This weekend I have traveled from Orange County to Washington, DC. So what comes to mind? The franchise that is the Real Housewives. This franchise started with The Housewives of Orange County in 2006 on Bravo. The show took so much momentum that it grew to having shows in many different cities. Currently they plan to have seven cities: Orange County, New York City, Atlanta, DC, Beverly Hills and Miami.
I watched the first season and have followed the other Housewife spin-offs but the franchise took a new level of interest to me this summer. This summer I co-chaired the Orange County Press Club Gala, an awards ceremony for journalists in the Orange County area. The keynote speaker? Scott Dunlop: producer of the hit television show, The Real Housewives of Orange County.
He said that he came up with the idea when he was having a dinner party with friends in his town, Coto De Caza, where the hit show debuted. He thought, how great it would be to have cameras follow families in the town around and show others how this area works?
Simple idea. Huge franchise.
The show took giant leaps and bounds. He even mentioned to me this summer that they are thinking of eventually going international.
Although, how “real” is reality?
Each “housewife” has her own blog on the Bravo website that allows them to speak out about the show episodes and what went on behind the scenes. They update them regularly with the episodes.
It seems as though these depictions are pretty truthful, or at least they are putting up a good facade. Bethany Frankle, one of the women from the Real Housewives of New York, speaks out about reality television. Click through for the interview. She said,
“If there really is scripted reality, which I understand to be true, that really sucks. Because it is really deceptive to a viewer. At the end of the day I guess its entertainment. If someone is watching someone’s real life then they should probably get there real life and the producers are responsible to give the viewers there real life or don’t call it a reality show!“
Sounds like Bethany’s experience was truthful, after all she doesn’t believe that scripted reality should be done.
On the other hand, one of the Housewives from Atlanta is not returning to the show because of inauthenticity. It is said that Lisa Wu will not be returning because they asked her to “amp up the drama.” She said that if her life wasn’t enough as is, she would not be returning.
Based on my Reality Rules I would give The Housewives of…: 3 Checks
Members of the television show are open about their life on blogs that they write themselves and open about the fact that they do not believe in scripted television. Further research has also shown that the accounts in the series are true (such as one housewife seeking bankruptcy, divorce, etc.). The only finding to be false is Lisa Wu’s alleged comment that was from an anonymous source. This leads me to believe that some of the interactions are stages such as producers asking the housewives to have lunch together but that the conflict, personalities and relationships are authentic.
Barbara Kreisman please stop misleading viewers of “reality” television programs and regulate reality tv.