“Real Housewives of DC”: How much is too *real*?

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Is “The Real Housewives of DC” too real for America?

What's your beef with "The Real Housewives of DC"?/Photo credit Bravo

That’s what I’m wondering after reading a lot of negative comments (“boring” is the chief complaint) about the show on various sites. (Here’s just one. By the way, people can complain about how the show isn’t representative of the residents who live in DC, but you can say that about any show. I assure you, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” doesn’t represent me, a lifelong Jerseyan, or any of my friends, for that matter.)

All of these complaints about “DC” confuse me, because I really like what I’ve seen. But I gather I’m in the minority here.

Sure, the women – as with all “Real Housewives” franchises – are by turns catty, vapid, shallow and superficial, but the undercurrent of all that seems more to do with issues that have affected this country for centuries: race, class and prejudice.

I get why people tune into the “Housewives” shows, I really do. It’s a form of escapism. It’s a fishbowl view of how the other half lives. It’s also a fun reminder (at least in the case of about half the “Housewives”) that your life isn’t quite as bad as theirs.

But what’s wrong with adding a little reality to the cattiness? Why is it more entertaining to watch two women argue over whether one of them is a “prostitution whore” than it is to see two women disagree/argue about something more substantive, like politics or pop culture idols?

"Real Housewives of DC" star Lynda Erkiletian with her lov-ah, Ebong Eka./Photo credit Washingtonian

I, for one, found it fascinating to watch Cat Ommanney squirm during Stacie Turner’s soul food dinner. Is her discomfort due to her unfamiliarity with the food, the guests, the locale (which, from the looks of it, is in a respectable yet decidedly middle-class section of DC)? Or does Cat make a quick exit because, as Stacie, stylist Paul Wharton and Ebong Eka (LOVE Ebong!), all of whom are black, point out, she was uncomfortable around so many black people? They, on the other hand, are well-familiar with being the only person of color in the room.

That observation really struck me. I’m thinking it’s probably the deepest comment I’ve ever seen on any of the “Real Housewives” shows. E-V-E-R.

And in an earlier instance, Cat (What is it with this woman? Are there not black people in England?) sticks her foot in her mouth once again, this time mixing race with politics. Watch:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In the meantime, I’m patiently waiting for someone to say something inappropriate about model agency owner Lynda Erkiletian’s relationship with Ebong, who not only is probably a decade younger than her but is also black. Fortunately, he sports a wicked sense of humor, as evidenced by this week’s episode in which he classily refuses to confirm/deny the size of his appendage.

“Ask Linda,” he simply instructs.

Or am I just completely barking up the wrong tree here? Is the general negative consensus toward “Real Housewives of DC” more to do with viewers having a difficult time relating to or liking any of these women?

Discuss… and please let me know!

3 Comments

  1. Simply T~ said,

    August 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Tonight’s episode was good! I’m still impressed!

  2. avagacser said,

    August 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I’m so glad somebody agrees with me! I’ve really come to dislike all the pettiness on the other “Housewives” franchises. So much of it seems manufactured. But I can totally relate to the women of “DC” disliking one another because of their attitudes, political affiliations, etc. I’m agreeing with you on Cat. At first I thought maybe she just stuck her foot in her mouth. But to do it repeatedly, all while practically looking down her nose? I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I like Stacie the best so far. She’s the one who seems to have her head screwed on straightest. Ebong strikes me as such an intelligent, well-spoken man that I’m curious to know what it is about Lynda that he’s attracted to. Hopefully that will be explored more this season. Can’t wait for tonight’s episode!

  3. Simply T~ said,

    August 17, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Well, Ava…I’m with you. I’m enjoying RHODC. I agree there is some substance here…some real discussion. For once, there are real reasons for the ladies to argue, disagree, or plain out dislike each other. Politics, racism, class, rumors, scandal, food, and fashion…YES!!! I’m fascinated. Is Cat really just rude or racist??? After episode one, I was thinking she was just rude. Now after seeing the second episode, I think she is rude and racist. And Lynda…you go girl! I’m certainly intrigued by her business sense and her relationship with Ebong. There haven’t been any other interracial couples on Real Housewives. Stacie seems lovely and very down to earth. Mary is a mother of like five children, right? She looks great and her closet is amazing! And she has a heart. Even though she didn’t want to invite Michaele to her b-day party, she did anyway because she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Bless her heart! And speaking of Michaele…I’m not sure what to say about her. There always has to be an odd one in the bunch. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go in the season. I’m definitely not bored.


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