I have this mini obsession with The Real Housewives of New York City because I was one once and my life was nothing like their lives. The one big difference was that I actually was a housewife only working inside my apartment, whereas when this show started, most of the ladies had jobs and one wasn’t even married or a mom yet. Regardless I’ve watched the last 3 seasons and can’t wait for the reunion show this Thursday which I will tape and watch and then discuss ad nauseum with my friend, Cindy.
Here’s what I find the most fascinating about these ongoing reality shows that make stars out of regular, every day people. The pattern goes like this:
- They start out gracious, slowly getting more cutting edge and offensive to get air time.
- Then once they forget that cameras are around them, they slip up, doing or saying something bizarre or out and out mean, allowing their true selves to come out. Since the producer caught it on tape, he/she can use these soundbites to begin casting for the roles of “villian, victim, asshole, etc.”.
- After the first season airs and these ladies see themselves on TV, if the show is renewed, adjustments can be made. PR people can be hired. External appearance can be altered with boob jobs, new hairstyles and makeup palates while investing their earnings into a better wardrobe. And if one doesn’t like the look of their home, they can cut a deal with someone to remodel or redecorate on camera at a discount in trade for free national marketing.
- The ladies also quickly figure out a way to capitalize on their new fame, by creating a product of some sort, writing a book, or finding a record producer to autotune their voice so they can drop a dance single and badly lip sync it during the season finale.
- After all of this occurs, one of 2 things happen:
- They without shame, fall for their own hype, hook, line and sinker and make complete asses out of themselves erroneously believing they are celebrities on par with real ones.
- They truly understand where they are on the celebrity food chain, openly work the system to their advantage without buying into the hype, while using what they’ve learned from watching themselves on television to make internal improvements. They become better listeners, communicate more clearly in the first place, treat their spouses and kids differently, or simply think before they speak and act instead of focusing only on getting more air time.
So you’d think that after 3 seasons, these ladies would’ve fine tuned the above. Sadly this isn’t the case so instead of using the reunion special to own whatever bullshit they’ve put out there by humbly trying to repair their reputations, many will simply dig their own graves even deeper.
Kelly will continue to make the St. John’s trip an anti-bullying after school special instead of owning the fact that she’s by far, the worst verbal communicator on the planet and clearly had some sort of mental breakdown on national television. If she could express herself in photographs or write articles in lieu of having conversations she’d maybe have 1/2 a chance with these gals. Instead she goes toe to toe with Bethenny who arguably has the quickest wit of all reality TV show stars combined. Kelly stupidly starts most of the arguments which I also find fascinating as it would never occur to me to piss off an expert Samurai with sword in hand, if I only had sling shot to defend myself. I’m shocked that someone in her life that cares deeply for her hasn’t pulled her aside and explained this to her.
LuAnn brought her on the show so I’m not sure why she doesn’t do it. I guess she’s too busy becoming a pop star since most divorced, Countesses with teenage kids and that have branded themselves as an etiquette expert often do go on to make music videos of themselves in corsets rolling around with men half their age singing about how elegance is learned, right?
My prediction is that instead of seeing her musical interlude as a one time, fun way to earn money for charity, LuAnn will mistakenly use the reunion to talk about her next single making it clear that she actually believes she is a singer and thus, might be more delusional than Kelly! But don’t take my word for it. MTV noted that:
It’s kind of like if Emily Post hooked up with T-Pain to record a spoken word jam at a late ’90s Bar Mitzvah jam.
Going on to say
The Countess’ dance number is catchy and all, filled with Auto-Tune and etiquette advice, but it’s the song’s bridge that really requires our attention. That’s where we learn the following:
» Life is all about elegance and flair and savoir-faire.
» You don’t have to be rich and famous to be unforgettable.
» It’s not about where you’re from, it’s about what you’ve learned.
She kind of has a point, doesn’t she? I’m ready for her follow-up, which hopefully will include tips on how to properly eat an artichoke, if May 1 is too early to wear white and if you can throw things at the help if they make a mistake.
As for Jill, I have no idea what will happen. When she screws up she owns it – EVENTUALLY – but she doesn’t seem to learn from it. If anyone has fallen too far down her own personal, PR rabbit hole, it’s poor Jill who throws an ice skating party (good idea) and then decides that she should don a pink, sequined ice skating outfit to perform for everyone (bad idea) because everyone knows that you throw a holiday party to treat your friends and loved ones not to showcase the fact that you used to skate when you were 9.
Here’s what I think happened to Jill. Since she had been cast as the mother hen of the group during season 1, she fell for the hype and erroneously took this to mean that she was somehow the matriarch of the posse, which is different. A mother hen, nurtures, fusses and overprotects which is annoying but can be laughed off and overlooked. A matriarch dominates, makes demands and throws a fit when said demands aren’t followed which as we’ve seen this season results in friendships ending…badly.
I’m sure Thursday’s show will be a train wreck, which says a lot about how I spend my free time. Sadly, I predict this next season will be the one in which the show jumps the shark. With Bethenny leaving, there’s not enough blunt, comic relief to balance out the false pretenses and craziness so unless Sonja can take a bigger comedic role (I think she has it in her) this particular franchise is either going to crash and burn or get so nasty and underhanded that no one’s going to be able to stomach watching it any more.
Be careful Andy Cohen. You big wigs at Bravo are at the same crossroads. Do you believe your own hype or are you smart enough to see the big picture here? Because if you continue to go the Jerry Spring route with your programming, your other really great shows like Top Chef or your old one, Project Runway, wont be enough to save your reputation.
I’ll guess we’ll have to watch what happens to see how this all plays out.