Married to Medicine: Houston
“Houston, We Have a Problem”
November 11, 2016
“This is Houston, Texas, baby. It’s oil, NASA and medicine. And who runs the medical world? We do. So saddle up because whether you are a doctor or a doctor’s wife, we do everything bigger in Texas. We are the new generation of medicine. Although there are rules to our medical world, sometimes rules have to be broken. The stakes are high when you are married to medicine.”
This is how it begins.
First of all — FIRST OF ALL — it’s “Houston, we’ve HAD a problem,” not “Houston we HAVE a problem.” Get it straight, dammit. OR, BETTER YET, HOW ABOUT YOU DON’T USE THAT DUMB TIRED PHRASE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
After what felt like an eternity, Bravo’s first show set in Houston, Married to Medicine: Houston, is finally here, and I have to admit on a scale relative to Bravo shows, it’s not terrible. If Most Eligible Dallas and Euros of Hollywood are on one end of the scale and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Top Chef are on the other end, Married to Medicine: Houston would fall somewhere above Manzo’d with Children and The Real Housewives of Dallas, but below the Shahs of Sunset and Vanderpump Rules. You know what I’m talking about, Bravo watchers.
Which is why I’m not sure why Bravo has given Married to Medicine: Houston the pre-canceled treatment by putting it in the Friday night ghetto and flatly refusing to promote it. Look, I know I am biased. I am from Houston, I grew up and currently live in the area where the series is mostly filmed, and I’m from a family of doctors so I sympathize with the cast. But putting my biases aside, I feel like this show — at least the first two episodes — is doing the Bravo lady series thing just fine. The cast is spunky and dynamic; there are already sparks of tension flashing between them over petty bullshit; and at least I, for one, was fascinated to see such a diverse cast on a Bravo show together.
Often Bravo shows tend to lump like with like: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, New York, Dallas, Orange County are all white ladies; Real Housewives of Atlanta and Married to Medicine and Blood, Sweat and Heels have all African-American casts; and the Persians get their own little corner over on Shahs. But on this show, in a very Houston-representative way, we have a white woman of Spanish descent; an African-American woman; an Indian woman; a Persian woman; and a half-Asian woman who is married to a typical blond Texan dude. As a result, we have LITERALLY a clash of cultures in the second episode. That’s exciting! That’s different! And that’s VERY HOUSTON!
All that, plus we have Cindi Rose being a completely insane person, which is reason enough to watch, trust.
So why no love, Bravo? Where is the love, Bravo?
Meet Dr. Ashandra, a.k.a Dr. Your New Favorite.
Dr. Ashandra is a self-employed dentist who works in 6″ stiletto heels and says things like, “if my hands aren’t wet, I’m not making money,” which is gross, but also true. But also gross. When we meet Dr. Ashandra, she is instructing one patient that she won’t be able to chew solid foods for a while and that she will need to drink her meals, and the patient complains that she “can’t drink a rib.”
TRUTH. GIVE THAT WOMAN A SPIN-OFF.
We meet Dr. Ashandra’s husband, Ricky, or “Pretty Ricky,” as Dr. Ashandra calls him, a medical equipment salesman. Together they are raising Avery, Dr. Ashandra’s daughter from her first marriage, and their baby boy, Logan. They are all adorable and my new imaginary best friends.
Meet Dr. Erika.
Dr. Erika has finally — FINALLY — finished 4 years of medical school, 5 years of a general surgical residency and 3 years of her plastic surgery residency and she has been a practicing plastic surgeon for a whopping 6 months. Her husband, Derek, who is also a doctor and who is a good 8 years younger than her, he is ready to start a family now that they have been married for all of 15 months. DAMMIT, DEREK, NOT NOW.
Fascinating tidbit about Dr. Erika: both of her parents were professional wrestlers. I KNOW! Her father is Aiko Sato, half of “The Orient Express” and was a member of the WWF in the 90s, and her mother is Betty Niccoli, who helped lift the ban on female wrestling in New York State. Dr. Erika explains that watching her father suturing his own head inspired her to become a doctor. Well, that, and not being poor as dirt, because apparently being a member of the WWF didn’t pay much back in the day. I AM ALREADY LEARNING SO MUCH ON THIS SHOW.
