I don’t generally like to look at nasty things. Like the dried up worms that appear the day after a thunderstorm. Or those shows on the Learning Channel that show actual surgeries. Or baseball.
But I can’t stop myself from watching the Real Housewives of New York City. It’s a sickness, I know. And I am ashamed of it. Whenever it’s on, I keep one hand on the remote in case husband wanders into the room. With one push I can be watching something more acceptable like King of the Hill reruns or Iron Chef.
This is the second season of the show. The characters are loud, bejeweled and a couple of them have Long Island accents that make my Southern-born ears flinch. (I always find it amusing to hear that they think we sound stupid.)
New York City is a place that has always fascinated and frightened me. I remember one cab ride from the airport into Manhattan. The driver swerved in and out of traffic. He spent more time looking at us in the back seat than at the traffic in front of him. At one point he asked where we were from. “Arkansas” I answered. “Arkansas!!!???” he exclaimed…”that’s where they KILL people.” Some how, the streets of Little Rock never felt quite as scary as that cab ride. And, for the record, the people in Arkansas kill deer and ducks, not each other.
But back to the show.
One of the characters is Countess Luann De Lesepps. Or, as one of the other characters called her, the Dis-Countess. LuAnn really likes to throw that title around. Her housekeeper was on vacation in last night’s episode, so LuAnn had to order the pizza herself for her children’s dinner. When the kid from Domino’s asked for a name, she said THE COUNTESS. When the American Cancer Society gave her an award at fundraising event, she called them stupid for getting her title wrong. When she had a luncheon for her daughter and her friends, she spent the entire time giving them etiquette lessons. I rather think that these wealthy young teenagers know that the napkin goes in the lap and the mouth is closed while chewing. But those were THE COUNTESS’S etiquette tips.
Man, I remember the good old days when etiquette lessons were the highlight of every slumber party. Good times.
But why do I watch?
I think because watching these supposedly wealthy, supposedly “classy” women makes me feel a whole lot better about my life here in Franklin. I don’t have to worry about what I’m wearing to the next party. Around here, the choices generally fall into two categories–clean and dirty. I don’t have to worry about my “friends” discussing my life with reporters. I don’t have to worry about having too much publicity–or not enough.
It’ll be interesting to see if the current economic crisis has an effect on these women and their lifestyles. The show was shot last summer before the worst of the downturn. One of them owns a fine fabric and home furnishings store. Another is a private chef. Another’s husband is in the jewelery business. From all accounts, the Wall Street denizens that used to support such enterprises are in greatly reduced circumstances.
But no matter how much money she has, THE COUNTESS will still be THE COUNTESS. Her title is secure. Until THE COUNT goes shopping for wife number five, that is.