After months of waiting, the newest addition to the Real Housewives franchise is finally here! As promised, the ladies of The Real Housewives of Dallas are bold, brash and far from your stereotypical cowgirls. Personally, I think heading to Texas for the latest expansion was the right move, as it's a location that is bound to be completely unique and different from every city we've seen come before it. And as we quickly learn in the premiere episode, it's best not to mess with Texas, y'all.
Before we jump into the actual premiere, let's break down the intro and taglines! I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but the show's aesthetic is surprisingly more...blue than I thought it would be. The color scheme actually goes so far as to remind me a little of the now-canceled Real Housewives of Vancouver. If there are any readers out there from Texas, do you feel this intro reflects the look and feel of your home state? My vote for best tagline 100% goes to LeeAnne Locken for "I grew up a carny kid; play games with me and you're gonna pay." Not only is it ultra-specific to her, it's hilariously funny and promises some Texas-sized drama from her. Quick thoughts on the others: Cary's would be my runner-up for best tagline, I'm not sure how someone in the franchise hasn't used "I'm not a trophy wife, I'm a lifetime achievement award!" any sooner. It's classic Housewives 101. Kudos to Brandi for being a Cowboys cheerleader, but she seems a little too sweetly soft-spoken for my taste. Ditto for Stephanie - the girl next door vibes don't mesh well with bragging about your mansion. And I'm all about Tiffany shining her light, but shouldn't she know that fighting is kind of inevitable in the Housewives universe? Overall, it's a solid bunch of taglines that feel both on-brand for the franchise and uniquely Dallas.
The first Housewife we meet is Brandi Redmond, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and stay-at-home mom to easily the most redheaded family in Bravo history. Brandi cheered with "America's Sweethearts" for five years, and is awfully proud of her time with the squad. She's married to Bryan Redmond, her middle school sweetheart - also a redhead - who's out of town almost all the time on business. (Strangely, Brandi never mentions what her husband actually does for work, just that he wants to be a multimillionaire by 40...) Based on my first impression, Brandi comes off as sweet, if a little ditzy, and I can't be the only one thinking that it's going to be difficult to come into the franchise as the other Brandi...
Next we're introduced to LeeAnne Locken, who's out shopping at Vintage Martini with her best friend of 25 years, fellow 'Wife Tiffany Hendra. Nicknamed the "Mouth of the South," LeeAnne is inarguably the queen bee of the ladies, and has made an indelible mark on the Dallas philanthropic scene by using her voice to leverage connections with and raise money for countless charities. Now, I don't typically go for the queen bee archetype of the group, but as soon as she told Tiffany she looked like a "f---ing pink Christmas tree" I knew I would love her. LeAnne is loud, brash and comes to the franchise with a fascinating backstory. As her tagline states, she spent most of her childhood traveling on the carnival circuit, which is something completely new and unheard of in the Housewives universe. While the carny world exposed her to the dark side of life, as LeeAnne explains in her confessional, it certainly prepared her to thrive in the competitive Dallas social scene (as well as the cutthroat world of Housewives).
Next up is Cary Deuber, who appears to be the Dallas franchise's resident voice of reason. Down to earth and witty, Cary works as a registered nurse, assisting her husband Mark, who's one of the top plastic surgeons in Dallas. Hmm...are the Deubers the Dallas version of Heather and Terry Dubrow? In the middle of a procedure, Cary explains to another surgical assistant that she's throwing a small trunk show to kick off the spring charity season. The event's proceeds will go to the Doris Daniely Outreach, a charity organization that helps fund breast reconstruction for breast cancer survivors. Mark is Cary's third husband, and their marriage has caused quite a stir in Dallas society. It turns out that Cary was actually very close with Mark's family before marrying him - so close that they all attended her wedding to her second husband. Gossip around Dallas claimed that Cary and Mark had an affair, with the 'Wife laughs off as nothing more than idle rumors and lies. Scandal!
And finally, we meet Stephanie Hollman, Brandi's blonde BFF and fellow stay-at-home mom. The two have been best friends for the last seven years, and Bryan and Stephanie's husband Travis are also best buds. As she says in her tagline, Stephanie lives in a "big ol' mansion" right on the golf course at the Four Seasons. The basis of the two 'Wives friendship seems to be drinking lots of "Jesus Juice" (their name for wine) and a grating mix of immature potty humor. Apparently, Stephanie's husband leaves her a list of chores to accomplish every time he leaves as a way for her to "earn" her money in the marriage, and their relationship is already sounding eerily like the Dallas version of Alexis and Jim Bellino. That's not a compliment. First on today's list is reprogramming the garage door opener, which the two women attempt to do while collapsing in a giggly mess. After trying for roughly five seconds, they decide they're rather play around on the kids' toys in the garage instead, and I've decided I find the pair on "Jesus Juice" rather grating. Don't even get me started on how many times Brandi said "farting" was part of their collective sense of humor...
