In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I’ve never intentionally watched a “reality” tv show. But if I were going to, I can guarantee that the “real housewives” of anywhere would not be among them.
According to Wikipedia:
The Real Housewives of… is a reality series which airs in the United States on the cable network Bravo, and various other broadcasters internationally. The series follows the lives of relatively affluent, bourgeois housewives and professional women in the suburban or urban areas of several American cities, and the suffix portion of the title takes on the name of that city or suburban region.
The first Real Housewives series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, premiered in March 2006. To date there are seven different versions of the series airing at various times throughout the year; the shows follow women in Orange County; New York City; Atlanta; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Beverly Hills; and Miami.
Real housewives, huh? “Relatively affluent, bourgeois housewives and professional women”? Can anyone imagine these women or the creators and producers of these shows ever actually scrubbing floors, changing diapers, washing windows, sorting laundry, or doing any of the thousands of things an actual housewife might do? There is no reality here for real Real Housewives whose lives don’t involve meeting the girls at an upscale restaurant for lunch and gossip, or shopping for designer clothes on Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue or whatever other city equivalent.
Maybe I’m being unfair; after all, I admitted I’ve never seen one of the shows. Maybe I missed the joke. Maybe those shopping expeditions and lunches have never been in a show. But I have seen these women appear on a variety of talk shows, Ellen, The View, etc. They show up for these appearances attired in expensive outfits, sporting spike heeled Ferragamos and Manolo Blahniks (or whatever is the current “must have” shoe fashion), and with professionally styled hair and makeup. On these shows, they are invariably asked to tell the audience all about the latest “drama” that has occurred in the show—who had an argument or misunderstanding with whom and how they really just want the audience to “know the real me.” Give me a break, please.
I can’t help but wonder who watches this drivel, but apparently plenty of people do, or how would they stay on television? Personally, I’ve never laid claim to a single ounce of domesticity, but I have trouble imagining my former next-door neighbor in Maryland sitting down to watch one of these shows after weeding the garden, picking, washing, shelling, and canning 16 quarts of peas, cleaning up the kitchen, preparing dinner, cleaning the kitchen again, including what she called “wiping up the floor” (which I called “mopping”). We won’t even go into what she did before lunch. Now there was a real housewife. Maybe if the show were called Fantasy Housewives of . . . , it might transport her to another world where dirty floors were just wished clean instead of washed. That might have some appeal.
I’m not sure that the lives of real housewives would appeal to a broad tv audience, but I could watch a documentary on my former neighbor and marvel once again on how much work she could cram into a single day or week and still come out at the end smiling. Those phony tv housewives would faint if they broke a fingernail—they can’t compare with the real thing. Maybe the titles should reflect the reality of the series: Affluent Women of . . . That would make so much more sense.