The real house­wives

Town & Country (Philippines) - - GUIDE TO LIFE - PHILIP BUMP

The orig­i­nal sin of re­al­ity tele­vi­sion was to pred­i­cate it on the eter­nal bat­tle be­tween moral and im­moral. There was a writ­ers’ strike in hol­ly­wood in 1988, so Fox had the bright idea of step­ping away from scripted shows to in­stead film po­lice of­fi­cers chas­ing petty thugs around Broward County, Florida. There had been other re­al­ity pro­grams, but gim­micky ones, game shows. Cops was real in the sense that it seemed like some­thing that might re­ally hap­pen, though of course it was real only in as much as we now un­der­stand re­al­ity shows to be.

since re­al­ity shows and tele­vi­sion stu­dios are both cheap, the shows pro­lif­er­ated. it took a while for the apex of the genre to be achieved, but it has been, in The Real

House­wives. This is my guilty plea­sure— which, to be hon­est, is nei­ther guilty nor al­ways a plea­sure.

i be­gan watch­ing with my wife. she was al­ready up to speed on The Real House­wives

of Or­ange County, pa­tiently ex­plain­ing why, ex­actly, the ex­e­crable vicki Gun­val­son was be­ing so petu­lant about what­ever thing vicki was petu­lant about that day. There’s a small in­vest­ment you make at the front end when you start watch­ing to learn who’s who, but it pays off bet­ter than be­ing a

con­struc­tion worker pays off for the stars of The Real House­wives of New Jersey.

The joy of a Real House­wives se­ries lies in the re­la­tion­ships that view­ers form with the char­ac­ters over time, the an­nual tra­di­tion of re­hash­ing petty gripes and wan­tonly forg­ing new ones. a new House­wives fran­chise is never as good as an es­tab­lished one, in the way that beer only be­comes bet­ter as you keep en­joy­ing beer—though at any point it can make you sick.

The Real House­wives is, at its best, an ex­plo­ration of hu­man psy­chol­ogy. sin­cerely. it’s got nearly as much hor­ri­ble be­hav­ior as Cops, but it spends hours show­ing the guilty char­ac­ters ra­tio­nal­iz­ing and at­tempt­ing to dis­tract from what they did. al­liances form and break. i spend most of my life an­a­lyz­ing pol­i­tics as a na­tional correspondent for the Wash­ing­ton Post; watch­ing The Real House­wives for me is like what a clas­si­cal pi­anist must feel when he gets to play “sweet Child o’ Mine” just for kicks.

where the guilt comes in? That orig­i­nal sin. we aren’t sup­posed to like re­al­ity Tv, even bour­geois re­al­ity Tv like

The Real House­wives. it’s trashy, we are told, reno ver­sus Monte Carlo. But that’s wrong. The peo­ple on it are of­ten trashy. But it it­self is pris­tine.

philip Bump is a na­tional correspondent for the wash­ing­ton post.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.