First of all, I have high hopes for this branch of the Real Housewives tree. Everything is bigger in Texas (including the desire by those without vaginas to restrict women’s reproductive rights), so I expect big hair, big jewelry, and even bigger drama. I want Old School Housewives scenes full of extravagant shopping sprees and giant houses. I want New Money and pretentious prima donnas flitting around with their boobs out. These are my hopes, wants, and dreams. Let’s see if Andy Cohen and his well-oiled hit machine can deliver, shall we?
I’m also excited about there only being 5 women because I start to lose interest in storylines when it goes much beyond that (cough cough RHOBH). Let’s meet our 5 ladies and as always, I will be grading their taglines:
Brandi (who has a voice like a Disney woodland creature) – I was a cowboys cheerleader but in Dallas, I’m never on the sidelines. (B+)
Tiffany – I came home to Dallas to shine my light, not to fight. (D)
Cary – I’m not a trophy wife, I’m a lifetime achievement award. (A)
Stephanie – I’m the Girl Next Door, if you live in a big ole mansion. (B-)
Leeanne – I grew up a carny kid, play games with me and you’re gonna pay (C-)
We kick of the season with former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Brandi and she is everything I want her to be, meaning that she’ pretty and time confuses her. Also, both Brandi and her husband Bryan are redheads which means her kids never stood a chance. Brandi was a cheerleader for 5 years, made veteran of the year, and graced the cover of the calendar twice. She’s perfection. She’s also dated Bryan since middle school and they started dating because Brandi was trying to make her ex-boyfriend, the quarterback of her middle school, jealous and I find that to be precious.
Their daughter’s names are Brooklyn and Brinkley, which… okay I will give her Brooklyn because it’s not that uncommon of a name now and I get that they have a “B” theme going, but can we all agree that “Brinkley” is highly unusual? I like it. But it’s also the name of Tom Hank’s dog in You’ve Got Mail…. Then Brandi tells us that she made Bryan propose to her twice because during the first one, she had “the runs”. Brandi also makes some morbid comment about burying her husband in a hole at a golf course but I’m so taken with her that it only endears me to her more. I. LOVE. BRANDI.
Sadly, we have to leave my new girlfriend Brandi to meet Leeanne and Tiffany (who both had my least favorite taglines so I’m prepped and all ready to dislike them) as they go out shopping. Leeanne tries to pull open a door that is clearly labelled “push” so she’s off to a good start as well. I’m disappointed to learn from Leeanne that Dallas women don’t have mile-high hair anymore. Whatever happened to “the bigger the hair, the closer to God?”
We learn that Leeanne (I hate the double ‘e’ almost as much as my spell check does) is big in the charity circuit, not so much for writing the big checks but for organizing and make the hundreds of phone calls that go into planning the events. Tiffany calls her friend “the mayor of Dallas” and since Leeanne was given the center spot on the title shot, I’m guessing she’s supposed to be the HBIC on the show as well. Whatever. I’m telling you right now that Brandi is going to be the breakout star.
Leeanne says, “They call me the Mouth of the South” and I guess that’s her excuse for being a bitch to Tiffany about a dress she liked. I mean, the dress was hideous. But Leeanne was mean about it and not in the good way that some other housewives like Bethenny and LVP have mastered. Leeanne says that she uses her big mouth to connect charities with rich people so she’s fine with the reputation. Have you ever met someone who is overly generous as a way to make their other dickish behavior seem acceptable? Like the guy who leaves a giant tip but treats their waiter like trash the whole time? Just sayin… We also learn a bit about Leeanne’s childhood as a carny which she says helped prepare her for life in Dallas society. Sure thing, CarnyKid.
Okay, so fellow recapper Kerry told me that she was enraged to find another “surgeon’s wife” on the show instead of all of the wonderful female surgeon’s that they could have found. And I really do get where she is coming from, but Cary isn’t just a surgeon’s wife, she’s a certified registered nurse first assistant which isn’t nothing. That’s a pretty impressive position to hold. It’s not like Cary is some floozy who sits at the front desk answering phones (I say this as a floozy who sits at a desk answering phones) at her husband’s office, she’s right on in there helping him shove silicon bags into women’s chests. Cary is also hosting a trunk show fundraiser at her house for a charity that sponsors breast reconstruction for victims of breast cancer and I’m all for it.
Mark is Cary’s third husband and they met through work sort of, but it took Mark a while to hire his wife. I’m choosing to believe his hesitation was because spouses working together can be difficult and put a strain on a marriage and not because he didn’t want his wife there while he looked at boobs. Mark and Cary knew each other when she was married to her second husband and the scuttlebutt around town was that they were having an affair, which Cary denies.
