Friday, 4 February 2011

The Real Housewives of Slapout

I don’t know if the world needs it, but I’m looking forward to the "Real Housewives of Miami." Will there be drama, fighting, and shallow rich chicks who think they can buy taste and youth? Um, yes, reason to watch and all that.

I’m no reality junkie, but a couple of the Housewives shows rate in my watch-worthy list – the New York and Atlanta groups to be exact. However, I’ll be skipping the next NY season since the best little housewife of them all Bethenny Frankel told the show to suck it and headed on to greener pastures with her own show (which also makes my must-see queue).

Then there’s "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" whose divas shine in all their feisty glory, plus I just like the ATL. The California and Jersey “ladies” bore me to tears, and the DC dames were only mildly interesting (and even then only because I looked for familiar sites in my old stomping grounds).

So I'm looking forward to the drama that ensues when you throw self-centered divas with more money than class into the ring in Miami. From the previews it looks like it will not be a gushy love fest (and where would be the fun in that?). I’ll be lucky to catch even a few slices of hot-headed Miami housewives unless the UK picks this up soon, as Hulu doesn't do a full run of Bravo programs. Just getting Hulu at all involves a little sleight of hand, as it frustratingly blocks non-Stateside viewers.

What I'd really like to see, though, is a realer, grittier version of Housewives. I'd like to see real women, the kind more likely to drive a Ford than a Ferrari who don’t know the difference between Gucci and George (the Wal-Mart brand). The kind of women who put out Doritos and Sam's Cola for guests. I'm talking 'bout my people, y'all. I want the Real Housewives of Slapout, Alabama.

I'm not from Slapout, but I always thought that was one awesome name (I’m not sure it’s even the real name, I think it’s actually Holtville but everyone calls it Slapout. It’s just fun to say). I lived in Alabama for many years and consider it home even if I never acquired the accent or understood the appeal of sweet tea, fried okra or ball caps. I’m still much more comfortable at a casual barbecue than a dressy sit-down dinner. I don't want to party with people who wear thousands of dollars in froufrou frocks, shoes and bags just to have a drink. I don't want to go much of anywhere these days if I can't wear jeans and sneakers.

That’s why I’m rooting for a show set in Slapout. It could be the antithesis of the other shows where the women spend buckets of cash to pretend they’re not tacky, classless oxygen thieves. No, the low-rent housewives might be tacky and classless (‘cause that’s just a better show), but they wouldn’t have to spend a fortune to get there.

And to be the opposite of the showy rich, I think you’d need to go showy country. Real country. Whether or not these women really represented others in their community wouldn’t matter (how much do the other housewives represent the majority of women in their towns?). No, you’d go for people with simple tastes and short tempers to star.

The Housewives of Slapout would have six dogs in the yard and remind their teens to take that hunting rifle out of the car before going to school. They'd always have an iced sweet tea in hand and flip-flops on foot. A special day trip wouldn't be to check out museums in Birmingham but rather to make a Hank Williams pilgrimage to Montgomery (the “museum,” the cemetery, lunch at Chris' Hot Dogs downtown). Fine dining would be Cracker Barrel, and they’d have to ride a couple towns over to get there.

They'd have a tramp stamp and wear belly shirts to show off a belly ring, even though that hasn't been a good look for them since, well, ever. They’d follow NASCAR and drink Miller Light. Wedding catering would come via Wal-Mart or Piggly Wiggly. They’d one-up each other over who has the nicest double-wide. And when they throw down with the other Housewives, they’d really throw down. As in on the ground to pound a heifer. They would bust wigs, talk trash and lose their shit. It would be spectacularly awesome.

The one drawback is people might think all Southerners are like that. Now, the part about sweet tea and flip-flops (it’s hot in Bama!) and double-wides and such is not uncommon, and no shame in that. The part about being hot-tempered and uncultured, well, that’s a certain segment of the population like anywhere else, but it’s not the whole. I doubt viewers think everyone is like the housewives in the other states, but when it comes to the South, folks love to think the worst. And the worst does exist; it’s just not all there is, not by a longshot. However, that Southern accent makes it so memorable and seems to make people think anyone who has one just rolled off the hay wagon. It doesn’t help that some of them did, and they’re the loud, memorable ones.

I think people only go for reality TV if it’s not much like their own reality. And if you soon see a new “Housewives” set on the wrong set in the sticks, a check better be heading my way, y’all.

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