I feel in love with reality TV when I watched the very first episode of The Real World on MTV. I was young, and I’d like to believe that at least that one season had more reality than produced scenes. I have always been a people watcher. The idea of taking a peek into the everyday lives of seven people was intriguing. I’ve seen almost every episode of every season since.
When did the Bravo train take the fork in the tracks that led us to this disaster that we continue to watch? I don’t remember when I first started to watch the shows on Bravo. Was there something before RHONY? Around the time that Kelly Bensimon went to her personal Scary Island and Teresa Guidice started flipping tables, I started to realize, I was no longer watching for any positive reason. I was watching bullying and immaturity with very little,if any, redeeming quality. But I was watching.
And then Bravo upped the budget and naturally the ante and began exporting the housewives. I am not talking about the franchises of the show they sold to other countries. I am talking about filming the crazy in foreign countries. I was looking forward to the Morocco shows. I had been to Morocco as a child and was looking wanted to revisit through the magic of television. I was mortified at the behavior I saw. Then there was the RHONJ trip to Italy which I seem to have blacked out and the Dominican Republic trip which was full of screaming and brawling (on and off camera).And on each trip complete disrespect for the country, its culture, its people. Instead we watched people seeking out the local Chanel store or literally mocking the desert for being full of sand.
Just when you thought the housewives could not degrade themselves any further, Bravo began eliminating the “boring” people who did not escalate drama and brought in people with mental issues like alcohol dependency, depression, and a variety of personality disorders. And it just plummeted to the lowest circle of hell. And we are still watching.
Bravo no longer bothers to attempt to cover up the manipulation of the show. There are clearly scenes shot specifically for editing purposes to tie things together, There are scenes shot to completely alter the meaning of the original scenes, But the RHOBH has gone beyond the realm of good taste into the land of Where the Hell is Their Legal Liability in this Tragedy?
And then there is Kim. Kim sniffs like a basset hound during all the ugly gold shirt talking heads, slurs her words in every scene, constants proclaims she is not drinking, and spends the majority of the time in the bathroom at every social event. Anyone with eyes can see that Kim is strung out in every single shoot over the course of months. And yet they still roll film. I don’t think either woman’s contract where they sign away their life and dignity could possibly be valid. These women are not of sound mind to be signing anything!
I am appalled at the people who stand outside the bathroom doors of drug addicts holding the camera. I am appalled at the production crew who decides to set a woman up at two consecutive parties for public humiliation and ridicule. But mostly, I am incredulous that we keep watching.
Men are not a significant portion of the viewing audience for this sort of trainwreck TV. Where is our dignity? Why are we watching show after show of women who are placed on TV simply for the purpose of public ridicule? Why do so many take such glee in harassing and judging Taylor and Kim? Why do the housewives with the worst behavior have so many fans, most of whom are young women? Why do we tune in to see two black women defiling displays in a black history museum, or brawling at baptismals? Why are we watching this garbage?