‘Jersey Belle’ Hits Close To Home In Birmingham, Or Does It? (Recap)

August 4, 2014 | By | Comments (25)

jersey belle on bravo fa3891fca3a0097c Jersey Belle Hits Close To Home In Birmingham, Or Does It? (Recap)

South, meet Jaime. She’s not from around here. Not by a long shot. In fact, she’s from New Jersey–her association with the Garden State isn’t quickly forgotten–and she’s the star of Bravo’s new reality series Jersey Belle, which debuted tonight.

Jaime’s story is one of true love, the sort of true love that involves enough frequent flyer miles to buy an airline. The New Jersey publicist met Michael while passing through through Mountain Brook. He offered to buy her a drink, and one thing led to another like they always do—soon enough he was flying up to Jersey once a month to spend a few days with her, before proposing after 10 months (incredible, considering it took him nine months to kiss her).

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes moving to Mountain Brook.

For those who don’t know, Mountain Brook is an extremely affluent suburb of Birmingham, about a 15-minute drive (and a world away) from the apartment where I type this very paragraph. According to one character, it’s the ninth or so best zip code in the country, but Jaime disagrees. “Mountain Brook, Alabama,” she says. “Some would say it’s perfection. I say it ain’t Jersey.” We shouldn’t feign surprise, though. After all, she says, “before I met Michael, I imagined Alabama as a scene out of Deliverance.” And the reality doesn’t seem to have softened her. These words could be the show’s tagline: “I don’t fit in here. Most days I don’t really like it here.”

Even so, she’s made more girlfriends than there are mentions of Prada throughout the episode. While Jaime delights in shocking these Southern belles with commentary best left in the gynecologist’s office, she loves them fiercely. She’s so fierce that when Michael says, “She hit me over the head, so to speak,” you’d be hard-pressed not to wonder if he means literally.

How much you like this show will depend on how you enjoy your stereotypes: with a side of pimiento cheese grits or potato latkes. The premiere centers around the upcoming tea of her friend Arden, who is “basically marrying into Mountain Brook” by wedding William Upton. Arden has the misfortune of growing up in Forest Park, an almost-as-affluent suburb a few minutes from M.B. that’s graced with fewer horses and Ferraris. Luckily, Arden has found a perfect match—William doesn’t have a taste for foreign cars and only rides the former.

The drama begins immediately when Jaime is asked to bring something to the tea. Proving that the fish isn’t out of water but actually in an entirely different sea, Jaime’s suggestions of lasagna and meatballs are scornfully rejected. When she offers to make the more sensible cannoli, none of these Alabama women knows what it is. A viewing of The Godfather is in order.

Eventually Jaime decides on an acceptable dish before blundering through several more pre-wedding activities before the tea itself. These include dress shopping, monogramming against her will, dress fitting, comparing oysters to _______________ (you can fill that in), and dress shopping. Somewhere between dress shopping and her 18th joke about this being Arden’s third wedding (“Southern wedding tradition calls for a white dress for the first marriage, not the third.”), we meet a cast of other women.

Bearing the emotional weight of the series is Luci, a recently single mother who was married when she met Jaime. “I’m not one to encourage divorce,” Jaime tells us while recalling the time she encouraged Luci to get a divorce. Luci’s on a path of self-discovery, and Jaime will do everything she can to help.

But not before mistaking pimiento cheese at the wedding tea for meatballs. Arden shows up 30 minutes late, face streaked with the ghosts of tears. Before the final dress fitting, Jaime finds out why: William’s mother didn’t show up to the tea.

So many questions remain. Will Arden break into Mountain Brook, or will she forever be relegated to the Prius-dotted purgatory that is Forest Park? Will Luci realize she’s better off alone, or will she dash back to her ex? Will anyone ever find a dress that fits? Will the ladies of Alabama discover the richness that is cannoli? Will one of Jaime’s scatological stories go too far? Only one way to find out.


Other Takeaways:

  • Do you not have to wear shoes in restaurants in New Jersey?
  • While Arden really takes Jaime’s comment that she looks like Ellen DeGeneres as an insult, she seems most upset by the accusation that she wears pants.
  • Jaime doesn’t seem to understand how last names (or monogramming) works.
  • On accent alone, Jaime could be the child of Robert De Niro and Anthony Bourdain.
  • Does Vegas have an over/under bet to see how many times the word “cannoli” is mentioned per episode?
  • Am I the only one who agrees with Jaime when she says, “I feel like lasagna is one of those things you can bring anywhere”? Because that’s a world I’d like to live in.


  1. BamaGuy

    This show respresents everything wrong with “Reality TV.” There is nothing “reality” about it. jamie does not live in Mtn Brook and never has. She lives in Vestavia Hills. Arden’s wedding was referred to as “the event of the year in MB.” I’ve lived in MB for 40 years and I have never heard of this person and therefore know nothing about her tacky ass wedding, which was not in MB and had nothing to do with anyone who lives here. Nor have I ever heard of Jamie’s husband who Bravo referred to as “Mtn Brook’s Most Eligible bachelor.” Really? No idea who this guy is. Every camera shot shows Moutnain Brook land marks, then cuts to jamie’s home in Vestavia. Why? This is merely a poorly scripted tv drama with amateur actors. No reality about it.

    April 10, 2015 at 12:52 pm
  2. Southern Gent

    I am ashamed I watched 2 episodes (but it was for purely curious reasons as I have close friends in MB and have spent many a Bama Game weekend tailgating with them and attending their children’s debutante balls). It made me ill to see (and hear) “that woman” bring the word Belle (which EVERY lady in my family tree is by virtue and birthright) to an all time low! I am waiting to hear that travesty is cancelled…so that MB, Alabama and the proper South retain a small modicum of our pride. Oh… and Arden… um, pure-D-redneck with obvious diction lessons to cover the accent. God Love her. AND Bless her heart…of course her future mother-in-law was not going to approve, how could she??

