Image used under a Creative Commons license courtesy flickr user Nrbelex.
I’m glad BabylonSista weighed in so substantially on Real Housewives of Atlanta, because I’ve been feeling some substantial ambiguity about how addicted I am to the show and how I feel about the women on it. One of the charms and dangers of the Real Housewives franchise is that its appeal is based in judgement. You can watch the women from your city meander places that might not be your haunts but at least in your basic geographic memory, and pride yourself on the fact that you would never in a billion years behave these women behave, whether it’s to their husbands, their children, their beleaguered assistants, or their hairdressers. There’s a fascination in watching them blow up minor slights, say deliriously clueless things, and float through the same world as the rest of us unencumbered by the same rules.
The women of Real Housewives of Atlanta seem to be the masters of the genre. Nobody drops a confessional catchphrase like Nene Leakes. I could listen to that woman discuss Kim’s storage lockers forever. They date sketchy wannabe psychologists and give wigs as gifts and buy themselves Aston Martins as pick-me-ups. They’re a hell of a lot of fun.
But I definitely find myself hesitating when I’m talking to BabylonSista online and gaping over the ladies’ antics. And honestly, it’s because I want to make sure I’m not just some white lady acting shocked about the behavior of some black women who live in a city I don’t know that much about. I feel like I can judge Jill Zarin’s cranky Jewish housewife schtick. Washington’s weird, because I’ve met most of the wives through my job, and so I mostly see the disparities between how they’re cut and how they are in real life. When it comes to Atlanta, though, I don’t want to be ignorant. Except when it comes to Phaedra and her pregnancy. In that case, I’m pretty sure crazy knows no color.