Tamra Barney is the latest real housewife to parlay her wedding into a spin-off — Tamra’s OC Wedding — for Bravo. And for the first time, two spin-offs will be airing simultaneously. (I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding premieres on September 17.)
Of all the housewife spin-offs, Tamra’s seems the least engaging and least likely to succeed. There is no question that NeNe is a big enough personality to carry her own show, but can the same be said for Tamra?
Her predecessor, RHONY housewife Bethenny Frankel, whose brash personality and acerbic wit, was planning a whirlwind shotgun wedding while building her Skinny Girl empire, all during her third trimester. RHOA housewife Kim Zolciak’s spin-off followed her bride-zilla drama as she planned her fairytale nuptials to Atlanta Falcon’s player Kroy Biermann. Kim’s over-the-top drag queen appeal and her apparent disconnect from reality make her a more lucid version of Anna Nicole Smith.
While Tamra speaks her mind and is probably the most humorous of her castmates, that doesn’t mean she’s charismatic enough to draw viewers without the aid of the other OC housewives.
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An Affair to Remember
Oh, how far Tamra has come since her drama-filled day of wedding dress shopping, her lone trip to the jewelry store to pick out wedding rings and her debacle of a bachelorette trip to Mexico. During season 8 of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Tamra hadn’t even been able to get fiance Eddie Judge to set a date until close to the season finale, yet by the reunion, she was married. It’s obvious that all of those wedding-related outings merely served as a catalyst or backdrop for housewife drama. Now that RHOC is over for the season, viewers get to see the “actual” wedding preparations, and this time, there’s nothing that isn’t the creme de la creme.
Tamra states at the beginning of the premiere that it’s very important in Orange County to have a fabulous wedding, and she’s no different. Well, with one exception; this is a 40+ year old woman, and this will be her third marriage. It isn’t Eddie’s first time down the aisle either — it will be his second. All the bells and whistles that are expected for a first-time bride really seem inappropriate and unnecessary in Tamra’s situation. But who would want to watch a run-of-the-mill ceremony when viewers can immerse themselves in Tamra’s self-indulgence.
Forget Gretchen, Meet Ricky
Tamra has added some new faces to her usual entourage, including Diann Valentine, wedding designer to the stars, and Tamra’s gay best friend, Ricky. Instead of a maid of honor, Tamra has chosen to make Ricky her “Man of Honor” because what wedding show would be complete without a token homosexual? Within minutes of the show’s opening credits, Ricky is oohing and ahhing at the suggestion of multiple harpists flanking Tamra as she walks down the aisle at her prestigious venue, the St. Regis Monarch Beach. This is, of course, her’s dream location, and the hotel coincidentally had a cancellation. The only downside is that she has to throw together this spectacle in five weeks. Bravo has to throw some obstacles in there to make things more frantic and dramatic.
Tamra is clamoring for this lavish affair, yet when meeting with her wedding planner, she’s apparently given no thought to any details, such as flowers or the menu. It’s also doubtful that Eddie and Tamra are footing the entire — if any — of the bill for this wedding. She’s definitely got a respectable income between her Wine by Wives business, her controlling share in the couple’s fitness center and her housewife salary. Their home is upscale but modest. I’d say they live comfortably, but they probably can’t spend with carefree abandon. Just two seasons ago, she was in the middle of a divorce and struggling financially trying to sell real estate. Now she’s agreeing to a $6,000 shoe to wear with her wedding dress.
There’s a lot of talk about a budget, but the number isn’t revealed. Tamra does give Miss Valentine strict instructions not to tell Eddie the cost of anything. That’s a great way to start a marriage. Also, is she footing the bill entirely? If not, it’s likely her fiance will notice all these upcoming hefty bank withdrawals.
Enough is Enough
Heather Dubrow makes an appearance, and Tamra asks her to be a bridesmaid, and Vicki Gunvalson accompanies her cake tasting, and Tamra asks her to be a part of the wedding party as well. After a full season of RHOC that included a special two-hour 100th episode spectacular and a tenuous three-part reunion, I’ve reached my OC housewife quota for the time being.
Tamra invites Vicki and Brooks on a co-ed Vegas bachelor/bachelorette blowout. Vicki declines, stating she and her on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again boyfriend will be vacationing in Mexico.
It’s All About the Benjamins
Eddie made it very clear during the most recent RHOC season that he wanted to have little or nothing to do with the planning. He certainly wasn’t kidding. He doesn’t accompany his bride-to-be to check out the venue, go cake tasting or help pick out invitations. In fact, the only interest he seems to have is the cost. It’s completely ridiculous to watch her plan what has to be at least a $250,000-$500,000 wedding and then listen to him b**** about the price tag. If you have the money to even entertain the idea of such an exorbitant event, then money wouldn’t be in the forefront of every argument. It is completely contradictory behavior.
The bride and groom head to Vegas with some close friends and family, including Tamra’s eldest son, Ryan, and the Dubrows. Tamra pulls Heather aside to let her know that ex-hubby number two is sending out nasty tweets about Tamra being a rotten mother. This just feels like more manufactured conflict, as does Tamra’s hissy fit about Eddie’s familiarity with strippers during his bachelor party and his jealousy over her experience with Mexican exotic dancers.
Any die-hard Real Housewives fan is bound to tune in to watch the lavish wedding of this relatively bland twosome. Previews of the upcoming season try to plant a seed of doubt that Tamra and Eddie will actually make it down the aisle, but RHOC viewers know they’ve already tied the knot. The excess spending is almost as distasteful as Tamra’s cosmetic touch-ups. I am curious to see if and how Gretchen will factor into the equation, but other than that, this show will sit in my DVR, only to be viewed on nights when nothing better is on TV.
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(Image courtesy of Bravo)