By the way, that is a very unflattering photograph of Dr. Erika, who is actually quite lovely and should probably avoid high-waisted dresses and being photographed from below in the future.
Meet Dr. Monica.
Dr. Monica is an Indian female cardiologist in a white man’s world, and she wants you to know that she is quadruple board certified, mofos. She was inspired to become a cardiologist when her father had his first heart attack at 41 and nearly died.
She wears makeup and heels to work where she leads a bunch of male trainees around and points at ultrasounds and says a bunch of important-sounding medical words, and you know what? Good for her. GOOD FOR YOU, DR. MONICA. SHOW THOSE BOYS WHAT’S WHAT.
Dr. Monica has been dating some guy named Imad for three years but he lives in San Antonio. For those of you not in Texas, San Antonio is a good three-hour drive away from Houston, so they only see each other on the weekends and on FaceTime. I’m sure this won’t be an issue at all this season.
Rachel is not a doctor, but, per the title of the show, she is married to one: Dr. James, a trauma surgeon. Rachel is originally from Beaumont, and like any thinking person, she got out as fast as she could. She and Dr. James met at a pool party where he was “all oiled up,” (~shudder~) and apparently rocking a lot more abs and hair than he is now. Trauma surgery is stressful. It also probably doesn’t help that Dr. James lives with his mother-in-law, Maribel, a Spanish whirlwind who screams things like “¿QUE PASA?” and “¡YO QUIERO UNA MIMOSA!” and is easily the best thing about this series so far.
That said, Mamacita Maribel has some strong competition from one Cindi Rose, wife of Dr. Rose, mother of Bachelor Nation deplorable, Erica Rose, and purportedly the “queen bee of the Houston social scene,” and half of “THE power couple of Houston.”
— Signed: Carolyn Farb, Lynn Wyatt, Joanne King Herring, the Arnolds, the McNairs, the Mithoffs, the entire Bush family and about a bajillion others.
And let’s just pause here to acknowledge what is happening with this lunatic. Cindi Rose, who is certainly known in Houston, but is not considered the Grand Dame of Houston society by any means, has been included on this series for two reasons: 1. to try to pretend that our cast are members of or on the periphery of Houston’s “high society” but 2. mostly to be the resident shit-stirrer. On the second point, Cindi Rose has learned from the best: her God-awful daughter, Erica. In return, Cindi Rose gets to promote her charity and have a brief, crazy moment in the limelight until this show is canceled, which, considering how Bravo is treating it like a red-headed stepchild, should be any moment now.
In a very Real Housewives of Dallas plotline, Rachel is co-chairing some sort of charity event with Cindi Rose for Cindi Rose’s organization, The Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation, a charity that provides reconstructive surgery for breast cancer survivors who can not afford it.
Rachel goes to the Rose house to discuss plans for the event, where she raises an eyebrow as crazy-ass Cindi Rose talks about tulips dancing and being sexy. Rachel then has her idea of hiring a DJ unceremoniously shot down by Cindi Rose and her party planner as not being sophisticated. When Rachel suggests that Cindi Rose’s insistence on a string quartet might make for a “stuffy” event, Cindi Rose attempts to narrow her eyes, but cannot because of all the Botox.
Sometime after, Dr. Ashandra swings by Rachel’s house to pay a visit (they met through their husbands and NOT through the producers, don’t be SO CYNICAL, GAWD) where Rachel tells Dr. Ashandra about the tension at her meeting with Cindi Rose. Turns out Dr. Ashandra knows, and does care for, one Cindi Rose. So when Rachel notes that she needs to “tread carefully” with this woman, Dr. Ashandra brushes this off by saying that she only knows “how to stomp.”
I love you, Dr. Ashandra.
