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Jewish Journal

Can Jersey Belle Save My Liver?

by Ilana Angel

August 5, 2014 | 9:06 am

Jaime Primak Sullivan

I watch a lot of reality television and the truth is most of it is bad. By bad of course I mean it starts off good, gets me hooked, then turns into street crack that I simply cannot walk away from no matter how hard I try. I am lucky in that I get paid to watch and write about it, but there are sacrifices made. Like my liver for example. I drink while watching most reality television because that is the only way to watch without impaling myself or poking my own eyes out.  It is a tough job people.

There are some good ones of course. I love NY Med, but one could argue it is more documentary than reality TV.  I love Survivor, but could argue it is more game show than reality TV. I love the Real Housewives, but one could argue that is a street crack addiction and I have no choice but to like it because I'm an addict. As I watch and blog these shows I often wonder what the hell I'm doing. I also wonder if one day my liver will get a rest and there will be a reality show worth watching.

Well. Let the congregation say AMEN because there is finally a show that is something all the other reality shows are not. Entertaining. Jersey Belle premiered last night on Bravo and while I tuned in quite certain I would hate it, turns out I loved it. I actually loved all of it. This is good reality TV people and I recommend it. Important to note I reserve the right to change my mind, and my liver may suffer as the season progresses, but if episode one is our guide, this is a great show!

Jersey Belle follows the life of entertainment publicist Jaime Primak Sullivan. She is a Jersey girl who married a man from the South and now lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama. This woman is fabulous, her husband is fabulous, her kids are fabulous, and I loved all of them. She has a Jewish father, a Catholic mother, and is all Jersey. During the premier episode social media fell in love with her and all groups laid claim to her. The Italians, Jews, and all of Jersey were proud she was one of them.

The fish out of water theme has been done a million times but somehow feels fresh. Jaime’s southern friends are entertaining and exactly what we want southern belles to be. Watching them cringe and roll their eyes at the things Jaime says is funny and authentic. It lacks the feel of a badly followed script like on the housewives shows. This show is magic and even if it jumps into the gutter down the road, I don’t care. For one glorious night we had good TV.

Jaime is married to Michael. He is handsome, charming, and rather Southern. They appear to be opposites on the surface, which is fantastic. She is who she is and he loves her for it. She gives a boost of hope to all the outspoken and ballsy women who think they won’t be appreciated for exactly who they are. They have three kids, daughters Olivia, 5, and Charlie, 2, along with their son Max who is 4. Cute kids and when they started whining got told by their mom #whinetoomuch. 

Family picture time and it is hilarious. She speaks to kids like they’re real people and it is perfection. Jaime is honest and it is refreshing because you know it is real and she is not playing a character. Michael knows exactly who she is, loves there is no bullshit with her, and appreciates that they’re different. There is real love here and it is lovely. She is not a Southern Belle, has no real interest in living in the South, but does it for love. She is a fish out of water but has learned to breathe in the air

We meet Jaime’s friend Arden, who is a photographer and a Southern beauty. Arden is getting married, for the third time. Arden says she thought Jaime was a bitch when they met, but calls her a “B” because she won’t say the word bitch. They are shopping for dresses for a bridal tea and Jaime tells her she shouldn’t wear white. She says Arden wearing white is like a girl having anal sex and claiming to be a virgin. Oh. My. God. I freaking love Jaime and her massive balls.

We now meet Danielle, who is everything. She is very proper and a little intimidating as she judges with a glance. I would get a kick out of her after a few drinks. Cut to the next day when Jaime is being asked to make “Roquefort Grapes” for the tea. I have no idea what that is but it sounds gross. She offers to bring meatballs, or maybe lasagna, or even cannolis, but they want this particular dish. Jaime is not a tea girl but she is going to give it a shot. Bless her.

