Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dirty Little Secret

Yes, I have one.

Last night, coming off two "Cold" days, i.e., No School, and feeling increasingly decadent despite having graded a stack of history papers and having read half a novel, I watched
this show.

When a friend told me about it several weeks ago, I checked it out online and figured it was a fake reality show. There could not be real people in the world like these women, right? But no, my friend assured me, she used to live in Orange County, and they are real and so are their families.

I can't decide what's going on. Pure satire? Hokey ridicule? Some serious sympathy for the rich and un-famous? Reality in some bizarre form destined to assure the rest of us that we have lost our grip? Maybe a combination of all?

It's easy to feel a tad self-righteous when you watch this show. I am, for instance, seriously grateful to have a daughter who would not waste a second of her life even considering the surgical alteration of her body parts. It's hard to imagine the family bonding, as one of them did last night, in an outpatient surgery center over a young lady's nose job, as they must have also done when she got implants for her eighteenth birthday. Eeeeeuuuwwww. But these kinds of scenes are so over the top (no pun intended) that I am still wondering, seriously, whether they are all staged.

And the body parts? The women look OLD. With the eye makeup slathered on and the breasts manufactured to outlandish proportions ~ they look old and brittle. One of them said last night that she is, I think, 43, and I was astonished. I would have guessed a decade older, and I'm sure that's not the look she's after.

The odd thing is, and this is the pull of the show, I think: these women have a way of generating some empathy. They have the same problems that other people do: divorces, house disasters, children in trouble, work-related tensions, troubled relationships with their own parents.

But they handle them all SO badly. These are not women of insight.

Last night saddest scenes? In one, one of the moms, newly engaged, is planning a "blended family" trip to Hawaii so both sets of kids and the parents can bond over wedding plans. However, her oldest son, who is in some kind of boarding school situation while he waits out his juvenile court probation, probably won't be able to get away for the weeklong trip. His wistfulness is heartbreaking and his mother's lack of creativity in developing some kind of solution is mind-boggling.

In another, a different mom is helping her 19-year-old daughter move to an apartment. The daughter leans against a doorway, explaining that she had thought that they were going to have an all-day mom-and-daughter move-in time together. But the mom spends all the time in the car working, on her cell phone and computer, and brings (what she calls) work clothes, rather than moving clothes, because she's scheduled an early afternoon appointment. Again, a wistful kid and a clueless adult. Later, the mom talks into the camera about how much she will miss her daughter, her "best friend."

This viewer's reaction? With "best friends" like that. . . .

Sigh. I wondered if I have found my way to a new and pointless addiction.

8 comments:

Carol said...

It's not pointless at all. If every viewer could watch it with the same empathy and sense of skepticism that you've shown here, this drivel would stop being produced and the world would be far less self-absorbed and phoney. And there would be at least a few better parents out there. I'm thinking that your "gotta see the crash" attitude has at least as much to do with how different these people's values and lives are than yours and about your understanding of human needs. If nothing else it validates your own parenting skills!

Kathryn said...

Just say no and turn it off.

Paul said...

You call that dirty?

Lisa :-] said...

I've only seen the commercials for this show, and they make me gag. I have zero interest in "reality" shows. Don't know if this one is any dumber than the rest...

Oh...and the women look old because of the whole "tan" thing. UV rays will age you faster than anything...

Quotidian Grace said...

Well, I can't talk because my pointless addiction is Miami Ink.
And I HATE tattoos.

tina said...

I haven't seen the show, but living in the county next door ( the less affluent, less hip one ) I can tell you that these gals exist. Sad, but true. And to make matters worse, they have husbands and children who are just as shallow and self-absorbed as they are ... and so the cycle continues. Makes me glad I can't afford to live there.

Rhea said...

Reality shows seem so dumb. But sometimes you see one episode and...you're hooked.

sunflowerkat119 said...

I'd never heard of this show. But from your description, I'm SOOO glad that our one flirtation to moving to Orange County did not pan out. Aaron had a great offer there. I went out and spent a couple of days looking around. I desperately wanted to move to CA at that time, but my gut said NO.