I’ve never been addicted to drugs, but I suspect the pattern would go something like this:
At first, it’s fun and exciting.
Then you just need your fix.
Finally, you’re hooked. In a bad way. You don’t want to keep abusing, but your body needs its poison. So you keep going back.
Again and again.
This is the story of my relationship to the Real Housewives series.
It wasn’t always this way. After Bravo launched the Real Housewives of Orange County, I was instantly put off. Sure, I had wasted three weeks of my life in college watching the antics of Ryan, Marissa, Seth and Summer (you guys don’t understand, he’s from Chino!!) but I wasn’t going to succumb to Bravo’s unscripted (read: scripted) drama about plastic beauties along California’s Southern Coast.
But then came Atlanta, and like Ramona Singer to her pinot grigio, I was hooked.
I couldn’t resist the hilarious Nene and the lopsidedly wigged Kim. Even Anderson Cooper was getting into the act, proclaiming Nene his favorite. I was charmed. I wanted more. Soon I was catching up on multiple seasons of New York. I couldn’t believe Jill did that to Bethenny and I didn’t understand how Kelly was a real person (“You live in a horror movie and I live in Disneyland“). I continued on to the polluted shores of Jersey, where Teresa flipped the crazy switch and turned over a table during a dinner party. Did you see her rage, which went from zero to anti-hero in just 3 seconds? By the time Bravo launched Beverly Hills, I was a committed Real Housewives viewer. I was both dismayed and intrigued as I watched the pettiest of drama explode out of the tiniest of bodies (Camille and Kim).
But something’s changed.
Last season of New York was so catty, I had no one to turn to. Ramona was downright psychotic (okay… she’s always been psychotic). The Countess was downright haughty (well…she was even more haughty). Jill, who once seemed pretty fun, now seemed pretty awful. And I wasn’t about to have my favorite housewife be Alex McCord (you know, the one who’s married to creepy Simon).
Then came New Jersey, where I was forced to watch the uncomfortable sex antics of Teresa and Gorilla Joe (please, Bravo, make it stop) in between watching them spend outrageous amounts of money AFTER they had declared bankruptcy. So as our government was making hard austerity cuts, taking money away from our schools, our police officers and our neediest citizens, the Giudice’s were spending tons of money on their bratty kids, their tacky clothes and their personal makeup artists (you know Joe has one too), even though they were 11 MILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT. Something was wrong. Terribly so.
And now we’re in the midst of Beverly Hills Season 2, which is bogged down by the unpleasant fact that Taylor’s abusive husband Russell killed himself before the season even aired. It’s hard to enjoy petty fights and tasteless but expensive dresses (*cough* Adrienne) when Taylor (who’s been called a scam artist) is running around crying and dropping dark innuendos about her soon-to-be dead husband. Watching the tears and the fights and the Botox isn’t silly fun anymore. It’s not fun at all.
Yet I still haven’t turned away. I watched this week’s episode of Malibu’s shenanigans, grimacing, as Taylor broke down on national television like a unhinged middle schooler whose child psychiatrist mixed too many meds…For about the tenth time this season.
So I write this today as a plea for self-help. I need to check in to Bravo rehab and step away from the housewives.
But maybe there’s a solution.
I’ll stop watching New York, New Jersey and Beverly Hills and keep watching Atlanta. Ah Hotlanta, the city that reeled me in. That still brings the giggles thanks to the ever-quotable Phaedra (a lawyer, married to an ex-con, who is unabashedly fond of male strippers). Phaedra is single-handedly making up for Nene (who clearly spent too much time with Donald Trump) by constantly churning out these gems:
“I was as crazy as a vampire in sunlight.” (on childbirth)
“Everybody knows an opinion is like an anus — we all have one.” (on opinions)
“I like everything about the dead… cause they’re so quiet. I mean, think about it, how quiet it would be to be in a room with no one that is alive.” (on dead people)
“The first time I looked at him, he just looked Chinese to me. But I knew it was my baby because nobody else was in the operating room.” (on her newborn baby Ayden)
So Phaedra, you’re my light, you’re my sponsor, guide me home. Or most likely, be my gateway drug, yet again.
Photo via demeterclarc