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Watching stuff: "The Hotwives of Orlando"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2014

I approached this new Hulu series with mixed feelings. The cast -- including as it does Casey Wilson, Angela Kinsey and Kristen Schaal -- seemed a terrific ensemble for extreme comedy. But it seemed nearly impossible to concoct an extended parody* of a form that is so ludicrous in its original form -- full of self-important characters, stilted attempts at natural dialogue, overdressed women and melodramatic twists. I mean, I have one of the real "Real Housewives" shows on as I am writing this, and keep shaking my head in disbelief -- particularly over one 'wife's discussion of "going potty."

But, in the first episode at least, "Hotwives" managed to be funny by creating a set of characters who are all the more outrageous because the writing and the marvelous performances get to the nub of these shows -- that the people really think their ideas and lives are significant even when they are at their most mundane. Then "Hotwives" simply ups the ante -- look at how it handles the idea of a dying husband, for instance, or what happens when a campaign to get high heels for dogs runs up against, well, logic. And with actresses completely commited to their characters, it works. Recommended.

*There are seven episodes. Two are currently on Hulu, the other five on Hulu Plus.

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