Charity begins at home. Or, by week four or five, if you’re starring on a Real Housewives franchise and happen to have a pet fundraising project.
On the premiere of The Real Housewives of Miami, viewers were plunged into a gala-drama before even getting to know the cast. But this week the glories of conspicuous consumption and pretentious purchasing made us feel right at home. With not a housewife, husband, or child in sight trying to stretch a buck, you’d almost think the global economy wasn’t teetering on the edge of a fiery abyss.
Larsa’s brother has just turned 16, so of course he wants a car. If we’ve learned anything from The Real Housewives, it’s that kids shouldn’t have to work for anything. Larsa appeals to husband Scottie Pippen. Once on the lot, the boy asserts that he doesn’t want a small car and chooses a Toyota FJ cruiser: a steal at only $24,800! During the test drive, it’s not evident that Larsa’s brother ever learned how to drive. Why let such a small thing get in the way?
Perhaps the only real accomplishment in the episode is Scottie’s announcement that he’s been admitted to the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2010.
“He’s worked so hard for 18 years, and he’s getting the highest award in the NBA field,” Larsa says with pride. His sons are excited too, and they announce that they’d like to go to school in a limo. Apparently charity isn’t the only thing that begins at home.
Marysol’s half-drunk mother Elsa reminisces about how easy it was to steal fresh flowers from her neighbors back in Cuba. When Marysol asks if Elsa’s lovely floral arrangements are real, mama shouts, “I didn’t come to this country to have paper flowers. I didn’t marry a gringo to have paper flowers.”¡Viva la revolucion!
Marysol, we applaud you for joining the cast to promote your PR business and thus giving us the gift of your ever-imbibing mom. “I’m not much of a drinker,” Elsa insists, “but once I get drinking, I can’t stop.”
Elsa’s enjoying a little “hair of the dog” when Marysol appears with Philippe so that her mother can check out his aura. Elsa admits she’s still in her nightgown and like any classy Frenchman, Phillipe turns this into a compliment, telling her how nice the muted gray parachute looks on her. Elsa doesn’t miss a beat: “You know, most things look good on me.”
From there, Elsa’s adages seemed to flow like cheap wine. “There’s nothing better,” she announces to the mystified couple, “than a macho man dressed like a girl.” Then she tells Philippe that his rather nondescript shirt looks like one Michael Jackson once wore. Nothing’s really making sense by this point, so Elsa declares, “You know, I’m a witch.”
Elsa, whatever you are, you can steal flowers from our garden any time you like.
Cristy Rice wasn’t really buying anything this episode — and certainly not tickets to Lea’s charity ball last week! But she does seem the least materialistic when she waxes philosophical on the fleeting nature of her city. “In Miami,” she says, “nothing lasts that long anyways, so I catch it when I can.” Has this former Basketball Wife gone Buddhist?
Alexia’s a model of time and money management. What is she going to do with that languorous son of hers? Maybe young Peter will get his modeling career off the ground, but sleeping until 10 and letting your mother clean your room can’t be part of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Peter is already learning how to toss around cash Miami-style. He scoffs when his mother complains about the DJ who costs $10,000 for two hours for his high school graduation party. Then it’s revealed that Peter has used mom’s money to buy a $600 ring for his two-month anniversary with girlfriend Priscilla. We hope she won’t be humming the two-hit wonder Kim Zolciak’s “The ring didn’t mean a thing.”
Meanwhile, Adriana’s cashing in on culture. She says Miami has “a big love for art” and fancies herself as one of the city’s most prominent gallery owners. She’s hardly the Mary Boone of Florida, however. Her latest show is clearly in trouble, and not just because it’s a series of low-brow optical illusion portraits of Miami celebrities by Brazilian artist Marcos Marin.
“Male artists are harder to work with than some female artists,” she complains as Marcos wanders aimlessly around the gallery, takes piano-playing breaks, and complains that he hasn’t eaten. Adriana commissioned 37 portraits, but in the end he produces only half that number, and hours before the show, the canvases aren’t hung and many still haven’t been stretched.
Nevertheless, the opening goes as planned, even if Adriana shows up 10 minutes before the party is supposed to end. Worried that Marin would leave her empty-handed in front of art-loving, boozing Miami, she’s got a “Plan B” surprise that fails miserably. As Marin tinkers at the piano and guests guzzle Mojitos, Adriana announces that Parisian artist Yves Clement has just flown in to give a painting demonstration, and she unrolls a huge wad of canvas on the floor.
If Adriana has proved anything with her antics, it’s that she little more than a promoter of lower echelon painters. Clement demonstrates his “continuous line” portraiture, and all we could say was “Bitch, Cocteau did that nearly a century ago!”
Lea shows up dressed as a kind of bipolar paraphrase of Lady Gaga, with rhinestone-studded eyeglasses she might have borrowed from Elton John. But, Surprise! One of the portraits is of her, a sure way for Adriana to guarantee at least one sale that night.
As could be predicted, pandemonium starts when Marin’s companion Tom confronts Adriana about letting another artist steal the spotlight. Sharp words fly. Adriana calls security. Mysteriously, a gruesome footprint shows up on Clement’s fresh canvas.
It’s a real whodunit, readers. But unless Sherlock Holmes is available, we’ll have to wait another week to solve The Case of the Gallery Owner’s Missing Taste.