Unreal lives of ‘Real Housewives’ not worth trading for
I’m not proud of it. But I don’t deny it, either.
Fine. I watch The “Real Housewives of New York” … and the one set in Orange County (the original) … and the one based in Atlanta … and the one shot in New Jersey … and of course, the granddaddy of ’em all, in my opinion, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
I suppose I didn’t catch the versions set in Washington, D.C., or Dallas, but for pretty much the rest of them, including the “Ladies of London,” I can name at least three of the women featured by first and last name. All right, I can name them all.
People ask me why I watch, which I typically do late at night under the cover of darkness … and a shroud of shame. There are several reasons. Here are the top three:
1. It’s a soap opera.
You are dealing with a gal who grew up in the 1980s watching Luke and Laura’s controversial yet ratings-busting wedding on “General Hospital” and Bo and Hope’s Romeo and Juliet-esque, over-the-top nuptials over on “Days of Our Lives,” OK?
So even though the Bravo network touts the housewives as “reality TV,” I can tell you there is far more drama unfolding among these millionaire, plastic-surgery-riddled gals than in both fictional cities of Port Charles, N.Y., (GH) and Salem, Ill. (DOOL) combined. It’s mindless and entertaining and oh-so-theatrical. And trust me, very little about these women is real, you dig?
2. It’s fantastical.
The one aspect of the show that seems to be authentic is the women’s homes. They are completely ostentatious and grandiose in almost every instance.
Lisa Vanderpump of the BH version, for instance, actually named her house. It is called Villa Rosa. It’s 17,000-square-feet of cliffside, ocean-view paradise-ness complete with swans and toy ponies and regular horses and about 18 tiny little dogs dressed in tuxedos.
Did I mention she just downsized?
But her house pales when compared with the lap of luxury Heather Dubrow is living in over in Orange County. A full 3,000 square feet bigger, Heather’s new casa’s got a ginormous closet with clear lacquer doors and a rolling library ladder, entryway fountains like those in front of the Bellagio Las Vegas and a home theater bigger than the average Movies 8 cinema. I’m just sayin’.
It’s “Fantasy Island” meets “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” I told you I’m an ’80s child. I digress.
3. It’s comforting.
You read that right. It warms my heart to know that my life is nothing like the lives of these women. At all. In any way.
Not only do I never worry if my friends are plotting behind my back to completely obliterate my psyche, if not my entire world, I am unencumbered by the all-consuming need to have the best car, wedding ring, wardrobe or any other THING among my circle — or any other.
Unlike the gentlemen married to the “Real Housewives,” my husband will never doubt that I married him for love. Unlike the offspring of the “Real Housewives,” my child will never be anything but first on my priority list on this earth.
Truthfully, I laughed out loud as I watched Dorit Kemsley “lamenting” recently how it tore at her heart hearing her toddler son cry for her as she and her husband face-timed with the poor little guy from their lavish poolside at the opulent rental home they were vacationing in with the other members of the cast.
If only she didn’t have to be away from her two small children to sunbathe and drink and party in Mexico … Hey, wait a minute.
Oh well, I can’t help myself but I also absolutely love Andy Cohen. I just do. The flamboyant and fabulous creator of the franchise who also hosts the much-hyped, end-of-the-season reunion shows for each edition is the brainchild of the “Real Housewives” and several other Bravo series, if I’m not mistaken.
While he and I probably have very little in common personally, I think he is hip and funny and irreverent and relevant all at the same time and very much in his own right. He’s a perfectly tailored, coiffed, manicured and polished host with a quick wit who handles some of the most egomaniacal and self-centered women to ever walk the earth with absolute ease and aplomb.
Mazel tov, Andy!
But much as I love to watch how the other half lives, on behalf of the sober, non-bikini-wearing, church-going, Crock-Potting, adoring-my-child, loyal-to-my-hubby, still-speaking-to-my-siblings “Real Housewives of the Mahoning Valley,” we’re happy just the way we are, thank you very much.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist with a nice little house on a nice little street in a nice little neighborhood … and she couldn’t be happier or more grateful, for real. Contact her via www.patriciakimerer.com