I get the Giant House package that I wanted with Stephanie who is Brandi’s best friend (for now, as I have yet to begin my hostile takeover). Stephanie and Brandi met through their husbands who have been best friends for years. Brandi also calls wine “Jesus Juice” and says that she likes to take communion every day at any time of day. YOU GUYS, SERIOUSLY.
Stephanie is a stay at home mom as well and her husband likes to give her a chore list every day, I would assume that’s to prevent her from taking communion with Brandi too much. On today’s agenda is programing the new garage doors. Surely these two wiz-bang rocket scientists will have no trouble with that. This is teetering dangerously into the “look how dumb these women are” (Stephanie already hit herself in the eye with a wine opener) territory, and that always rustles my jimmies – even if said women are dumb. Brandi talking heads that she is amused by Stephanie’s to do lists and wonders why she doesn’t just steal her husband’s money like Brandi does. Let’s all enjoy the Brandi ride now, before she realizes how good her shtick is and ruins it in season 2 by over doing it.
What is presumably the next morning, we meet Stephanie’s husband Travis who looks like the grown up version of the bully in a high school football movie, and we also learn that Stephanie was basically born in the town from Footloose. As in, she literally wasn’t allowed to dance and now she says she’s a bad dancer as a result. I was encouraged to dance as a child but I still have two left feet so I’m not sure that’s how it works. Stephanie and Travis’s entire relationship is based off of a sturdy foundation of Jesus Juice. The first couple of nights after they met, they just got hammered and made out. Six months later, they were engaged which just goes to show that it’s important to have similar interests as your spouse.
Travis asks Stephanie if the kids are packed and ready for some ski trip they are taking and when she says yes, he demands to know why their youngest son’s ski jacket is still in the laundry room. And he says it in this really creepy controlling way that sends a shiver down my spine. He’s clearly getting the Jim Bellino edit and Stephanie & Travis officially win my (not so) coveted “Most Likely to Divorce Due to Being on this Show” award. Their kids also don’t listen to Stephanie which says to me that Travis doesn’t listen to Stephanie and that’s where they learned that from. Yup. Doomed.
The Charity Season is just getting started in Dallas (because being charitable all year round would be exhausting) and the first event we will witness is the trunk show at Cary & Mark’s house to benefit victims of breast cancer getting boob jobs they could otherwise not afford. Again- I’m all for this charity because I really like organizations that have a specific thing they do rather than ones who say “we support whatever general cause” where the “support” part is hazy.
Leeanne and Tiffany show up and Leeanne tells us that she knows Cary well enough to know her reputation in the “charity world”. And then she calls Cary a “little pony who married well”. Oh hell no. Leeanne, it’s so clear that you think you are going to be the Bethenny when in fact, you aren’t even the Ramona. A good leader is both feared AND loved, my dear.
Brandi and Stephanie are in the kitchen talking about giving birth and the other bodily functions that can occur when you give birth and Leeanne is piiiiiiissed. We hear her say “It’s a little Plano in here” and I have no idea what that means. So obviously Leeanne hates Brandi and Stephanie because she feels like they don’t take Charity (which I will be capitalizing for the rest of the season as its clearly the 6th star of this show) seriously enough and only come to these functions to escape their husbands. So what? If they spend money at the event and aren’t so disruptive that it ruins the good time of the regular guests (not sticks in the mud like Leeanne), then what does it matter. This also isn’t Leeanne’s event, so until Cary gets upset, she needs to cool it because it seems like everyone that Brandi and Steph are talking to is quite amused (as they should be).
Taking a break from the Charity event, we meet up with Tiffany and her husband Aaron, the poor man’s Keith Urban (+ creepy mustache) and I want you to know that I made that comparison before he opened his mouth and spoke so I didn’t know about the Australian accent but I yelped out a laugh on the train when I heard it and now people are staring at me. Tiffany worries that Aaron misses LA where they met, but Aaron seems to be happy if Tiffany is happy. Apparently, Tiffany got in too deep in the party scene in LA and Aaron helped pick her up when she hit rock bottom. As a thank you for agreeing to move with her back to Texas, Tiffany takes AaronUrban to buy a “real Texas guitar”, which I don’t think is a thing but I will have to confer with fellow recapper Kerry’s husband who plays guitar, to find out for sure.
Okay, now we are at Leeanne’s house so I guess we’re done with the trunk show? That ended sort of abruptly…Leeanne lives (in sin) with her boyfriend Rich who looks like the “before” model in a Just For Men commercial. Rich is a cop and they’ve been together for 6 years and while Rich has been married “a few times”, Leeanne has never been married. I feel like this explains her catty “escape from their husbands” comment earlier.
