Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The REAL Real Housewife of New Jersey

Reality television is here to stay. I don't like most of it, I prefer scripted shows with professional writers offering up first-rate stories and intelligent, funny, witty, or compelling dialogue. The reality stars I've seen are boring, narcissistic, bumbling goofballs. Their reality, in the horribly edited way we've witnessed it, is insulting to America's collective intelligence, yet America keeps watching. My favorite reality shows actually offer up some real reality:  from the History Channel, American Pickers and Pawn Stars. And although these shows do have a following (thank goodness), it is the Bravo Channel's line up of "Housewives" series that really brings the viewers. I've tried to watch these shows as a lot of my peers enjoy them immensely. I can see why they are so popular. Seemingly attractive women who wear designer clothes, despise their spouses, parade their spoiled, obnoxious children, and whine and complain endlessly when they are not embroiled in some kind of WWE grudge match with one of the other "contestants"...I mean "housewife". It is escapism in it's highest form for regular housewives/moms. Our lives may be mundane, but at least we don't live like that! The shows are train wrecks we know we shouldn't watch, candy that will rot our brains, but still people tune in each week to see these "real life dramas" unfold. I tried to watch, I really did. I just simply had to stop, however, when those shows left the Left coast and came East. I drew the line when the Housewives series came to my own home state and offered up these 'characters' as reality stars.
I do not pretend that my way of life is the only way to do the jobs I hold, wife and mother. I do, however, know a lot of people in my line of work. We are as different as the snowflakes that fall in New Jersey winters, but none of the women I know carry on like these so-called housewives. Most of us shop at Wal*Mart, Target, and TJ Maxx, not at The Mall at Short Hills. Most of us wear Mommy clothes (jeans, sweats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, most of which are covered in baby drool, spit up, puke, or poop or a combination of these things). Most of us try to shower each and every morning, but with a newborn baby, sick child (or more) who kept us up all night and appointments to make during the day (doctor's office, dry cleaning, grocery store), we are not always awarded such luxury. Most of us would love a designer bag (or several), but we cling to the free diaper bag the hospital gave us when we took home our baby, even if that baby is seven years old now! The New Jersey Housewives I know are not bitches, do not want to scratch their social circles' collective eyes out, and value the friendships they've made. They care for their children, volunteer in the community, populate MOMS Clubs, Cub Scout Packs and Brownie Troops, PTAs, work hard at home and many at jobs outside the home, and still feel guilty that they are not doing enough. These women are the heroes who live in my communities and countless communities around the country. They are the pillars of our society who keep the world turning for America. Yet these typical lives are not glamorous nor fascinating. The public wants fantasy in their reality television. I get that. I just know that we should leave the television world to the professionals - I'd watch Glee, Grey's Anatomy, or the Big Bang Theory any day and twice on Sunday because those shows are pure escapism written by true talents. As for The Real Housewives of New Jersey (or any other state/city/region for that matter), I have the starring role in  my life. I think that's enough reality for one day!


  1. Real Housewives of New Jersey?

    There's nothing "real" in any of the reality TV shows. Even our favorite ones, Pickers and Pawn Stars are victims of their own success. Now that they have fame, they have added collateral on their side of the bargaining table. I still like both of those shows, but I have to watch them with a grain of salt. Sooner or later their fame will take enough of a toll on the quality of the programming that I will lose interest and go back to watching racing. Professional sports is REALLY the only reality TV.

  2. "The public wants fantasy in their reality television." That line represents an oxymoron; yet, is so true. I qualify this opinion as someone who has probably never watched a "reality" show in its entirety.

  3. LMAO, I ditched my B&W television in 1989, years before the Jerry Springer brand of reality hit our screens does not sound like I missed much :-)

  4. I like Pickers and Pawn Stars too. To see the stuff these guys find, buy and make money by reselling is appealing to me. Maybe I am hoping to see something I have been holding on to for the past 30 years is worth something to somebody.
    My 'Deer in the headlights' reality show is Jersey Shore... THERE, I SAID IT. I am not proud of it, and I can't explain why I watch it but I do. How people like that can reach celebrity status is beyond me.

  5. Admitting you have a problem is the first step... i've taken that step, what is the 2nd step?

  6. Grumpa throw the goggle box away stick to watching NASCAR on JTV :-)

    What is Jersey Shore anyway, it sounds absolutely awful :-)

  7. 1. Admitted we were powerless over the boob tube.
    2. Came to believe that turning off the TV would restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to regain control of our minds from the TV programmers.
    4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of all the crap that we had watched.
    5. Admitted to ourselves, our higher power and another person the nature of the TV shows that we watched.
    6. Were entirely ready to have the TV remote removed from our hands.
    7. Humbly asked God to remove the bad programming from the TV.
    8. Made a list of all people we had ignored while watching TV.
    9. Made direct amends to those people.
    10. Continued to become involved in the real world outside of the TV.
    11. Sought to achieve value in our lives outside of the TV.
    12. Tried to carry this message to other TV-zombies wherever we encountered them.

  8. I think NO ONE should watch television...
    You should all be following this blog and this blog alone!!
    Nice post, Ryan. Work much?! ;-)

  9. Loved the diaper bag comment Candice...That was awesome and so very true girl! I never liked designer long as it was comfortable , it was mine. Haven't changed abit..even married my hubby who we joke all the time that we have our standard "one" nice Sunday outfit. and ya know what that is fine by one to impress but ourselves

  10. My mom was like the women in the housewives show. She had very little good friends and threw around her "new Money" to make herself a life she enjoyed. Now in her 70's she is content to weight gain, Jeans and sneakers, and a few close knit and true friends. I liked watching the housewives show for a while but now I am back to mostly watching dvds. Loie