Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Real Housewives of DC Makes White Folks Real Mad

In keeping with franchise tradition, not one of them appears to be an actual housewife.

At least so far, any casting office hopes that Paul Wharton might emerge as DC's answer to Da-wight have been stultifyingly dashed. He comes off more like a 5th Housewife version of last season's Alex McCord: so abysmally lacking in skankitude that you wonder if he signed up for the wrong show by mistake.

Or maybe he's there to tell Mary ("Michaele was in her perfectly coiffed riding jodhpurs and boots.") that clothing items do not sport a hairdo.

Clicking around the internets, "Cat," the one who kept bragging about her husband being the Lord High Photographer was just sad. She reminded me of Kelly on RHNY, who seems to get way too much of her sense of identity from having once been married to a famous photographer, who in turn, reminds me of Brody Jenner, who reminds us every 15 minutes that his biomom once dated Elvis.

She seems to be one of those love her or hate her characters - her admiration for a beloved political figure was appreciated by the predictable half of US viewers, while her comment that "all British children aspire to be American children" seems to have resonated a little less with the rest of the world, some even going so far as to disagree with her outright, asserting that British children are quite pleased to be British and do not long to be another nationality.

I tend to agree with those who have questioned whether the show will really be a good cultural fit.

In fact, I predict it will require extensive post-production to keep it from being labeled as "inflammatory," which might not be good for either the franchise or the network.

Stacie has already made herself a mess of enemies.

For a person of color to mention the existence of racism is extremely displeasing to many US white folks, who receive a very real psychological benefit from the belief that both slavery and apartheid happened some time during the early Pleistocene era, and have long been completely absent from the heart of all white Americans with the possible exception of a couple of toothless crackhead Aryan gang members who are now safely behind bars now anyway, so African Americans should, if I may quote approximately 7 squillion internet comments "get over it."

In fairness, people, including white folks, watch these shows for the skankiness and schadenfreude, not to be reminded of bandaids on sucking societal chest wounds or herds of elephants tromping around the TV, both tall orders for any show set in Washington, even if the only cast member with any claim to a "political connection" is the dude that takes PR stills of the current on-camera talent.

I guess Bravo gets props for going there at all.

My guess is that they were maybe targeting an older audience, and hoping that the prevailing viewer reaction would be more in accord with an offline comment I overheard: a polyester-clad matron in a small southern town referred to the DC ladies as "real classy," and went on to declare that they represent her "ideal America."

I'm skeptical that any generation will bestow upon these Housewives the mantle of "ultimate aspirational character" bestowed on Lauren Conrad and The Hills gang.

At least we jaded Snark extremists get our usual helping of the delicious characteristic Real Housewife staple of people with dramatically annoying personalities acting really trashy while tossing around not-so-subtle insinuations about how superior they are to everybody else. ;)

Cat and Stacie may have their share of fans and haters, but the unquestioned stars of the show are "The Salahis."

We may not know the name of the covert Bravo operative who returned from that 1st reconnaissance mission into the mean salons of Washington with orders to sniff out Hamsters Most Likely, who discovered this pair of prizes, but we do know that whoever s/he is, that will be one hard-to-top career triumph.

Ditto for the marketing genius who thought up Operation Party Crash, and double ditto if the same person cast the Salahis in it.

It was a Cultural Fit Powerball, with just the right Golden Drop of subliminal Retsyn (ouch. Obscure allusion to 60s breath mint commercial? Really?)

And now, a moment of silence to acknowledge the awesome power of television - even really bad television. No other force, man-made or natural could so instantly transform a couple of lacklustre practitioners of petty sleaze to Defcon 5 Level Public Enemies.

He, whose principal resume bullets include a spurt of short-term employment related to implementation of business decisions on behalf of some US "key industries," and an equally non-stellar attempt to run the family wine business, the latter culminating in a lawsuit-embellished family squabble, appears to excel only at playing polo.

Michaele, a retail cosmetics counter clerk by profession, had hoped to obtain wealth and fame by becoming a fashion model, but believe it or not, not every blonde ectomorph who auditions is cast, and she will be neither the first nor the last pretty girl who, after an accurate evaluation and assessment of her own natural talents and aptitudes vis a vis the marketplace, accurately determines that her best chance of acquiring a large bank balance is marriage to an already-wealthy man.

The current chorus of US viewers flooding the internets with outraged calls for their imprisonment, tarring and feathering and extermination by live burning are predictable (and I'm gonna guess also predicted) and consistent with the culture, but that any two people of such spectacular mediocrity would inspire such a tsunami of any sentiment among any population is such an incongruous absurdity - and such a monumental feat of marketing, that I predict it will be the opening chapter in textbooks on the subject unto the 7th generation.

It's also, judging from these first episodes, anyway, the DC franchise's one chance at getting high enough ratings to placate the suits in the accounting department.

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