Elsewhere — Hungry’s in the Village, to be precise — Dr. Monica and Dr. Erika meet for lunch and discuss this same upcoming event. Dr. Erika, being a newly practicing doctor, asks Dr. Monica to introduce her to the doctors who “wouldn’t talk to her” before she was done with her training, and I’M SORRY, NO. That is not how the medical community works here in Houston! I don’t know how they do it in other cities, but Houston’s medical scene is not some sort of exclusive snotty club who refuses to even acknowledge you until you’ve completed your residency and fellowships, stop being stupid. Stop it! Stop.
Later, Rachel meets Cindi Rose and her daughter, reality show hobgoblin Erica Rose, at the party planner’s storefront to pick out linens and table settings for the event. Cindi Rose, a woman well into her 60s and with apparently far more money than taste, shows up wearing tight jeans, a crop top and a cropped fur vest. A FUR VEST. A fur vest!
A list of things that NEVER NEED TO BE MADE OUT OF FUR:
2. But most especially cropped vests
As they go into the meeting, Cindi Rose instructs her Regina-George-wannabe of a daughter to help her gang up on Rachel. Erica Rose runs her tongue over her razor sharp teeth and agrees. Inside, as the Roses greet Rachel, Cindi Rose concern trolls her over what Rachel is going to wear to the event — hopefully something with a little more va-va-va-voom than this potato sack that she is currently wearing.
Rachel explains that she is going to church after they pick out party decor, which is why she is not currently wearing something that exposes her belly button. Erica Rose groans that she always goes to church in Los Angeles dressed like this (“this” being a skin-tight, neon-green tube dress), before showing off the Buddha charm on her necklace that “like, incorporates all spirituality.”
Oh my God(s).
As they make their way through the party planner’s sample tables, Erica Rose sneers that every pink quilted tablecloth and bedazzled centerpiece that Rachel points out is “like, so tacky,” while directing everyone’s attention to black quilted tablecloths and be-crystaled centerpieces. Ladies, LADIES! They’re BOTH tacky!
And with that, Rachel takes her leave because 1. enough with the assholery already and 2. she couldn’t listen to Erica Rose’s awful vocal fry for ONE MORE GOD DAMNED SECOND, GUH.
Finally, this event of Cindi Rose and Rachel’s happens, and the tulips are dancing and being sexy and the string quartet is playing and Dominique Sachse is in attendance and Rachel is wearing a cropped dress that is so tight she can barely move her legs so Cindi Rose can just SHUT IT ALREADY WITH THE VA-VA-VA-VOOM CRAP.
At the party, Dr. Erika’s attempt to make small talk with Dr. Rose is interrupted by Mamacita Maribel drunkenly yelling at him, “¡AY, DOCTOR, YO QUIERO TO FIX MI CARA!” and shimmying.
Outside with Dr. Erika and Dr. Monica, Rachel complains about Cindi Rose telling her at the party planner’s that she looked like a “sorority girl from Beaumont.” But they are Very Important Surgeons who spend their days worrying about Very Important Things and as such are like “oh, whatever, get over it,” as if Cindi Rose hadn’t been saying these things WHILE WEARING A FUR VEST AND A CROP TOP. ARE WE FORGETTING THE FUR VEST AND THE CROP TOP?
Inside, Cindi Rose entertains Dr. Ashandra and Pretty Ricky by cutting Dr. Ashandra’s silhouette and burbling some nonsense about an artist named Kara Walker who is, according to Cindi Rose, as famous as Picasso. Oh, also according to Cindi Rose, silhouettes are all about slavery, which comes as news to Dr. Ashsandra and Pretty Ricky.
Dr. Erika is the next to have her silhouette done by the artist in residence, who yammers on the entire time about how her father was Asian, too. Can Dr. Erika see it? Look at Cindi Rose’s eyes, it’s in the eyes!
Good news! You can get your own slavery silhouette at Silhouettes by Cindi! I AM NOT EVEN LYING!
Meanwhile, Rachel tries to make small talk with one of Dr. Rose’s patients, only to have fame-hungry reality monster Erica Rose interrupt their conversation so that one of her friends can passive-aggressively offer to “style” Rachel from head to toe.
