(Okay, first, I apologize for my absence. Summer in Minnesota is interfering with my reality TV viewing. It'll get better in the fall.)
I just finished hour three of Real Housewives of New York City reunion special insanity, and I had a brainwave.
You know why I like these crappy TV shows so much? Because they make me feel so wonderful and normal by comparison.
Three hours of watching grown women yell at each other like they're on the 5th grade playground has done it. I can count on one hand (without using many fingers!) the number of screaming, yelling fights I've had with a friend after the age of 18. I really can. Friendships aren't about fighting and cattiness and bitterness; they're about finding like-minded people or people whose viewpoints you had never even considered and loving it and (I hate to use a phrase Kelly Bensimon uses) celebrating the people who land in your life.
And these Housewives claim they're all such good friends, but, man, if I found out that my friends were talking about me or found myself talking about them the way those women talk about each other, I would just have to give up and sequester myself in my house with my cat and never go outside again.
It's all about the lowest common denominator. I've believed this since my first casting gig in reality TV and I believe it to this day: the kind of people who would reveal their lives to that degree in such a public forum have something wrong in their heads. I would die if I was on national TV looking the way I look first thing in the morning, or the way I am when I'm crying and snotty and irrational, or the way I act when I've had a few too many. But these people put it all out there, and whether it's brave or foolhardy, it really puts things into perspective.
I mean, okay, sometimes I have disagreements with people. But at least my disagreements aren't replayed on Saturday marathons on national TV. And sometimes you say and do things you only mean in one instant that you regret the next, but at least it's not captured on film for all time. My moments of anger and unkindness and sadness are private, and only I have to relive the discomfort of that time where I really wasn't the best person I could be.
So when I'm feeling particularly low, all I have to do is click on my TV and watch someone who signed a release form they probably didn't really read do something they regret and I can think, "Hey! It's not so bad! At least my life isn't a TV show and I don't have to watch this for the rest of my life anywhere but inside of my head!"
In a weird way, thanks, Housewives, for letting yourselves be exploited. It reminds me that even though my clothes may not be as fabulous and my hair might not be as shiny, at least I'm emotionally stable, which is better then any piece of incredible footwear.
(Even though I'd sign on for one day of complete and total reality TV humiliation to get my hands on Jill Zarin's amazing teal shoes from the reunion show. Did you see those? Hello.)