I‘m not typically one for reality TV shows, but I do like sharp-tongued, confident women.
So it’s little wonder that I took Bravo TV up on its opportunity to watch the first 10 minutes of their new show, Sweet Home Oklahoma. The “unscripted” series centers around the guided high jinks of three 40-something, crass mothers who don’t want for money.
The premier will air at 9 p.m. Monday central time, and I enjoyed the preview a lot more than I thought I would.
Sweet Home Oklahoma looks like it could thread a needle between the insufferable haughtiness and shallow banality that often define reality TV shows about rich chicks who know each other.
Of course, for at least three reasons, my inclination to praise the show could be biased.
First: I’ve met Jennifer Welch
Sweet Home Oklahoma centers around three friends — Amy “Pumps” Sullivan, Lee Murphy and Jennifer Welch — who have all been divorced. In the show’s first 10 minutes, however, Welch is revealed (cleverly) to be reconciled with her ex-husband, Josh.
Of those four Nichols Hills-billies, Jennifer Welch stands as the only character whom I have met at a bar. We’ve talked #election2016, #okleg and #oklaed, and she carries herself with an engaging confidence.
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Not to disclose her personal business — although she is on a damn reality TV show, so whatever — Welch was an unabashed Hillary Clinton backer in 2016, a designation that many respectable people didn’t have the stones to own.
That speaks to part of Sweet Home Oklahoma’s potential: The opportunity for a thoughtful, progressive woman to articulate her values to dueling audiences. In theory, it could work two-fold.
On the one hand, the national narrative of Oklahoma needs more acknowledgment that we have our fair share of eccentric, left-leaning bourgeois broads who won’t put up with your shit. On the other, Oklahoma internally needs to recognize that you can have a modern, successful lifestyle without keeping up with Kardashians or locking yourself in a suburban safe space.
Second: My mom takes iced tea everywhere
Perhaps the funniest moment in the first 10 minutes of Sweet Home Oklahoma’s pilot is when Angie “Pumps” Sullivan becomes aghast to learn that local bar The Powerhouse does not serve iced tea.
“Are you kidding me?” Sullivan asks Powerhouse bartender Roy Staat. “Can I bring mine in from the car?”
“Heck yeah you can,” Staat replies.
Moments later, a gallon-sized Tupperware jug appears as the ladies gab about one another in voice-overs.
“Pumps’ give-a-shit meter is constantly broken,” says Murphy.
The entire iced tea shtick made me laugh, of course, because my own dear mother has at least one glass of tea in her presence at any given moment.
Fortunately for me, my mom is not nearly as bizarre as Pumps appears through the rest of the pilot. I won’t spoil any of the details, but Ms. Sullivan is good for some belly laughs.
Third: Refined decor, filthy mouths
If there’s one element of Sweet Home Oklahoma that might cause major moral dilemmas for potential conservative audience members, it’s the amount of sex jokes and bathroom humor offered up in the first third of the pilot alone.
“She looks at me and says, ‘There’s something sexy about the way he shits the bed,'” Josh Welch tells his son of his ex-wife.
The kid rightfully cracks up, perhaps at the idea of his interior-decorator mother buying brown sheets from now until eternity.
That exchange, among others, shows Josh Welch’s deadpan humor, which could be a boon for the series.
It also shows that Sweet Home Oklahoma is full of the requisite fart jokes necessary to capture public attention in our modern Idiocracy.
Here’s hoping the Welches et al find a Hollywood-acceptable way to discuss topics like, say, income inequality from the pools of their mansions.