Sur-reality TV: You’d Rather Read Charles Kuralt

You decide to watch an episode of “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” since one of your children now lives in the District.  And even though you really didn’t enjoy the “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” –did they truly reflect the city?  Of course not.  But of course, the producers will always try and find the strangest creatures from each habitat– much like the selection process for an aquarium…or zoo, for example–and cast them to star.

So, onto D.C.  After Tivo-ing “D.C. Cupcakes” (not the most exciting show–it makes Cake Boss look like Othello– but the cupcakes are supposed to be amazing; there’s always a line a block-long at the shop), and “Top Chef D.C.,” you decide to give D.C. Housewives a try.  At first you are captivated…not in a Jane Austen sense, but still.  Obv, it’s over-dramatized and as chock-full of staged conflicts as pro-wrestling.  You have the Blonde Interloper–the one who strolled uninvited into the Inauguration dinner with the Prez–who surprisingly appears to be a true innocent.  It’s a little unsettling how this episode showcases her seemingly low I.Q. and gets away with it.  Then there’s the housewife with five children who proclaims that, “She doesn’t make money, she spends it,” and then there is a successful real estate agent who seems normal (how did she ever make it through casting?), and then a very strident woman who owns a modeling agency, and then a woman from outside of London.  You follow them through the polo matches, benefits and birthdays–which are all entertaining with the requisite witchy repartee.

And then it happens.  At first the English woman seems somewhat interesting because she owns a very down to earth domicile–a cottage out in the country–not a McMansion the other housewives.   But then her English photographer husband comes home and announces that he just drove back to D.C. from North Carolina and it was just like “being in ‘Deliverance,'” and that he “thought he would see a banjo any minute.”   Hmm–just made that drive yourself last summer, and  you find the states of North Carolina and Virginia to be absolutely beautiful. On that stretch of interstate–both I-85 and I-95– there are mainly trees–not many folks lurking about.  You’ve actually driven all over North Carolina for about forty years and have yet to spot one banjo.  Maybe you should call your brother in Virginia Beach and see if he’s ever seen one.  Perhaps this photographer wended his way back paralleling the breathtaking Outer Banks, or cut through charming historic towns such as New Bern and Elizabeth City.  If so, you hope that he at least waved to all of the pleasant people sitting on their porches.  But this comment is from the fellow who has been one of the main White House photographers for a couple of  administrations?  He sounds a little cryogenic; he has simply got to get out more often.  He needs to step out on his own lovely porch, settle down in a rocker and wave to passers-by.  But you guess there is just no controlling The Real Housewives, much less their real husbands.

And so it goes, you suppose.  You know this is “Reality TV,” (which is actually always surreal) and you get what you get.  You did enjoy the scenes they showed of D.C.–a spectacular city.   You turn off the television and go pull a book off of your library shelf.  Tonight you will enjoy flipping through “On the Road with Charles Kuralt,” instead.

© ReelingintheYears, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given toReelingintheYears with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


A freelance writer who revels in the 1970's...and today. Thoughts on being a baby baby boomer and empty nester. Welcome to the Saturday evening porch.
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