This past weekend, I lost a good six hours of my life to a Bravo marathon of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." I came in part way through so I had no idea what the back stories were or who the women were but I figured you don't really have to know the players' names to enjoy "Meerkat Manor" either so I forged ahead.
Like all good Bravo confections, this one is equal parts mesmerizing and horrifying. In the past, I've envied wealthy trophy wives -- like when I'd dream of buying a Gutenberg Bible and building a special room to house it in and hiring a special butler to wear white gloves and turn the pages for me, not that I ever have elaborate wealth fantasies, ever -- but now I've realized what a horror fest it would be to actually live like these ladies.
For one thing, the word "friend" doesn't necessarily mean what I think it means. From what I saw, the word "friend" actually translates in nouveau riche New Jersey circles into "shrewish crazy woman with whom I go shopping and occasionally wear animal print pleather." Seriously, these ladies are crazy! There was name calling and table throwing and evil eyes everywhere! It's like watching a less sympathetic "Sopranos."
Also, these ladies are hardcore in the beauty regimens. In one episode, Danielle, who's the ostracized member of the herd who would be left behind should she ever break a leg, threw a spa night party for her "friends." Important party planning tip: nothing livens up a social gathering like botulism. It's true! The best part was when the wives tried to peer pressure one of their friends into injecting Botox and then made fun of her when she wouldn't do it. It was totally like middle school except with bigger hair. I sympathize, though -- friends who won't shoot poison into their faces are total buzz kills. Funny aside: when Danielle had her plastic surgeon inject her lip and then she lost feeling in it, she totally looked like Mr. Ed trying to get peanut butter out of his teeth. Pure awesome.
I realized, too, that I could never be a housewife of New Jersey because I would probably have to be friends with Teresa and Teresa pronounces "boobies" as "bubbies." The poor girl was a bit flat-chested at the beginning of the series so she decided to go get a "bubby" implant which totally made me picture small Eastern European grandmothers trying to escape Teresa's A cups. Even worse, Teresa brought her friends with her to the plastic surgeon's office where they giggled at her flat-chestedness, debated the pros and cons of saline versus silicone -- and no, the fact that one might give you cancer if it bursts was never mentioned. They then proceeded to pass her future boobs around the room in the wonderfully horrified presence of the surgeon, who kinda looked like he was going to cry. Here's the clip. Watch for Teresa's insight on why it's better to have a hot doctor touch your bubbies than an ugly doctor.
Damn you, Bravo, for making this wreck of a show so addictive. I had to watch two episodes of "Kathy Griffin's Life on the D List" just to clean my TV palate. That can't be good.