Ok, I am a self-confessed “Reality” TV Junkie. And yes, I know that these shows have as much to do with reality as the GOP does with truth telling. Regardless, I can’t help myself. There are two DVRs in my home, which equals four hours of recorded television to every hour of the day. And my tastes run from the popular mainstream variety such as Amazing Race and Survivor to the significantly more obscure The Robert Verdi Show and Giuliana&Bill. My favorite must watch however, is Bravos’ Real Housewives series. Even the title of this series mockingly reinforces how the stars of these shows are anything but “real housewives.” Andy Cohen is smarter than that, he knows his business and gets that the last thing anyone wants to see is the reality of women schlepping around the house in sweat pants and a t-shirt with baby spit on it.
Like most of you, I grew up in middle-America. My mother was an actual housewife. She worked in the home raising three daughters until we were all old enough to get to and from school by ourselves. I, the youngest, was twelve before she began working outside of the home. Our house was clean, our clothes were washed, and dinner was on the table when my father walked in the door at night. She was the nanny, housekeeper, gardener, and chauffer. There were no day spas, limos, or Fred Segal’s in our neighborhood. So when I see Vicki (RH of OC) haranguing the other OC Housewives for not working outside of the home, I’m entertained and I laugh. Because even they don’t do the things ours and countless others’ mothers did and are doing to keep households functioning. And Vicki ‘s “real housewife at work” defense is about as slippery as the spray tanners and Botox injections she has done at her place of business (an insurance office). Yet, I’m obsessed. I watch them all, from the OC to NYC, NJ and the ATL. And I’ve dabbled in the viewing of their far inferior look-a-likes: Southern Belles, etc. I’m hooked, but for a reason far beyond pure entertainment value.
The absurdity of what is portrayed as their day-to-day life serves as a reminder of how happy I am in my life, to be living in this reality (egad, a lesson?). With the exception of one or two of these “stars,” who had irons in the limelight fire before being pulled into the “reality world,” these are just people. For some reason they feel a need to share a version of their life with us each week, which I and countless others eagerly anticipate and watch. Yes, they all tend to get carried away with what they believe is some new found level of importance, reaching a higher rung in some arbitrary hierarchy of popularity and significance. But that doesn’t bother me. We’ve all been known to “get a little big for our britches,” as my father would say. Instead, I draw from them a reminder that life is really all about being happy with who and where you are and striving each day to just keep it real.