Producers: Deola and Dare Art Alade
Date of release: April 8, 2022
Runtime: an average of 40 minutes per episode
Cast: Carolina Hutchings, Mariam Timmer, Laura Ikeji, Chioma Ikokwu, Iyabo Ojo, Toyin Lawani-Adebayo
What happens when six ambitious, wealthy, and self-assured Nigerian women are brought together for a reality show? Simple; The Real Housewives of Lagos.
When Showmax, a video streaming platform, announced its partnership with NBC Universal to release a Nigerian instalment of the international reality series Franchise “Real Housewives,” it was met with mixed emotions and high expectations.
The Real Housewives of Lagos is a reality show that follows the lives of six powerful and influential women in Lagos. The show gives viewers a peek into the glamorous world of the elite ladies as they navigate through this journey called life.
After watching eight episodes of the ostensibly dramatic series, disappointed is the least accurate word to describe how I felt.
As a fan of other instalments such as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Atlanta, I hoped for the Nigerian adaptation. Imagine my surprise when, instead of a dramatic series, I found myself watching a dull documentary about fashionable and successful Lagos women.
While the cinematography, wardrobe, and casting are all excellent, the plot was tedious and predictable.
Meet the housewives
Carolyna Hutchings: She is a boss lady who owns Hutchings Limited, a real estate, oil and gas, and agriculture company, and is a little like Zari from Young, African, and Famous.
She has difficulty adjusting to meeting new people. She also popularised the “finger” shake.
Iyabo Ojo: an actress who manages to be both a mediator and an instigator. So don’t believe her when she says she’s not a fan of drama.
Toyin Lawani (Tiannah): a celebrity fashion designer who describes herself as the life of the party and isn’t afraid to call someone out when they are late to an event
Laura Ikeji: She prefers not to be referred to simply as “Linda Ikeji’s sister” because she is so much more. She’s also dramatic, ungrateful, and can easily switch moods.
Chioma Ikokwu: the CEO of Good Hair Limited and the group’s most fashionable lady. She’s also known for the controversial remark, “You are not my friend; you are a customer.”
Mariam Timmer: a public relations expert and a true OG who isn’t afraid to express her thoughts or ask personal questions just a few hours after meeting someone new.
The Tea (Plot)
We meet the ladies in the first episode. Tiannah meets Iyabo Ojo at a restaurant in preparation for her daughter’s product and clothing line launch. Tiannah notices the restaurant’s aesthetics and decides it would be an ideal location for the launch while they were eating.
Chioma walks in as if on cue, revealing she is the owner and promises to make the launch a spectacular event.
Tiannah begins to invite the ladies, including Carolyna and Laura, to the party. On the launch day, while the other ladies arrived early, Laura walked in late, smiling and feeling no remorse.
The ladies spend the next few minutes getting to know one another. When Tiannah suggests that Chioma and Laura become friends, Laura responds that they already are, but Chioma quickly corrects her by stating that she is a client.
The atmosphere becomes tense, but as the ladies take a round of tequila shots, it quickly relaxes. However, things rapidly become unusual when Laura acts irritated, disgusted and has a disinterested expression on her face.
Tiannah sets up a meeting with Laura after witnessing her attitude at the launch. Laura claimed she didn’t feel at ease among the other women when asked why she acted so obnoxious. Tiannah tries to calm her down by urging her to be outgoing, particularly at the upcoming beach getaway Iyabo is planning.
Tiannah decides to call Laura on the way to the beach to inquire about her whereabouts and is surprised when Laura says she won’t come. The ladies arrive at the beach without Laura and are taken aback by the beautiful scenery and activities Iyabo has planned for them.
During a game where they must guess “who best suits a particular title,” the ladies start talking about Laura, and Iyabo begins to mimic her behaviour at the launch party.
At Carolyna’s Bohemian party in Episode 3, there are a lot of abusive languages thrown around the room (or garden). We see Iyabo earlier that day informing Laura about what Carolyna said at the beach getaway. The same Iyabo later tells Chioma that Laura threatened to slap Carolina (which was true).
The subject was brought up at the party, and Carolyna mentioned something about Linda Ikeji, which irritated Laura. Carolyna became upset and began to open up about a few things, which caused Laura to soften a little.
