My favorite T.V.show of all time is Married With Children. I like the way it took the traditional family and stirred it in a pot of worst case scenario. The finished product was the most funniest sitcom during the 90’s. Women’s groups nationwide cried fowl over the character of Peg Bundy. They didn’t approve of her being extremely lazy and self-centered. Peg Bundy was the complete opposite of the happy home maker. Many attributed the shows success to people identifying with a dysfunctional family. Many felt that it gave the show a sense of realism. Who can really call their family normal?
Reality and television has come together again and given us a new batch of housewives. The show Desperate Housewives depicts a fictional suburb which its women give in to all of their desires while balancing family, friend, and foe alike. Women drove ratings up while they tuned in to live vicariously through their new-found heroes! Again, purist for the traditional housewife spoke out against it to no avail. More women these days work and take care of home so a fictional show about housewives still leaves a gap in reaching its target audience. Reality T.V. would provide the solution in Bravo’s Real Housewives series.
Bravo network set out to recruit a group of housewives and record their day-to-day events. Bravo went to several cities across the United States selecting the housewives of rich men to base the show on. Washington D.C. featured the wife of the infamous White House party crashers. Beverly Hills featured the much hated wife of famous actor and Kelsey Grammer. These shows quickly gained momentum as women watched every cat fight and gossip worthy incident with enthusiasm. Pretty soon Bravo had a hit on its hands. The more gossip and snide remarks the cast spread about each other, the higher the ratings went. Bravo loves it! Now it ups the ante.
Real Housewives of Atlanta took the air waves by storm. For the first time, The show featured a cast made up of mostly black women and one white woman. They also involved non-married and divorced women as well. The fur was flying right from the first show. NeNe established herself as the alpha female of the group while others found their own niche on the show. These women struggled to find themselves show after show leaving women everywhere totally entertained. These are definitely not typical housewives. These women rarely cook or do any real housework. They spend most of their time seeking rich men to marry or gossip about one another. Totally not housewife behavior at all. Well, the gossiping part is but I have to question the rest. Watching NeNe divorce her much older husband in full view of the public was a little disturbing but a ratings bonanza. Sounds like somebody trying to upgrade. I also found it amusing that these women always have a gay male side-kick to confide in. I guess that’s how they do it in Atlanta.
MTV jumped into the fray with Real Basketball Wives. I fail to see the purpose of this show since all the women on there are EX-wives! They are all on camera complaining about their ex’s and enjoying the benefits of a nice million dollar divorce settlement or child support checks. I often wondered what these women were like before running into your favorite basketball star? Is this the fate of gold diggers over 35 everywhere? Who knows?
What I do know is that the american housewife is changing. Our economy demands that both husband and wife get jobs to maintain a decent lifestyle. Both husband and wife share numerous household duties to ensure all needs of the house are met. Duties based on sex cast to the wind in favor of progress. Only women married to the wealthy may know what its like to be a housewife of old. Yet we find these women unhappy and spiteful. It seems the good life is not so good after all. When I watch, I can only be thankful that I am not married to one of them. A pretty face is no good without humility and character these women seem to lack or keep it hidden in front of a camera. That’s a shame too. Men often look for their idea of a wife in odd places. Especially on television where they spend most of their time watching. They are not seeing their mothers, grandmothers, or even Peg Bundy. They see glimpses of married life through the skewed view of a camera lens. It offers only one side of the view and it goes to the ones driving the ratings.
A real housewife cares very little about ratings. Her home comes first. She knows that her husband’s life is utter chaos without her meticulous hands crafting his wishes. She knows that her kids will be lost without her tempered guidance. Most of all, She knows her worth to her family is more than the 15 minutes of fame any network has to offer. Holla If You Hear Me!
– K. Greene