For better or worse, ‘Housewives’ is real

Posted May 3, 2013


For better or for worse, the reality series phenomenon that is “The Real Housewives” has taken over national television.

This all began in March 2006 with the original and arguably the most popular series, “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” What better location to film a reality television show of such content then the land of the artificial itself?

Of course viewers and ratings soared because who wouldn’t want to follow the lives of affluent and luxurious housewives and professional women and wish to be them? The start of the Orange County housewives is what led to the madness and popularity of the dramatic show today.

Drama is the theme for any reality show, especially this one. The ladies of the real housewives series all have too much money that they don’t know what to do with and this usually results in some kind of major fight, which is what the producers want out of a show like this.

The cast throw lavish parties and this is where all the confrontations begin, since all the ladies attend and are in one place. A viewer of this reality series must know what they are getting themselves into when turning on this show. Cat fights, screaming, jealously and money flaunting is an understatement. The standard for this show is to basically drive people crazy and make people envious of the way these women fortunately live their lives.

The producers know that viewers are attracted to nice-looking women and nice looking things like houses and cars, so they choose the women who simply have the most of it. There is virtually no social value behind a show like this, but it is enjoyable in the way that it makes people laugh and dream about a life they wish they could have.

The Real Housewives of Orange County Cast.

The “Real Housewives of Orange County” cast.

The series airs on Bravo in America, but is also seen and talked about around the world. “The Real Housewives of Orange County” is now airing its eighth season.  The season is only about four episodes in and plays Monday nights at 8 p.m. and is playing with the same momentum as ever, or maybe even more.

Being that Orange County is the location of the original cast and crew; it has some very loyal followers and crazed fans. People love to watch the ladies change and mature overtime, but mainly just change physically since with every new season comes a new face from one of the cast members. At least one out of every six housewives is always married to a plastic surgeon, assumingly not just by chance.

And this new season opened up with a new face by no other but the famous Vicky Gunvalson, who has been on the show since the beginning and who is one of the fan favorites. Vicky is easily the member of the group whom the others love to hate. She portrays a personality that is just out of this world and respectively way too young for her age.

In this season more than ever Vicky’s life is full of drama especially involving the other original leading lady, Tamra Barney. Tamra can be described as Vicky’s younger and better looking other-half, but the two battle it out this season more then ever and bring up old feuds from the past involving the trust issue in their friendship.

It is comical to me that most of these ladies aren’t exactly housewives or aren’t housewife material. Vicky is now divorced twice and so is Tamra. Gretchen Rossi is Tamra’s new BFF and has never been married nor does she have kids, so she doesn’t exactly qualify as a housewife. And the other three women of the pack of six, Heather, Lydia and Alexis, are married with kids and are in the early 30s if that, but still hardly count as housewives.

The show is based around their social group flaunting their money around suburban Los Angeles and attempting to build names for themselves in the business world with the extra cash their husbands make. For example, in season eight Tamra has started her own business with her newly announced fiance, Eddy, called Cut Fitness and often repeats that she owns the gym because she paid 51 percent of it and he only paid 49 percent. It all plays out in a very interesting way that is fun for a young audience to watch, but other then that I don’t know who would watch this fakeness.

Going from one extremely wealthy area of Southern California to the next, the producers of the housewives couldn’t resist beginning a season in the renowned location of Beverly Hills. “The Beverly Hills Housewives” are the most recent to join the real housewives group and they also might be one the favorites, closely trailing behind Orange County.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast.

The “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast.

Beverly Hills is known as a more ritzy and prestigious area of California, so, of course this has made for better television and higher ratings simply because what these seven women do is more ridiculous and outrageous.

They attend more glamorous galas and parties, they wear fancier dresses and designers and one is even from England and talks with an accent, which automatically draws in more attention. The fifth season of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is currently being filmed because the fourth ended around a month and a half ago. The ladies of B.H. only joined the housewives club two years ago, in October 2010, and ever since then this series specifically blew up.

The women is this location seemed in a way to actually have their lives together. They seemed a bit older and brighter and all had families. Most of them even had their own companies, but still were great housewives on the side, and this is what drew in such a large audience, these women were actually living up to their name.

The ever-so popular British housewife, Lisa Vanderpump (yes, doesn’t her name even sound rich?), starred in the series from the beginning and even though she is one of the oldest housewives ever seen, she is also the richest, funniest and most loved. The audience can connect with Lisa on many levels because she is so hilarious and has such a big personality. She also is very open and will talk about almost anything on camera, especially her lack of a sex life with her husband.

This is the content that most people who are watching reality television seek. They just want to relate to the people they see on the screen week after week and once a certain lady opens up to the public one episode and the viewer can somehow relate in the slightest bit, they are hooked. Also, Lisa’s love for her adorable puppy pug “Jiggy” and the crazy outfits she puts him in don’t hurt her following.

