Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not Exactly the Old Folks at Home

When onetime resident of Hoboken Stephen Foster wrote "The Old Folks at Home," he wasn't talking about The Real Housewives of New Jersey. These babes weren't even dreamed of in his day.

The cable show The Real Housewives of Orange County, itself a take on the new definition of the word housewife--as spawned by ABC's Desperate Housewives of a few years back, has taken on some interesting real-life, high-living wives in New York City and Atlanta. The Real Housewives of New Jersey is the last runaway hit in the series on Bravo.

We have to accept at the outset that none of these ladies would fit the definition of "housewife." Some aren't even married. The title is meant as ironic. We also have to suspend our disbelief that they might even be real. We have to have just a little bit of awe at the everyday goings-on in the lives of the very rich and not-so-famous. Even with their devotion to working for charitable causes, the kind of money these women shell out every day on themselves is staggering, and big money is part of the picture of their lives. They raise children, they love, they gossip, they laugh, and they are like rare birds in an aviary. You may call them shallow, but Lord help me, I like to watch them.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey introduced us to the world not unlike that of the women in The Sopranos. Although they're not mob wives, they live in suburban castles and they shepherd their children around between visits to the plastic surgeon and spa parties where they all watch each other get botox. There is, like Omarosa on Donald Trump's Apprentice shows, one among them who stirs up the pot--a woman with a questionable past, who states as her modus operandi, "Either you love me or you hate me, there's no in between." People who think like that are asking for it, and she gets it time and again, in front of everybody.

The New York Times review said this was the most entertaining show in the series. I was hooked on The Real Housewives of New York City, but I admit I like this one better. The matriarch, Caroline, is pretty, funny, and laughs a lot, and her sister Dina is a pistol, a beauty with brains and no patience with the foibles of others. These women are nothing like any real housewives I have ever known--certainly not in Hoboken--but there is a gloss to their days not unlike that of the rich anywhere.

This morning Bravo will air some of the earlier episodes, and there will be a marathon starting a 5 P.M. Eastern Time to catch up any newcomers and prepare us all for tonight's season finale, which, from the promos, looks like a doozy. At last we get them all together for a showdown, with plates flying, the dinner table overturned and everybody getting hot. Really hot. I wouldn't miss it for the world.


Steve said...

OK, I watched a little (15 minutes) of the 9:00 show. That Danielle woman could definitely have played a role on The Sopranos. The blonde gal I kind of instinctively dislike, although I'm not quite sure why. Probably because there is someone with a similar look who intimidated me in the past.

Mary Lois said...

Ya kiddin'? Dey all intimidate me more than a little.

Bravo is repeating the show right now and I think again tonight. Then Thursday night there'll be a reunion where all the women get to tell how they really feel. Fasten your seatbelts.

I found the show unsatisfying tonight because, as often happens in life, the craziest person drove everybody else over the edge and didn't learn a thing or even for a minute believe the truth. But I'm going to tune in for the rehash.

Steve, I know it's chick stuff, but you shoulda watched more.

Hoboken Kid said...

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES...desperate for what??? Seasoned wives only...who in the wide world would want to marry any of them? But they manage to find a poor slob who would. $$$$ they got. Time on there hands, plenty of that too...and all have a checkered past. HOUSEWIVES THEY ARE NOT...that is becomming a lost art ...WHY get married...just pick up all the strays along the way, HUUMM?? What am I saying? Or am I right. The world has gone mad.

STEPHEN FOSTER...sorry but ya missed da party. Maybe he knew a few HO-boken goils in his day, but he's not telling.