Rachel takes this as the insult it was intended to be and storms over to Dr. Ashandra to complain. Cindi Rose finds her there and offers her a non-apology apology. Dr. Ashandra takes Cindi Rose to task for not shutting the whole situation down in the first place, while tsking in an interview that she told Rachel in an interview “not to lie down with that devil.” And with that, Rachel totters out of the party in a huff with Dr. James and Mamacita Maribel.
November 11, 2016
For reasons that are unclear to me, Married to Medicine: Houston decided to spread out the introduction of their cast over two episodes, even though the fifth and final cast member, Elly, was IN THE FIRST EPISODE (see the photo at the top of this post). Great editing, guys.
Elly is an audiologist, which technically means she does not have an M.D. Elly went into audiology because she doesn’t like blood. Elly is originally from Iran but moved to the United States when she was very young. Elly lives with her husband Ryan and her sister Pegah while Pegah’s husband is finishing his own medical fellowship in Cleveland. Elly calls herself a “typical rootin’ tootin’ cowgirl,” and dances around unconvincingly in cowboy boots, making my eyeballs roll right out of my Texan head.
Other than that Elly is also a cast memer, two things we learn in this episode: Rachel is going to nursing school; Mamacita Maribel is pretty sure she can twerk. “¡ES VERDAD!”
Later, Rachel takes Mamacita Maribel to see Not Dr. Elly for a hearing test, because according to Rachel, when Mamacita Maribel is upstairs, she doesn’t hear her phone when it rings downstairs. And lemme just stop you there to say, BITCH, PLEASE. I don’t hear my phone when it is SITTING ON MY LAP SOMETIMES. Leave Mamacita Maribel alone!
Instead, they shove Mamacita Maribel into a booth and Not Dr. Elly instructs Mamacita to repeat after her:
Not Dr. Elly: Say “met.”
Mamacita Maribel: Nut.
Not Dr. Elly: Met.
Mamacita Maribel: Nut.
Not Dr. Elly: Met.
Mamacita Maribel: Nut.
Testing complete, Not Dr. Elly’s final diagnosis: Mamacita Maribel can have a hearing aid if she wants one, but it is not necessary. WELL THAT WAS CERTAINLY ALL WORTH IT. GLAD WE SPENT SO MUCH OF MY LIFE SOLVING THAT PRESSING EMERGENCY.
Elsewhere, Dr. Erika revisits the baby issue with her husband, suggesting that they look into freezing her eggs or using a surrogate. After years and years and YEARS of study and work, she is not ready to put the career she just began on hold to have a baby. But she is a medical professional and understands that she is not getting any younger. Thus, these two options might provide them an unconventional way to have a baby without disrupting the career she has worked so hard for.
Derek’s counter-argument: LOL, WUT?
You have to look carefully, but you can see for the briefest of moments Dr. Erika actually contemplates shoving Derek out of the window of their Kirby highrise. It’s fleeting, but it is there.
Over at Dr. Ashandra’s house, she and Pretty Ricky have a non-argument about taking Avery clothes shopping. Pretty Ricky wants her to stay within a narrow budget; Dr. Ashandra is not hearing it. A conflict for the ages.
And in a scene that was completely not staged for the cameras, as she and Avery return from their shopping spree, Dr. Ashandra realizes that Pretty Ricky is at home waiting for them and not in Galveston as she had assumed. She tries to hide her purchases, but Pretty Ricky finds them anyway, and she ends up negotiating having sex with him at least four times a week so as to keep them.
And that’s when my feminist heart dies a little. I like you, Dr. Ashandra, and I am not mad at you for the whole “women be shopping” storyline — really, I’m not. It’s pretty much a staple of the Bravo lady shows. But while I know it was meant to be cheeky, let’s keep the whole retrograde, “I exchange sex with my husband to buy things” bit to a minimum, baby, for a number of reasons: 1. You don’t need an excuse to have sex with your handsome husband. I know you like it and you two seem to have a healthy happy relationship. So let’s stop with the narrative that you have sex in exchange for anything other than your own pleasure. And 2. IT’S YOUR DAMN MONEY. SPEND IT HOWEVER THE HELL YOU WANT, WOMAN.
