I have a confession to make. At the risk of being ridiculed by those who know me and judged by those who don’t, I need to tell you something. I LOVE the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
There, I said it.
I need you to know that I am someone who reads great fiction and is politically aware. I don’t live in a community focused on money and status symbols, but rather diversity and creativity. I am an editor at a news website working on international stories like Iran sanctions, the rise of Islamic extremism in Africa, and women’s rights issues in the Middle East.
But I love me some rich, bitchy, botoxed housewives.
I can’t quite explain it– and I’ve tried because Wilson is baffled by my condition and refuses to watch. Just the promos make him cringe.
I’m fascinated by the overwhelming decadence, and those ladies’ complete lack of self-awareness. Always red carpet ready with moneyed makeup, hair, nails, clothing, and accessories, they are walking clichés, living in a bubble of opulence, without a care or thought for anyone outside of it.
There are other Housewives, of course. When I watch Andy Cohen’s nightly show “Watch What Happens Live,” on Bravo, I see them. But the Atlanta crew seems too angry, New Jersey too mean, Orange County too dumb, and Miami too boring. I’ve toyed with the New York Housewives– and Bethenny Frankel makes me laugh– but there were too many who instantly annoyed me and I couldn’t stick with it. The 90210 gals overall have more –dare I say– smarts?
Maybe if I tuned into the other franchises once or twice, I’d get sucked into their vortex of crazy too, but I’ve stayed away. I know there are more productive ways to spend my time. I could be playing a game or reading to my kids, or catching up on my book club selection, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Even reading People would be more intellectual.
But if I know there’s a RHOBH burning a hole on my DVR, I’m drawn to it like a starlet to a camera, like a publicist to a scandal, like a housewife to her plastic surgeon. It’s undeniable.
On the surface there’s nothing relatable about these women– mostly because they have so much money and live in LA, where people unapologetically value bigger mansions, private chefs and trainers, designer bags, and bling. But their friendships– both real and fake– are very familiar and put a spotlight on how some women treat each other.
Although they must lead busy lives, they always seem to have time for a glass of wine at a ladies lunch at some chichi hotspot. They show up perfectly coiffed and styled and blow air kisses (on both cheeks of course) and coo over each other’s hair and clothing. “You look gorgeous!” is apparently the only proper way to say hello in LA.
When discussing the details of the latest manufactured drama, the gloves come off and these ladies start sniping. They circle each other like cats, drawing in their prey with empty compliments and terms of endearment (“How are you dahling?”….”It’s so good to see you sweetie!”) Then they pounce.
It’s season 3 so they know each other’s weaknesses and if they’re not the instigator or victim, they’re taking sides and stirring the pot. It’s hard to turn away from story lines like the ex-child actress turned alcoholic and her holier-than-thou sister…. the impossible tall and skinny former model still nursing her wounds after being betrayed by her actor husband, who’s now married to a country music star….and the wife of a huge music producer who preaches perfection from her Malibu mansion overlooking the ocean.
I could go on. But I won’t. For now.
I may not be able to resist sharing my thoughts on the show in future posts. Please weigh in and tell me if you have a guilty pleasure show. Or try mine. But don’t blame me when you get hooked on the Housewives. It happens to the best of us.