Should You Get To Know The Hotwives Of Orlando? It's Just A Question, CALM DOWN!
Hulu's new original comedy is a Real Housewives spoof featuring a bevy of alt-comedy all-stars, but is it worth watching?
What Is This Thing?
The beautiful, glamorous, idle, shallow, monstrous bitches of Orlando high society gossip behind each other's backs before coming together at various social events to pick screaming fights. Any resemblance to the Real Housewives franchise is completely intended.
When Is It On?
Whenever you want! It's on Hulu.
Why Was It Made Now?
As I wrote when the trailer came out, Burning Love has been a great proof of concept for sitcoms that spoof other genres of TV. Childrens Hospital and NTSF: SD: SUV:: were before it, and there's significant overlap of talent across these four projects. (I could start listing people who've appeared on all of them, but I actually have other things to do today.) It's also, like Burning Love, the kind of thing you can make on the cheap by using eight different corners of the same generic McMansion, which I'm sure was a consideration for Hulu, still a relative newcomer to the online-only original programming space.
What's Its Pedigree?
It was co-created by Danielle Schneider (who also stars as Shauna, this show's answer to Teresa Giudice) and Dannah Feinglass Phirman (who appears in at least one episode as its Sonja -- in other words, the non-Hotwife desperate to join the cast); the main cast includes -- get comfy -- Casey Wilson, Angela Kinsey, Kristen Schaal, Joey McIntyre, Matt Besser, Stephen Tobolowsky, Kulap Vilaysack, Horatio Sanz, Andrea Savage, Jeff Hiller, and Paul Scheer. Even if some of those names are not familiar to you, you have definitely seen each of them at least once.
Well before Hotwives, Casey Wilson was a co-creator and cast member of "The Realest Real Housewives," a series of staged readings of actual dialogue (or "dialogue," I suppose) from various Real Housewives shows, which would seem to suggest that she'd come to this iteration with a really mean edge. But if you follow her on Twitter, you know that she seems to have a sincere affection for the ladies (she has a particular soft spot for poor old Vicki Gunvalson of Orange County), and -- I know this sounds crazy -- she brings something like humanity to her performance as Tawny, who could otherwise have been a straight Kim Zolciak takedown as opposed to the somewhat subtle Kim Zolciak takedown that actually results. Ending each episode with a tease for Hotwives Cooldown -- the Watch What Happens Live of the Hotwives universe -- is a fun touch and amps up the absurdity.
Remember how good the SNL Disney Housewives sketch was? An entire half-hour of it probably would have been a bit much...and that's how this feels. The concept is solid, and it's not that there isn't a lot of dumb shit in the world of Housewives that is prime comedic material. But I think I might prefer to see a series of shorts that did more of a greatest-hits take on Housewives stories and tropes than a sitcom version that's (sort of) built around an actual story. After the first three minutes of each of the first two episodes, I felt like I got it. But then there was so much more and it kind of lost its charm.
Though I have been exposed to the Real Housewives franchise in my life -- I do live in the world -- I am not a religious watcher of it. Not until this week's RHONYC post by my esteemed colleague Alex Zeidel did I realize that the "calm down" fight in the Hotwives pilot is a direct reference to a real Housewives skirmish. So while a lot of this was pretty boring for me and I...didn't laugh once, if you are way into the Real Housewives shows, this might be just the thing for you.