Okay, I admit it. I am enthralled by the "Housewives" shows on Bravo channel. My husband is appalled that I, an educator with a Ph.D., can watch such trivial TV fare.
I, on the other hand, enjoy getting a peek into the lives of those women. Surely, they know that the camera is running. All of the drama is scripted. But, there is still a kernel of truth in the shows. Plus, I'd much rather watch the fluff of the "Housewives" than the depressing news channels.
During the first few seasons of "The Real Housewives of New York City," I fell in love with Bethenny Frankel. She is a funny woman. Some of her one-liners are fall-on-the-floor hysterical.
One of her best buddies on the show was Jill Zarin – a Jewish socialite who helps her husband run Zarin Fabrics – a New York institution. Bethenny and Jill were joined at the hip. However, their friendship took a big hit when Bethenny got engaged, got pregnant, and got her own show (also on Bravo). Jill developed "Jillousy."
Watching those two women navigate the end of their friendship was very compelling. When Bethenny left "The Real Housewives of New York," I almost stopped watching it. But, knowing that Jill would still be a train wreck, I continued to tune in. I also became a regular viewer of "Bethenny Ever After." When Bethenny married Jason Hoppy, she inherited a Hazleton, PA family. Having resided in that coal region area for many years, I was anxious to see how the New York City girl would handle it all.
The other "Housewives" shows (Atlanta, Orange County, New Jersey, Washington DC, Miami) are not quite as habit-forming as the New York version. But, every now and then, a character develops and attracts my attention.
In the New Jersey version, I enjoy watching Teresa. She and her husband Joe smashed their way through millions of dollars and had to declare bankruptcy. Part of it was caused by Teresa's complete disregard of the price of anything. When she decorated their new house, she spent more on a couch than Jim and I did on all our furniture combined.
And, her three daughters are true Italian princesses. The outfits she buys for them rival the gowns worn by Princess Diana. The birthday parties she organizes cost more than a Mercedes convertible. And, her idea of a family vacation revolves around taking a dozen friends and family members to Italy for an extended stay.
In The "Real Housewives of Orange County," those California blondes can really be catty. Vicki (the self-appointed den mother of the group) is a very hard-working insurance agency owner. She constantly reminds the rest of the women that "I work. I have a job." Needless to say, they do not appreciate her demeaning their housewifely roles.
I always feel bad for Vicki's husband Don. She is not shy about saying "I bought this watch for myself." Or, "I make my own rules." She emasculates him regularly. No wonder their marriage is in trouble.
On the Bravo website, a video recently explored the question "What is a housewife?" It was interesting to me when Bethenny opined that all the June Cleavers were gone. I think her opinion is based on the fact that she lives in New York City. I can vouch for the fact that there are still a lot of June Cleavers left in rural Pennsylvania – as well as throughout most of the normal world.
Whether you are a busy entrepreneur running a business, home, and raising children – or a stay-at-home Mom – or somewhere in between, the word housewife encompasses all of you. Women are mutli-taskers and usually can do it all. Just watch one of the "Housewives" episodes and you'll agree with me.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.