Leslie Birkland on Going From Welfare to Big Rich Texas
The premise of Big Rich Texas, the Style Network's riff on the Real Housewives template that premieres Sunday at 9/8c, is simple: Self-made woman, pageant coach and model Leslie Birkland moves to Dallas and attempts to enter society by joining the exclusive Woodhaven Country Club. It's so simple that the series takes Birkland's decision for granted (after all, the premiere would have no narrative arc without it). Watching it made me wonder why anyone would want to subject themselves to the kind of superficial scrutiny that joining a country club (or pledging a sorority or attempting to sit at the cool kids' lunch table) conjures. The potential for humiliation is great and there are no guaranteed rewards when you put effort into winning over a group of people you barely know and may not end up liking yourself.
In a way, joining any of these reality shows where strangers are thrown together basically for the sake of arguing is a lot like joining an exclusive country club. That makes the narrative of Big Rich Texas either perfectly tailored to its medium or redundant (give us a few episodes and we'll let you know which). People want to be accepted, just like they want to be on TV, but is it worth the headache? We spoke to reality newbie Birkland to get to the bottom of this...
Fri, Jul 15, 2011