REALITY SERIES "Secrets and Wives"
WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 10 on Bravo
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Two summers after its controversial misfire, "Princesses: Long Island," Bravo returns to the North Shore of Long Island with another reality series. This one, as the network describes it, focuses on an "affluent, tight-knit group of six longtime girlfriends" who are "re-inventing" their lives after decades of toting personal "baggage" and surviving breakups.
The women count 10 marriages, seven divorces (although not all have been divorced) and more than a dozen kids among them. Plus, they have a shared passion: Dr. Stephen Greenberg, their Woodbury plastic surgeon (the husband of one of them).
This "sisterhood" of friends has grown up together: They know everything about one another, maybe too much. Mostly, they love one another, they say. They have -- literally -- one another's backs. Meet Andi Black, Susan Doneson, Cori Goldfarb, Gail Greenberg, Amy Miller and Liza Sandler.
MY SAY Either as a potentially successful reality series or potential disaster, "Secrets and Wives" was inevitable. Big houses. Big personalities. Big hair. Big bucks. Big, blustery husbands, boyfriends, or castoffs. Big everything else, too. Let's just say these ladies -- as immodest a representation of North Shore ostentation as you could possibly imagine -- have been surgically retrofitted from head to heel and are happy to share details, or sizes, as proof. As one of the wives -- speaking for herself but easily for the others, too -- explains, "my [breasts] can . . . walk on their own."
What took Bravo so long to find this crew, anyway?
As a cast -- and therefore as a show -- "Secrets" is both expected and beyond ridicule. No existential angst torments this lot, no nagging suspicion that they're an Amy Schumer sketch waiting to happen. They're loud, proud, in your face. Anyone who's spent 10 minutes on Long Island knows the type well.
But the shock of recognition is tempered by an even greater shock: They seem like fun. They certainly know how to have fun. They also seem like they genuinely care for one another. Doubtless, this was unintentional on Bravo's part, potentially unwelcome, too.
This network knows how to frame cultural archetypes, or exploit them, but it also knows that "malice" goes a lot farther than "nice." Tables aren't overturned, dresses aren't ripped, punches aren't thrown if everyone already knows everyone else's secrets.
Besides, that hair -- masses and masses of expensively highlighted, blindingly flaxen hair -- might get tousled in a brawl. (Say what you will about these Long Island housewives, but they know their list of priorities, with "perfect hair" right up at the top.)
Another viewer challenge is what might be called an "optics" one: These woman look remarkably, or eerily, similar. Just getting the faces straight -- let alone the marriages, divorces, children, houses and exes -- might take a few episodes. Best of luck in that endeavor.
BOTTOM LINE Surprise! Not criminally awful. In fact, the ladies seem like fun, the show not so much.