It is with tentative enthusiasm that I introduce the promo for the Real Housewives Of Melbourne which premieres this February on Arena. I say tentative because Australian reproductions of reality shows originally conceived and made for American audiences have, on occasion, struggled to capture the same compulsively watchable je ne sais quoi once translated.
Take the debut season of Australia’s The Bachelor last year. It couldn’t hold a candle to the incomprehensible earnestness, brilliantly manipulative editing and high-gloss production genius of the US original (Production tip: insert a hot tub into increasingly elaborate and scenic holiday destinations, preferably with access only by elephant-back and you’ve got yourself the bones of a decent one-on-one date). And don’t forget – despite your best intentions – the ill-fated local attempt to capture the spray tan smothered ebullience of Jersey Shore with The Shire. A disaster.
Now we attempt to recreate the soapy shame-crevasse of the wildly successful Real Housewives franchise. Will the Melbourne incarnation manage to transcend the pressure of its undeniably entertaining American counterparts, or is it destined to be just another hazy memory of attempted ratings glory.
Let’s get a look at these ladies, then you can judge for yourself. With a splashy wardrobe of cleavage-exposing dresses and the two key attributes on which you can initially assess them (Andrea, for example, is a business woman AND a surgeon’s wife; Gina is both criminal barrister AND glamazon) Arena invites you to meet the cast members of the Real Housewives of Melbourne…