What’s So Real About the ‘Real Housewives’?

It seems that Real Housewife of Atlanta’s Lisa Wu Hartwell lost her home. The bank foreclosed on it and she is reporting that they are now living in a house that sits on ten acres. For real? Sounds like another foreclosure is in the works.

Do two adults and one child really need 10 acres?

Wu Hartwell now joins the other cast members Nene Leakes and Sheree Whitfield in having homes foreclosed on since last season. The only one who seems to have moved on up is Kim Zolciak who is an admitted gold digger who juiced her married “Big Poppa” for cars, clothes, jewelry and homes. I’m just wondering why she can’t get enough money to tighten up that wig. But I digress.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta
highlight what’s wrong with Americans and why we are in so much debt. We are so wedded to keeping up with the Jones’ that we are barely keeping up.

How much debt could you possibly be in that you cannot keep a home in Atlanta when starring on a widely successful reality show?

But that’s right, none of them actually live in Atlanta just like last year’s DeShawn Snow was renting her “mansion.” I’ve seen mansions before and the homes of the Real Housewives of Atlanta do not compare.

They are so transparent that I’m trying to find out just who in the world they are trying to impress?

What’s not impressive? Being a fashion designer who doesn’t know a thing about fabrics, design or sewing; being a singer but you are vocally challenged; pretending to live an NFL lifestyle when in fact it is clear you are the breadwinner and hubby is along for the ride; calling people “ghetto,” when many people would describe you as country and ghetto; acting like you’re happy to be engaged to a man with six children when you’re obviously settling; pretending to be friends and hating on each other at every given moment.

There’s nothing really “real” about the Real Housewives of Atlanta except for their propensity to make fools of themselves. The saddest part about it is that they keep stumbling along, creating debt and projecting a lifestyle that they truly cannot afford and certainly not on their own, with the exception of Wu Hartwell and Kandi Burruss.

Tune in for the drama, because the show is definitely entertaining. Just know that the only thing real about this show is that these ladies are posers and like most of us, one paycheck away from the poor house.

This article originally appeared on TheLoop21.com, where Nsenga serves as managing editor.

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Jon and Kate + 8: All That Glitters Ain’t Gold

I think I have had enough of Jon and Kate Plus 8. I blogged about the familial train wreck seen and heard ’round the world some weeks ago and vowed not to write about the Gosselins again — because … what’s left to say?

You know the story. Jon and Kate met, fell in love and married. They had two beautiful children and wanted one more. Thanks to the miracle of God and science, the fertility treatments resulted in six more kids making eight. With a lot of love and courage, they endeavored to face this challenge, attracting national media attention for their can-do spirit and attitude.

Facing financial challenges due to Jon’s unemployment and having to feed six additional mouths instead of the one for which they had planned, they accepted TLC’s offer of a reality show, to hopefully secure their financial future.

As is the case with many things in Hollywood, all that glitters ain’t gold, and America’s favorite family crumbled before our eyes. The happy family wasn’t so happy. Dad was hen-picked, immature, cheap and seemingly unable to hold a job. Mom was a bruiser, who went all Hollywood and seemed to get meaner by the episode. The kids didn’t seem to know if they were coming or going.

Jon and Kate were at the top of the news cycle as America became obsessed with the troubled family.

The media pounded Kate for any attempt to improve herself. How dare she get short with her children? How dare she get a manicure, pedicure or a new hairstyle? How could she get a tummy tuck? Even after it became very apparent that this family was suffering, they lobbed blame at Kate for agreeing to sign on for another year.

According to the media, Kate was mean, narcissistic, selfish and had gotten all uppity. Tabloid after tabloid ran down lists of what she was spending on herself including $40 on a manicure. Coming from a trailer park, I guess she wasn’t supposed to want more for herself or try to improve her appearance after carrying and caring for eight children, but that’s another article.

I thought it interesting that an industry that typically celebrates beauty transformations chose to pummel Kate, who was looking better and better. What was it about Kate that made her so “evil” and what was it about Jon that made him so “angelic”? Why was America so fascinated with watching the demise of this family that once held so much promise?

I had enough of Kate and Jon until they announced their divorce. After weeks of being at the top of the news cycle for their “strained” relationship and alleged indiscretions, they announced that they were splitting, but would continue to tape their show.

Take the needle off the record. They’re divorcing, but still shooting the show, which focuses on their marriage? Now, that’s Hollywood.

To add insult to injury, America’s favorite victim, I mean Dad, was gallivanting around the world with a 23-year-old girlfriend in tow, to whom he allegedly gave a $180,000 ring, just weeks after the announcement. Did I mention that she’s Kate’s plastic surgeon’s daughter and a known troublemaker? A class act indeed.

Yes, the guy who insisted on frugality with his family, took his new girlfriend around the world on a shopping spree, allegedly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at fancy restaurants, exclusive stores and exquisite travel. I suspect if he had treated his wife like that, they may not be divorcing, but I digress.

Some say that Jon deserves this lavish lifestyle for having put up with the “evil,” castrating Kate for all of those years. Really. I always thought that Kate had to have been like that when he met her, and if she wasn’t, perhaps dealing with someone immature and unwilling to step up even as the father of eight, made her act ugly. Perhaps, like many couples, they thought marriage would change the other person and it didn’t — they just became more of who they always were.

Regardless of how Kate treated Jon, they have eight young children at home. A man who said that the media spotlight had driven a wedge between his wife and him now seems to be soaking it up as he gets to play “man about town,” while his wife is at home with their eight children. Poor Jon — who is sick of the Hollywood hype — has, in fact, gone Hollywood.

It’s interesting how Jon and Kate have been treated so differently by the media, which seems to have retreated from dogging Kate. Now that it’s clear that her husband is a cad, there seems to be a better understanding of why she behaved the way that she did. It turns out, it is he who has gone over to the dark side and has discarded the very people who gave him the financial freedom to do so — Kate and his children.

Jon has managed to make Kate look great in a matter of weeks. Perhaps he should spend some of their hard-earned money on a publicist instead of paper chasers.

What’s left to say? Not much. What’s left to do? Cancel the show because, as they say in Hollywood, it’s a wrap.

This article originally appeared on Creative Loafing.  Nsenga is also managing editor of TheLoop21.com.

Eight is Enough – Reality Shows about Kids Must Go

Actually any more reality series about Octuplets is enough. The Octomom is getting one, and TLC has upped the ante with Table for Twelve, a couple raising 10 kids. All of this is enough to make me want to throw up for numerous reasons, most of which is people’s obsession with watching people attempt to raise kids while not doing a good job of raising their own. Why anyone would want to have that number of children in this day and age, let alone subject themselves to public scrutiny is beyond me? Masochism is alive and well in the 21st Century.

I know, they’re doing it for the money, but at what cost? One only needs to look at the train wreck called the Gosselins. Why would anyone want to replicate that experience?

Read more from Nsenga at Creative Loafing, where she serves as cultural critic.