We continue to pull back the curtain on Leeanne and learn that she is not a billionaire, multi-millionaire, or even a plain old millionaire with 1 or 2 in the bank. She has her social standing because she hustled her little butt off and became the Charity Guru of Dallas, which again explains her distain for Brandi and Stephanie. The way Leeanne sees it, Brandi and Stephanie (and even Cary which is dumb since she has a real career) married their way into the scene and have the luxury of flitting from one party to the next getting drunk and dropping cash as they see fit. And she might be right about that, but again, so what? This rant is a bad look for her and just makes her seem bitter and petty.
Speaking of bitter and petty, Leeanne asks Rich if he will be joining her to an event the following night (the No Tie Dinner to benefit the AIDS Services of Dallas), and Rich asks who else will be there. Upon hearing that Brandi and Stephanie will be going, he snarks that he is probably working. Leeanne talking heads that Rich is just very protective over her and he knows how she feels about Brandi and Stephanie. This is complete and utter bullshit. Leeanne even goes so far as to admit that her issue with the other two ladies is that they “married well” and that’s about it. First of all, there is nothing wrong with marrying a successful person. Secondly, Brandi and her husband Bryan have been together since middle school, so I would hardly call her a gold digger since as a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, she probably had plenty of other possibly more lucrative options for a husband. It’s official. I hate Leeanne. She sucks.
Brandi and Stephanie are getting ready for the Charity event and yeah, it’s pretty obvious that Charity is mostly a social thing for these ladies. I doubt they care all that much about whatever causes are being helped, but they show up, their husbands write checks, and they have a good time. I’m fine with it. If I thought Leeanne was really bothered by the ladies actions at these events, it would be one thing, but it’s pretty obvious that her issues with B&S (BS! Ha) are rooted in her own insecurities and jealousy.
Stephanie tells Brandi that she was at dinner with Cary and she let it slip that Brandi does a great Leeanne impersonation (she does) and as much as Stephanie wants Brandi to show it off to Cary, Brandi decides to refrain from that this evening because she knows it would bother Leeanne. So, as it turns out, Brandi and Leeanne have gone to the same Charity events multiple times and Leeanne keeps pretending that she doesn’t know who Brandi is. This is such an exceptionally baller bitch move that I will begrudgingly tip my hat to Leeanne on that one. Brandi talking heads that both she and her husband are red heads with the last name of Redmond, so she’s sure Leeanne remembers her, and OF COURSE Leeanne does. I’d be willing to bet that Leeanne pegged Brandi as a trophy wife the second she laid eyes on her and wrote her name down on her “Bitches to have Murdered by my Carny Family” list. Brandi correctly identifies Leeanne as someone who is using the Charity world almost not to help others, but to shine a spotlight on herself. YUP. Especially when we hear that at a recent AIDS benefit, Leeanne chose to stand up and talk about her own life (I’m guessing she doesn’t have AIDS) which Brandi found to be pretty inappropriate.
At the No Tie dinner (the AIDS Services of Dallas dinner that FriendMarie is hosting), all the ladies arrive and Leeanne’s eye daggers are in full force as B&S walk in the door. Stephanie tells us that she and Brandi are newer to the Charity scene because they’ve been raising young children (totally legit excuse as far as I’m concerned), and since becoming a part of it, they’ve met some wonderfully giving women (quick camera pan around the room) and some ego maniacs (close in shot of Leeanne).
The leaders of AIDS Services of Dallas get up to give a short speech about the work they’ve done and the money they’ve raised, but for Leeanne it seems as though she’s suddenly been transported to a Sunday morning church service in Atlanta. She nods her head enthusiastically and shouts out “woo hoo”s and “that’s right”s throughout the whole thing and I can already tell that she’s someone I would mock mercilessly not just on the internet but constantly in real life if I knew her personally.
Someone spilled the beans to Leeanne (a producer, I’m guessing?) that Brandi has an impersonation that she does of her, but she tells Tiffany that Brandi does both of them, which I don’t think is true. Brandi looks mortified when Leeanne and Tiffany fake-sweetly ask her to perform the impressions for them and Brandi wisely refuses to play ball. Leeanne takes this as a sign that the impersonation must be hateful and while it’s not exactly complementary, but I wouldn’t call it hateful. Brandi also refuses on the grounds that she doesn’t want to give Leeanne any more unwarranted attention.
