The Discount Countess

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.


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15 responses to “The Discount Countess

  1. Niece Whit

    What a great addiction! You left out when Bethany introduced her wrong to the cab driver. Oh THE COUNTESS!

  2. Julie Fisher

    I’ve always wondered how people like your Countess (and on the other end of that spectrum, very poor people) react to commercials. You know, commercials in which people are worried about their cereal choices or their bone loss or cars on sale for just $20,000. I suspect both of these groups find most commercials just plain funny.

  3. Kimmer

    I would love for the COUNTESS to meet a GODDESS such as you. I’m thinkin’ you might be able to learn her a thing or two! 😉

  4. Amy

    I can’t even watch that show. I lived in the Bwoston arear for 2 yeays. Yes, I spelled it with accents included. I knew it was time to move home to Michigan when I heard some woman call my daughter home from the back door of our townhouse. It was simple, she yelled, “Sarah, get over here right now.” It was me, there was no ‘r’ sound, and a Boston twang that made think I was having an out of body experience. I tend to turn the channel, or turn off whatever I hear that accent coming from. My poor in-laws think I hate them…I just can’t stand their voice.

  5. I cannot judge you for watching that show when I myself watch America’s Next Top Model. It’s funny because I just wrote a post about my obsession with ANTM and how I know it’s horrible but I watch it anyway. I always see commercials for the Real Housewives and I always think, “I hate these women.” I know it’s terrible for me to hate anyone, let alone people I don’t even know. But there is just something about their glee at spending thousands of dollars on useless, indulgent items that makes my stomach churn. I guess I realize there are rich people and I don’t think there is anything wrong with spending your money if you’ve got (I would) but do they have to be so braggy about. Like I saw one preview where the woman was like, “Well this dress is only $10,ooo!” It made my skin crawl. My body does lots of things, apparently, when I see those commercials (stomach churning, skin crawling, etc). If you’re rich and can afford to spend $10,000 on a dress, then good for you. Just don’t try and rub my nose in it by going on a TV show and acting like it’s nothing to spend 3 months salaray for some people on one article of clothing. You know what I mean? But I clearly get your fascination with the show. God, look how long I’ve spent just commenting on it and I’ve never even seen a whole episode! : )

  6. I share your obsession and love your intro! Normally I make fun of silly reality tv, but I’m hooked on this horribleness just like you. Just an escape is all I can think of!

  7. mongoliangirl

    OMG! I watched about 15 minutes of that a few nights ago. Fascinating! I wanted to slap every single one of them, but admit I found them enormously funny as well. I swear, the only reason I’m not watching every week is because I don’t watch ANYthing every week.

  8. Whit–I remember that from last year. A great lesson in how NOT to treat people.
    Julie–a few more days like today and we’ll ALL be poor as church mice.
    Kimmer–it takes one to know one. 🙂
    Amy–I’m sure your in-laws don’t really think that. Send me your blog address!
    Gwen–I’m equally addicted to ANTM. I’m hopeless.
    Bonnie–horribleness is great word.
    MG–Tuesdays, 9 p.m. — be there!

  9. Never seen this one. And now that I’ve heard all about it, I can steer clear . . .


  10. I’ve watched that show a couple of times and I can’t help but wonder how some people are so out of touch with reality!!

    The Countess needs a checkup from the neckup!

  11. This is too funny because I just started watching it on vacation during the time when Joe would take a nap before dinner. He got a little concerned that maybe I had been watching it during our whole marriage. Those women kill me, though the one episode with the Countess and her children and the housekeeper talking about how she is basically raising the children while their parents went out all the time made me really sad and angry.

  12. Kira…my friend Bonnie and I have learned to watch the husbands are NOT around. 🙂

  13. I too get sucked into shows that I hate myself for watching but I just. can´t. look. away.

  14. Blue–welcome back! We’ve missed you here in Franklin.

  15. Julie

    I’ll take BASEBALL any day of the week! That is my addiction!

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