Like many Busy Black Women who rely on mindless TV to decompress, I must admit to being hooked on the Bravo TV Housewives franchise. It was the perfect mix of trashy drama and total foolishness--it was a lot like watching Dynasty back in the day. I could not get enough of NeNe vs. Kim, Bethanny vs. Jill, Michaele Salahi vs. Reality, and Danielle Staub vs. the Manzo Mafia wives. Heck, I even tuned in to see Camille Grammer battle it out against the aunts of the Hilton sisters on the Beverly Hills series.
But when the Miami chicas made their debut, I changed the channel. And even though my New York ladies who lunch are back, I am not as interested. And since I never really cared for the mean girls of Orange County, I think I might be over the Housewives in general.
In retrospect, I have come full circle--at the outset of the "Wives" franchise, I found the whole concept of a reality show dedicated to following rich women around as they shopped to be shallow. I was much more interested in trying to imagine how any self-respecting woman could date Flavor Flav...
Perhaps on a lark, I watched an episode of the NYC Wives. That week's drama featured an all-girls' dinner party that was ruined by one wife who apparently did not get the memo to leave her gay husband at home. While the hostess suffered a complete meltdown in the kitchen, Honorary BBW Bethanny Frankel was performing one of her snarky stand-up routines, so what was not to love? Later, when it was revealed that the next cycle of Wives would focus on women living in Atlanta, I tuned in to that one too because, well, they were black.
(Side note: YES, I started watching the Atlanta Wives because they were black. But isn't that why everybody else watched them?)
After Atlanta, there was another cycle of drama in the OC, followed by a New Jersey series, then it was back to the OC, then back to NYC, and then back to Atlanta again, and it might have continued to ping-pong back and forth until someone got the bright idea to bring the circus here to DC. That show was duller than an old butter knife--a better name for it would have been "Drinking Lots of Wine with the Husbands and Gay Friends of these Random Women from DC plus a Sassy Brit".
Then it all began to fall apart. The New Jersey Wives wasted hours of my life over a FB feud between a grown a$$ woman and a teenager. In New York, Jill turned into that chick from high school who woke up one morning to learn that she was no longer the center of attention while Kelly went off her meds (or maybe she found some better drugs). Until the dinner party episode, I was convinced that the Beverly Hills series was so bad that the only thing to save it was a Dallas Season 9 move--that all of this was just a bad dream combined with one of those rubber mask stunts involving the original cast of Beverly Hills 90210 (with Dylan waking up to Brenda in his shower). Now that would have been entertaining!
The truth is, like many other reality shows, the Wives are victims of their own success. They spawned a lot of very funny spoofs, like the Real Housewives of Late Night, but also more than a few really bad knock-offs like Basketball Wives, Football Wives, the Househusbands of Hollywood, and I wish I was making this up...Mob Wives. A few years ago it was hilarious to think that in the midst of an economic recession, these women were intent on showing off how fabulous their lives were on the surface. While the episodes showcased the lives of the nouveau riche and wannabe famous, the tabloids dished on their real-life divorces, bankruptcies, and home foreclosures.
Now, the whole concept has jumped the shark. Bethenny moved on to actually get married. NeNe is looking to get her own talk show. I still cannot tell the blonds apart on the OC. And someone graciously put the DC show out of its misery by cancelling it yesterday. By now, I doubt anyone even cares about the show that actually started this trend, Desparate Housewives (I know I don't, despite the fact that the always wonderful Vanessa Williams is there to represent us Busy Black Women).
Right now, my new TV obsession might be C-Span...