Leeanne starts giving what I can only describe as a crazy person’s talking head which I will transcribe for you here and then we will break it down line by line:
“This is how you spend your time at a Charity event?! It’s about the Charity. You need to stand a certain way. You need to respond appropriately to your elders at a Charity event. You need to beha-THERE ARE RULES!”
- Leeanne is an active member of the current pow-wow that consists of Cary, Brandi, and herself. Brandi was approached by Leeanne and Tiffany and was ASKED by to publically mock them, which Brandi refused. So Leeanne, please recognize that you are the one spending your time harassing these women, not the other way around.
- Yes, Leeanne, it SHOULD be about the Charity. Maybe you should take the lead here and not engage in a petty conversation that has nothing to do with AIDS Services for Dallas.
- I don’t see anyone standing in any way that could be deemed anything but “normal”, so I don’t really know what that line even means.
- Props to Leeanne for referring to herself as an “elder”, but I’d argue that choosing to not act out a potentially hurtful impression is absolutely the appropriate way to respond to your elder, especially since the impression is OF said elder.
- There are rules. And the number one rule is you MUST RESPECT Leeanne’s broke carny ass. Got it.
Brandi talking heads that everyone in Dallas is afraid of Leeanne because she bullies people and orders them around but Brandi knows that the best way to handle a bully is to confront them directly and be a pillar of strength and you can tell that the second Brandi asks to speak with Leeanne, she deflates a bit and gets nervous behind the eyes.
Brandi tries to get real with Leeanne and says that the ladies don’t know each other very well and that she’s sorry if Leeanne was offended because mimicking people is just something Brandi does for fun and there isn’t any malice behind it (which I believe). Leeanne touches Brandi’s knee and complete and utter bullshit spews forth from her mouth. Leeanne says she wasn’t bothered at all by the supposed impersonation and that there is nothing about Brandi that Leeanne doesn’t accept. Huh? Wha? NO.
Brandi tells Leeanne that she didn’t understand why Leeanne would have shared her own personal life story at that previous AIDS benefit they both were at since it had nothing to do with AIDS. Leeanne counters that she’s been through everything (except, you know, HIV/AIDS) and that every time she tells her story, someone is helped. Brandi just keeps soft-voicing her and say that she feels sorry for her, which is a more aggressive way to say “bless your heart”. I will admit that Brandi is mean-girling a little bit (lot bit) here, but I have about 20 minutes worth of established hatred for Leeanne so I’m fine with it.
Somehow, Leeanne got into her head that Brandi finds her pathetic (which she probably does, but definitely didn’t say), and her voice starts to shake a bit when she says that if Brandi were to do the impression of her right now, she’d probably find it demeaning. Stephanie (who has randomly joined the women on the couch) counters that she thinks Leeanne would probably find it funny because Brandi is funny (Brandi is, but Leeanne definitely would not). Leeanne’s eyes widen and she says “Oh, so she’s funny, but I’m pathetic?” Yes. YES. Leeanne is so insecure about these younger beautiful women that she can’t help but try to put them down to make herself feel better. Brandi doesn’t give two shits about Leeanne but Leeanne is acting pathetic and frankly desperate around her. Do women ever really leave high school? Or are we just doomed to repeat these cycles forever?
Leeanne: The only time I ever attack someone or go on the offense is when I’m attacked
Brandi: Do you feel attacked right now?
Leeanne: Mmhmm. And you’re sweet and you guys haven’t been in society- you haven’t been out long in Dallas
Brandi explains that she and Stephanie are new to the scene because their priority has been their children, whereas Leeanne has made Charity her first priority. Leeanne says that she chose to not have children (I’m not sure that I totally believe that) and that it’s not that she needs to be at all of these events, it’s that she wants to. Brandi also goes on a rant where she says it’s sort of bullshit that rich people will only give money if they are wined and dined like this and they should just be writing checks directly to the causes they care about. I agree with that for the most part but it’s just not how the system works. Most people are more generous when they know someone is watching.
Stephanie hilariously has her head buried in her hands throughout this whole exchange, btw. Brandi snots that Leeanne is in need of help (im guessing she means mental help) and Leeanne walks away, ranting under her breath about how inappropriate this all is. Brandi and Stephanie leave the party and Brandi gets once last shot in, calling Leeanne “fake” as she exits. Leeanne is absolutely fake. She clearly hates Brandi but kept calling her “sweet” and said there was nothing about her that she “didn’t accept”. Ugh. Well the line has clearly been drawn in the sand. Are you #TeamCarny or #TeamCowgirl? I think I’ve made it quite clear where I stand on the matter.
You guys, I loved it. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve been excited about a new series of this show. Hated DC & Miami and Potomac was mostly a snoozefest, so I’m pumped.
Recap written by Liz