There is no question that Bravo loves a good wedding. Housewives Kim Zolciak, Tamra Barney, NeNe Leakes, and Kandi Burruss have had spinoff shows chronicling their trip down (or back down) the aisle, and there is even a special wedding section of the Shop by Bravo store online. So naturally Bravo is following the unfortunate path many marriages take with its new show Untying the Knot.
In Bravo terms, Untying the Knot is the anti-Millionaire Matchmaker meets Million Dollar Listing. The show isn’t about second chances or one last effort to keep that marriage knot from coming undone; it’s about navigating divorce. Vikki Ziegler, a legitimate attorney and mediator who likes to call herself the “Divorce Diva,” meets with a new couple each week to get to the root of their conflicts and, with the help of expert appraisers and brothers Michael and Mark Millea, figure out the best way to divide up their personal assets. Because this is a Bravo show, said assets include Parisian apartments, diamond rings, and a giant Buddha head—and that’s just the premiere.
Jacques and Mira are a good-looking couple from New Jersey with a lot of ugly problems after six years of marriage. It’s hard to understand how they ended up together in the first place; the passion they apparently had at the beginning dissipated once it became clear Mira, an Israeli actress/model, didn’t want to give up her career to be a housewife to Jacques, an apparel manufacturer. Separated for a year, they have already divided their assets except for three items: that apartment in Paris, Mira’s engagement ring, and a decorative Buddha head from Thailand.
When Ziegler sits down with the couple for the first time, the claws come out. Jacques claims that Mira is a narcissist and wouldn’t give up any time for them. ”Why should I give up my life and work to do things together?” While I agree you shouldn’t sacrifice your career for marriage, you still need to make the kinds of compromises this woman clearly wasn’t willing to make. Though his tone was a little harsh, Jacques seemed right when he said, ”She got married to get a pay day at the end of it.” Taking all their issues into consideration, Ziegler makes the the following recommendations:
Paris apartment: Purchased at $400,000 with Jacques’ money during the marriage. Because you can’t split up an apartment, Mira wants half of what it’s worth, but isn’t willing to be responsible for any of the debt on the place, which is upward of $200,000. A pretty easy decision for Ziegler: She gives the condo to Jacques and a $100,000 credit to Mira.
Engagement ring: The yellow diamond ring was designed by the couple and purchased for $100,000 after they were already married. Although it has a lot of sentimental value, and the Millea brothers acknowledge its high quality, no one really wants someone else’s engagement ring. They appraise the resale value at $60,000. Ziegler recommends that Mira keep the ring and Jacques receive a 25 percent credit, about $12,000.
Buddha: The biggest battle of them all came from this decorative piece that the couple bought for $5,000 on a trip to Thailand. It came from a Buddhist temple that burned down—or so they thought. After the brothers’ did some digging, they determined it was actually a modern carving of an old piece of wood and worth only $800. Ouch. Even though Jacques thought it could resale between $10,000 and $15,000, he claimed the battle over it wasn’t about money: It was sentimental, representative of a happier time for the couple. Because Jacques had purchased it with his own money, Ziegler recommends that he keep the Buddha if he buys Mira a first-class ticket back to Thailand to get one for herself.
Surprisingly, the couple agrees to all of Ziegler’s terms, avoiding further costs and heartache. If the premiere is any indication, Untying the Knot may be Bravo’s most educational new show, in a strange way: Viewers should learn a lot from these failed marriages and the insane spending that helped undo them.