What makes a good reality show?
Drama, you might say. Insane people you enjoy making fun of, sure. Definitely elements of debauchery and secondhand embarrassment. It’s things like this that make shows like “The Real Housewives” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” guilty pleasures. On top of that, these shows display a kind of affluence that we’re unfamiliar with (or trying to achieve for ourselves), so we’re keen on seeing how the other half lives.
All of this is present in Bravo’s new program, “Mexican Dynasties.” When you think of the Latin community and Mexico City, you may not think about luxury and shenanigans, but boy, do these people deliver.
Though the cast of “Mexican Dynasties” has rejected any comparison to the “Real Housewives” franchise, we can’t help but draw parallels. There’s the wealth, the near-uncomfortable amount of TMI and the eyebrow-raising moments we love to hate.
“Ours is like a dramedy. The families [have known] each other for decades, it's like we fight and then we make up seconds later,” Doris Bessudo told Bustle.
Paulina Madrazo, likewise, said that while the Housewives will rip each other’s hair out during a fight, the animosity on “Dynasties” is handled differently.
“In Mexico, we have a lot of respect for families and everything. We don't get into those kinds of fights. There's other drama going on in our lives,” she said. “Mexicans, we're just always looking for fun and excitement.”
Her brother Oscar added, “We don't like fighting. If we have to fight for some reason, we finish it up with a tequila and that's it. You could break the bottle on his head, but you finish it up.”
More than putting on a show, the families want to show the world their Mexico.
“We're showing a side of Mexico that's never been shown in the media before,” Adan Allende said. “The art, the cuisine, the museums, the culture. We're really challenging stereotypes here.”
“Dynasties” puts an emphasis on family: The cameras follow three families that are closer than close and represent old money of Mexico. In the first episode, we’re introduced to the Allende, Bessudo and Madrazo families.
Fernando Allende was a heartthrob singer and actor compared to David Cassidy as a young man, and everybody in the cast swoons over him at one point or another during the episode. His wife (and manager), Mari, wore her biggest jewels to bed the night before an earthquake drill “just in case.” (Mind you, they were late to the drill.) They have two sons, Elan and Adan, and a little chihuahua named Nacho.
One of the plot points this season is definitely going to be Adan and Elan’s rivalry. Elan is moved out and married to a former Miss Universe contestant, Jenny, and they have two kids. Elan was forced to choose between the band he and his brother were in and his wife when he got married, so no, of course there’s no animosity there.
Adan is 27 and lives with Mommy and Daddy. Graciously. Mari also clearly favors her youngest, and Adan is a grade-A weirdo, albeit a lovable one.
The Bessudos are made up of Raquel, fashionista and overall perfectionist human who recently lost her husband, Leon. The family founded Jarritos back in the day and Raquel is a judge on Mexico’s version of “Fashion Police.” Her daughter and manager, Doris, moves back to Mexico to spend time with her newly-widowed mother, but right away we know that Raquel is super critical of her daughter -- when Doris gets a street taco, Raquel rolls her eyes. Ladies, read carefully: That is not the energy any of us need in our lives.
The Madrazos? N-U-T-S. Headed by Paulina and Oscar, siblings (with a bond that they literally likened to Jamie and Cersei Lannister themselves…) who had children around the same time and work together on a talk show (I think?), it’s already obvious from the first episode that these two are going to be the wonders of this ridiculous show. Oscar is the first openly gay man in Mexico to have twins via a surrogate, and Paulina...wears over-the-top clothes. That about covers it.
The best part of these families? Their housekeepers. Just like the Housewives have their nannies and cooks, the Allendes, Bessudos and Madrazos have people like Chio telling the cameras what all of us at home are thinking: These people aren’t normal, but we love it.
Safe to say this will do better than “Lohan Beach Club.”