BootLeg Betty

“The First Wives Club” Is Now a TV Show With Male Nudity and Sex Toys (On BET Online)


BET
“The First Wives Club” Is Now a TV Show With Male Nudity and Sex Toys (On BET Online)
This is not your mama’s version.
By Carla Hay 
9/17/2019


The First Wives Club on BET TV OnLinE
The First Wives Club on BET TV OnLinE

Mister D: Well, if they are going to have nude men I guess I’ll have to tune in at least once to check out their goodies!

Get ready for some raunchy realness when the BET+ series First Wives Club premieres this week. Set in New York City, the TV adaptation of the 1996 film The First Wives Club follows three female friends who make a fierce declaration of independence when they start new lives after getting out of bad marriages. Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler played the jilted wives in the original, which was rated PG, but if this remake (one of the new offerings on BET’s streaming service) was a movie, it would definitely be rated R. That’s because it was helmed by showrunner Tracy Oliver, co-writer of the 2017 blockbuster comedy Girls Trip, who brings a lot of that movie’s saucy, ribald humor to the show.

The first episode of First Wives Club was unveiled September 12 at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in Manhattan. Oliver and some of the stars attended a post-screening Q&A, where they spilled the tea on what to expect from the series. One thing that might surprise viewers? In the first episode, it’s the men, not the women, who get naked for the sex scenes.

Here, the scoop on those scenes and everything else you need to know about the series’ nine-episode first season, which drops September 19, when BET+ launches.

Who are the wives?

The three gal pals in First Wives Club have similar personalities to the ladies in the movie, but Oliver has taken liberties with their storylines. In the movie, two of the wives gave up their careers to become stay-at-home moms during their marriages. In the show, all of the wives have successful careers. Here’s a rundown of the new wives whose rocky marriages have resulted in major drama.

BETMichelle Buteau.
BET Ryan Michelle Bathe

Ari Montgomery (Ryan Michelle Bathe)

Ari is the level-headed, ambitious intellectual of the group. Like Keaton’s Annie MacDuggan Paradis character in the movie, she’s the one who seems to be most the sensible, with great emotional strength and impeccable organizational skills. She’s also the one who’s most concerned with keeping up the appearance of having a “perfect” life, knowing that behind closed doors the passion is gone in her marriage.

In the movie, Annie puts up a front and ends up humiliated when her advertising exec husband Aaron (Stephen Collins) leaves her for another woman who happens to be Annie’s therapist, Leslie Rosen (Marcia Gay Harden). In the TV show, Ari is an attorney who gave up her law practice to be the campaign manager for her senator husband David (Mark Tallman). Ari and David are still together in the first episode, but their marriage has more cracks than those high-rise windows at the end of Die Hard.

 BETJill Scott.
BETJill Scott.

Hazel Rachelle (Jill Scott)

Hazel is a talented and insecure celebrity. In the film, Hawn was the booze-swilling, plastic-surgery-addicted movie star Elise Elliot Atchison, whose producer husband Bill (Victor Garber) leaves her for ditzy actress Phoebe LaVelle (Elizabeth Berkley), who’s young enough to be his daughter. In the show, Hazel is an R&B diva who isn’t as obsessed with her looks as Elise was but is worried about getting older and her fading popularity. Her life is turned upside down when she finds out her shady husband Derek (Malik Yoba), who’s the head of her record label, has been cheating on her with his nymphette protégée Stella (Tasie Lawrence).

Like their counterparts in the movie, Hazel and Derek have no children and their ugly divorce gets splashed all over the tabloids. And yes, Hazel serves us a throwdown moment when she hurls some shit after confronting her cheating hubby.

BETMichelle Buteau.
BETMichelle Buteau.

Bree Washington (Michelle Buteau)

Bree is the blunt, bawdy jokester, unafraid to let it rip. In the movie, Midler’s Brenda Morelli Cushman uses one-liners to hide her pain after her sleazy ex-hubby Morton Cushman (Dan Hedaya) lies, cheats, and steals in his job (he owns an electronics retail business built through illegal means) and in his personal life (he leaves Brenda for bimbo gold digger Shelly, played by Sarah Jessica Parker). In the show, orthopedic surgeon Bree is separated from her businessman husband Gary (RonReaco Lee) because he cheated on her (he swears it was just a one-night stand). They’re co-parenting while Bree jumps into the dating pool.

Who gets naked?

In a hilarious sex scene in the first episode, Ari and David are in bed—she’s horny for him, but he’s more interested in looking at porn on his laptop. When they finally get down, let’s just say this politician is more talk than action. Lucky for us, we get an ass shot.

What wait, there’s more: In the first ep’s other naked sex scene, Bree takes home a hunky bartender named Jesus (Angel Garet) after he flirts with her at the nightclub where he works. The “come to Jesus” joke basically writes itself. Also, there are sex toys (another example of how different the show is from the movie).

At the Q&A after the screening, Bathe said she can’t watch her first-episode sex scene: “I still haven’t seen it. I closed my eyes!” To which Tallman replied, “You’re really good in it. I’m just embarrassing.”

Meanwhile, Buteau was happy to represent for “thick” women. “My husband could not be more proud,” she said. “As a size 18 broad, no one [on a TV show] is like, ‘Oh, go make out and open your legs.’ You’re usually [cast as] the best friend. Body positivity, all the motherfuckin’ way! Let’s go!”

Who’s the queer daughter?

In the movie, Annie has a young lesbian daughter named Chris (Jennifer Dundas) who teams up with Annie to get revenge on her ex-husband Aaron. (Fans of the movie probably remember when Chris shouted, “I’m a lesbian! A big one!”) In the show, Tara Pacheco is Ari’s queer daughter Versace, who is first seen in the third episode.

Oliver hinted that Versace will have a similar storyline to Chris’ in the movie, but declined to go into more details. Buteau described Versace as “very gender-bending.” There’s no word yet if First Wives Club will include a scene of the three ex-wives going to a lesbian bar as they did in the movie.

The original First Wives Club

Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty ImagesGoldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler at the world premiere of The First Wives Club.

Where’s the friend who commits suicide?

The movie begins with the suicide of a fourth member of the posse: Cynthia Swann Griffin (Stockard Channing), whose shocking death reunites the three central characters. This character is not in the TV show, and Oliver explained her exclusion after the screening. “With movies, you have the luxury of time,” she said. “With a half-hour pilot [episode], if we’re laughing after death within 10 minutes, it’s a little weird.”

What are the Easter eggs?

Donald Trump’s first ex-wife Ivana makes a notorious cameo in 1996’s The First Wives Club, where she gives some priceless divorce advice to the ladies:

Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal (who co-created and co-starred in Basketball Wives) utters that same line in the show.

Like the movie, the show features a scene in which the three main characters end up on a window-washing platform for some high-rise hijinks. Bree gets one of the best lines in the series when she yells, “Bitch, you got us out here like brown-tittied Spider-men!”

In the movie, the three ex-wives, dressed in white, belt out lesbian singer Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” in the final scene. Oliver also promised a “You Don’t Own Me” moment, but she wouldn’t divulge the details. “I can’t say anything about that,” she said, “but what I will say is that we do our own White Party and a version of that [song] in the show.” Our feelings on that? We’ve got all of them!

First Wives Club premieres September 19 on BET+.

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