stores trying on 20-carat diamond rings while reveling in potty humor. But, at least those two are entertaining. But housewives? Hmmm… maybe it should be the Pretend Housewives of Dallas? Since “real” has been ruled out, perhaps “housewives” should be ruled out too. Should it then be titled the Existing Publicity Whores of Dallas?
Now, let’s talk about the “Dallas” part. Are these women from Dallas? Not entirely. Brandi lives in Plano and Oklahoma-born Stephanie lives in Las Colinas. A press release on castmate Cary Deuber, a Connecticut native raised in Ohio, currently does live in Dallas, and Tiffany Hendra moved back to Dallas pretty recently before the show began filming. Finally, there is LeeAnne Locken, an almost disturbingly pretentious Houston native who says she lives in Preston Hollow (Dallas) just to make sure that viewers know that’s she’s no ordinary sideshow oddity. So, calling them the Real Housewives of Dallas is somewhat untrue. Therefore, should they be called the Existing Publicity Whores of North Central Texas?
The cast itself is a poisonous soufflé whipped up from equal parts of self-aggrandizement, delusion, and gall. The amiable Brandi, is ridiculously silly, but not unlikeable. She is a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, who asserts that she’s “pretty much of a Dallas icon.” If only those Dallas Cowboy locker rooms could talk… Brandi’s sidekick is Stephanie, a tall, pretty blonde who seems pleasant enough, even if she almost comes across like Elly May Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies. But she dishes the dirt like a pro (“LeeAnne has the reputation as someone who will do whatever it takes to ruin the reputation of anyone she feels like she cannot control or manipulate.”) Cary Dauber is married to a successful plastic surgeon husband, “serving as his operative assistant, while still maintaining her own aesthetic injectable practice.” It’s possible she is her own best client, and possibly one of his best products. Tiffany Hendra is, by all accounts, a really nice woman, especially when she’s not with the “pussy-faced” LeeAnne Locken, (as one wag referred to her). Tiffany is frank and funny and open about her own sketchy background in a way that LeeAnne could never be, and it does indeed appear from news reports that Tiffany may be distancing herself from Locken by publicly disavowing her friend’s actions.
Then there’s Locken who seems to be the Theresa Guidice of this season, and fairly sinks her teeth into the role of the upstaging antagonist. Bravely careening headlong towards 50, bearing the scars of hard knocks and backstory, she proudly wears the badge of ex-carny on her sleeve. No amount of Botox, fillers, or pulling can erase that. LeeAnne bills herself as, among so many attributes, a motivational speaker. Perhaps in the same way Alexis Carrington was a motivational speaker.
Said to wear used designer clothes, from certain camera angles it seems the very trowel used to generously spackle on LeeAnne’s foundation might get sucked up in one of her generous pores… LeeAnne proclaims her tawdry carnival background as if it were the Immaculate Conception. It practically begs the question, “Was she in the carnival? In the sideshow? Or did they keep her in a cage like other predatory animals?” In any case, it’s very much like Joan Crawford parading her trashy background as a laundress like a trophy as she clawed her way up Park Avenue… and back down again. Now, LeeAnne will vociferously, vindictively and self-righteously remind viewers that she raises lots of money for charity, it can be a two-way street. Often when someone want to be a part of the social whirl, but can’t donate lots of money to charity, they would have to work like a field-hand to raise it. And if that someone was manipulative enough – I mean, savvy enough – a, um, girl could find multiple opportunities to shove her bosoms in front of the spotlight and make it all about her, while pretending to make it about the children. Or the victims. Or beneficiaries. Or whatever.
Desperately inventing a persona is not that easy if a candidate were really calculating, she might need an accomplice. Is paying a pretty penny to, say, a for-hire society blogger to rave about your every fart sound like a good idea? Take someone like Cynthia Smoot, for instance, who convincing portrays a character that one can imagine slipping a twenty dollar bill to so she’ll mention your dreadful new collection or whatever in their blog, waving goodbye to any form of ethical journalism or accuracy.
Smoot has a blog called Oh No, Cynthia, or So Called Cynthia, or something like that. Whatever the name, it could possibly be renamed Shilling for LeeAnne. Recently, four out of seven items in the blog were about RHOD, and that’s been going on for months. Cynthia seems to have been cast as LeeAnne’s awkward-looking robo-publicist who will try anything to look fashionable, often coming off like a gym teacher at a prom. Or Agnes Gooch from Auntie Mame. Says Smoot, “If you plan to watch RHOD, you will want to bookmark this blog, because no one is more connected to this cast or will have more insight into what you are about to witness than me. Believe it. [italics hers].” Her “decision to take a back seat on this roller coaster,” as she claims to have done, might have had something to do with the fact that she simply was not hired. Though she pathetically speculates she will be a full cast member in Season 2, viewers can watch as she leaves no stone unturned or no gush ungushed in her pursuit of a fleeting moment of fame on a show that doesn’t want her.
“Many local and national media outlets speculated that I was a shoo-in for the cast,” Smoot claims disingenuously in her blog. But the point is moot, Smoot! And because all those local and national media outlets were misinformed, viewers have been deprived of getting to seeing and hearing her spread it weekly (or at best weakly) on the small screen. Sigh. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, right, Cindy?
Audiences clamor to watch shows like RHOD because they want to see characters behaving badly – and these ladies work strenuously to give the audience what they want.