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TELEVISION REVIEW

'Miami Social' on Bravo

The reality show tracks seven main cast members, including products of 'The Apprentice' and 'Big Brother 2.'

July 14, 2009|MARY McNAMARA | TELEVISION CRITIC

When Americans get tired of watching wealthy narcissists spend money, drink cocktails and say nasty things about each other, Bravo, home to the "Real Housewives" franchise and more recently "NYC Prep," is going to be in big trouble.

Until then, however, there's "Miami Social."

Following the exploits of seven main cast members, including two alumni of other reality shows and one celebrity journalist, "Miami Social" is as slick as a disco floor with a hip-swaying soundtrack and many close-ups of sweaty, tanned-and-well-tended flesh.

As if to prove its swinger cred, "Miami Social" features two openly gay men -- Michael Cohen, formerly of In Touch Weekly, and fashion producer Ariel Stein (although Stein says his only real sexual restriction is hotness) -- and one bisexual woman, Russian photographer Maria Lankina, who has a 13-year-old daughter she quickly sends off (seriously!) to a Swiss boarding school. In early episodes, however, their sexuality is strictly theoretical.

The rest are fairly typical reality types: Katrina Campins, last seen on Season 1 of "The Apprentice," and Sorah Daiha are both Realtors (why are so many Bravo women in real estate?). Sorah's ex-husband George French is a mortgage banker (now that I mention it, how are these people still rich?) who has a crazy Russian girlfriend named Lina. In matters of the "heart," George still relies on Sorah, perhaps because she can at least speak in complete sentences, unlike George's male BFF, Hardy Hill, former participant of "Big Brother 2" and head of an event company, whose overuse of the word "bro" borders on the criminal.

It is a comely enough group, and the "Miami Social" cocktail-hour conversations seem less fake than other show-enforced cast get-togethers, with Cohen happily burbling Addison DeWitt-meets-Paul Lynde banter and Stein providing central-casting bitchy.

Early episodes deal with couple problems -- Katrina separates from her husband-business partner, Lina lies to George, Hardy's girlfriend Trixia wants a baby. But when the only real moment of tension comes during an argument over Kim Kardashian -- Cohen depicts her harshly, while Stein, self-proclaimed Kardashian pal, defends her -- one does begin to worry. The presence of Cohen alone seems to indicate that our celebrity feeding frenzy has overfished its waters and led to cannibalism. So if you find yourself longing for an all-night marathon of "Friends" or even "Days of Our Lives," you will not be alone.

The orchestrated moments of "real life" can be poignant, even revelatory, but by now we can pretty much predict, if not exactly what will happen, then at least the parameters in which it will happen. A table may get thrown, name-calling will ensue, someone may get drunk and inadvisably sleep with someone, the "friends" will say many unfriendly things about each other. But no one's going to, you know, kill anyone or bust up a drug ring or get possessed by the devil.

Instead there will be a lot of shopping, drinking, parties and talk-talk-talking, and the conversations will rarely stray from the self-absorbed rut worn smooth by the semi-scripted alliances of docudrama friendship. Oh, the wearisome fabulousness of it all.

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mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

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'Miami Social'

Where: Bravo

When: 10 tonight

Rating: TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children younger than 14)

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