Friday, November 9, 2007

Taking the real out of reality

I deliberately do not have TiVo or any other sort of dvr because 1) I do not need to further feed my tv addiction and 2) I would be so busy watching my shows that it would be unlikely that I would stumble upon reality shows that no one admits to watching, such as The Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo*:

Have you seen this? Oh my God, you don't have to admit it to me or even yourself but this show is brilliant and horrifying and you will wrinkle your brow in disbelief so many times that you will need a good hit of Botox. Where do I even begin?

For those of you who do not watch, here's a quick rundown. The show follows the lives of five rich, white, highly plasticized women in Coto de Caza, a gated community in Orange County. The show opens with each woman saying some variation of "I love money and/or I rule." Tamra, the new housewife this season, has delighted me with her opening quote, "I am the hottest housewife in Orange County." You love it already, don't you?

Orange County must be code for "another planet" because these women's lives have no semblance to real life. They are in their own little orbits where sequined halter tops and enormous fake breasts** are de rigueur, where everyone has a savant-like knowledge of Mercedes-Benz and where a bad day means having to pump your own gas.

I could write for hours about this show, but I will limit myself to describing my two favorite characters. First, there's Tamra:

And yes, honey, that is a jello shot in her hand. I was a little wary of her due to her "hottest housewife in Orange County" comment but she really is quite beautiful. Most of her drama surrounds her 21 year old son Ryan, who was the result of some high school lovin' gone too far. He's moving back in with Tamra and her current husband which is causing all sorts of tension because Ryan is a bit of a scamp and the husband is kind of an a-hole. I fell for Tamra when she told Ryan to "get yo shit togetha," which is something that a real person, including myself, would say. She and I also share the same ringtone, which was a happy coincidence for me.

Then there is Vicky. She is insane. For real. Here she is on her way to buy a Mercedes for her adult daughter just because "she's good kid" and because "I can't ground [her], I can't spank [her], so I've got to have some means of control." And she's dead serious. Healthy, no?

Vicky has an intense, frenzied quality about her, even when she's sitting down eating lunch. You get the feeling that at any moment she's going to pop up and scream at the waiter or laugh maniacally or have an aneurysm because she's stabbing her salad so hard. She also does these ear-splitting "WOO HOOs" that Bravo draws out in an echo-y, horror movie fashion. My favorite Vicky moment was at the end of Season 2 when she made a surprise (i.e. unwelcome) visit to her son at the University of Colorado. One moment she's sobbing hysterically at the rebuff and the next moment she's doing a kegstand with his friends. How can you not like a person who can rebound like that?

I could go on about the others and their collective children, but I will not. Rest assured that they are all entertaining. To the show's credit, it is not all about fluff; all of these women have careers even though they don't need the money, and a few (go Vicky!) reached millionaire status even before the show's free advertising. And really, pretty much everyone has something likable going on, even Lauri, who has so many problems I don't even know where to start. So if you haven't caught this show, try it--the writer's strike is a perfect excuse to watch some down and dirty reality tv (with the exception of I Love New York 2 and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, which even I don't watch. Much.). Enjoy!

* I watched Season 2 last year but Bravo led me to believe that there would be no Season 3. How fortuitous was it that I happened upon the season opener? Regarding the photo, I have scoured the web and cannot find a picture of the current cast. The "housewife" in the middle, Jo, has been replaced by Tamra. And thank God, because Jo and her boyfriend Slade (aka Babytalker and Creepy Guy Who's Actually Kind of Cute) were the personification of fingernails on a chalkboard.

**Lord knows that I am not opposed to plastic surgery. A bra-fitter recently exclaimed to my friend Charlene, "look at what [your children] did to you!" While this comment was not at all tactful or kind, it is true (not about Charlene in particular, just child-bearers in general). I have no objection to inflating and or lifting should a person so desire, but these breasts are so enlarged that you can't help but focus on the skin near the armpit that is pulled so tight and thin that it looks painful.


Things That Inspire said...

I love this show (blushing furiously). I started out watching because I love Orange County, and I have a friend who lives in that gates community that is on the show. I kept on watching because it makes me feel GREAT about my character and values (and it is bizarre to see how those women spend money). It gives me so much fodder for those conversations with my husband where I justify one thing or another because I am pretty conservative about how I spend money. Is that weird?

Richie Designs said...

sadly...this is how many women [and men] operate in OC. All you have to do is travel into a shopping mall in the area and the proof is in the pudding.

SGM said...

I know, doesn't it make you feel intellectual and quite deep (and yes, financially conservative)? Maybe that's the allure of the show; it gives the ol' self-esteem a boost!

Brilliant Asylum said...

"where everyone has a savant-like knowledge of Mercedes-Benz". You are so funny--and right on the money.

To illustrate my specific addiction to this show: less than 15 minutes ago, I was on the Bravo website reading Tamara's blog. I am not quite sure why I am fascinated with this show, but I am beyond help.

Laura said...

there is absolutely nothing better than a sunday afternoon real housewives marathon. i'm so glad jo is gone, and i can't wait to see lauri's wedding.