arlaying the success of the affluent, bourgeois housewives of Atlanta and New Jersey the Discovery Channel just announced a series to be produced in the Florida Keys — “The Real Housewives of Monroe County.”
“We discovered the Keys after bailing one of our stars out of the Stock Island jail,” said cable president Graham Lemonjello. “If it weren’t for James Lipton poaching that turtle we would probably be filming the real ‘Housewives of Spokane.’”
The new series premieres Monday, April 1 and features an eccentric cast of characters as volatile as a Citizens Insurance administrator on a Bahamas junket.
• From Key West: Bethany eats an all-organic diet, bikes to work, and has the habit of angrily confronting shop owners and strangers about recycling. Also, anyone who doesn’t share the opinion that, Barney, her Labrador is “just like a baby.”
• From Stock Island: At the very minimum, Judy is armed with a shank and she does not like to be trifled with.
• From Big Pine Key: One of the more elusive characters on the show, it’s hard to find Marge’s house on the rural key. Heck, sometimes it’s hard to find Marge: she wears a lot of camo.
• From Marathon: Christina does the books for her husband’s charter fishing business. She firmly believes that what the government doesn’t know, won’t hurt it.
• From Key Largo: Kelly is a single mom with two children enrolled at a private school. Her full-time job is fundraising for the preservation of former pineapple plantations that she hopes to develop into a chain of posh bed and breakfasts with Miami’s Sylvester Stallone.
One of the moments of delicious tension on the show comes when Key Largo Kelly asks Stock Island Judy to contribute to her pineapple preservation fund during an event at the Zane Grey Lounge.
“Pineapples, like all fruits, must be saved and respected,” Key Largo Kelly insists and, with a quick glance toward Stock Island Judy, adds, “Not cut up and mixed with other less savory fruits like pears and cherrys.”
Slugging down a water glass full of Bartles & Jaymes, Judy snarls, “Something’s about to get cut – and it ain’t sweet.”
As with other spinoffs in the “Housewives” series, husbands play second fiddle and serve as unassuming comic relief.
Marathon Christina’s husband appears in every segment wearing dark sunglasses and a high-tech fishing shirt.
“My likes are fast jet skis, fast women, and Monster Energy drink. My dislikes are fishing regulations, firearm regulations and ROGO,” he said.
A sneak peak at the first season contains the heart-wrenching personal tale of Bethany, the Key West divorcee with a dog she lavishes her attention on. Her husband disappeared with all the proceeds of tricky real estate deals. Rumors are, he’s in Costa Rica with Bum Farto. Bethany’s ejection from the good life — 3,000-square-foot canal front home with a running tab at Tavern N Town and membership in the Key West Woman’s Club — has her co-stars on the show concerned.
“Listen, she pretends to like all that whole grain [bleep], but it’s ‘cause she buys it in bulk from GFS. She’s broke,” said Marathon Christina, stirring a pot of ropa vieja at her house behind the Marathon Airport.