Defending My Real Housewives Fandom

I’m surprised that reality television is still a thing. Back when it first began to take off I was sure that it would be a passing phase, and the public would get tired of these shows that are more accurately called non-scripted shows than reality shows.

Actually, the non-scripted claim is probably a lie also, as there have been many claims that some of these shows are comprised of events previously outlined by producers, if not actual written dialogue.

Turns out, that I was wrong. Reality television is not a passing phase. I don’t know if anyone’s actually counted, but I’d bet there are probably as many reality shows on television as there are fictional, scripted shows.

I don’t care about most of these shows. It doesn’t matter if it’s a celebrity-based show, a competition show, or a show that follows everyday idiots and marvels at their idiocy. None of them interest me.

None of them but one. Well, maybe two.

I’m a fan of the Real Housewives series on Bravo. I’m somewhat ashamed to say that, as I don’t fit into either of their target demographics: women and gay men. It’s actually quite surprising to me that I’m intrigued by these train wreck shows.

rhnyc-s7-1600x9002Before I begin defending my interest in this series, let me say that I’m a finicky viewer. There are a number of Real Housewives series: Real Housewives of Orange County, Real Housewives of Atlanta, etc. Atlanta’s horrible. New Jersey is a step above horrible. Beverly Hills is usually fine, although it’s wearing thin on me. I do like Orange County. But the series that I really like is Real Housewives of New York.

Why do I watch this crap, and why do I like it?

I started watching it because my wife watches it. Much of the television that I watch is because she’s watching it, and most of the time I don’t care what we watch. If we’re hanging out on the couch, I’m there to spend time with her. What’s actually on television is a distant secondary concern to me. So I’ve sat through some bad shows over the years.

Although I draw the line at Teen Mom. I’m quite sure that show actually makes viewers dumber as they watch it. Luckily, she gave up on that show years ago!

We’ve gradually reached a happy compromise with our television-viewing habits, and now we both enjoy almost everything we watch together.

But how to explain my infatuation with the Real Housewives of New York show?

I think part of it is that it’s the first show of that sort that I watched. And this is going to sound stupid, but I’ve actually watched these women age over the past few years. They’ve definitely aged more than those Orange County or Beverly Hills women. (That’s a surprise!)

I’ve watched Bethenny become filthy stinking rich, get married, have a baby, and get divorced. Sonja’s love affairs and crazy business deals. Ramona’s wacky eyes, annoying habits, over-the-top aggressiveness, and heartbreak at her husband’s affair. The departure of some of the most idiotic women I’ve ever seen: Alex and Jill.

And for the love of God, even if I hated this show, I would have gladly sat through every single episode just to see Aviva take off her prosthetic leg, slam it on a table, and throw it across the room. If someone wrote that for a show it would be rejected as too unbelievable, but it happened in this “real life” show!

Never mind that only two of the eight housewives currently on the show are actual wives. Or that there’s never been footage of any of them doing anything remotely housewifey. Or that there might not be anything real about it.

None of that matters. As purely escapist entertainment, it’s tough to match the trials and tribulations of these maniacs. They’re the sort of people who are probably so difficult to be around that you’d want to wring their necks if you were in the same room with them for ten minutes, but getting to watch snippets of their interactions with other people who want to wring their necks is television gold.

Sonja’s oblivious to the world around her and thinks she’s younger and richer than she is. Bethenny is a mess who can’t seem to get along with anyone. Heather’s a know-it-all who should keep her sizable nose out of other people’s business. Kristen make some of the weirdest faces I’ve ever seen and has the jerkiest husband this side of Ike Turner. If Luann was half as cool as she thinks she is, she really would be royalty. Ramona makes me want to punch my television, and Carole is mostly cool, except for that extra letter at the end of her name.

It’s one huge, embarrassing pile of crappy television, but I like it.

Just don’t tell anyone.

Once a month, during an event called Blogapalooz-Hour, ChicagoNow challenges its bloggers to write a post in one hour on a topic that's unknown to them until the hour begins. I've decided to tackle all of the challenges held before I joined ChicagoNow over the next ten days or so. This challenge was "Write a post passionately defending your guilty pleasure(s)."

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