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Reality TV Listings Secrets and Wives

It’s premiere night for Bravo’s newest experiment with real friends navigating life and love on the North Shore of Long Island: Secrets and Wives.  Bravo follows six ladies, Andi Black, Susan Doneson, Cori Goldfarb, Gail Greenberg, Amy Miller, and Liza Sandler, who’ve grown up together, gotten married – and divorced – together, and are living out their pitfalls and triumphs under the microscope of a close-knit community where no one is exempt from criticism. Although my first impression of the promos for this show was “ugh, yet another housewife knockoff!!” I’m kind of revising that thinking now that I’ve seen just how real the ties are among this group of ladies. Many of them went to high school together (the throwback photos alone rival RHONJ in their ‘80s awesomeness!), and more than a few of them have gotten a bit messy-boots with their inter-dating histories.

We first meet Cori Goldfarb, who’s yelling at her dog and complaining to her housekeeper, with the help of a Smartphone Spanish translation app. Cori describes the North Shore of Long Island as one of the “premiere suburbs in the country,” kind of like Beverly Hills. (But kind of…not.) Cori is still married to her first husband, Sandy, which makes her somewhat of an anomaly in her town. Friend Amy Miller says Cori & Sandy were the “It” couple back in the day. Sandy & Cori recently opened a business together, a high-end spa, which they funded by selling off their beloved Hamptons home. Although Cori sometimes wants to smother him with a pillow “until he, like, stops breathing,” she says she still loves Sandy. The couple have four daughters together.

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Liza Sandler is a legend on the North Shore for being a spark plug, and apparently for sleeping around. At Liza’s house, she’s sharing coffee with live-in bestie Andi Black, who is accusing Liza of farting in her sleep the night before. So if we have any doubts that these women are in fact real friends, we can drop them now! This is real girlfriend talk. Andi has two kids and has been divorced three times, so she’s living with Liza – and sleeping in the same bed – until she figures out the next stage of her life. Liza reportedly got a sweet settlement from her divorce, so she’s in the midst of deciding what to do with her current home, and wondering where she’ll land next. Liza’s ex-husband was a very successful hedge fund manager who Liza cheated on with a high powered media figure, a scandal that ended up in the gossip rags. Past drama aside, Liza & Andi discuss an upcoming plastic surgery fashion show promoted by Gail Greenberg’s hubby, “Dr. G,” to show off all of the work Long Island socialites have had done by him over the years. Yes, please! Andi hopes there will be exploding tits or something equally dramatic in the show’s highlights. Me too.

Next we’re introduced to Dr. G’s best creation, and wife, Gail. At his office, Gail strolls in to side-eye the gaggle of young Miss Thang Receptionists guarding her hubby’s front desk before storming back to see Dr. G. He’s the second doctor Gail has landed in marriage, a feat worthy of a silicone statue in her honor. Dr. G discusses the upcoming fashion show with Gail. He wants to dedicate equal time to all procedures, so there must be breasts! There must be tummy tucks! There must be nose jobs! “Do we have a nose job?” asks Dr. G. Gail interviews that being married to the best and busiest plastic surgeon on Long Island means that she doesn’t get enough attention from him. Ever.

Secrets & Wives - Season 1

Liza & Andi are driving to Dr. G.’s to get some maintenance Botox, but first Liza discusses her wish for a vaginal insert that makes her vajajay smell like flowers. In the middle of this lovely talk, Liza gets an angry call from her ex-hubby, who wants to show their house tomorrow to potential buyers, but Liza’s not available. She starts crying immediately and yells, “Talk to me like a human being! Don’t threaten me!” Shaken up after the call, Liza takes Andi in to Dr. G’s for some filler therapy. Liza is still teary, so Andi counsels her to just do what her ex says, interviewing that men on the North Shore have all of the power, so the women must basically shut up and say yes to them. Wow. The year 1901 called and wants its pre-feminist rhetoric back.

It’s the morning of the fashion show, and we wake up with Susan Doneson, the new girl – and only brunette! – in the group. Growing up on the South Shore, she’s seen as the unsophisticated “mob wife” of the group. She’s proud of her upbringing, though, and is the only career woman of the friend circle. She got married for money the first time, but love the second. Her ex-con husband, Jonathan, is her high school sweetheart, and looks a bit like he could break someone’s knees in back of a factory.  

