For those of you who don’t know where Mountain Brook, Alabama, is it’s 5.7 miles southeast of Birmingham. For those of you who don’t know where Birmingham is, it’s 145 miles west of Atlanta. Mountain Brook is the prestigious and privileged community where we meet Jaime Primak Sullivan, the Jersey Belle.
On the premier episode of Jersey Belle, Jaime shares the story of how a publicist, New Jersey-girl, like herself, landed in MB. Years ago, Jaime bumped into Michael at a café in Birmingham on her way through town. He buys her a drink. They chat. Fast forward one year, Jaime is passing through Birmingham again, stops at that same café and runs into, guess who? Do you think Michael went there every day hoping to see Jaime? Anyway, it’s serendipity, and ten months later he proposed.
Arden, Jaime’s friend, comes over to the house to photograph the family. Jaime is one tough mama because when cutie-pie Olivia starts to cry, as children often do during family portraits, Jaime shuts it down. Arden looks a little taken aback, but it’s hard to tell because she very reserved. Arden explains privately that most moms in the MB are more “delicate.” Not sure this is a compliment, but moving on.
We learn more about Jaime and how much she loves Michael. She acknowledges that she doesn’t fit in here. Most days doesn’t like Mountain Brook. But loves her man and would follow him anywhere. Michael is the finish-line of her dating marathon. But to live in MB you need class, manners, and good breeding…like Arden, according to Jaime. Arden tells a funny story about how she didn’t like Jaime at first. Jaime told Arden that she looked like Ellen DeGeneres. There is actually no resemblance, but Arden didn’t appreciate being made fun of because she occasionally wears pants.
The Stepfords girlfriends gather at a dress shop looking for dresses for Arden’s tea. Jaime learns that tea’s are like bridal showers, but fancier. Hats, pearls, monogrammed towels, that sort of thing. When Arden asks for dress suggestions, Jaime says, not white. Apparently this is Arden’s third wedding…and you know what they say about the third time…so there’s that. Danielle arrives. She is the epitome of proper, southern, sappy, charm. Jaime asks if she can wear Prada silk shorts to the tea? To Jaime’s face they say, they’re not sure. Behind her back they say, no way.
The girls meet at a bar, Jaime takes off her shoes and gets comfortable on the sofa. Luci (pronounced Lucy) teases Jaime, but it’s coming from a place of admiration. When the waiter arrives, Arden asks about the oysters. There was a reference to vaginas by Jaime that Danielle found distasteful. Note to Jaime: Don’t order hot dogs around Danielle.
One of the ladies asked Jaime about the type of guy she used date. There was some boring information about prior men, then a bombshell that Jaime wanted to have a three-some with Michael and a hot woman from L.A. The reaction from the girlfriends’ are: surprise, shock, horror. In that order.
We are at Danielle’s house for a photo shoot of her and her fabulous home and her fabulous husband, Bart, for a Birmingham magazine. Also in the picture are their two fabulous dogs. Not kidding. The picture is great and the two dogs will keep you safe on a scary night. We learn that Danielle and Bart have been struggling with fertility for four years, but “God has a plan” and for now she’s content to be a “dog-mommy.”
Luci and Jaime are shopping at a children’s clothing store. When they first met, Jaime said Luci had a smile on her face but not in her eyes. Could we say that about, Arden? Maybe? Never mind. Luci’s divorce was judged by the entire town. One of her friends even returned all the baby clothes she had given her because of the disgrace. Jaime stood beside Luci, let these so-called friends have it, and offered to beat them up. That’s a true friend.
At the private horse stables, we meet Arden’s fiancé, William Upton, the most eligible bachelor in Mountain Brook. They met when Arden showed up to photograph William’s favorite horse. There was instant chemistry. I think I’ve read this in a romance novel once. Arden is excited about her tea party and hopeful that her future mother-in-law will be there. Spoiler alert: Future MIL is MIA.
The day of the tea has finally arrived! Jaime’s little boy chooses the pink dress for her. When Jaime arrives, there is a book to write advice for Arden. Jaime, who will never be called, delicate, said to work on her gag reflexes. When Arden does arrive (30 minutes late because she timed it exactly) you can (kind of) tell she’s upset. Of course she doesn’t want to talk about it at the tea party—that would be inappropriate. She finally tells Jaime about the MIL problem. Arden is worried this means MIL won’t come to the wedding. Arden might be right, but I hope she’s not.
If the interstitial (short segment between commercials) were a bible verse it would be Out of the Mouths of Babe. After Jaime flips off a passing driver, 5 year-old Olivia tells her mom the difference between mommy and daddy: daddy is patient. Can you say: smartest one in the family?
We spend time with Luci making a cake with her kids. Her boyfriend, Jeff, stops by. Things are moving fast between them, but it’s more clear than a southern sky that Luci is lonely and wants a family. He’s moving to the area and wants to save money on an apartment for “more shiny things.” Careful. What will the neighbors say?
There is a rule (apparently) in the south that the bride-to-be’s friends must come to see the bride try on the dress for the first time. Jaime didn’t know this rule, (you’re not alone) and reluctantly goes. Danielle can’t wait to see Arden in her dress. Jaime doesn’t get this rule and confesses that her own dress was purchased at David’s Bridal. Danielle flinches. But with champagne, everything is okay. Arden emerges in her refined and elegant (if not boring) white-lace dress. Danielle asks if there will be a television set at the reception so that they may watch football; which is right up there with church. To Jaime’s surprise, shock, horror, Arden said yes. Of course. That is what southern hospitality is all about, y’all.
There is a mix up about the ceremony time and the reception time. Jaime’s invitation is only for the reception which is at 7:00. It works out well because her plane lands at 3:30. The ceremony is at 3:00, Arden tells her. Quite the time gap. What are the guests supposed to do in between? Jaime didn’t get the 3:00 invitation. Arden stomps off, mumbling down the hallway, (in closed-caption) “Leave it to Jaime to ruin my wedding by not coming.”
Melodramatic much? Jaime, when you go to the reception, bring some cannoli’s!