The latest entry in the ‘Real Housewives of . . . ‘ series is going to be set in New Jersey, where for a change of pace (not) we’ll get to watch rich, tacky, shallow women shop for size 0 designer clothes and fret about important priorities like redecorating their powder rooms and getting a last-minute Botox appointment. This time I guess the difference will be even tackier accents and the vague suggestion of mafia ties, but overall it’s the same excuse for ‘real’ real housewives to snigger and feel superior: “I may not have that kind of budget, but I’m a better mom and I don’t sound like such an airhead on national television.”
Come on, we already have tons of shows where we can watch shallow, tacky people make idiots out of themselves, from reality competitions to daytime talk shows to most sitcoms. What about a ‘real housewives’ show featuring REAL people, with real problems, like how to keep your kids from bickering in front of your neighbors, or what you can make for dinner with 3 frozen chicken breasts and an expired jar of salsa?
I can see it now - Real Housewives of San Mateo, featuring me and my neighbors as we cope with such thrilling challenges as an excursion to Costco (where I promise I’m only buying toilet paper and batteries!), or Carol loaning me her carpet cleaning machine even though I think my carpets are beyond hope. We don’t have any trampy neighbor to have affairs with the pool boys none of us can afford to hire, but there is a rather hunky UPS guy we can occasionally ogle, and instead of comparing notes about our designer shopping sprees, we can let each other know when there’s a sale at Old Navy, or a special on ground beef at Safeway.
Hmmm . . . I’m even bored, and it’s my life!, so I can understand why producers aren’t clamoring to make a reality show about reality. Watching normal people cope with typical problems we all face doesn’t give one that thrill of schaedenfraude (taking joy in the misfortunes of others - I still remember my SAT vocabulary!), because it’s fun to feel superior to superficial morons with too much time and money, even as we envy them, not just for the expensive trinkets but for having lives that are interesting enough to merit a TV show.
That’s my dirty little secret - I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes I wish I had a more glamorous, unusual life, even though I love my family and can even find joy in some of my more mundane moments. Oh, I know raising kids and teaching music (and all my other odd jobs) are much more important than getting on television because I’m an airhead with a sugar daddy, but every now and then we all yearn for a bit of glamour, something novel to break up the routine. I think I’ll go wild on my next trip to Costco and spring for some new socks.