New A&E and TV Guide series don't offer much new for those who've been to the reality rodeo
Two disparate groups of females make their debut the same week, both grabbing for the reality-TV brass ring: “Rodeo Girls,” a pretty self-explanatory A&E series about women who “work hard, ride fast and play rough”; and “Tequila Sisters,” a TV Guide Network half-hour about wannabe Kardashians of almost breathtaking banality. If “Rodeo” at least explores a relatively interesting pastime — think “The Real Horsewives of Arizona” — there’s not enough tequila in the world to make the latter worth watching, despite the odd moment of unintentional mirth.
Built around a handful of female barrel racers, “Rodeo Girls” clearly centers on Darcy LaPier as what amounts to its version of “Dynasty’s” Alexis Carrington — a wealthy, thrice-married, glammed-up rider who enjoys competitive trash-talk as much as the next gal. She instantly raises the hackles of her rivals, many of whom resent the way she flaunts her money.
Darcy provides one truly memorable exchange, when she agrees to go on a date with 27-year-old Anthony Lucia, whose expression, when she mentions having a 22-year-old child, is practically worth committing an hour of your life to.
Like the “Real Housewives” franchise, “Rodeo Girls” presents women in various stages of their lives, dealing a variety of challenges. While hardly a horse of a different color, at least this Weinstein Co.-backed project is a relatively smooth ride for those who’ve been to the reality rodeo.
“Tequila Sisters,” by contrast, ought to be a reality comedy (the episodes are just a half-hour), but instead feels like self-parody — focusing on the four Hispanic-American daughters, ages 21 to 28, of Tequila entrepreneur Bill Marin. Having emigrated to Southern California from Mexico, Marin, who has a bad habit of crying during his direct-to-camera interviews, seeks to keep tight control of his daughters, only to have his pampered and privileged progeny chafe against his short leash.
Thus, the premiere finds the oldest, 28-year-old Jen, asking for $40,000 to throw herself a birthday party. When dad objects, she goes to her rich boyfriend, followed by a meeting of the four sisters — in the hot tub, naturally, because seriously, where else would four gals meet to discuss family matters?
Why this family? Why these sisters? Yes, they’re beautiful, and there is something interesting about the immigrant experience — the tension between assimilation and clinging to cultural values.
But “Tequila Sisters” is too shallow to examine that, making the whole exercise feel like a crass grab for the growing Latino audience — one that actually throws in its “this season on” tease three minutes into the premiere, presumably because so little is happening.
Then again, the press kit did come with tequila recipes. So if TV gives you lemons, in this case, you can at least use them to create your own twist — reflecting a dexterity clearly beyond this exercise in “I’ll have what she’s having.”
TV Review: 'Rodeo Girls, Tequila Sisters'
(Series; A&E, Wed. Dec. 11, 11 p.m.)
(Series; TV Guide Network, Tue. Dec. 10, 8 p.m.)
Produced by the Weinstein Co. and Left/Right.
Produced by Rogue Atlas Prods. in association with Lionsgate.
Executive producers, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Meryl Poster, Patrick Reardon, Barbara Schneeweiss, Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman, Nina L. Diaz, Sarah Mast, Darcy LaPier, Roe Baker. 60 MIN.
Executive producers, Eli Frankel; co-executive producers, Ryan Holcomb, Bryan Stratte, Joubin Mortazavi. 30 MIN.