Viewers’ fascination with celebrities’ excesses probably all began with the ’80s TV show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” But, that showcase for excess was positively bland when compared to its more recent fictionalized version, “Desperate Housewives.” That, in turn, has been trounced by its “reality TV” progeny, like “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
Watching “Real Housewives” is like waiting for a 12-vehicle car crash to happen. Its featured housewives have all married phenomenally well, so they have more than enough money to pay for cosmetic surgery and the best psychiatrists, whose specialized services they are constantly in need of, as they try to solve their many psychological problems.
The women are such emotional basket cases that messy catfights, hissy fits and breakdowns are guaranteed, and disaster junkies are assured of their weekly fix of messy confrontations.
Why is this such cheesily compelling viewing fare for many people? The envy factor is clearly operative here, as the show’s junkie-fans find deliciously un-divine justice in the proof positive offered each week that fabulously wealthy people can be just as miserable as you and me—!
To add insult to emotional injury and battery, some of the housewives are no longer as young and beautiful as they used to be, so there’s decided desperation in their frantic efforts to still look sort of beautiful despite the relentless onslaught of the years—and decades!
Their personal stylists and make-up artists spend hours transforming them from hags with eyebags the size of container vans to still acceptable versions of their former glamorous selves—but the bloom is decidedly off the rose!
Also galling for the women is the fact that most of their wealthy husbands look like their fathers, making it all too obvious that at least some of them married for money.
But, the most chilling discovery of all must be the realization that, although they profess to love each other to bits, they’re actually in constant competition with one another—so, who’s fooling whom?!