I have a terrible confession. Are you ready? It's shocking. Here it is: I kind of hate Real Housewives. I know these are astronomically popular shows. I know most of my colleagues here at The Stir love Housewives. I have dear friends who love Housewives. They're all smart, thoughtful women I admire (my friends and colleagues, not the Housewives). But I am utterly repelled by the whole concept.
Could somebody please explain the appeal to me? Because I just don't get it! Grown-ass women, on TV, fighting with each other. It's just ... unseemly. It makes me so uncomfortable, for so many reasons. Let me count them all.
1. First of all, I just hate seeing women tear each other down. Maybe it's because I have two sisters, but I feel too much loyalty to women to enjoy watching them be so mean to each other. I can't sit back and laugh. I can only cringe.
2. And the conflict! Look, I'm not afraid of conflict in real life. I've yelled at other people, total strangers, in public. I probably scream, "I'M WALKING HERE!" at least once a month. I'm not proud of that -- my only excuse is that I live in New York City and sometimes it gets to be too much. I'm trying really, really hard to keep a lid on it. It's not easy. So no, I don't want to watch other people fail to exercise self-control. Because that's not helping me.
3. Then there's the rampant greed -- women who have SO MUCH and aren't the least bit grateful or satisfied. Women who judge each other by labels, who obsess over having more, better, bigger everything. I'm not against having stuff -- I love stuff! It's the way the Housewives pursue acquisition as an end in itself to feed the emptiness inside. I guess I feel sorry for their empty souls.
4. Worst of all, I hate the way they drag their families into their feuds and dramas. Innocent children who have a right to privacy are exploited. I mean, how do Adrienne Maloof's kids feel about the world speculating that they were born to a surrogate mother? What happens when they go to school?
5. And finally, I'm just confused about the stance I'm supposed to take as a viewer. Am I supposed to pick "teams" and "players" to root for, like in football? Am I really supposed to be scandalized? Or am I supposed to enjoy it all with an ironic distance? WHICH?!? Because if it's ironic distance, I still can't. And that's really weird -- I live, eat, and breathe in irony. It's my first language. And yet I just can't make room in my ironic heart for the Housewives. What does that mean?
Maybe I'm not as cynical as I thought I was! Could it be possible, I'm too sincere and soft to enjoy Real Housewives? God, I don't even know who I am anymore! This is all so disturbing. YOU SEE? This is why I cannot stomach Real Housewives.
Tell me really, what's the appeal of this series for you?
Image via Bravo