Whenever I watch a few minutes - normally, I don't make it through an entire episode - of Housewives of Orange County, I feel a mix of emotions. Sick and angry generally top this list.
For a while, I wasn't sure exactly why. I can watch Real World and just laugh at how predictable it is. (Typical "confessional" monologue: "I just think I'm really growing up a lot right now. I really really love B, but I need to have my freedom, too. I need to see what else is out there for me so that I can be sure that B is the right person for me." Read: "I want B to still be around when I'm done shooting this show, but right now I want to hook up with my housemates and maybe that really hot guy/girl I met last night when we were all drunk in the hot tub. Gosh, I hope I sound intelligent and mature.") I watch Top Chef and Project Runway and get annoyed at the entitled, egotistical, or assholish contestants. But none of this makes me angry or sick.
I think what it is about Housewives is that I really mostly feel sorry for them. In the ten minutes that I could stomach the other morning, two of the blond women were getting Botox. The one who looks like she is a good deal older than the others and in very poor health - when I first saw the show last season, I thought at first that she was seriously ill and maybe had disastrous plastic surgery because her face and neck were so grotesque, but I came to realize that that's just what she looks like - anyway, this one said, "I'll never look older than 32." And I sat there for a few minutes trying to figure out if she was maybe talking about dog years or something, because she looks a hell of a lot older than 32. And not just old - old would be fine. There is something really sexy and feisty about women of a certain age, you know what I mean? But this wasn't it. She looked used. And like her skin had completely given up.
And then the other one, finished with her injections, asked how she looked. "Twenty years younger," the Botox injector said. "Do I look like my [teenaged] daughter?" the Housewife asked. Um, no. She looked like she was her daughter's mother - in that sense, she looked like her daughter. And she actually looked fairly normal, considering. But Botox ain't gonna make her look like a teenager.
So this had already put me in a bad mood, and it had only been a few minutes of watching. But what really made me ill was when the one with the long dark hair and the scary boyfriend was talking to said scary boyfriend about how bored she was being at home all the time. The deal is that scary boyfriend wants her to stay home and take care of him, his house, and his kids. He does not want her to work. He makes lots of money, he'll buy her anything she wants, so why, he figures, should she work? Doesn't he deserve a girlfriend who will stay home? (Readers, I just have to step in here to note that I watched most of the last season of this show and I have yet to see anything redeeming about this guy, except for his money. And even so, if I were his girlfriend, the money would make me feel like a prostitute, because there is nothing she is getting out of this deal other than the money. OK? He's a total jackass, sexist, ignorant loser.)
So she told him she was happy but also bored. And he just looked sorrowfully at her and like he was disappointed in her, and he didn't say much, so of course she tried to backtrack to make him feel better and to make him not be angry at her. And then he got excited when she told him she had played tennis that day and liked it, and he said that "A lot of people around here take tennis very seriously," and "I'll buy you a tennis skirt and you can wear it around the house" (this last inflected with heavy innuendo), and you could just see the cogs and gears turning and his thought balloon saying, "Wow! The neighbors will finally be impressed because I'll have a hot girlfriend who can PLAY TENNIS! And she can wear that short skirt around for my enjoyment, too! I have SO got it made!"
Here's the episode of Housewives I want to see:
The housewives' kids, recognizing how disgusting their fathers / mothers' boyfriends are, get together and send their moms on a field trip to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (the moms think they are going to a spa). Once there, the housewives realize that everyone is having a great time without men, and they stop worrying about getting wrinkles or needing new boobs and just have fun being outdoors with their friends and listening to the music. (They also meet some foine lesbians and have really good sex on their own terms.) They decide men are ok but they certainly don't need to have one to be happy, stop worrying about what other people will think about their appearance, eat whatever they want to, find interesting and challenging jobs, set up a communal household, and are happy ever after. The End.