Rosie Pope, right, and one of her clients on "Pregnant in Heels." (David Giesbrecht, Bravo )
With "Pregnant in Heels," premiering Tuesday, Bravo adds to its Theater of Schadenfreude yet another series about the helpless rich and their high-priced factotums. The facilitator this time is Rosie Pope, a designer of upscale maternity clothes, proprietor of a "pregnancy boot camp" and a "24/7 full-time mommy concierge for million-dollar mamas." She helps women of privilege micromanage their maternities, even as she teases self-awareness out from under the shadow of their self-obsession.
"Women are bitchy, anyway," says Pope, not bitchily, "so take a rich, bitchy woman and then put a baby inside of that and then you've got my client." One should add that their husbands are no less troublesome.
One couple, who have until the eve of delivery regarded their child less as a bundle of joy than a potentially "life-force sucking parasite," is worried that their clean-lined lifestyle might become "baby-fied." ("You're having a baby," Pope reminds them.) "People call us a power couple," says another, even as the very saying brings other terms to mind. They want Pope's help in choosing a name: "We want our new baby to have class surrounding their brand." With the rich and mighty, always a little patience.
Pope is a likeable woman, smart and sensible. Although the Difficult Boss is a common feature of Bravo series, by network standards she is egoless as the Buddha. (She is attempting, in the course of the show, to become pregnant with a second child, but a few brief glimpses into and shed tears over this fraught process are all we get of her personal life; this is not "The Rachel Zoe Project.") Indeed, as a protector of the almost-born from the fuzzy thinking and distracted inattention of their parents, she is a bastion of perspective.
And the subject demands, and gets, happy endings. It is one thing for adults to go on acting like little children into what should be their maturity; it is quite another for them to infect helpless infants with their pathologies and for viewers to be asked to take this as entertainment — and for all its readiness to exploit human frailty, Bravo wants its shows to be taken as good, shameless fun. Through Pope's own instruction, guest expert help and the raw fact of the babies, who arrive near the end of Act IV, Pope's clients all wake up to reality — the real kind. Ultimately, it's a makeover show.