Is it time for the “Real” Housewives to retire?

July 28, 2021


NEWSFLASH! Ratings for RHONY are so low the reunion taping is postponed ! RAMONA may finally be FIRED! Or the RHONY CANCELLED!

You’re going to tell me you don’t give a flip. Well, really, I don’t, either.


They’ve been my guilty pleasure for years.

I follow only two of the “Real” Housewives show (NY and Beverly Hills). I used to watch Orange County and New Jersey until their tackiness became too over the top, even for entertainment.

When the shows first came on the scene, they were so different I couldn’t help but watch. Of course, none of these women are real housewives, and there’s little “real” about most of them.

As an observer of human behavior, I’ve watched them almost like an anthropologist watches the people of a remote culture, because that’s really what they are to me.

They’re wealthy, wannabe celebrities whose faces and bodies have been sculpted into something unrelated to what they were born with: that bland, overly-done face that so many celebrities aim for today.

They’re on and off private jets like I get in my Outback SUV.  Their lives bear absolutely no resemblance to mine. And in that regard, they fascinate me.

It’s all marketing, for them

They love celebrity, but they also love PROFIT. Many hawk products they mention on the show from time to time and some do quite well. That visibility works, too.

Lisa Rinna (Bev Hills) sells on a shopping channel has launched a lippie line (of course). Bethenny Frankel (former NY) made millions off her businesses, with her fans a built-in customer base. Dorit (Bev Hills) markets “fashion” lines.

About “fashion.” This season Dorit appeared on screen more than once in an outfit that was head-to-toe Louis Vuitton logos. Logo-wear shows no imagination or style. And I think it’s pretty fugly.  She’s fond of anything with a huge prestige label: huge Chanel rhinestone barrettes, for example.  Yeah…no. Who thinks this is even attractive?

The Hollywood dream

real-housewivesErika Jayne was a fascinating new character in 2015 and is now a newsmaker. The embodiment of a Hollywood fairy tale, she was a cocktail waitress who married a famous lawyer and for 22 years lived a life of wealth, prestige and glamour. The stuff of Hallmark movies.

She hadn’t succeeded as an actress (but VERY successful as a rich wife). The show did propel her musical career as a glammed up, sexy disco singer and dancer on a tour of dance clubs. Her music and tours sold, especially overseas. But haven’t heard much about that recently–maybe that venture fizzled out.

She has said she spent $40,000 a year on her looks and one look at her Jessica Rabbit-like look confirms it: she’s gorgeous, and made up to within an inch of her life with perfect hair. Her outfits are fascinating. LEGEND. Once she was baby-powdered into a latex outfit on the show.

Erika leveraged her “real housewife” visibility into a turn as Roxie Hart in the musical, Chicago. A real acting job. Which had to have burned Lisa Rinna, an actual career actress who also played the role. Some reviewers said Erika (with her C-list celebrity) embodied Roxie more than any other actress has. After all, she had lived it.

Critics were impressed with her acting and dancing. She might have made it on her own, which would put her in a better position to deal with her current diminished circumstances.

A sad fairy tale

Her husband has been disgraced–he’s charged with stealing the money owed clients who won big lawsuits, like the Lion Air families –to use the money to fund his and Erika’s lifestyle. Erika is charged with being complicit.

As a lawyer’s wife, myself, I doubt she knew anything about his business dealings as they were happening.

But –and what a coincidence! –she did leave him just before the shiz hit the fan, and he’s also been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers and put under conservatorship. That might be real, or might be legal strategy.

Maybe her leaving and his conservatorship is a scheme to preserve some of their money. Hard to say. It’s got to be tough for an egotistical, high profile lawyer to claim dementia–but then again, big dollars involved, so…who knows.

She claims the divorce is unrelated and points to his overly dismissive attitude toward her, which we saw hints of onscreen over the years. He was clearly the king of that household in every sense of the word.

Either way, a sad ending to her fairy tale. And a cautionary tale about being too smug about your wealth.

Same ole shiz

real-housewifeOver the years, the real housewife shows have devolved into the SOS (same old shiz): infighting, drunken bad behavior, gossip. And doesn’t that awful guy, Andy Cohen LOVE women to act that way. It’s why his producers provide “housewives” unlimited booze. They LIVE for the moments a nude “housewife” makes a drunken scene at a party. (Leah, I’m talking to you!)

In an attempt to be more “relevant,” this season feature’s the cast’s first Black “housewife.” She’s a brainy woman who leads with both her brains AND her boobs. There’s a lot I can say about how that’s going, but better for another day.

These days I am getting numb to boobs on these shows. They are always shoved in our faces like some badge of… I don’t know what. It’s gotten old.

I can’t stand Andy Cohen.  I don’t think he’s charming or funny. He’s a misogynist. As the brains behind the “Real” Housewife franchise, Cohen is responsible for its show path into the gutter. (Oh and BTW, his association with his BFF, Anderson Cooper, has not been a good thing for the newscaster’s credibility.)

I’ve studied as much of this foreign culture as I need to. The shows have grown stale. The behavior is no longer shocking or puzzling, it’s expected. And boring. The franchise is clearly misogynistic. And too many boobs!

This says everything:

The other night  a moment struck me as saying it all:

When Erika first appeared on screen, she was a lone wolf with no women friends at all, scarred from a tough young life. And  from the rejection she felt as the younger, hot lawyer’s wife who was thought to be a gold-digger and who didn’t fit in with the “lawyer’s wife” crowd.

Now that she’s going through tough times, she said on the show that these women, her co-stars, are her real friends and she knows she can lean on them.  Sounded sad to me. Imagine that: her “real” friends are a group of publicity hungry women together only for what they can get out of a show.

That’s about as “real” as the term “housewife.”

Past time to retire this sexist and silly franchise.


6 comments on “Is it time for the “Real” Housewives to retire?
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    I can only handle “Beverly Hills” these days. Ramona and Sonja forever ruined New York. I lose brain cells just listening to them. I agree, it’s all tacky, but for some reason, I still find Beverly Hills interesting. Maybe, as you said, it’s because their lives are so different than ours.

  2. My girls love these shows but honestly, I just couldn’t get into them.

  3. Diane says:

    I never got into any of them–they seemed…I don’t know…shallow? Substance-less? Correct me if I’m wrong…?

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