Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Days of Our Housewives

I was emailing a friend the other day and we got on the subject of the Housewives and how I am losing interest in the whole enterprise from a writing perspective. I have no problem gossiping about some of them, especially the ones that front. Their inevitable exposure for the broke phonies they are makes everything seem right in the world, in light of the fact that they shove their million dollar onyx and brass festooned houses of cards down our throats on a (twice!) weekly basis.

That's okay because they get theirs in the end, or is it? Is it okay AT ALL?

It's not. Here's why.

Have you noticed how Soap Operas keep getting killed off, one by one? Some of them have been around for ages. The one I started watching at age 13 was General Hospital. It's still on the air along with a half dozen others. In the Soap heyday there were more than twice that amount, not including the night time Soaps like Dallas, Dynasty (never equaled as far as I'm concerned) and Flamingo Road. Well, the big networks don't get the numbers they used to but there's still that demand for gossipy dishy guilty pleasures that you can talk over with your friends the next day or, in the case of a few smart guys in college, a really good way to pick up women. Just think about it. Remember those guys that would show up in the TV lounge when All My Children was on? The straight ones always hanging out with girls? I am willing to bet that it still works today, only they have to watch NeNe or Cameel.

Bravo and Miss Andy were smart. They filled the void. Reality TV as a Soap. Semi-scripted television geared toward those of us who like our gossip served with wealth and narcissists. It's totally entertaining but it comes at a price.

The price isn't at yours or my expense, it's at the ladies. The network saves a TON of money just by their salaries alone! Add to that travesty the fact that Bravo doesn't pay for sets, or writers or trailers or even a damn per diem. Sure, they shell out for trips. Kinda. It's all product placement, baby. Name one trip where the name of the hotel or airline wasn't prominently displayed. Bravo is raking in the money, there's the free publicity that our word of mouth creates and then there's the PR people who are busy scrambling to clean up messes like the Bellinos' real estate issues, or Jill's little foray into alter egos on Amazon. Miss Andy can just lean back in his chair, sip his cocktail of choice and play horrendous games like 'Good for The Jews, Bad for The Jews?'

As much as I get annoyed by Bethenny, she played this game the best. She got her name out there, parlayed it into success on many levels, and got her own show. She didn't ratchet up mortgages and cars to appear wealthy. As a matter of fact, she put it all out there- the loneliness of being single, the sadness of her relations with her parents and her struggle to be a success. Kadooz to her! Bravo needs more like her, or I don't know if I can keep watching, Pinky notwithstanding. I tried. I really did. And I'm going to try again. But from now on, when these women complain about the amount of money they make, I'm on their side. Pay them, Bravo! You aren't making your bajillions from Million Dollar Listing, after all! Sheesh. Cheap bastards.

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