    April 1, 2015 at 11:56 pm
  3. A Very Jersey Birthday: ‘Jersey Belle’ Episode 5 Recap | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] cannolis! Jaime doesn’t know what grits […]

    September 2, 2014 at 4:07 pm
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    September 1, 2014 at 11:15 pm
  5. Mickey

    What is wrong with Arden’s face? On her wedding day, she barely even almost cracks a smile, it is so odd.

    August 31, 2014 at 4:33 pm
  6. Jennifer Wilson

    OMG she is exactly like every Jersey girl i know, for the 1st commentor, yes we do refer to it as Jersey, if someone called it New Jersey to me i would know they were not from here lol i love this show, Jamie is everything i want to see in a reality show, from the cash at a wedding (which all religions do here) to the fallback of meatballs and lasagna i just lvoe this show!

    August 21, 2014 at 9:50 am
  7. Jimmy

    Most people from New Jersey do not have accents, tans or hair extensions. Think Rumson, Far Hills and Princeton — just a few beautiful towns in the Garden state. And we most certainly do not refer to our state as “Jersey”, it is New Jersey. Ugh enough of the sterotypes Bravo!!

    August 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm
  8. Heather

    It’s nice to see a show where the women listen to each other and accept each other unconditionally without fighting over everything !!!

    August 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm
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    August 15, 2014 at 1:18 am
  10. ‘Game of Thrones’ Meets Buried Bourbon: ‘Jersey Belle’ Episode 2 (Recap) | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] second episode of Jersey Belle is nothing if not an exercise in juxtaposition, though not nearly as tiring as riding Arden’s […]

    August 12, 2014 at 10:33 am
  11. Sheri

    According to AL.com none of the women live in Mt. Brook. They live in Vestavia. I don’t know why they have to lie about where they live.

    August 12, 2014 at 3:04 am
  12. Sophie

    Here we go again! Another Shock Factor Show where we have these really nice great men married to these obnoxious foul mouthed women. Good examples are Kroy Beirmann and Kim Zolciak (Boy oh boy she didn’t waist anytime locking that relationship down! 4 kids in a 3 year period – classic case of mommies little helpers). Then there is Bethenny Frankel (who by the way looks/acts very much like Ms Jersey Belle herself) and her ex husband Jason – oops yea well how did that work out for ya Jason? I don’t get these men and I guess I never will.

    August 11, 2014 at 12:18 pm
  13. Ridiculous

    Arden was most definitely raised in Pinson and has zero connection to Forrest Park. Not sure why she would say that, but it is a complete fabrication.

    August 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm
  14. cayro

    Cal @(Jen)
    That is exactly what I was thinking. I am from the Avondale area right next to Forest Park but now I live in North Birmingham and work downtown and I have eaten cannoli plenty of time in the numerous Italian restaurants in Birmingham. They need to stop perpetrating.

    August 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm
  15. CC

    New Jersey and it’s people are just like anywhere else, there are extremes of the stereotypes. Most people in NJ don’t even have that accent at all. Reality tv likes to only film these roughnecks and not the “normal” everyday Jersians. I have friends from there and they’re not even Italian! And they monogram! Lol.
    I felt badly for the reputation of mountain brook, she didn’t have many nice things to say.

    August 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm
  16. bhamadgal

    None of the actresses actually lives in Mountain Brook. They tried to create culture conflict where there really was none anyway. Ashamed that I watched it.

    August 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm
  17. Alisa Boone (@BhamAdGal)

    Not one of the actors actually lives in Mtn Brook.

    August 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm
  18. Ang

    Travis, if you think Jamie has a thick Jersey accent you have never seen the “Real Housewives of New Jersey”. I was surprised that Jamie’s accent is as mild as it it. We lived in a city in Georgia(not Atlanta or near there) and a certain area was almost identical to Mountain Brook. The “big” fish will always want a better fish bowl that the others, mainly to make themselves feel better.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:10 am
  19. Brooke

    For Anne F From your appearance, I would assume you possess a modicum of intelligence. But from your comment, it would appear that you are uninformed and at the very least- a bitch.

    August 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm
  20. Becky

    Loved the show last night and look forward to seeing it every Monday night!
    Becky H.

    August 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm
  21. R.B.

    Everyone that lives around Birmingham knows there has always been a difference between mountain brook and everywhere else . I always knew people acted different there but not that bad. I live in moody in a really nice subdivision and I would rather be there. Same size house if not bigger for half the price and nicer people.

    August 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm
  22. Liv

    Anne, why do you have such a hatred for Birmingham? Have you ever lived there? There are actually some very pleasant areas around Birmingham and quite a bit of revitalization going on within the city itself.

    August 5, 2014 at 10:50 am
  23. Laura

    Arden spent many of her formative years in Pinson, a very rural area that is not close to Forest Park in geography or income levels. A quick Google search shows that she graduated from Pinson Valley High School.

    August 5, 2014 at 10:16 am
  24. Anne F

    I’m still trying to wrap my mind around even the possibility that these is a “nice neighborhood” within driving distance of that Godforsaken rust infested rathole known as Birmingham AL.

    August 5, 2014 at 9:37 am
  25. Jen

    Now, these women had to have grown up grocery shopping at Bruno’s, and they always had cannoli!

    August 5, 2014 at 7:30 am

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