Mariam, the sixth housewife, joins the ladies on their trip to Abuja, courtesy of Chioma. Chioma suggested they have a sleepover and play a game of truth and dare the first night. Carolyna’s nerves were frayed when Tiannah demanded the truth about her ex-divorce husband’s
Throughout the journey, Mariam has the incorrect impression of Carolyna being snobbish and uptight, and she expresses her feelings to Laura.
When Carolyna and Chioma showed up, they were confronted by the ladies. As the night progressed, Laura started acting weird again, making a face of disgust and complaining.
Laura hosts a fashion show to which all the ladies are invited, and Iyabo and her daughter model for her. During the show, some of the ladies make disparaging remarks about the dresses, which Laura was unaware of.
At the end of the show, it’s clear that the group is disintegrating and that they aren’t getting along because of several incidents between them.
Mariam decides to host a dinner party at her home, which the ladies gladly accept. Iyabo, Tiannah, and Laura arrived early, as usual. After a few minutes of waiting for Carolyna and Chioma to come, they decided to start the party.
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The ladies awoke the next day after everyone assumed they were OK, to find a series of negative messages Laura had written to Carolyna and Chioma.
The seventh episode ends on a cliffhanger, wondering what will happen next, mainly when Carolina rants angrily about Laura to Chioma.
During the eighth episode, Iyabo called a meeting to ease the tension between the ladies. Unfortunately, they have all passed that stage, as Laura and Carolyna insult each other. Carolina began accusing Laura of being pimped to Nigerian politicians in 2017.
Laura attempts to attack Carolyna but is stopped by Mariam, the other cast members, and even the crew. Laura leaves after regaining her composure, accusing Tiannah, whom she thought was her close friend, of failing to support her.
The Breakdown – The Good
The idea of bringing “the Real Housewives” reality show to Nigeria is brilliant. A performance like this elevates the country’s standing on the global entertainment scene and opens the door to future international collaboration. Maybe there will be a Nigerian version of the masked singer soon.
It was also a wise decision to cast the homemakers. I liked how diverse the cast was. And by diversity, I mean people from various backgrounds and occupations. The absence of celebrities such as singers and actors makes the show more relatable to the average Nigerian.
There’s also the fact that most of these ladies knew each other before appearing on the show, which is a good thing because there is a sense of familiarity that allows for genuine chemistry and, to some extent, eliminates any form of deceit.
The cinematography is also excellent, especially considering the location. Despite a few hiccups, it still provided high-quality visual entertainment.
Finally, the fashion was spectacular. Every outfit the ladies wore was a hit, especially when they went out to dinner or a party. The ladies did an excellent job of establishing fashion trends that will live rent-free in viewers’ minds.
While it seems like I may despise this series, I do not. It seems to be one of those potential reality shows that are victims of a) bad storylines and b) video editors or producers who are incapable of creating entertaining content from video footage.
Several scenes in the series were boring, and I wished for each episode to end as soon as possible. Whenever I had trouble sleeping, I just watched one episode and boom; I was off to dreamland.
There were a lot of filler scenes that slowed down the exciting moments. Filler scenes in the sense that location scenes felt dragged and slow. One example is the scene in which Tiannah goes to a mosque to distribute items. While it provided a solid justification for her actions, it felt overly long. When Mariam and Laura arrived, I expected something interesting to happen, but nothing did; they greeted each other and left.
Then there were the confessionals, a stylistic device used in many reality television shows. Confessionals provide narration, exposition, and commentary on ongoing action within a reality show.
As previously stated, I enjoy reality television. So, believe me when I say confessionals are the best parts of a reality show because they reveal a character’s true feelings toward someone or something. While only a few of the confessionals were enjoyable, many were not and fell flat.
The scenes at the events looked staged. I still can’t believe Laura had a fashion show with less than 50 people in attendance, and the majority were her friends.
Finally, the way the show was limited to just the cast members was exhausting. I expected to see their friends (aka plus ones) participate in the conversations during the trip to Abuja.
5/10. As uninteresting as it may sound, the Real Housewives of Lagos will make you laugh and get angry, especially in episode 8. However, having viewed the eight episodes released, it’s safe to say that pretty faces and high fashion are not enough to elevate a disappointing reality series.
The series is available exclusively on Showmax.
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