Cori and Liza get seated first at the show, followed by Dr. G and Gail, who Cori comments, “looks like a Barbie Doll!” Much to the ladies horror, Dr. G adds, “that’s falling apart, right?” What a prince. Jonathan and Susan arrive next. Gail and Susan apparently have some unspecified beef with one another and greet each other coolly. Gail flatly interviews that Susan is just “not classy,” so she wants nothing to do with her. Amy Miller arrives, who we’re told was the “It” girl in high school and doesn’t currently work because she’s supported by her shady boyfriend, Arthur. Amy seems upset at the event, muses Cori, and it probably has something to do with her dysfunctional relationship with Arthur, which Cori would like to see end ASAP. As the group discusses their plastic surgery, Susan remarks that even though it’s Gail’s event, she’s like an ice princess, not smiling or welcoming to any of the supporters who’ve shown up for this farce. Let the parade of plastic surgery begin! Here come the boobs, the lipo, the lips, and the butts. Jonathan smarmily (is that a word!?) comments, “Oh, to be single again!” while Gail takes the stage to fake-smile at the crowd.

The next day at Amy’s house, her 20-year old attention deprived son Max heads out of the house to chase down an ice cream truck dressed in bunny ears, overalls, and a tutu. I’ve taught high school kids like this and I’ve got a tip for Amy: these guys don’t get better by you video recording their antics on your phone while you sigh, “well, he’s just not as mature as others yet, maybe.” Groan. Max is – of course! – living with Amy, with no goals of his own at the moment. Amy sits Max down to ask him when he’s going to start doing his own laundry while her ex-husband Mark, who also lives with his mom (shocker!) comes over to coddle their man-boy son and pet Amy’s dog. Mark is still in Amy’s life even though she’s sort-of engaged to Arthur, who she met while both of them were still married (did you get all that? Whew!). Max doesn’t support his mom’s relationship with Arthur and, like the nice young lad he is, bluntly tells his mom “you’re getting old.” Is this his version of tough love? Let’s see some role reversal here, Amy.  

Over at Liza’s house, she’s talking to her 18-year old daughter Ryan about the pre-prom party they’re planning, which will include Liza’s friends too. Party planners arrive and hear an earful about the Dr. G. fashion show before they start discussing the classy, intimate 300-person party Liza’s about to throw for a bunch of teenagers. There will be mirrors and vases and DJs involved, but Ryan claims she doesn’t want it to be over the top and “obnoxious.” Liza tells her party planner friends that she’s not ready to leave the dream home she built with her ex, but she’s gotta go. She wants this pre-prom party to be fabulous to distract from the cold reality of losing her home soon.

Secrets & Wives - Season 1

At lunch, Andi & Amy run into Susan, then discuss Andi’s living situation with Liza. Moving on, Amy says she’s at a crossroads in her relationship with Arthur. They had an argument before the fashion show, and their relationship is volatile and unhealthy, but she claims he’s so passionate about her that he gets crazy. Andi thinks their 6-year relationship is toxic, period. Just as Andi is telling Amy that she wants to see her get out of the relationship, Arthur walks up to their outside table and mouths off to Amy, swearing, “this is f*king terrible,” before storming into the restaurant. Amy runs after him while Andi contemplates what a complete a$$hole Arthur is. “Someone who loves you doesn’t do that,” says Andi, but time will tell whether Amy is hearing her words or not.

It’s the morning of Ryan’s pre-prom party and Liza’s mom Roberta is over to help with prep. Liza warns her mom to keep her trap shut at the party tonight, as she’s apparently a loose cannon with her opinions when it comes to Liza’s group of friends. Liza says Ryan is a warm, gentle girl in a world of entitled Long Island teens and she has a special place in her heart for her. Aww. But Susan interviews that “It’s so hard to raise your kids to be anything but spoiled” here on the North Shore. Ryan looks beautiful in her dress as the women snap photos and usher the guests into the decked out back yard. The rest of the ladies show up and, so far, Mama Roberta is staying on her best behavior. Susan asks Amy where Arthur is and she deflects before escaping for a drink. Andi tells Susan that Arthur’s reprehensible treatment of Amy the other day was a strong reminder of her own past relationship. Then discussing why Liza isn’t dating at the moment, Andi says the “caliber” of man (cough, cough – filthy rich) is just not available to Liza right now. Susan quips that Liza needs to live in reality and get a job. Susan’s first husband had a ton of money, but now that she’s married to a man she loves, she doesn’t see dollar signs as a motivator for happiness anymore. Andi is annoyed that Susan judges the rest of them. Ryan hugs Liza goodbye and heads off to prom, but Liza is feeling bittersweet about her youngest daughter’s final rite of passage being over.

This season of Secrets and Wives promises more drama among the ladies and their partners, and maybe even the fate of their love relationships, especially Amy & Arthur’s.

TELL US: WILL YOU BE WATCHING SECRETS AND WIVES THIS SEASON? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE PREMIERE EPISODE?  

Photo Credit: Mathieu Young/Bravo

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