When the Bravo network got into the original scripted series game, I gave it a shot.
After all, the network that gave us “Top Chef” deserved at least that much. And while “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” kept me for three episodes or so, the luster quickly dulled.
Watching privileged socialites whine about how hard their lives were for an hour every week wore thin pretty quickly.
But watching a show that satirizes privileged socialites whining about how hard their lives are? That’s a whole different story. Especially when it’s really spoofing that other thing Bravo is known for, its “Real Housewives” franchise.
Which all gathers up into why Bravo’s second original scripted series, “Odd Mom Out,” is a keeper.
And it’s a half-hour comedy vs. a one-hour dramedy. I find I like many shows better if they’re only a half hour long – and really funny, of course.
Here’s the best thing: The woman who plays the lead in the show isn’t even an actress – well, she is now, I guess. Jill Kargman – who stars as New Yorker Jill Weber, battling against becoming part of the city’s super-rich – actually is an author who, for all intents and purposes, is playing herself as the titular character.
She comes from wealth – Kargman’s father was president of Chanel, her brother is a Hollywood art consultant married to Drew Barrymore, and and her mother is part of the Manhattan social set – but she also comes from a place of humor in dealing with her station in life.
According to a New York Times story, Lara Spotts, senior vice president for development at Bravo, wanted Kargman for the show when she met the writer, whose 2007 book “Momzillas” is the basis for the new comedy.
“I quickly became obsessed with Jill’s ability to celebrate, mock and satirize New York all at the same time, while never being mean-spirited,” Spotts told the Times.
Spotts was on target. Kargman is great in the role. The fact that she’s pretty but not cutout-cliché blonde and perfect makes her all that more likable. Instead, she sports an edgy, sort of goth-lite look.
And the show can be laugh-out-loud funny as it spoofs the very women that Bravo made a name for itself with, parading across the screen from their various “Real Housewives” cities. It kind of lovingly takes aim at those types who always are trying to one-up their friends and family. Sure some of the characters are over-the-top, but it’s a comedy. And if you’ve ever watched a “Real Housewives” episode – not that I’m admitting to anything here – you know it may not be all that off base.
As Kargman points out in that Times story, you don’t have to be super rich or live in New York to relate to those sorts of people:
“I think anywhere you live, from Alaska to the Midwest to the South, the show will be relatable,” she says in the Times after relating a Tots and Tonic session where a mother accused her of giving her firstborn “liquid McDonald’s” for choosing bottle feeding over breast-feeding. “Everywhere there are these echelons of women who pole-vault over one another by saying their kid is pooing, talking or napping faster than the other kids.”
True that – even in Modesto, am I right?
While I streamed the first three episodes, they air tonight on Bravo, with new episodes on Mondays.