The Real Housewives of Everywhere

Kharissa Forte

It all started with Desperate Housewives, a fictional television series launched by ABC in October of 2004. The outlandish drama, passionate romances, and never ending mayhem were all I needed to be one of the 2.1 million fans hooked to my set intently watching every episode. A year and a half later, Bravo came out with The Real Housewives of Orange County. The new show included all of the confusion and chaos that had me addicted to Desperate Housewives with one bonus: this was real life. Or it claimed to be, anyway. After RHOC aired, I completely forgot all about Desperate Housewives.

Then, when The Real Housewives of New York City came out in 2008, I nearly lost my mind. The interesting factor with this group of ladies is that it included Bethenny Frankel, a single chick with no kids who was adamantly pursuing happiness in love and in work. She now is – in my opinion – the most successful “housewife” who has reached her goals and even has her own thriving Bravo series, Bethenny Ever After. With two Real Housewives series down, the beginning of an incredible new reality television era was born.

Later during the same epic year that RHNY debuted, the best Real Housewives cast popped into the picture: The Real Housewives of Atlanta. RHOA starred the loud hot mess diva that we all have come to love, NeNe Leakes. With an attitude as thunderous as her mouth, Leakes was the perfect feature on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice last year. I delightfully recall when she and Latoya Jackson had a brief altercation in which Leakes referred to her as “Casper the friendly ghost.” I nearly peed my pants, I laughed so hard.

Soon after the ATL crew came about, Bravo ran smack dab into its first RH failure: The Real Housewives of D.C. The cast was dull and mind-numbing to say the least. RHDC was nothing but a wearisome washed up version of the New York City cast. Needless to say, it’s no longer on the air.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any livelier than the Atlanta girls, Bravo bounced back with The Real Housewives of New Jersey. And they are off the chain. Between Teresa Giudice flipping tables, Danielle Staub’s criminal past, and Jacqueline Laurita’s jacked up relationship with her daughter, my head was spinning a mile a minute. Giudice is the next housewife to be featured on Celebrity Apprentice premiering on February 19.

Then two years ago came – my favorite – The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. While the RH casts of other cities seem to be nothing more than high profiled socialites, RHBH stars actual celebrities. There’s, the sister duo, Kyle and Kim Richards who are the real life aunts of Nicky and Paris Hilton. Kyle appeared in shows as old as Little House on the Prairie and as new as ER. Older sister, Kim, is known for her Disney roles in Escape to Witch Mountain, Return from Witch Mountain, and several television appearances. RHBC also stars Kelsey Grammer’s ex-wife, Camille, whose divorce proved to be the best thing that could ever happen to her bank account. The newest member of the cast is the sweet and daring Brandi Glanville. Her claim to fame: ex-husband Eddie Cibrian left her for LeAnn Rimes. What a douche. Moving on.

The only Real Housewives series that I never really got into was The Real Housewives of Miami which made its debut in February last year. The network is currently filming a second season, so it must’ve done alright.

America isn’t the only country obsessed with the RH sensation. Believe it or not, there’s a Real Housewives of Athens, Israel, Vancouver, and Brazil/Mulheres Ricas, too.

VH1 must have caught the bug, as well. Shows like Basketball Wives (the best freakin show ever to grace my television set), Basketball Wives L.A. (#epicfail), and Love & Hip Hop are very popular with women all across the country.

As entertaining as these shows are, I do have a little concern. The images these women are displaying are subconsciously tarnishing how real women in real life view relationships with other women, relationships with men, and how to define self-worth. I mean, let’s face it; they’re on the air for a reason. They’re called TV personalities for a reason. She’s either a hoe (sorry) or she’s in some sort of dysfunctional relationship. And if she doesn’t fit into one of those categories, she’s a mean girl or a control freak or classless or insecure or… you get the picture. For every five cast members with an issue, there’s only one who really does have it all together. Think about it.

Remember on Basketball Wives when Evelyn confessed to Tammy that she had an affair with her husband? That was beyond messed up. To top it off, Evelyn then had the audacity to tell Tammy that she was a “non mother f****** factor” during the affair. She deserved to get beat up. She even went as far as to create and sale t-shirts with the crass phrase splattered over it! Was she serious about donating the profits of the shirt to Tammy’s charity? See, this is exactly what I’m talking about. What does this say to viewers about how we are supposed to treat each other, how we should value the principle of marriage, and what should determine our self-worth? Not a whole lot.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, yes, these shows are entertaining and I hope that they never end, but – at the same time – we can’t let these characters influence who we are as women. If anything, we should learn from their drama and choose better paths to venture down. Until next week.

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