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Is ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ Husband Jim Bellino the New Simon Barney?

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On the second episode of Real Housewives of Orange County, things got tense between housewives Tamra Barney and Alexis Bellino when Tamra asserted that Jim Bellino, Alexis' husband, reminded her of Simon Barney, Tamra's soon-to-be ex-husband. Last season, Tamra and Simon were fighting constantly. Many of their fights centered around the fact that Tamra was outlandish, loud, and liked to let loose, and that Simon was conservative and cautious, and wanted Tamra to be conservative and cautious, too. As Tamra's mother pointed out last season, he wanted a housewife and Tamra wasn't just a housewife. Alexis blanched when Tamra said that, and said that she didn't think the two were at all alike. Let's examine the evidence:

  • Simon was unhappy about Tamra working; Jim wanted Alexis to be a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, too.
  • Both Simon and Jim are churchgoers; Jim has a degree in theology, attends church regularly, and lays hands on his family before he leaves the house every day. Simon accompanied Alexis and Jim to their church after filing for divorce from Tamra.
  • Both Simon and Jim tried to control what their wives wore. On the season five finale, before the blowout between Tamra and Simon, Simon told Tamra that several of her outfit selections were inappropriate and too young for her. He wasn't pleased with anything she chose. We saw an instance of Jim trying to control Alexis' appearance when he asked her to sit down during a boat ride in Florida because he didn't want her butt showing to everyone.
  • Both Simon and Jim tried to control what their wives said. Simon was constantly criticizing Tamra for saying what he deemed were inappropriate things, especially in front of the kids. Jim pokes fun at the things Alexis says, and teases her by implying that she is ditzy.

To me, it seems that Jim and Alexis have a pretty strong marriage. Their beliefs and ideals seem comparable and they don't seem to harbor resentment the way Tamra and Simon did. Jim and Alexis seem happy together; they make one another laugh and seem flirty and in love. But, I do think Tamra is correct about some of the ways in which Jim and Simon are similar. Though they both may be conservative, Jim's approach seems relaxed and reasonable, while Simon's was hostile and judgmental. Additionally, they have different wives: Alexis seems readily willing to be subservient to her husband, which is a sentiment she says that she learned from the Bible (even going so far as to say that Jim sometimes has to “put her in her place),” while quick-witted Tamra always seemed to be fighting against her husbands stringent rules. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

What do you guys think?

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