By the time that Wednesday’s series premiere of Baseball Wives came to a close, I noticed something peculiar. No, not the Grim Reaper leering over my bed, side eyeing me for spending an hour of my young life falling down another VH1 reality rabbit hole. (You should see what he does when I watch Top Model.) The reason I let out a “hmph” was because the six woman cast had been neatly boxed into three groups of two in terms of the role (I thought) they played in the show. A premiere of a reality show is tough because you have to balance introducing the cast with having them actually do something and Baseball Wives tried mightily to make it work.
First, there were the drama queens Anna and Jordana. Anna Benson, perhaps the most infamous cast member coming in, felt like a live action cartoon with her love of fur, guns, and sex talk, a smokey voiced mountain mama that bore more than a striking resemblance to Jackie Christie of Basketball Wives LA. Christie was known for intentionally starting drama just so she could be the one to fix it and when Benson already trash talked Jordana and tried to play mediator at lunch, I knew we had found our Jackie. Anna looks like she could be a hoot, if only she could tone down the condescending talk about the food chain and why wearing fur (in Arizona!!!!!) is the bee’s knees. Or, well, was the bee’s knees, before Anna had the bees slaughtered to make a tacky necklace. Also registering on my Hot-Mess-o-Meter (TM) was Jordana, the lone girlfriend that is still trying to dig her claws into her ex-boyfriend. I liked that Jordana was a little messy in her personal life, only because messy is more relatable than Stepford, but she was a little too extra and looked to be playing to the cameras too much. In the span of one episode, she ran into an ex, took her clothes off at a club, told Chantel the nasty things Erika said, and used her talking heads to mug about how all Baseball Wives were snobs, all the while losing what relatability she had going in. It could just be that she’s young and a little too energetic, but Jordana felt like one of the more insincere ladies.
Populating the middle tier are Brooke and Erika, two women that were just…there. Brooke seemed nice enough, but Erika was in full Stepford mode tonight, her freshly done nose raised high to the heavens. It always astounds me that people go on reality TV just to pass judgment on every person they meet, but super conservative Judgey McJudgerson did just that, referring to formerly abused Chantel as “bottom of the barrel” and then twisting her words ever so slightly. Erika was incredibly guarded for someone who lets her child around her late night cocktail parties, putting up a front like everything in life was grand and “oh, aren’t I so rich” and la-de-frickin’-da. She was Miss Prim’n Proper, not a hair out of place, but aside from her mean streak, she bored me to tears. Part of the appeal of every Real Housewives/(blank) Wives show is that all the money in the world can’t buy happiness and fulfillment, that even with toys, people still have similar concerns to those of us living paycheck-to-paycheck. (Or their concerns are so over-the-top that they make us feel better about ourselves.) I don’t watch a wives show to see someone rolling around in dollar bills, so until Erika lets us in more, I can say that I’m not a fan.
Finally, there was Chantel and Tanya, by far my favorite Baseball Wives of the episode. Whereas the other women were either unpleasant or nonexistent, both former addict Chantel and “guy’s girl” Tanya were likeable, fun, and seemed like they would be pleasant to be around. Chantel’s post-divorce journey should make for a compelling story in Baseball Wives season one, partly because there’s an element of self-discovery in her overcoming her years of abuse. What’s that? A feel good story? I know, it can’t be, but gentle Chantel learning how to stand up for herself could be the coolest transformation to watch for. I just hope that she can keep the other women from using her niceness against her; reality TV is a blood sport not for the faint of heart and I’d hate for someone’s real life personal progress to be impeded by greasy talk and not-so-nice people. As long as Chantel keeps letting the others know that there’s a certain way she needs to be treated and sticks to that, I think she’ll be okay. Tanya’s another divorcee on the hunt for a man, but while she waits for her so-called prince charming, she’s making out in clubs with dudes named Dennis. We didn’t get a lot of personal details about Tanya, minus a bit about her ex, but honestly, the reason I like her thus far is how laidback and down-to-earth she seems. I have a feeling that Tanya on camera is the same as Tanya at noon on a Saturday and there’s something endearing about that.
Baseball Wives airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on VH1. If you missed the first episode, check it out on VH1.com.
Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-“If I cut your arm off, is “I’m sorry” going to fix that?”
-“Let’s face it – I’m the most exciting thing to happen to the Mets since ’86.”
-“I’m so white when I don’t drink.”
-“Does this go around your boobies?”
-I won’t be writing about the show every week, but I’m down to watch and occasionally check in to see if Anna hasn’t killed, skinned, and wore Erika out on a night on the town with Kris.
-Two halfsie Baseball Wives were also in attendance in Shayla (above, right) and Brandy.
-In all the photo sets I’ve seen for the show, Erika’s not in any group shots. Late addition or chemistry problems?
-Another insult for baseball groupies: cleat chaser.
-It was about 33 minutes into the show before we got our first talk about fake vs. real. Not bad, yeah?
-No hubby sightings yet. Do you think any of them will make an appearance in season one?