Real Revolutionary Housewives
I haven’t had a TV for 15 years, not because I’m a prig, more that I’m a total TV tart. I’ll watch anything, anywhere and don’t know when to call it a day. I explain this to myself on that basis that I was constitutionally unsuited for growing up in a rural community. When you’re a fat weird kid who hates nature and all things wholesome there’s not much to do apart from watch TV. I disguised my inner TV junkie by developing an extraordinarily exquisite taste in films to the extent that by 8 I could draw every outfit Joan Crawford wore in Mildred Pierce, mapping her trajectory from dowdy housewife to the queen of pies.
It was no surprise then that I was a bit anxious about spending the summer allegedly writing my doctorate on human emancipation in a flat that had a subscription to BSB. Possibly ironically I became totally hooked on the Real Housewives of New York City. For those of you who know better than to switch on daytime telly this is a programme about the lives of women at the top of the NY evolutionary scale. What follows can only be described as the inner workings of a medieval court. Old and new money, couture, charidy, dog shit and pinot grigio. The fin de siecle final episodes ending in St Barts and two old money housewives carrying out probably illegal sex acts with a Jonny Depp look alike. What’s not to like?
This year however a revolution took place because reality TV became real. For the first time the husbands – both the current and X variety, that invisible society of men who earn the money to fund this elite social world – went bust. Houses were lost, and entire estates packed up in vans as if they had been just props on a film set. Minor cosmetic interventions were no longer affordable and the housewives were slowly able to express appropriate emotion. Fear, anger and sweating returned to high society and real questions were being asked such as how to earn money and how to get a job. I even found myself identifying with a divorced Duchess (apart from the sensational legs, hers not mine) who quietly asked “am I just useless?”. Oh sister, you need to watch Mildred Pierce again.
I am possibly trying to defend watching day time telly but I think I witnessed a housewife revolution this summer which turned out to be hugely entertaining and reassuring at the same time. Seems that the harsh realities of a global recession have returned reality to reality TV.
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