If you don’t watch reality TV, chances are you haven’t been exposed to the infamous ‘Real Housewives’ series that has taken the world by storm, and that’s probably a good thing: since the first show in 2006 established the formula of following the daily dramas of wealthy white women in Orange County, California. Since establishing the formula of following the day-to-day drama of a wealthy white woman, it has been repeated in different cities, including Melbourne and Miami, Cheshire and Budapest, Sydney and Johannesburg.
There’s also “The Real Housewives of Potomac,” says Brian Moylan, a pop culture writer and the series’ compiler, happily.” No one knows about Potomac, but they do know that there is a Real Housewives franchise”.
Housewives around the world fit a certain mold: wealthy, often (but not always) white, straight, attractive, and over 30. But the cities they live in vary widely, and fans of the series say that even though Real Housewives has become a global cultural centre, the differences haven’t been completely ironed out.
With prosthetic legs used as weapons and medical records falsified to prove a cancer diagnosis, it wouldn’t be fair to say that cities are the real stars of the show. But the intangibles of Auckland and Athens – their personalities, cultures and measures of success – are reflected in their respective programmes.
Camille Paglia, a scholar, cultural critic and “big fan” of the show, likens it to a post-war Hollywood romance film: “It’s not just that it’s a great show, it’s that it’s a great show. Camille Paglia, a ‘big fan’ of the show, likens it to a post-war Hollywood rom-com: “‘The Real Housewives’ is rich in geographical locale and ethos. The Real Housewives of New Jersey, for example, focuses on the family, which Paglia says accurately represents “a stratum of Italian life in New Jersey that didn’t work as well in The Sopranos.
By comparison, New York housewives are mostly single and pay more attention to their careers than their love lives. In Dallas, attention is paid to the social contributions of the performers, especially at the regular benefit functions, which are sometimes converted into monetary benefits. On the other side of the globe, The Real Housewives of Auckland reflects the relative lack of truly exclusive establishments in this city of 1.7 million people. It’s very Auckland,” says Duncan Grave of New Zealand pop culture website The Spinoff. He describes it as “an upmarket, unaffordable lifestyle” where “any redneck can book a table hours in advance and a main course costs about twice as much as the nearest food court.
“Of course, that’s why it was so endearing to the people who live here,” adds Greive.” It showed that the housewives were very real, with world class drama”.
“Each series is completely unique,” says author and journalist Elizabeth Day, “and each city is completely unique.” They kind of make the city a special character”. For example, ‘The Real Housewives of DC’ was cancelled because a couple of the actors broke into a dinner party hosted by Barack Obama at the White House with a camera.” It was a massive security issue,” Day says with a laugh.” It’s a particular reflection of The Real Housewives in one city.
Atlanta, Georgia, was the first city chosen by the producers to expand the show from Orange County 10 years ago, because of its wealthy African-American population.” Executive producer Andy Cohen told Atlanta magazine in 2009, “It was unlike any other city on television.
Steve Fennessy, executive editor of Atlanta magazine, says the show’s cast reflects a narrow segment of Atlanta’s adult population. In other words, these are people who aren’t ‘adult’ enough to be on the show.” White people in America outside of Georgia, or at least the South, don’t know how rich some of the black people in Atlanta are,” he says.” That said, the whole franchise is rubbish, so I don’t think it’s something that would make the cover of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s annual report”.
Now entering its eleventh season, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” quickly gained a reputation as one of the most vulgar high dramas of its format, and was considered by many to be an insult to the city’s predominantly black upper class. 2009’s Atlanta magazine reported that the most common complaint about “Trashionistas” in its first year was:” They don’t represent Atlanta. They don’t represent Atlanta! They don’t even live in Atlanta! That was it. Most of the stars live in the outermost suburbs, where the old money lives,” one fan tweeted on Reddit.” What is this, The Real Almost Married Women of Metro-Atlanta!”)
In the series, Cohen says Atlanta is an “integrated city” and “a place where our country could be anywhere. It is not clear, however, that this was actually the case. Residents at the time were sceptical, but a recent analysis shows that Atlanta has overtaken Miami as the most populous city in the USA.
As black women have become better (though still not fully) represented in popular culture, and feminists have sued for the franchise (by Paglia, Roxane Gay and others), Atlantic Housewives have been freed from the burden of representation. And that’s true for the city of Atlanta.” A lot of shows have been filmed in Atlanta, including FX’s Atlanta and VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, but over time they’re no longer considered representative of the city in any sense of the word,” said Rodney Ho, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a daily newspaper. reporter Rodney Ho of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.” Now it’s just a reality show that showcases Atlanta’s great restaurants and boutiques,” he says.
But fans know not to expect realism from a reality show. Not least because there is more than one truth to be told about a city.” Australian writer Amy Gray says: “The ‘Real Housewives’ franchise is built on the unholy nexus of urban stereotypes and money, and that’s why we watch it. According to her, the rivalry between Australia’s two largest cities is mirrored in The Real Housewives. Melbourne is positioned as a South Pacific city with European preconceptions, including a heavy use of tram cuts, while Harbour City is a beachside city with a botoxed swagger. According to Mr Gray, the lack of venom in The Real Housewives of Sydney was “very painful to watch” and it was subsequently not updated because it was “too radical”.