Open letter to Bravo:
–Bravo, please stay away from D.C.
Dear Bravo, I’m begging you, in all earnestness–please keep your ‘real’ housewives out of Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, the metro area I have lived in since 1982. I have reared a child here, a young adult whose character puts to shame many of the pseudo-independents and phonies who rail against “Washington.” That word real in your title is bad enough in itself: any word that beggars the term ‘misnomer’ is putting too much power in human hands. The term “housewives” does not do much for the twenty-first century, either, not for people who defend homemakers and not for people who like the idea of a career, not for anyone anywhere on the political spectrum. Even the show’s title is a minor calamity; the show itself would be a local disaster. It already is.
Maybe I should confess up top—well, near the top anyway—that I have never watched an episode of Real Housewives. There’s a reason for that: I have been force-fed enough promotions for the show in its various locations—CA, Atlanta, wherever—to add up to the length of an episode, and seeing the promos is enough for me, more than enough. From everything I can glean—and this is from you, you understand, from your very own cable presentations designed to entice viewers—the ‘real housewives’ are a bunch of over-painted loudmouths.
I have yet to hear, even secondhand, that they have done anything much for humanity, done anything for this country, done anything for the world; that they have any talent or skills unrelated to using so much hairspray that they deserve to have a hole in the ozone layer named after them.
Truckloads of complexion-destroying makeup, yes; gallons of hair dye, yes; women’s clothes that suggest someone at Bravo hung onto a warehouse left over from the Eighties, check. Creepy rudeness, uninteresting conflict, bumptiousness that challenges any notion of humankind as the last word (to date) in evolution. This is the way a reasonably popular cable channel wants to present women?
As you may have figured out, Bravo, there’s a reason why I even know this stuff in spite of being so revolted at the concept of Real Housewives that I have promised myself never to watch it. Here it is: One of my guilty pleasures is watching Top Chef. Speaking of a Bravo program, Top Chef could use the skills of the phenomenal Tyra Banks, of whom I am a fan. If only some of the female contestants on Top Chef could get a pep talk from Ms. Banks, we might have a less unbalanced competition in some ways. I intend to watch tonight’s cookdown—I admit it—partly because I enjoy the vicarious cooking experience on the show, and partly because I’m curious to see who will come out ahead. The Big Question awaits answer as always: Which will the show send home first—The Woman, or The Southerner?
But I digress, as Tom Lehrer would say. Back to your disaster program, the single worst thing about watching a show like Top Chef is being subjected to promos for Real Housewives. Do I really deserve that?
I don’t mind entertainment; I’m for it. I’m not even against reality shows, as long as they involve talent and skill. The existing reality shows that do involve talent and skill—cooking, singing (American Idol), dancing (Dancing with the Stars)—trump the ‘reality’ shows that involve an unskilled ensemble of non-actors who are also non-writers, every time. The latter seem to be mainly an excuse to put on a television series of sorts that stiffs writers.
Maybe that’s their purpose.
Seriously, I’m begging you: Send the ‘housewives’ home.
I would never say that about real housewives, of course.
[Note: Sure enough, the woman lost out first, then the southerner. Last men standing, an uninteresting sibling rivalry.]
[This article, deleted by the system among hundreds of articles and blog posts in summer 2011, is re-posted using archives and Word files.]