Jaime calls herself a “Pizza Bagel” because she is Italian and Jewish. I haven’t heard that expression before. Love it. Cut to Danielle’s house, she is having a magazine shoot done in her home with her husband. The house is stunning, the husband is stunning, and this is a beautiful couple. She is very ladylike and looks like she has the perfect life, then we find out they have been trying to have a baby for four years and she is struggling with infertility. It is crushing and I want to hug her.

She has put faith in God it will happen and when her chin quivers it is sad. Her husband Bart says their life is wonderful and if it doesn’t happen it will be okay. I love him. Time to meet Luci, who is Jaime’s best friend. She is adorable. Has three kids and is divorced. Jaime helped her get through it and they're tight. Luci is sweet and when she tells the story of giving baby clothes to a friend and having them returned when she got divorced ii is hurtful to even me an I don’t know her.

Jaime is coming to terms with the fact that she is raising Southern kids with only a splash of Jersey and it is hard for her. A sweet moment in its honesty. I love Luci and Jaime together. We quickly meet Leigh Anne, another friend. Not too much to say about her yet.  Jaime is making the grape thing, still annoyed she couldn’t bring lasagna. Nobody in Alabama seems to know what a cannoli is and it troubles Jaime. She better serve cannolis to this group at least one time this season.

Back to Arden, she is marrying into a rich family. Again, her third, his first.  Her fiancé is William and he is lovely. Sidebar: They were active on Twitter last night and I commented on a picture of their dog, which was the size of a pony. He wrote back and was charming, as was Arden. I hope reality fame does not spoil that because they're sweet. Arden is a beautiful and successful girl, but still nervous about being accepted by William’s family, which is interesting to watch.

Cut to Jaime speaking to Mary, a friend in Jersey, and it is comedy gold. Jaime is getting ready for the tea party and tells Mary, who immediately asks if she made a lasagna. It is hilarious. Danielle is also getting dressed and she and her husband remind me of The Notebook. Time for tea. It is very rigid, formal, and not particularly fun looking. Everyone is supposed to write out a wish or advice for Arden. Bible verses, going to church, and putting your husband first seems to top the list.

Jaime’s advice to Arden is to work on her gag reflex. Best advice ever. The grape thing is a hit, and Jaime is hanging around waiting for Arden, who is late to her own shower. Arden finally arrives looking a little tense. Jaime is a funny girl. Arden walks Jaime out and tells her she is upset her mother-in-law to be didn't come to the shower and she has only met her once. That seems odd. You’d think such an upper crust family would check her out more. Arden is stressed.

Back with Luci, she is baking a cake with her kids. She is cute as can be. While difficult to be divorced, she is happy to be free from her unhappy marriage. We meet her kids and her new boyfriend Jeff, who is moving to be closer to her. The plan appears to be to get married and I hope that happens for her. She is clearly broken by her divorce but trying hard to pick herself up, dust herself off, and try again. I am pulling for her. Luci is an All American sweet girl.

Time to see Arden in her wedding dress. Every time the wedding is discussed Jaime points out how funny it is Arden is wearing a white dress. Jaime says she bought her dress at David’s Bridal. Ha! So did I. Arden is planning her wedding around football, which is classic.  Jaime says it is a tailgating wedding. Arden looks beautiful and I am pulling for her too. It is fascinating that after one episode we are so invested in these women and care about what happens to them. 

There is confusion about Arden’s wedding invitation and whether or not Jaime will make it as she is traveling for work. And that is the cliffhanger ending. This show is a breath of fresh air in a sea of reality TV bullshit. I like all the women featured, which is shocking. These are real people who we think we have noting in common with, but do.  This show made me happy. I watched the entire thing without so much as a sip of wine. It has reinvigorated my work.

Clearly I need to get some perspective because I am kvelling over a TV show, but when you watch as much TV as I do you get jaded, snarky, bitter, and a little bitchy. Well I was all those things before I started writing about TV, but still, it heightened it all. This show is entertaining and we all know we’ve not been getting a lot of that in reality TV. Mazel Tov to Jaime and her pals. You are saving my liver and I am grateful. Finally a reality show that is keeping it real!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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