My brilliant grandma watched soap operas. My witty mom read romance novels. I’m hooked on The Real Housewives Series on Bravo. And so are many of my smart girlfriends and yes, some of the smartest and best writers on OS. (You know who you are.)
The Real Housewives of Orange County, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey will soon be joined by shows featuring self-centered, privileged women in DC and Beverly Hills, and most of them have too much money and too little “cultchuh.” And many, like DC housewife Mrs. Salahi of crashing-the-White-House-state-dinner fame, are pretty despicable.
For me, the melodrama of this season’s current New York series has been like crack. And I know I’m not alone in following the Housewive’s blogs, although I haven’t gone as far as joining Team Bethenny.
The reunion show in two weeks –when the women interact and argue live after the entire series has aired – is going to be party time for lots of us.
Meanwhile, for you “nosebots” (the blog term that’s evolved for those who automatically turn up their noses at these kind of shows), I can only say I used to watch “Nature” on PBS to see the survival of the fittest and life in the wild. I used to watch “Sex and the City” to enjoy vicarious girly stuff. I watch The Housewives to get both.
Plus, I’ve learned some life lessons. Mostly, how not to act.
There’s always a Queen Bee. On the OC it’s Vicki, On NYC it’s Jill. On Atlanta, it’s NeNe, and on Jersey it’s Dina and her sister Carolyn. Others may take their turn as Queen, but usually one of the women gives it and won’t take it, and assumes the world revolves around her. If there’s an entitled Queen Bee in your life, watch closely and try not to let her or her followers sting you.
There’s always a goat. Group dynamics seem to dictate this: Gretchen on OC, Alex on NY, Danielle on NJ, Kim on Atlanta. Sometimes the women deserve the scapegoating; more often, they are just the easiest ones to pick on. In my life I’ve seen this happen on long press trips. It’s a human dynamic to pick on someone and then gang up. The goat sometimes redeems herself, but usually just whines in endless confessionals.
Want to write a book, make music or start a business? Become a Housewife. Connections, buzz and fame count the most. Who needs talent if there’s a ghost writer or a packager, a pr agent, a publicist, and a sound engineer with lots of echo?
Money can’t buy you class. Former Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, dubbed the “Countless” by Ramona’s hubby Mario since her divorce from the Count, proves her own point almost always, despite her new recording of the same name. These women may have lots of money and 15 minutes of fame stretched to 20, but they have minimal talent and no irony. None. That’s what makes this fun to watch.
Don’t say “We’re done” to a friend unless you really mean it. Jill, who used to be Bethenny’s BFF said it, and then Alex said it back to Jill on behalf of Bethenny. Doubling down on dopey. Count to ten before you bail out on a friend worth keeping.
Make lemons out of lemonade. I meant it in just that crazy way because that’s what truly incoherent, hair-twirling, lolly eating, “like” repeating, drug taking (?), “cook not chef” and “ho-bag” accusing Kelly said, kind of. That’s how she talks. She makes no sense, seems paranoid, and is insanely jealous of Bethenny. She is the train wreck of train wrecks and when you watch you can’t help being fascinated in the darkest of ways. Some people are not worth listening to. Cut them from your life quickly or help them get help. And actually, make lemonade out of lemons. Whatever.
Be aware of privacy issues in this age of tweets. I’ve learned you shouldn’t have life-altering conversations on speakerphones with others listening. Don’t text or email gossip, or put personal messages on Facebook walls, and especially, if there’s a tv camera, remember there’s an editor.
Think twice before getting big boob(ie)s. When everyone looks like Barbie, Raggedy Ann starts looking good. Loveliest are the unenhanced, perkier Alex and Gretchen, who probably will get enhanced by next season.
Don’t go to an island with people you don’t like. And expect the unexpected when you do. Vicki set up a girls' trip to Miami Beach and the guys came. And oh my, the scary things at Ramona’s rented mansion in St. John with unhinged Kelly and “surprise” Jill. Make sure you have an escape plan if you set up a getaway.
Take your meds. But not too many. (See Kelly, above.)
Drink in moderation. Ramona and Vicki and Kim I’m talking to you.
Get a hobby. If you are so vapid and consumed with yourself that you can’t let others get happy you should really get one. But telling someone “get a hobby” can make some Queen Bees mad enough to end a friendship.
The final New York Housewives segment is next Thursday. And the reunion the following week promises to be a fitting climax.
And if you nosebots take a peek at the dynamics you might just understand why it fascinates so many of us, and what we can learn about human nature too.