If you've ever watched a second of Bravo's Real Housewives franchise, you know a parody is barely necessary. Yet a spoof, and a fairly hilarious one, is just what Hulu is serving up when it premieres The Hotwives of Orlando on July 15. The series, which comprises of seven half-hour episodes, was shot in a single week, a thrifty move counter to the over-the-top housewives on screen.
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"As fans of all the Real Housewives series, it just seemed like the only way we would ever get on a Real Housewives show," co-writers Danielle Schneider and Dannah Phirman told BuddyTV. "We're hoping Andy Cohen will see this show and give us a shot at the real thing."
Both ladies put their Housewives knowledge to the test when creating the opulent and glittering world of downtown Orlando. They also pull double duty on Hotwives, since both act on the show in addition to write.
Danielle Schneider plays Shauna, an Italian-American shopaholic with anger management problems clearly based off The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Teresa Giudice. Dannah Phirman plays Alli, a trouble-making friend who isn't a hotwife but very, very desperately wants to become one.
Whether you're a Real Housewives fanatic or you find the Bravo franchise ridiculous, there are plenty of pleasures to be had in the very funny Hulu spoof. Here are just six reasons why you should tune in:
1. A Great Cast
Stars, they're just like us! And just like us, they also love mindless reality television, and it's hard to get more mindless than the dramatic Real Housewives franchise. The series stars Happy Endings' Casey Wilson, The Office's Angela Kinsey, and The Daily Show's Kristen Schaal, just to name a few familiar faces that pop up during just the first two episodes. Plus The League's Paul Scheer ends every episode by playing an Andy Cohen-type who hosts a Hotwives after-show.
"Plus, we've got Joey McIntyre from the New Kids on the Block," Schneider and Phirman said. "I mean, have you seen those baby blues?"
2. It's Created by Real Real Housewives Fans
Co-writers Danielle Schneider and Dannah Phirman are the real deals when to comes to Housewives fandom, and it shows in every character and line on the show.
"We've watched them all!!" Schneider and Phirman said of their Housewives knowledge. "Even the season in DC that Bravo would like to pretend never happened. We remember, Bravo, we remember."
For those familiar with the different franchises, it's easy to tell which character is spoofing which actual Housewife, adding to the fun of watching the show.
3. The Characters Feel Familiar
Probably because of Schneider and Phirman's encyclopedic knowledge of the Real Housewives franchise, the character parodies all hit their targets dead center.
There's the hotwife married to a much older man who she continually declares is dying, even though that doesn't exactly seem to be the case. There's the former child star who is now a complete trainwreck. And there's the in-your-face, catchphrase machine who speaks her mind, even when it's not necessary or warranted, in the guise of "just being Phe Phe."
Asked for the three essential ingredients of every good hotwife, the ladies answered, "Big hair, big boobs and no shame."
4. You'll Learn the Enormous Power of the Phrase "Calm Down"
There's nothing worse than telling a drama queen to "calm down," and on The Hotwives of Orlando it is the show's four-letter word and unforgivable insult. This is important knowledge in case you ever find yourself at a gala, a pimps and hoes party, or even a christening. Just avoid this phrase at all costs.
"Just hearing you say that phrase right now makes us want to punch you in the neck," Schneider and Phirman said of their reaction. "Don't go there bitch!!"
5. The Hotwives are Entrepreneurs
Like any good Real Housewife worth her Manolos, the ladies on The Hotwives of Orlando always have several (straightening) irons in the fire. Tawny St. John (Casey Wilson) has a line of eyebrow extensions and a charity to give heels to dogs. Phe Phe (Tymberlee Hill) is a successful lawyer, foot model, and aspiring taxidermist.
"Shauna wants to launch her own line of fake nails that are rounded so they won't get caught in weaves when in a fight," Schneider said about her character's aspirations.
Speaking of what not-quite-hotwife Alli's plans would be, Phirman said, "Alli is launching a new perfume called "Wanna-be," it smells like gardenia and desperation."
6. You Don't Need to be a Fan of Bravo's Franchise to Enjoy
Obviously a knowledge of the source material can help the jokes land better, but the great thing about the Real Housewives is that the rhythms of the franchise are just as easy to understand as they are to parody.
You don't need to have a favorite city in order to enjoy the jokes in The Hotwives of Orlando. (The co-writers' favorite city is Beverly Hills, although asking them to choose, "Is like asking us to choose between our children, which would actually be a lot easier than this decision.")
You don't have to be familiar with the ins and outs of the Bravo series being parodied in order to be in on the joke. After all, the Real Housewives series is so ridiculous it practically parodies itself. With a great cast and truly funny writing, Hotwives should be fun for newbies and experts alike.
"The whole thing was an absolute blast to shoot and the cast was made up of the funniest people we know. Shooting the reunion show at 3 a.m. in a Friendly's surrounded by ice-cream and fake-boobs was a real high point," Schneider and Phirman said.
"We think people, even those who have never seen the Real Housewives, will find the ridiculous women we've created hilarious and endearing."
Below is a trailer for the first season, premiering July 15 on Hulu:
What do you think? Will you be tuning in? Sound off in the comments!
The Hotwives of Orlando premieres Tuesday, July 15 on Hulu.
(Images and video courtesy of Hulu)