‘Married to Medicine,’ consider splitting
Here's another women-going-at-each-other show on Bravo
March 21, 2013
The female rich are different from you and me. But they’re all the same.
That’s the lesson we’ve been taught in the last decade by Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise and the other reality shows, chiefly on VH1, that have ripped off its theme and format.
Like those shows, Bravo’s new series “Married to Medicine” teaches us that all affluent women enjoy throwing parties to which they’ve invited at least two people who can’t stand each other. After the inevitable fight, they get together in smaller groups over glasses of wine and discuss the conflict while planning another party to which the same antagonists will be invited. Repeat until canceled.
Moreover, these women tend to be married to hard-working nonentities who are happy to subsidize this activity until death or divorce does them part.
“Married to Medicine” has a slightly fresh angle: The six women featured are doctors’ wives or female doctors. But nothing in the premiere episode, airing this Sunday, March 24, at 9 p.m., makes this social scene feel sufficiently distinct from previous shows in this genre. In fact, since it’s set in Atlanta and features a mostly black cast, it comes across as a spinoff of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” that wasn’t spun far enough off. The familiarity is wearying.
Whereas most wives shows introduce the characters before they all head to the first party, this one starts off at the party, held at the house of a doctor’s wife named Mariah, who also handles the narration. “Everybody always asks me if I’m the queen bee,” she tells the camera. “My answer to them is ‘Did you not check your email? Of course I am the damn queen bee!'”
Mariah is married to a Bangladeshi-American orthopedic surgeon named Aydin. “We’ve just created out own race,” she says. “We’re blackadeshis.”
The only white woman at the party is a tall blonde named Kari, who brags that her husband, Duncan, is an orthopedic surgeon too. She is evidently proud of her looks. “This does not happen easy,” she says, gesturing toward her head and chest like a spokesmodel. “It takes work.”
Their friend Toya, who is married to an emergency-room doctor named Eugene, says she is from a rough neighborhood in Detroit but “you have to leave that ghetto mentality, that behavior, at home.”
The next two guests, Simone and Jackie, are obstetrician-gynecologists and former partners. Jackie, who says she is known as Dr. Diva because she always looks her best, tends to patronize the others. The more down-to-earth Simone admits that “medical school kicked my ass.”
These shows always have a designated outcast. In “Married to Medicine,” that woman is the last arrival to the party, Quad, who has been married for three months to a psychiatrist named Gregory. Kari gets on Quad’s case by repeatedly referring to Gregory as a psychologist.
Toya tells the camera that although she declined Quad and Gregory’s wedding invitation, just before the ceremony she was included on a mass text message from Gregory that said the wedding was off.
Quad tells us that he sent it impulsively after they had a fight. A mean person might try to annoy Quad by pretending to sympathize with her.
That apparently would be too subtle for a show like this. Toya instead keeps asking Quad rhetorical questions about what happened, finally saying, “Who would marry a man who would do that to them?”
After a fight that involves a lot of finger- and hand-waving, the party is declared ruined. For the producers, of course, the party is a great success.
Toya tells the camera, “I can see ghetto a mile a way. [Quad] probably dated a drug dealer at some point, and she lucked up with a doctor dude.”
The next day (at least in reality-show time), Kari has Toya and Mariah over for champagne by her pool, where Mariah, who had said that Quad was her favorite, says that she’s worried she can’t invite Quad to her next party, which the husbands will be attending.
Later, Mariah goes to Jackie’s and covers the same territory. Jackie tells the camera, “When people lose their manners and act out in a social setting — especially women of color — I get offended.”
Simone stops by Jackie’s office. After they roll their eyes over Quad, Jackie insults Simone by referring to her as a “full-figured girl.”
Kari gets dolled up for a romantic night at home with her husband, who instead wants to talk about his business. Then he gets a page and has to leave.
Toya tells her husband she feels “trapped” and wants to move to a bigger house in a better neighborhood. He says, “Happy wife, happy life.” That’s what Joe, Teresa’s husband, used to say on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” before the couple declared bankruptcy.
And poor Gregory and Quad have to rehash the night he sent that text.
All this leads up to Mariah and Kari’s party, held by the lake behind her large McMansion. The episode ends with Quad arriving and saying, “Let the good times roll.”
This cast is clearly giving the producers what they want, unconcerned with how they or their friends will appear. People of all races who are concerned that “Married to Medicine” is making black women look irrational, flighty and self-involved should note that similar shows have made women of all races, colors and creeds look equally bad.
We’re sure the people who run Bravo would describe themselves as feminists. It would be interesting to see how they justify airing these female minstrel shows.
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