In a bit on TV Binges Andrew Sullivan just posted one of the best written take-downs of reality television, and the Real Housewives franchise in particular. It completely sums up my discomfort with Bravo’s Andy Cohen, how he perkily revels in the lowest, emptiest, vainest, and greediest of human female behavior and then packages it back to us like these are just housewives, these are just what all women are or aspire to be, affluent and living lives of ugly, petty whim. The fact that Cohen makes his living this way puts him at a level no better than depraved women he’s claiming represent the real New Jersey, New York, DC, OC, Beverly Hills, and Atlanta. Sullivan quote with my emphasis:
If I watched all of the Real Housewives of New Jersey in one sitting, for example, I think I would sink into the oblivion that happens to all those who watch their souls being torn slowly, shred by shred, into nothingness. That show’s emptiness, hollowness, vacuousness, its transformation of children into products for a self-sustaining celebrity industry, its revelling in human manipulation in the midst of wanton greed, its venomous vulgarity and moral cesspit: it’s truly the most appalling, cynical and morally disgusting display of doucherie on the box, which is saying something. And, yes, at its core it is a form of pornography of female spite for gay male misogynists. In this Millennium, some gay men don’t need to invent the dialogue of vicious, hateful networks of women (that would require some creative effort); they dangle celebrity in front of the faces of the desperately needy and then tape their every pettiness to squeals of Bravo delight.
There’s a reason Sullivan heads one of the most-read blogs on the net.