Admittedly, I tuned into Bravo's The Real Housewives series a bit late, happening to catch a marathon of ...New York City just before ...Atlanta premiered. I also admit that I went in with certain preconceived notions of the women and of the formula, but I found I was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps it is because I am from New York originally, so I just innately understand and gravitate towards women who would rather have it out with each other face to face than whisper cattily behind backs, but The Real Housewives of New York City just seemed to be...well, the real-est of all.
Put it this way: this past weekend, when I interviewed Bethenny Frankel for the release of her new book, I asked her if she had any tips for women during this economic downturn. After all, the Real Housewives series focuses on the rather lavish lifestyles that these women are privileged enough to lead, but even they are not immune during a recession (Alex McCord, another New York City housewife was recently let go from her high-powered position at Victoria's Secret). Frankel proved she got to her powerful position, though, but eagerly offering me tips to share with my readers-- something which I suspect at least one (and see below to know to whom I am referring) ...O.C. housewife never would have been caught dead doing.
Frankel admitted she does "a lot of shopping on eBay, and I rarely pay full price...A great tailor is also key. You can pull something out of the back of your closet, and for a hundred bucks have a whole new outfit created." Frankel had tons of helpful tips, whereas I can only imagine that said certain ...O.C. housewife would have just scoffed and snubbed her nose-- or began to "woe is me" whine that she could only buy one new Cartier bracelet instead of both of the ones she wanted (hint: this Housewife just received a $25,000 tennis bracelet from her husband on her birthday. No, that was not a typo with the number of zeroes. He paid more for something on her arm than I did for my brand new car. But then again, he pays much more to keep her on his arm than most of us pay out necessities for the whole year. Priorities; priorities. But I digress).
I began watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta right from the get-go, enthralled with the lives but also the characters of the ones who had come before them and hoping for more (but slightly "bigger") of the same. And Scott Dunlop did not dissapoint! The claws on ...Atlanta came out quick and long, even if they were perfectly manicured claws with big glittering diamonds on the other ends of the fingers. The ladies-- and I use that term perhaps a bit loosely-- of The Real Housewives of Atlanta were not nearly as classy as those of the New York season, but the drama they brought was perhaps the most fun to watch because of that. It was a train wreck, but a loveable one at that.
I quickly found that the original ...O.C. fell somewhere in between the two spin-offs, featuring some women who were just out to tear the others down (Tamra, I'm looking through my own Chanel shades at you!) and others who were actually self-made and seemed to raise down-to-Earth children with good values (Vicki, you get the gold star yet again!). But now Bravo has officially announced the start date (May 12) for their fourth installment of the series, ...New Jersey, which will undoubtedly follow in the footsteps of ...Atlanta and not its bridge buddy, ...New York City. Why? Well, for ratings, I'm sure! It is no secret that The Real Housewives of New York City is the lowest rated of the series, despite it being on its second season; ...Atlanta trumped it just about mid-way through its ridiculously short seven episode season! Calling women out on bad weaves, adulterous affairs, and falsified connections seems to be the kind of juice viewers are looking for. Besides, have any of you actually ever been to Jersey? Big hair, curly-Q nails, nasal accents...they might as well have set it in Long Island, so how else can they set it apart from ...New York City (where any self-respecting Jersey woman spends most of her time anyway!) if they're not going to rely on tackiness and catfights? As Ashley from Tool Academy (VH1) said: "Come on down here, and I'll show you how we do it in Jersey, b*tch!"
So with spin-offs and copycats galore, I would like to take this opportunity to pitch a new city-- well, area, really-- to Mr. Dunlop and Bravo TV: The Real Housewives of the San Fernando Valley. Yes, SFV is the porn capital of the country, but being just over the hill from L.A. there are plenty of wealthy wives of producers, directors, and actors who have ample time on their hands to just sit around at Coffee Beans, hit Westfield Topanga Canyon, or try to get on the list for every A (and even some B and C) List industry events and premieres. Some of them probably even do charity work-- at least of the celebrity variety. Sure, it would probably come off as seeming more like a spoof than just another installment, but really, in so many ways, so did ...Atlanta...and I'm sure so will ...Jersey. I'll let you know for sure, though, because I, of course, plan to tune in come May!