OK, so I just discovered The Real Housewives of… franchise on BRAVO. What can I say, I don’t have cable. I can hear the horrified intake of collective breath. No cable! But that’s another story.
Here’s what I, after viewing three episodes from the current New York season, take away from it. It’s a very thin line between ridiculous and boring. The truth is, there is absolutely nothing happening. It must be a feat of endurance for the editors to go through hours of footage to cobble together enough material for episodes when this is what you have to work with: tennis, horse riding, dull-as-dirt lunches, charity parties and verbal sniping of the caliber I experienced in my very Midwestern, middle-class high school. And yet, I keep watching, hoping, waiting…
Here’s what I hoped for: drinking, falling down from drinking (rumored to have happened first season??), drugging, throwing phones at assistants, hazing rituals, grotesque shopping sprees (thank you to Alex and Simon for providing at least one, in which they dropped $8,000 at one boutique), fantastic parties that take place at night (not in the middle of the afternoon for Christ’s sake!), break-ups, affairs, divorces, depression, mania, sleepwalking, the death of poodles, etc, etc.
This, instead, is an approximation of one luncheon discussion, just to give some idea of what the show is about (if you, like me, do not have cable):
Jill: So, now that my summer charity party for disadvantaged kids is over, I’m planning another charity for the fall. Something to benefit… arthritis sufferers.
Ramona: I told you I was doing a big charity for the fall! I can’t help you if I’m doing my charity! And you said you would help me!
Jill: So you’ll help with what you can and you’ll attend mine… (subtext: Listen, bitch, nothing gets in between me and my guilt-induced do-gooding!)
Ramona: I guess I’ll attend… But not if Alex and Simon are involved. They make my skin crawl (illustrates with fingers something crawling up her arm)
Jill: Yes, people have told me they are very creepy but I’m going to use them anyway. So here’s what I’m thinking, let me know what you think of this idea… We have a party with the best people, the best clothing, the best food. What do you think?
Ramona: That sounds just like what I was going to do!
LuAnn: My daughter is going away to private school. I’m so proud of her (subtext: I’m so glad she’ll be out of my hair and that her pouty mug won’t be in my face all the time)
Ramona: You know, I guess I could help you with your charity. I think my daughter has rheumatoid arthritis. Luann, you are a terrible person for sending your daughter away. I would never send my daughter away! I had her so she could talk to me and cuddle with me every night and tell me what happened to her that day.
LuAnn: Well, in our family it’s a tradition to ship teenagers away so as to skip all that unpleasantness (actually, I think LuAnn has a case here) and toughen them up. But, really, it’s about education and getting the best education one can.
Ramona: My daughter goes to an expensive private school in New York. That’s not good enough?
Jill: How could it slip your mind that your daughter has rheumatoid arthritis?
And on and on. Also, I have to say that the fashion is less than spectacular. Many of the sundresses they don (so far this season all takes place in summer in the Hamptons) look as if they came off a rack at J. C. Penney, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I keep JC in my back pocket as a source for preppy-looking flats and dresses myself, but come ON, I’m an underpaid nonprofit employee. This is the Hamptons, baby! They go to a party at Russell Simmon’s pad and Jill wears a dress that is just a few shades lighter than Grimace and gives her the shape of a Chiclet. The only one I’ve seen look notable is LuAnn The Countess and Kelly Killoren Bensimon, the former model turned… kinda writer, kinda equestrian, kinda socialite. Check out her The Bikini Book on Amazon.
Actually, a check on Amazon reveals that several of the New York gals have books. Why not link/plug them here?
Class With the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair by Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (who organized a “going away to boarding school” luncheon for her daughter and then proceeded to join the teens and turn it into a lesson about manners, telling her daughter’s friends not to put their elbows on the table, not to cut their meat into pieces all at once and all about the history of the butter knife. Afterwards, The Countess thought it went very well. The look on her daughter’s face revealed that she would, at any opportunity, take said butter knife and carve out her mother’s eyes.)
Plus two more by Bensimon – In the Spirit of the Hamptons (a photographic journey through the Hamptons) written by the woman who knew, the first time she visited, that she would eventually live there. I felt the same way about my college dorm. And a book about American Style that, not surprisingly, I have now put on my Amazon wish list. Yes, I’m a sucker for a book about fashion, designers and the people who can buy such clothing. That’s why this book also intrigues me and if I ever have a daughter, I will name her Bunny.
Tonight? The next episode of Real Housewives of NY. After all, Alex and Simon are back from the Hamptons and moving ahead with the rennovation of their brownstone…