The day of Cary's jewelry trunk show arrives, and we finally get to see all the 'Wives together in one room. LeeAnne explains in her confessional that she and Cary know each other by reputation in the Dallas charity scene, reputations which are developed by chairing events. We also meet Friend of the Housewives Marie Reyes at the trunk show before the women start shopping. Brandi and Stephanie retreat to the kitchen with their Jesus Juice, where they start joking about vaginas, defecating during child labor and more farting. This inappropriate behavior certainly doesn't go unnoticed by LeeAnne, who declares the scene as "a little Plano" and is of the attitude that you either take charity seriously or you go home.
Next, we get some more insight into the lives of Tiffany and her rocker husband Aaron, who is a dead ringer for Keith Urban - all the way down to the Australian accent. The Hendras recently relocated back to Dallas after spending years pursuing their careers in Hollywood. As a model/actress/TV presenter, Tiffany fell hard for the glitz and glamour of LA life and eventually gave in to the temptations of its drug-fueled party scene. After a serious "come to Jesus" moment on the bathroom floor one night, Tiffany recognized something needed to change and convinced Aaron to move back to her home state of Texas. Now, she's ready for a clean slate and a fresh start with her best friend LeeAnne by her side and Bravo's cameras capturing every minute.
After another introductory scene of LeeAnne joyfully "living in sin" with her police officer boyfriend Rich, Brandi and Stephanie meet up to lamenting how seriously the other women (read: LeeAnne) take the Dallas charity scene. There's definitely some tension going on between the queen bee and the two self-proclaimed "goofballs" - so much so that Brandi's developed a spot-on impersonation of how LeeAnne acts at charity events. Stephanie's informed Cary of this, and wants her bestie to put on a show at the dinner Marie is hosting that night, but Brandi's clearly hesitant to make fun of LeeAnne while she's in the room.
The 'Wives all arrive at the No Tie Dinner, hosted by Marie and her husband Angel. Almost immediately, Cary makes a beeline for Brandi and asks her to do her LeeAnne impersonation, but Stephanie warns her that the queen bee could overhear. However, LeeAnne has already caught wind of the mimicking, and she and Tiffany corner Brandi to show them her impressions. Upon being confronted, Brandi freezes up and refuses to put on a show. LeeAnne throws an impressive amount of shade, reminding a speechless Brandi that she "[doesn't] miss a beat" and calling her "sweet as pie," which is Texas-style shade at its finest. What's interesting is that the other 'Wives seem to be hesitant to engage with LeeAnne, as all of them have clammed up and are saying all of two words. That is, until Brandi musters up the courage to pull the queen bee aside for a chat. In her confessional, Brandi admits that plenty of people in Dallas are intimidated by LeeAnne Locken, and she's suddenly taken it upon herself to go head-to-head with the Mouth of the South.
At first, the conversation is almost positive, with LeeAnne telling Brandi she sees her as a sweetheart and accepts her, imitations and all. However, Brandi has something different to say, and brings up LeeAnne's behavior at a charity event for HIV awareness the week before where LeeAnne - as the honorary chair - stood up and shared her life story. After hearing stories of women battling HIV, Brandi found this to be an insensitive power play for LeeAnne to get the spotlight back on her, but considering that it happened off-camera we can't know what actually happened. Then, Brandi starts digging her grave by telling LeeAnne "I feel sorry for you," "you need help" and that she sees the social maven's loud and brash personality as a cover for her insecurity.
LeeAnne starts firing back, pointing out (rightfully) that if Brandi mimicked her right that second, it would likely be more mean-spirited than good-natured. LeeAnne informs Brandi and Stephanie that the only time she goes on the offensive is when she feels attacked and yes, right now is one of those times. Eventually, the women walk away angry from the conversation and it's clear that within the very first episode, battle lines have been drawn with LeeAnne on one side and Brandi and Stephanie on the other. Now the question is...who's side will you be on?
What did you think of the RHOD premiere? Were your first impressions of the 'Wives more love or love-to-hate? Leave your thoughts below in the comments!