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Netflix Lady Tamara is a lifestyle-of-the-celebrity-for-being-famous reality series chronicling the cooking ambitions of Spanish Marquise Tamara Falco. And that’s where we pause on Google “marquise”: it’s the feminine form of “marquess,” a royal rank below duke/duchess and above earl/countess. (Long story short, she’s inherited a lot of old money.) Shut the hatches in these six episodes as the drama sets in her attempt to open a restaurant in the crumbling mansion/castle she inherited to experience a hefty dose of Tamara’s personality from her father, El Rincon. Will she succeed? I get to my feet and venture a guess: probably! Because let’s face it, this series wouldn’t exist if its endeavor crashed and burned and became a portrait of failure.


opening shot: Home video recordings of Tamara as a teenager.

The essentials: Tamara is the Marchioness of Grinon and she just turned 40. She threw a glittering birthday party with hundreds of people and we see her celebrating with all her friends and family and everyone else who goes to socialite meetings that are reported in the society pages. (Are there still newspaper society pages?) It’s certainly not the first time cameras have been seen at one of Tamara’s birthday parties — we see footage of one of her childhood celebrations and learn that she grew up in the spotlight of fame as Marquess Carlos’ daughter Falco and former glamor model and TV presenter Isabel Preysler. And there she is, on the cover of Hello! Magazine as a baby in her mother’s arms.

Tamara tells: She is an influencer, she owns a fashion company, she is a talk show host, she is a chef. She is a devout Catholic and says that these days she prefers to stay home and pray the rosary to go out and have a few drinks; She even considered becoming a nun at one point, but that was only a passing idea. Her boyfriend is Inigo Onieva, who seems like a nice guy whoever he is and whatever he does (Wikipedia: he’s a hotel manager). She is one of eight siblings; her half brother is Enrique Iglesias.

Looks like an enchanted life? Well, the morning after her big birthday party, we see her waking from her slumber, not because the moment was staged for the cameras, but because the crew got there very early and snuck in and hung around for as long as it took to film her the moment she woke up apparently, just as nature documentary filmmakers hide in a blind for weeks to capture the bird-of-paradise’s seldom-seen mating dance. Tamara pets her puppy Jacinta and joins Inigo for breakfast, which I believe was prepared by servants. They playfully argue about how she asked for a blanket for her motorcycle for her birthday and he didn’t get it. We see scenes of Tamara in a beautiful red dress sitting in a large El Rincon foyer and talking about how she and Inigo fight all the time, but it only makes her stronger. She’s used to sharing things about her private life because she’s been doing it all her life, is friendly with friendly press, and is the object of ugly tabloid rumors.

Tamara and her Yes Man (assistant?) Juan visit El Rincon, which is far out in the country and has been empty for three years. The plaster is slowly crumbling off the walls and ceilings. She wants to open a pop-up restaurant here, and it will be a lot more work than just renting an apartment in Madrid. She has many mixed feelings about the place she associates with her late, beloved father. But she would honor the place by using family recipes and taking inspiration from the meals served to her family there in the previous century. Back in Madrid, Isabel hosts regular society tea parties. Tamara stops by one and brings the news that she will be opening a restaurant at the mansion, and the skeptical look on Isabel’s face is priceless.

Tamara Falco in
Photo: Netflix

What shows will it remind you of? Lady Tamara has a lot in common with rich staring reality stuff like Paris Hilton/Nicole Ritchie series The simple life (which is sort of a benchmark for this type of show, isn’t it?) and Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Our opinion: Reading Tamara’s Wikipedia page makes them sound more interesting than the first episode of Lady Tamara, who pollutes her biography with a large portion of ego. It’s not rough-polished, but it’s indulgent to hang out at her loud, atmospheric birthday party for far too long and charm her for seated interview shots in which she talks a lot about herself without revealing much about herself. It feels a little more intimate than the interviews she gives to celebrity TV journalists, but still low key; She’s been trained for years to keep the cameras present and mollified, but at arm’s length, and while this series comes a tad closer than usual, it still has the whiff of a vanity project.

This episode entitled My 40th!She gets bogged down with a long, if necessary, intro, then meanders to her party, to her breakfast spot by the window, to El Rincon, to her mother’s house. It keeps saying vaguely interesting things about her father and her hopes for the restaurant, but we never get a solid sense of her passion for the project — or for cooking and being a chef, so get food TV addicts there’s not a damn bit of food porn to drool over here (at least not yet). The episode lacks pace and pace, and the dramatic conflict – the big corporation that will be her restaurant – is built up at a leisurely pace that doesn’t create much suspense.

The show stirs up a slightly persuasive soup as it talks about how paparazzi follow her and how journalists always ask her personal questions about her family and love life; A lot of people come into the picture in that first episode, urging her to get married and have kids (“The clock is ticking,” says one woman rather bluntly), and she dodges questions as if she’s been practicing such maneuvers for decades. Such moments are when Lady Tamara flirts with glimpses of a celebrity’s life, but they’re few and far between.

gender and skin: none.

farewell shot: The camera slides away from Isabel’s house as voices from the tea party chat and giggle about it.

sleeping star: Tamara is not a personality who steals the limelight from me, but the show producers seem to make sure that nobody is more interesting in front of the camera than she is. I think this is a good place to say that we’d like to know more about fluffy little Jacinta. (sticks finger in pot) (pulls it out) (tastes it) Needs more dog.

Most pilot line: Tamara: “I was literally born before the press.”

Our appeal: SKIP IT. I’m not sure Lady Tamara appeals to everyone outside of hardcore fans of Spanish royalty.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more about his work below

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