The recession hasn’t dampened Bravo’s fascination with the rich, self-absorbed and clueless. If anything, the juxtaposition of harsh reality with the channel’s airbrushed version of it has been sharpened, underscored by the loathsome participants in “Pregnant in Heels,” featuring the hard-to-believe (and probably heavily massaged) adventures of “maternity concierge” Rosie Pope. A cartoon version of pregnancy and modern-day Marie Antoinettes, the program’s exaggerated view of expectant moms bloated by their sense of entitlement should still resonate, sitcom-style, with a female audience, while making a pretty strong case for higher tax rates, if not outright class warfare.
The London-born Pope deals with “million-dollar mommas” whose high-maintenance ways create “a whole different level of crazy,” she explains at the outset, proceeding to prove the point with the two sets of loons lined up for the premiere.
Like a lot of the women, Pope’s first client, Sarah Rappaport, appears to be in denial on various levels, not the least being that she and her husband think having a kid needn’t change anything about their fabulous lifestyle. Nine months pregnant, she’s done zero advance prep for the bouncing bundle’s arrival and hates the thought of her house looking like a baby lives there.
Not to be outdone, Samantha Ettus and her husband are a self-described power couple (hint: genuine “power couples” don’t call themselves that), and she’s a branding expert. So assuming that a kid’s name defines its “brand,” they enlist Pope, a team of experts and focus groups to select just the right moniker for little Zygote-Infant-Moonbeam, or whatever.
Watching “Pregnant in Heels,” where (in the second episode) a mom wants to deliver in full makeup, you’ll pray the producers have Child Protective Services on speed dial — and of course, that’s the point. That these ostensibly sophisticated Manhattanites would be so eager to play the villain is one of life’s little mysteries, about which those who buy into such fare are advised not to dwell.
Unlike a lot of Bravo’s talent, the pretty, made-for-TV Pope does provide something of a surrogate for the audience, arching her eyebrows at the right moments.
Having overdosed on “Real Housewives” clones, “Pregnant” plays like a logical brand extension — in essence “The Real New Mothers of Manhattan.” As for the oft-asked question, “What does Bravo have against women?” the truth is the channel couldn’t indulge in such catty concepts without the help of female accomplices who willingly participate — and watch.
Because once you’ve agreed to be featured in this kind of reality show, there’s no such thing as a little bit pregnant.