Look closely at The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Peel away the abundant smoky eye shadow, 5″ stilettos, the feigned accents and the weird attraction to small dogs (the 4-legged kind), and you have you and me, the girls next door, just plain folks.
It’s true. We love The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because down deep they’re really not all that different from the rest of us. Let me prove it to you.
In one episode, Taylor is throwing her daughter Kennedy a birthday party the child will never forget, a tea party. Any parent can relate to that. We all want to give our children things we never had so they’ll have special childhood memories.
In the Beverly Hills Housewives (unwritten) handbook, Taylor says the typical child’s birthday party runs about $50,000. In my hometown, Baltimore, that’ll buy you a lot of cake for about 50,000 of your closest friends.
Still, I love her because I relate to her wanting to make her little girl happy. I did the same thing for my daughter’s first birthday.
In the Real Baltimore Housewive’s version, I shaved off some of the $50,000 cost, starting with the entertainment. My brother, 6’5″ donned an Oscar the Grouch costume that looked like it had been fashioned from ’70s shag carpeting.
And my daughter ended up shrieking, just not exactly for the same reasons. In the Baltimore Housewives version, my brother had become overheated in the costume, so he took it off and donned his uncle clothing. My daughter’s shrieking came not from the delight of being overwhelmed with the enormity of her event. It came because she opened the door to my bedroom and saw the rumpled shag costume of Oscar in a ball on the floor. Her shrieking went more like this: Oscar is dead. Oscar is dead.
But ultimately, just like Taylor’s child, my Ashley never forgot that day. Down deep with both had the same intent.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are interested in being empowered and in learning self defense. I remember my mom and aunts gathered in our club room to get in shape with those sandbag contraptions wrapped around their stomachs as they did kicks and leg raises.
Not very different from the Beverly Hills ladies. In one episode petite Adrienne body slammed one overbearing male loved one onto the ground after another. They hit the floor like wet cement. They were scared. One she didn’t flip was plastic surgeon hubby Paul. As she walked in from work one day, Paul was working out with a boxing trainer, still he would not let Adrienne flip him since it took him two weeks to heel. He cowered as his wife flipped their son Mike.
So in real women sisterhood, we are all into self defense and taking care of ourselves. In more ways than the physical sense. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills support each other spiritually, which is again why we as a sisterhood love them.
In the initial episodes, Camille Grammar, wife of Cheers actor and perpetually life screw up Kelsey Grammar, lamented because Kelsey was taking a job on Broadway. He was to be gone a solid year. Poor Camille. She spent much of her episode time talking about moving the family to be with him. We even saw the extensive time she spent with a decorator to make their New York apartment home to the family.
Well, he blindsided her with a divorce. What percentage of women didn’t relate to that one? I watched her on the reunion show with tears in her eyes, as well as tears in the eyes of the other housewives as no one had seen it coming.
They asked her if she regretted him being in the initial episodes and she said no…he’s the father of her children, yada, yada. Again, a typical sister girl attitude to take.
As a Real Baltimore Housewife, I adopted that one, too, and it got easier as time passed. In those initial days though, no. When I got news that my husband was cheating and was taking his good old time getting back home that night to explain, I hammered my ex’s wedding ring to the outside of the garage door of what would be henceforth thought of as his former residence.
When he made a beeline for the house to get his clothes, I helped him avoid climbing stairs by throwing everything out the front window. He climbed on the roof to retrieve some shoes and I put my foot up to the window as if I wouldn’t let him in. I was giggling in an absolutely beaten resolution, but he still wasn’t quite sure whether or not I’d push him off the roof. All I said was: “There’s not a jury in the world that would convict me as I’m clearly out of my mind.” Don’t tell me one of the Beverly Hills women wouldn’t do that. I know the New Jersey girls would be with me.
What we saw of Camille on the reunion show handling this was not the same reactions I’m sure she had those initial days. And that’s okay. She’s one of us. She deserves to act however she needed to act, and it’s good TV didn’t catch it because whether she has a bazillion dollars or 40 nannies or not, she’s just like us. She went through a situation many of us have been through, so our commonalities kicked in and we felt the protection of sisterhood.
In a clip at the end of the series you see Camille all done to the nines, with Kelsey in a limo. Kelsey was nominated for a Tony. “It was so hard walking down that red carpet knowing that my marriage was almost over. I was devastated,” she said. We Real Baltimore Housewives have gotten through many a dinner party to keep up appearances.
Which brings us to the one common thing the many Housewives in the various necks of the woods have: insecurities. Early on Taylor subjects herself to injections of God-knows-what on the side of her temple to sort of even them out and keep away those pesky facial expressions. Ultimately, she looked like she had huge welts on the side of her head, but she did it for love, to keep her man.
Taylor grew up in Oklahoma, she explained, knowing there was always something bigger for her. For now it seems like the lip injections fit the bill, but I don’t think that’s what she meant. She ended up with Russell Armstrong, a venture capitalist. Despite her contrived beauty, Taylor has constant fears like many housewives from any part of town.
On the show she said, “Beautiful women are a dime a dozen around here, especially 20-year-old beautiful women. And my husband is masculine. There’s no blurring that issue. It’s like, ‘Oh, Lord, he’s going to leave me for a 20 year old.'”
How sad is that, but how many housewives have felt the same way? So money isn’t the issue and beauty isn’t the issue and the location of your home isn’t the issue.
We love the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because if you strip away the exaggerations and the eccentricities, we identify with them. They have the same insecurities as we do. They just play them out on TV in a much more visible fashion.