Okay. I have some news. And it may upset some of you.
I’m resigning from Housewives.
It just got too gross last night, you guys. I was watching and writing notes like I usually do, and then Lydia called Gina a dog and I just stopped and thought, “Nup. I’m out.” Because although that comment is what finally crossed the line for me, it was actually the climax of weeks of nastiness and bullying that I kept hoping was a one-off but ended up becoming the norm. And it gets to a point where you just can’t make that level of cruelty entertaining.
Those of you who follow my recaps will know that I love cheesy TV. I loved recapping The Bachelor last year (and I’ll do it again this year and hopefully every year until the end of time), and I was so psyched about doing The Real Housewives of Melbourne.
But recapping Housewives has not turned out to be a enjoyable experience.
And after last night, I just decided that I’d had enough, to be honest.
Here’s what happened (as best as I can summarise the convoluted back-story of a reality TV drama): Basically, a bunch of the women don’t like Gina. It started when she had an argument with Jackie. Then she was late to the tennis and used an expensive hand-towel that she wasn’t supposed to or something. How very dare she, what a BITCH etc etc. I know – all standard Housewives-style drama.
But the nastiness towards Gina spiraled out of control. Seriously – it reached another level. I know that these shows are edited in a certain way. I know that they’re loosely scripted and the producers probably had Gina turn up late to things on purpose to feed into the animosity towards her (also, she’s a criminal barrister – the woman’s got bloody places to be).
But, you can’t edit behaviour that doesn’t exist. You can’t create a bitchy sound bite if someone doesn’t say something bitchy in the first place. And after watching the show for eight weeks, you can tell when these women are reciting lines and when they’re not.
And the stuff they’ve been saying about Gina was not written for them, that much is obvious. Editing or not, these women have behaved appallingly, and I’m not comfortable writing about it for a bit of funny weekly entertainment anymore.
I wanted to make it funny for you guys, I really did. I know that I have a bizarrely specific skill that involves watching reality TV shows and then writing down what happens in them in an entertaining way (I wish I’d been born with a voice like Beyonce but that’s the way the cookie crumbled for me I guess), but even I was struggling to find a way to make these recaps fun without feeling extremely uncomfortable about participating in something… gross.
It started with quiet jabs about Gina’s appearance. The main culprits, Andrea and Lydia, would giggle about her looking like a drag queen, or make fun of her clothes, or the way she does her make-up.
Then there was the epic blow-up in last week’s episode, where Janet, Andrea and Lydia spent an entire dinner just telling Gina everything they hate about her. Seriously – just yelling incredibly hurtful and personal things to her face while she quietly sat there. It was an awful piece of bullying, and as I pointed out last week, not pleasant to watch.
But, I had hoped last week was the frenzied nasty climax and that starting from this week those three awful women and their bizarre hatred for Gina would have petered out. There was seriously nothing left to milk from that storyline anymore anyway and I just wanted to get back to watching rich ladies get confused about non-rich things.
But, unfortunately, these women had barely scratched the surface of their nastiness.
Last night, Gina was referred to as a dog. A DOG. Also a woman with fleas. Then, Lydia said the line that pushed me over the edge:
“You’ve gotta understand what’s triggered this (the fight). Because she’s lonely. And she’s so ugly. We’re rich. And that would annoy her.”
Ugh. I can’t even. Lonely, ugly and not rich enough. Is that actually something that just came out of a 40-year-old woman’s mouth?
That was the point where I stopped typing and thought “Why am I doing this? Seriously, why?”
The show is not so bad it’s good. It’s just bad.
I get that in other versions of the franchise, the in-fighting between the women is what makes the show entertaining. But that’s when there’s actually something to fight about. The table-flipping and weave-pulling is about an issue.
I think the misstep in the Melbourne version is that in the absence of actual drama, the producers have framed Gina as a villain and told the other women to go after her blood. But, because she hasn’t actually done anything to deserve their hatred, they’ve been reduced to targeting her personally – her looks, her clothes, her make-up, her hair, her personality, her job.
And watching a woman be incessantly bullied like that does not make for an enjoyable show.
The frustrating thing is, this show could have been so fun. The great fish-out-of-water stuff is so entertaining. Watching super rich, privileged women navigate their way through life is fascinating. And that’s the stuff that makes the recaps so fun to write. It’s all about gently making a bit of fun, while loving the endearingly clueless women who do ridiculous stuff every week.
Just this episode, Andrea got confused when a publisher told her that the book she’s written for working mothers about how to keep multiple nannies organised might not be relatable to most women. Priceless!
And Jackie and her husband International Rock Star Ben Gillies planned the launch party for their cocktail line before even finalising a business plan. Hilarious!
There’s so much good stuff there without having to resort to calling a woman an ugly dog.
It may just all be scripted. It may be tricky editing. I hope, for Gina’s case, that it is. But that’s just not the kind of show I want to watch.
That’s not entertaining. That’s not fun. That’s just gross.
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Editor’s note: Rosie receives advance copies of each episode of The Real Housewives of Melbourne. Following publication, it was made apparent that the following line spoken by Lydia in the uncut episode had been edited out of the version that aired last night on Arena: “Gina, she’s a dog. I don’t want to go to bed with someone that’s got fleas. She’s crossed the line, she’s got a gutter mouth.”
Will you keep watching Housewives?