Reality TV has got such a bad rap over the years and is often looked down upon for not being exactly high brow. I have mixed feelings about it, not because I’m too good to watch it but because some of it really stresses me out, infiltrates my dreams (more on that later) and at times, is all I want to watch.
I love fluff. I think it’s as important for mental well-being as ‘important’ literature and art. The two are not mutually exclusive and most of us, if we’re honest, have a guilty pleasure. Not that I believe in guilty pleasures, I think you should own the things you love. I write this high (and low) off the back of an almighty Real Housewives binge. I’ve almost completed ten seasons of RH of Beverly Hills in four weeks (probably less) – and my head is spinning.
I like to reflect on most of the things I do so I’ve been navel gazing about this ‘project’ (if you frame it as research it makes you feel better, LOL) and whether it’s done me any good. Like, have I learnt anything at all during this time? I’d like to think so.
If you’re not into this, skip this post I won’t be offended – oh yes, and I may lightly spoiler from time to time.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010 – now)
A reality series that follows some of the most affluent women in the country as they enjoy the lavish lifestyle that only Beverly Hills can provide.
In a nutshell, RH really is just a bunch of wealthy women running all over Beverly Hills, and sometimes the world, rowing with each other – but they’re all accomplished business women; actresses, designers, producers, etc. I think that gets lost in the drama. Although of course we’re all here for the discourse – which is why I always end up with a reality hangover after a session. I hate all the negativity almost as much as I bloody love it.
The first couple of seasons started on a high when it came to the drama, covering serious topics such as domestic abuse and addiction. Unfortunately, this changed when one whole season was dedicated to a pair of knickers (or lack thereof) – and in another, an apparently faked illness. Decades long friendships have been obliterated in a heartbeat over an unkind word and bitching behind friends’ backs has become the norm, in RH Land anyway. There have been break-ups, weddings, parties a go-go – including Kyle Richards‘ always dramatic annual white party – thousands of incredible outfits and an ocean of spilt tears.
The cast has changed more times than I’ve had hot dinners due to D-R-A-M-A – and my loyalties have shifted even more often than that as I’ve fallen out of love with my favourites and had my head turned by new cast members. I’m a fickle bitch, what can I say?
The ‘evil’ edit
Each season one of the women must take on the mantel of being the head mean girl, with all other cast member turning against them. Pick literally any woman and she’s had her moment in the moonlight, cast as the wicked witch. I’m on the current series, Season 10 and Denise Richards seems to be framed as the bad guy at this moment, though I can see Kyle Richards (no relation) getting cockier by the day and heading for the chopping block as we speak. I’ve only just recently heard the term ‘evil edit’ and I bloody love it. It’s when the person being edited isn’t evil, obviously – just edited that way.
It can all change in a heartbeat though and sometimes, all is forgiven – it really depends on the direction of the wind and the ratings I guess. But we all just love to hate, don’t we?
I love a bitch. In real life I am not attracted to the ‘sorry, I’m just being honest’ brigade but on the screen I bloody love the shit-stirrers. Especially the fabulous ones. So step forward Brandi Glanville, Lisa Vanderpump and Erika Jayne – setting the world on fire with direct words and sassy retorts. In my fantasies, I’m as ballsy as this, I tell you.
I’m sorry but I just can’t abide the wet wipes and I won’t even mention them. *cough cough* Teddi Mellencamp…
Walk-ins for days! I mean LVP’s is bigger than the Top Shop flagship store on Oxford Street FFS and I am so jealous. Can you imagine?
Petty shit makes for good TV but so many of these arguments could be solved by just asking a few questions or listening – there’s a concept! How most of these issues can be dragged out for 22+ episodes every season is beyond me.
Season 10 is pretty juicy, I’ll admit and a nice change from the girl’s fighting over who’s better friends with LVP. Spoiler – none of them now they’ve turned their backs on her deliciously manipulative arse and she’s quit the show (it’s just not the same without Giggy).
At the moment the women are in a tizzy about who’s shagged who and it’s scandalous!
A handful of the women are under fire for their part in essentially outing one of their cast mates as bi-sexual, after an alleged affair. I haven’t got there yet so I’m not sure what comments have been made but I’ve heard the LGBT+ community is pretty fucked off given that RH has always been a firm fave. Would this happened on LVP’s watch, I wonder?
For the record I find most of the girls pretty prissy and judgemental so I’m not exactly surprised.
What I’ve learnt
I’ve learnt that after I’ve finished season 10, I’m going to quit the Real Housewives. Only because I am literally inhaling this show and it doesn’t nourish very much, a bit like McDonald’s. The arguments have also started working their way into my dreams which means I wake up feeling anxious and guilty – and I’m quite sure I’m creating drama where there’s no drama to be had with my husband, because it’s all I know anymore.
It’s fantastic to have on in the background but there are better ways for me to be distracting myself, like music and podcasts (Brandi Glanville has one I hear).
Maybe the housewives have taught me to be more direct – and to never, ever treat my friends the way they treat theirs. It brings me out in hives to imagine speaking to any one of the women I adore the way they do.
I mean, it’s refreshing to see so many successful middle-aged women owning it in one place, I’ll give it that – even if they don’t look their ages. None of them are really spring chickens – they’re my age for God’s sake. I could hang out with some of them and we’d get each others references. I like that.
As if I’m not going to mention the glam. Not only do most of our divas travel with a full on glam squad – New York to Tokyo, no problem – their every day looks are constructed by experts too and I can’t think of anything I would love more. The fashions are TDF – and I live for Erika Jayne/Girardi’s Tokyo wardrobe, baby!
On the subject of Erika, I kind of love her unique world view and the fact she’s maintained her marriage to famous lawyer Tom Girardi, despite the 32-year age gap and a lifetime of bitchy gold digger comments. I would love to see her turn as Roxie Hart on Broadway too, I bet she smashed it.
So yeah, most of the positives are very superficial and you know what? I own it! (If you know, you know).
There’s hardly any diversity, let’s face it and that seems like a bad joke in 2020. Season 10 addition Garcelle Beauvais has so far been pretty cool, not that she can get a word in edgeways. Give her time, I guess.
The explosive rows are both a positive and a negative. When I go downstairs to watch a few episodes in the morning, I tell Glynn I’m going to watch some ‘arguing’ and where’s the lie? I’m in it for a wine glass being thrown here, a damaging slur there – but this is also the reason I’m going to have to bow out after Beverly Hills.
It’s also been hard at times to watch some of the more serious story lines unravel and it’s not that fun to watch people fall off the wagon or be genuinely upset when a secret gets out that could cost them everything. Yeah yeah, they signed up for it but still. They are still human under there. I think.
Female friendship is definitely complex and requires work but if I had friends like these I’d have quit them in Season 1. I’m not crazy about how it depicts girl power as none of them seem to have any loyalty, despite shouting about it literally all the time. Cut out the toxins, girls – even though harmony doesn’t sell, does it?
Housewives, it’s been real but this is where I say ciao.
Love you, bitches! xoxo
UPDATE: Reader, she was not out.