By Lisa Vanella, Wednesday, September 15, 2010, at 8:24 pm.
Believe it or not, one of the reasons I love going to the gym is that it allows me to watch uninterrupted television for the 45 minutes to an hour that I am on the elliptical machine. During a recent workout, I caught a repeat of a Bravo special featuring the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and I decided to see what all the hype was about.
The episode was the season finale, featuring the four housewives sitting around a coffee table showing more cleavage and leg than a Russ Meyer movie. They were having a “come to Jesus” discussion with the host on their antics and mayhem from the past season as if they were trying to solve world hunger. But the beauty of the special was that in one hour, you could catch up on the entire season through a rerun of the “most compelling scenes” (e.g., hair pulling, name calling, police arrests and screaming matches), which the host set up as if they were Academy Award contenders.
So, to quote the Unhappy Housewives: PULLLLLEEEAAASSSEEE! Whyyyyy is this on television? And are the other Housewives in the brand (in New York, D.C. and Orange County) just as sleazy, or does geography dictate that some are classier than others, or just have a different accent? Calling each other everything from “slut” and “ho” to the B-word and even the dreaded C-word in every other sentence, these women shouldn’t need to wonder why their daughters are getting arrested! Don’t they understand that not only their families and friends but also the rest of the country (and world?) are watching them?
From the perspective of a Nassau County, N.Y., housewife, I simply cannot believe that women in their 40s who have husbands, children and an economically sound life actually behave this way for everyone to see. They act like mean, trashy, spoiled, out-of-control teenagers, and the message of entitlement they’re sending to their own children is exactly why we have problems with bullying and self-indulgence in this country today.
We need to send a message to the show’s 3.4 million viewers, and especially to the young women and teens who are watching it, that not only is this show “unreal,” but it is also a complete waste of an hour on the treadmill. For the most part, the housewives I know are hard-working, strong women who are struggling to support their families and raise their children with morality and dignity.
This doesn’t mean that we cannot be thoroughly attractive or that we don’t know how to have fun, or that we don’t enjoy fine things in life. We have all (or some) of those things, but we also make a choice, every day, to do what is right. We are not on camera talking about our hair extensions and boob jobs; we are too busy juggling carpools, clients, and extracurricular school activities and fundraisers—and acting our age. We are raising bright children and taking care of aging parents, and although we enjoy fine homes and trips to the salon, most of us have what these unreal housewives need: perspective. One of the most beautiful, wealthy housewives I know lost her life a few weeks ago after she was caught up in a riptide when she ran into the ocean to save the life of a little boy she didn’t even know.
I know that housewives like those in Jersey really do exist, but they are few and far between. I’m looking forward to a reality TV show that portrays “really real housewives,” raising real families and living real, meaningful lives. Unfortunately, I’ll probably only be able to watch it when I go to the gym…unless they play it at the next PTA meeting or while I’m in the dentist’s chair getting a cleaning.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 at 8:24 pm. It is filed under Features, Media and tagged with brand, Bravo, bullying, housewife, New Jersey, Russ Meyer, teenagers, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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