Sunday, December 30, 2007

Real Housewives of Orange County: Dysfunctional Like the Rest of Us

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Into its 3rd season, the hit Bravo reality TV show, The Real Housewives of Orange County, has given us a glimpse into the lifestyles and mini-dramas of a Southern California gated community.

We’ve been following the “lives” of four “housewives”: Vicki, the driven to succeed Midwest transplant, Lauri, the elegant blonde bombshell engaged to George, the handsome millionaire. Tammy, the once married to a super-rich older man who filed for massive bankruptcy, and Jeana, former Playboy bunny, actress, now successful realtor, separated from her long time husband and ex-major league pitcher, Matt Keough.

In three seasons we’ve watched what the producers wanted us to know. The “real” lives lived in beautiful houses in the super-beautiful community of “Coto”.

We’ve followed the lives of Lauri, Jeana, Vicki, and Tammy along with their family members: kids, spouses, boyfriends, ex’s, decorators, and neighborhood “extras.” We’ve been privy to the nip and tucks, botox, boob jobs, hair dyes and the women’s bratty and not so bratty kids as they grew up before our very eyes.

Jo, the youngest “housewife” has moved on to LA; a new reality show in the works, her ex-older boyfriend, Slade, still “clinging” to her. When Jo and Slade “broke up” we thought we spied a tiny bit of spine in Slade when he grabbed a screwdriver and removed the license plate from Jo’s (leased) Mercedes. (A gift from him)

We watched Lauri work for Vicki and wondered how Lauri could stand having to spend so much time with the workaholic control freak Vicki without resorting to murder. We cheered Lauri when she met George, the successful down-to-earth developer. We were happy when Lauri moved in with George and then became engaged. We wondered why Lauri’s son, in and out of trouble, moved in with George’s ex-wife.

We followed Tammy and her two daughters as they learned how to readjust to living a “meager” lifestyle after Tammy divorced Lou, the much older husband. Lou knew how to get on the show by recruiting his, Lauri’s, and Vicki’s daughter to become the “spokesgirls” for his new bottled water drink. Unfortunately for Lou he dropped dead of a massive heart attack. Now Tammy is helping her daughters cope with the fact that their father “broke his promise” that "they’d never have to work for anything."

What a bastard to drop dead before making sure his kids were set for life.

Then there’s Vicki. Vicki is not the best looking but she is the most fascinating of the “wives.”

We’ve watched Vicki’s drive to succeed and by all accounts she's quite successful. We watched the bombastic workaholic bounce through life and wonder why her husband is so sarcastic and cutting to her. In Vicki’s favor she gives as good as she gets.

Last season she went on a “surprise” visit to see her son during his first semester of college in Colorado. You see his mortification when she showed off her set of boobs to his friends. At least she kept her shirt on. We cringed when she behaved as if she was the same age as her son. We felt immense pity for that kid and a little for Vicki, when, rebuffed by her son, she hid sobbing behind his shower curtain.

And then there’s Jeanna. For three seasons we’ve watched Jeanna in her real estate career, raising her three kids with ex-pro pitcher, Matt Keough.

The kids grew up. The oldest, surly, cocky, and unsure, is now busy establishing his own career in the major leagues and beginning to mellow.

A beautiful and grounded daughter who graduated from high school this year and decided to attend Berkeley. A daughter who hated to see her friends’ drink or smoke and was very adamant about it.

Jeanna’s youngest, her 14-year-old son, a cute kid already in sports, busy being precocious.

And then there’s Matt, Jeanna’s husband and father to the 3 kids.

Every now and then we’d see Matt around the house. We came to know Matt as “surly” and “sour" and mostly unseen. Jeanna mentioned when he was absent that he was away “coaching” or in Vegas.

This season Jeanna separated from Matt. Viewers knew Jeanna and Matt’s marriage was strained. What viewers didn’t see was Matt locked in his own battle, against the bottle, a fight to stay sober.

Matt is being currently held in the Orange County Jail without bail. The fifty-two-year-old was arrested December 18th after he had spent several days “binge” drinking at a local hotel.

Matt violated his probation from a 2005 DUI conviction. Just days before Matt’s arrest at the hotel he had been released from the Newport Beach City Jail where he had been incarcerated for 7 weeks. A probation officer caught Matt drinking at his home, a violation that put Matt in jail.

Matt tried the Betty Ford Clinic and a court ordered 3-month stint at an outpatient program.

We never got a glimpse of this, of Matt’s drinking, or how it affected his family. Or did we?

There was their daughter’s anger over “drinking.” Every now and then we’d hear a comment from the kids about their father.

A huge undertaking, to pretend your life is okay, while a member of your family is in the grips of a problem like Matt’s alcoholism. While cameras follow you around in your “perfect” life, in the “perfect” world of “Coto.”

Matt’s next hearing is on January 14th. Matt could face up to five years in prison.


Source - OC Re


gister - Judge Delays Matt Keough’s Arraignment - Bigger, Better!.
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