The last season of the B.H Housewives ended with high-suspense as the famous child-stars and members of the show, The Richards Sisters, shared the alcoholism problem in their family. Just this aspect in itself made the next season worth watching for many people who had previously seen the show.

Kim Richards’ addiction to alcohol didn’t come as a shock to the show’s viewers but also locked them in for the next season. It is a major and serious problems like this that also make the show so relatable and more life-like then just the ladies going to lunch and shopping. Kim dealt with a real issue and took it out on her sister Kyle, whom is another favorite lady of the show, and this family feud blew up as one of the biggest fights in housewife history. But it was also a crucially important issue that all viewers could learn from, so I believe this helped towards the series increasing success.

The women are seen going through just about everything together from weddings and vacations to rehab and court visits. Last season they were even seen going through a suicide together as cast member Taylor Armstrong lost her husband. This is another major reason as to why the most recent season was so widely viewed.

The producers are obviously clever in carrying over things from season to season so that there is an anticipation factor. Taylor is left dealing with the tragic and sudden death of her husband and is forced to handle his debt and take care of their daughter Kennedy alone. It is issues like these that do make the housewives series not only filled with drama but also real.

The highly anticipated fifth season of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is set to air June 2, 2013, and is promoted to be the best yet. The New Jersey housewives is everything the reality series is thought to be plus more. New Jersey truly embodies what this show set out to be. It has the most hotheaded and insane cast yet in housewife history and no one can argue with that, but they are from Jersey so it makes sense. One would think that the drama and feuds in this location are the same as any other and it does look that way from the outside looking in. But the women of New Jersey have such deep-rooted issues that go back to their childhood because the whole cast is related in some way or another, and this is what makes New Jersey the most talked about housewife spot.

I don’t even know where to begin with The Housewives of New Jersey. I would advise everyone to just watch at least one episode, if they can get through it without their ears bleeding. These ladies aren’t known as the hair-pulling table flipping loud Italian housewives for nothing.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey cast.

The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast.

Most of the five women who star in each episode from New Jersey are originals and have the housewife thing down pat. Most are married but previously divorced, of course, and all of them are related whether by blood or marriage.

The longest and biggest fight of this location has been going on from the beginning and is between Teresa Guidice and Melissa Gorga. Melissa is married to Teresa’s younger brother whom she is extremely protective and jealous of. So one can only imagine how this brawl plays out from season to season, the battle is virtually never ending, which also keeps viewers hooked.

It also helps that all of these housewives have the most adorable and precious children ever, and numerous of them. All the ladies’ kids play together and for the instance of the New Jersey housewives, all the kids are cousins. A lot of the drama plays out in a way that the ladies don’t want their horrible relationships to reflect onto their children and their relationships. They still want their kids to be cousins let alone friends; this is especially the case with Teresa and Melissa.

This brings up the question of who is actually watching this nonsense on television, who is keeping the series going and the ratings so high? And the answer is that it is actually older women who have kids themselves. Bravo targets to the 25-55 year old audience and mainly women of an upscale, disposable income type of viewer.

The Real Housewives series as a whole is aimed towards certain generations of women.  The viewers are mostly young girls in college and high school and then skips a generation and appeals to actual moms and housewives. It focuses mainly around the early 20s and late 40s and I would say these are most of the people who are tuning into this series. In every sense of the word, this Bravo series is completely taking over, whether you like it or not.

  • The Real Housewives of Orange County, Beverly Hills and New Jersey on Bravo
  • Orange County airs every Monday at 7 p.m. Beverly Hills just ended its season and is currently producing the next season. New Jersey starts June 2, 2013
  • One hour in length each episode
  • The Real Housewives of Orange County stars— Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Barney, Gretchen Rossi, Alexis Bellino, Heather Dubrow and Lydia McLaughlin
  • The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars— Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards, Kim Richards, Taylor Armstrong, Brandi Glanville and Yolanda Foster
  • The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars— Teresa Guidice, Caroline Manzo, Jacqueline Laurita, Melissa Gorga and Kathy Wakile
  • Executive Producer— Scott Dunlop
  • Genre— drama, reality television
  • For content this series is 7 out of 10 stars
  • It should be rated R, but there is no rating
  • There are constant reruns playing on the Bravo network nightly of every Housewives series
  • Currently there are six different real housewives— Orange County, Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey, Miami and Atlanta
  • The series has gone international— Real Housewives of Brazil, France Vancouver and coming soon is Australia
  • Numerous spin-offs have been made from this series including— Date My Ex, Don’t Be Tardy, Bethenny Ever After, Vanderpump Rules and The Kandi Factory