The Real Housewives: Guilty Pleasure or Toxic Television?

Flipping tables, calling each other names, making fun of each other, eating the decoration (bow) off of a cake, rolling their eyes, taking sides….sounds adolescent right!? Wrong! These are activities that adult women have been partaking in while the cameras roll on the Bravo hit series, The Real Housewives.

The Real Housewives is a reality television series, following the lives of affluent, bourgeois housewives and professional women in the suburban or urban areas of several American cities, with the suffix of the title taking on the name of that metropolitan region.

I had to laugh as I read that definition because it makes the show sound so prestigious, glamorous, and classy. And to a certain extent it is. The homes, cars, lifestyle, parties, all materialistic components are amazing!  The Interior Designer in me really enjoys seeing  their homes, the views, furniture, etc.  However when it comes to the actual housewives and how they interact with one another it is darn right appalling at times. They act like adolescents. Now don’t get me wrong there are a couple that slip through that adolescent crack but the majority seem to have never left high school, which totally makes for great TV, right!???

Guilty Pleasure…..

I have to honest it is rather amusing to watch.  But I understand that this is a reality series and it only succeeds if there are viewers.  That being stated I realize the show isn’t technically ‘scripted’. There is no script typed out and handed to the housewives. However, with the cameras rolling and the egos growing I wouldn’t doubt if most of the Housewives are embellishing, or even exaggerating, how they handle certain situations and interact.  I mean, let’s be honest here, I know I always act a little bit nicer when I know I am being recorded on our home camera. Maybe it just works the opposite when you are competing for the viewers’ attention? And why wouldn’t you be. Some of the housewives have gone on to write bestselling books, have their own Spin-off shows, and their own lines of clothing/shoes thanks to their fans. So all that pot-stirring, table flipping, lawsuit threating must be worth it right?

Despite its name, only some of the housewives are married. As seasons progress, a mixed group of divorcees and single mothers….. and issues, involving suicide, divorce, broken relationships, bankruptcy, infidelity, family feuding, alcoholism, eviction, deadbeat parents, and foreclosures have evolved.

Toxic Television……

Are all these outlandish scenes of women bashing each other, picking sides, and causing emotional damage somehow being filed away in our sub-conscious? I am sure everyone is familiar with the saying, ‘you are what you eat’. The question then is: Are you what you watch?

I would like to say no, women realize that these housewives are merely playing it up for the cameras. But that is not the case. Through personal experience and conversations with other women it has come to my attention that there are women who think that it is either acceptable to act the way these women do on the show, or they actually think they are on the show? So either they are mean girls or delusional. Neither of which I would like to be categorized.

I think all issues on the show and in real life stem from not being able to handle confrontation. No matter how you got into the predicament of confrontation/conflict, whether it was a friend disagreeing with you on a project, your boyfriend, your job, a party, etc. it needs to be handled in a healthy way. In an effort to help I have collated a Top Ten…..

Top Ten Things you should not do when you find yourself in a conflict with a friend/housewife/woman:

10. Give them the silent treatment/cold shoulder

9. Send them a distasteful email

8. Gossip…discuss your issues with that person with everyone else….tell the world all the secrets and personal info they confided in you…like Brandi sharing Adrienne’s secret (which I still totally want to know what she said!)

7. Ulterior motive sit down…when you lure them to a location to meet expressing you want to make amends but you actually want to rip the wound open again and toss a little salt in there. (This is a classic on The Real Housewives, it has happened in practically every city)

6. Excluding that individual from gatherings the rest of the group is attending… deliberately hurting them.

5. Rushing to un-friend them on Facebook. That is the adult equivalent of a toddler having a temper tantrum….please! Don’t get me wrong, there are legitimate reasons to un-friend people but this is not one of them…this screams I lack communication skills!

4. Get people to take your side….it is bad enough the two of you are in a predicament, why get everyone else involved? Or is this the Junior High lunch table? Not to mention that just makes people really question your loyalty when moving forward in a friendship with you.

3. Uninviting that individual to a gathering or party…truly distasteful! The host must always remain neutral….do you hear me Kyle, seriously!  If guests are going to feel uncomfortable around one another it is their choice to stay or leave.

2. Crying bullying…you have heard of crying wolf? This is similar…. When others have an opinion that you do not agree with you find solace in playing the victim.  One word, well, name…Alexis…why?

1. Flip a table…come on Teresa you are better than that! I will tell you what I tell my children “Use your words!”



So what should an adult woman do when faced with conflict from a friend?

You owe yourself, the other individual, and most importantly, your relationship the respect to have a conversation, just the two of you!  It need not be something fancy; like meeting up at SUR, a simple coffeehouse or even park would suffice…it is always best to meet on neutral grounds so both parties feel comfortable. And if you have trouble finding the words face-to-face feel free to jot down a few bulleted points. Use calm tones. Simply be respectful of one another. Try not to have any preconceived expectations. Take ownership of your wrong doing. Be an adult, act appropriately. Pretend your child is watching, model the behavior you want your children to reflect. And lastly, it should be noted that not all women are meant to be BFFs. In fact I think God puts particular people in your life during certain circumstances for a reason, maybe we learn something from one another, and we guide each other, or simply provided the necessary comfort along a bump in life’s journey. Thus this meeting could simply be for closure and that is important too.


Bottom line, is The Real Housewives a guilty pleasure or toxic televisions?  

The answer is simple, neither. As I declared to my husband every Monday, The Real Housewives is an educational program for women on how NOT to act.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever been caught in the middle of one of the top ten things not to do when in a conflict? Do you happen to know what Brandi said at SUR that day with the girls? Please feel free to share your thoughts, feelings on this topic…

2 thoughts on “The Real Housewives: Guilty Pleasure or Toxic Television?

    • I wonder why they wouldn’t let anyone say that…that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but it obviously was to Adrienne and Paul….I wonder if Adrienne threatened to sue Bravo if they divulged it. I thought they would have addressed it in the finale so I was shocked when they didn’t. Thanks you Sue…I finally have some closure from RHBH now I can focus my attention on RHOC

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