The Real Housewives of New Jersey Has Gone Too Far
OK, I’m about to get deep. About The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
I know. It seems ridiculous, but just stay with me, OK?
Like most people, I love the drama of reality TV. I know a lot of it is staged and I know a lot of it is edited, but I also know that James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” was a lot of bullsh*t and I found it entertaining nonetheless. Watching “normal” (read: crazy) people interact in situations that were set up by TV executives is fun, there’s no doubt about that.
Which is why I have watched every episode of every season of The Real Housewives and know far too much about all the women. I know what Vicky Gundelson’s daughter does for a living (ER nurse), I know that Taylor Armstrong’s daughter is allergic to dogs, and I know that Kim Zolciak likes to eat pizza while she has the cellulite sucked out of her ass.
God, I’m embarrassed that I just admitted that.
The thing that makes reality TV so interesting is the drama. The fights. The backstabbing. The one-on-one interviews when people say mean things about one another that I know will turn into even more drama when the reunion comes around.
But all that being said, I’m having some serious moral issues with this season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Because this season is getting really personal.
When two opinionated women who have no personal ties or history are fighting and flipping tables, it’s entertainment. When Bravo purposefully (and secretly) brings on two new women to join the cast that have long and personal histories with a current cast member for the sake of drama, it’s totally effed up.
Of course I’m talking about Melissa and Kathy, Teresa Giudice’s sister-in law and cousin, respectively. Long before they joined the cast, they had serious family drama. Personal family drama. The kind of stuff that needs to be dealt with behind closed doors, not in front of millions of people. The Bravo execs clearly knew about all this stuff (there’s something to be said about the fact that they didn’t tell Teresa until taping started) and brought them in to stir the pot. And yeah, that’s their job, but that doesn’t make it any less disturbing that they are tearing a family apart for the sake of ratings.
When the season started with a massive, out of control fight (punches were being thrown!) at a family Christening, I wanted to laugh. I mean, come on, only in New Jersey, right? But I couldn’t help but feel really uncomfortable and guilty. This wasn’t some made-for-TV fight, this was some serious family business. The kind of stuff that breaks families apart. And it was being cut and edited for the sake of drama. How can Andy Cohen sit there (probably next to a picture of Jiggy) and watch a real family – one that was at one point incredibly close – completely break down and be OK with it? And for what? Higher ratings and more advertising money?
There’s something really wrong with this. (There’s also something really wrong with the fact that I’m thinking so much about this….I realize that.)
I know that these women all put themselves in this position themselves and that they could bow out at any time. I get that. I just can’t help but feel bad for Teresa (and reality stars in general) who’s life has been turned totally upside down and completely ruined because some guy in some office somewhere needs to boost his ratings. I’m not saying reality TV needs to stop (god, what the hell would I do with my free time??), but I am saying that someone needs to tap into their feelings a little and draw a line somewhere.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but watching a family fall apart isn’t my idea of entertainment.