Later, Dr. Monica, Dr. Ashandra, and Rachel meet in the upstairs room at Backstreet Cafe for brunch and to discuss an upcoming scheduling conflict. Dr. Monica has invited the ladies to join her for Holi Mela, the Hindu festival of color that is a traditional celebration of spring. It’s all about dancing and throwing color powders around and it looks like a gigantic fun mess. The problem is, Not Dr. Elly had invited them — and invited them first — to a Persian New Year event that she herself organized, and is being held on the exact same day. Dr. Monica poo-poos Rachel and Dr. Ashandra’s concerns that they won’t be able to clean themselves up before Not Dr. Elly’s event. “It’ll be fine!” she says. “Don’t worry!” she says.
The next Sunday, Rachel, Mamacita Maribel, Dr. Erika and Dr. Ashandra show up to Dr. Monica’s house decked out in all white ready to get their Holi Mela on.
On the party bus ride over, while Mamacita Maribel is busily humping the stripper pole and talking about “golden showers,” we learn more about Dr. Monica’s past. Dr. Monica’s father moved to the United States in 1969, returned to India to marry her mother in an arranged marriage and then brought his wife back to the States in 1975. She was born in 1976, and her parents worked hard so that she and her brother would have a better future. We also learn that Dr. Monica has been married before. She married her high school sweetheart, and for 8 years everything was perfect. Then he went to prison for tax evasion. But she stayed with him! Then he was released and promptly had an affair with his best friend’s wife. Oh, Former Mr. Dr. Monica, how could you.
Anyway, that was five years ago, she’s divorced now and she is going to PARTY IT UP WITH SOME COLORED POWDERS AND 15,000 OTHER INDIANS, WOOOO!
And Dr. Monica appears to have a GREAT time at Holi Mela. (Which does look to be a lot of fun, to be honest. If it weren’t held on the same weekend I host my own crawfish boil every year I would totally be there.) However, the other women seem skeptical at best, and increasingly tense about making it to Not Dr. Elly’s Persian New Year’s event. In fact, they have to literally drag Dr. Monica out of a goat pen and shove her back onto the party bus when it’s time to leave, which she most adamantly does not want to do.
Here’s the problem: It’s not as though Not Dr. Elly’s Persian New Year’s event is later that evening and they have a chance to go home, take a shower and put on proper attire. Persian New Year is happening simultaneously, and these women did not bring a change of clothes, much less anything more than baby wipes with which to de-powder themselves. When the Luvs wipes don’t work, they literally pull over to a car wash and climb into the doggie tub to clean themselves off. Sure! That will do it! I’m sure that will absolutely work and be completely adequate! And none of this is embarrassing for me as a native Houstonian AT ALL.
Except, haha, of course not, because Persian New Year’s is a schmancy event, the fancier your outfit the better. So when these women arrive — late — and wearing stained and damp t-shirts and wellies, Not Dr. Elly is, putting it mildly, not amused. AND NOR SHOULD SHE BE. Rachel tries to apologize, but sensing that their presence there looking a hot mess isn’t helping matters, suggests that they just leave.
But not having been quite rude enough, once back on the party bus, Dr. Monica starts talking about how she’s never heard of a “doctor of audiology” and how it’s not an M.D. and how “it’s really funny how anyone can be called a doctor these days.” YOU STOP IT, DR. MONICA. IT’S MY JOB TO MAKE FUN OF ELLY FOR NOT BEING AN ACTUAL DOCTOR. I DON’T WAVE A SCALPEL AROUND AND THINK I CAN PERFORM SURGERY, SO HOW’S ABOUT YOU LEAVE THE SNARK TO PROFESSIONALS.
It’s going to be a long (short) season.
Married to Medicine: Houston airs on Bravo on Fridays at 8 p.m. because they have absolutely no confidence in it, apparently.