Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Real Housewives of Orange County. WTF?

In a scene from the new Bravo series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, a teenage daughter gets her hair done for the prom while her mom hovers nearby, asking an endless stream of questions about the plans for the night. It all seems like typical overprotective mom stuff until the daughter, who is clearly and understandably annoyed by her mother's queries about everything from the color of her date's shoes to the manner in which the stylist is curling her hair, tells her mom to back off, to which her mom replies "it's not just you here." The daughter, like me, is totally confused by this. I mean, wasn't this lady just reminiscing about her own prom? It then becomes apparent that this mom actually thinks she's going to her daughter's prom. Creepy. Unhealthy. Whatever.

There's actually much to say about this show, but I don't really know where to begin. It's really a piece of work. It basically takes equal parts Laguna Beach, Desperate Housewives, and Aryan Nation and whizzes it into a poisonous anti-freeze witches brew. TV is so misogynistic right now it is f*ing frightening. So how do we untangle the misogyny from the overwhelming ick factor of wealthy white people bragging about their genetics, breast implants, and the square footage of their homes? How, when there are also creepy enmeshed mother-daughter relationships that seems to manifest precisely because of the this toxic cocktail, do we reconcile our sympathy with our vitriolic hatred?

This show basically lets men off the hook, even though their lives are soaked in the blood of the working poor. Isn't that the real story here? Isn't that the real story gurgling underneath almost every vapid reality show on TV? What do we call this method of story making of evasion and sidelong glances and avoidance? Propaganda? Poison?

Yes, this show allows us to hate on the wealthy. Yes, there is real human drama here; it tends to go wherever humans go. Point a camera at anyone long enough and you have everything you need to confect a story in the style of today's reality shows. So why these people? Why "housewives" (so retro!).

I'd love to know y'alls' thoughts on this?

4 comments:

tanya said...

The Real Housewives of Orange County should be entertaining this year due to the ladies enrolling in the Adventure Boot Camp with John Spencer Ellis. I hope he whoops there butts into shape and shows them that there is more to life than financial gain.

Jess said...

I agree! Maybe the housewives will become more addicted to endorphins than power and money!

But who is this John Spencer Ellis fitness pro? His Adventure Bootcamp looks like a total blast! Where can I get more information?

Jess said...

Haha, those pantry raids with their Adventure Bootcamp trainer were amazing! I bet they HATE being told they're doing something wrong!

RedBaron said...

"...wealthy white people bragging about their genetics, breast implants, and the square footage of their homes?" (you).

Why did you target white people specifically? Don't you know that blacks and other races on MTV also brag about the square footage of their home? White people are not the only race of rich people out there, but they seem to be receiving a lot of grief. Many are actually either middle class or straight-up poor.