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Those scenes have always been the meat of the series, the grounding to all the hysterics and silliness. They give it cultural value. But the hysterics and silliness are still vital.
There’s been much written about what responsibility shows like Real Housewives have to meet the gravity of the current moment—and, maybe more important to some fans who rely on the shows for escapism, what responsibility they don’t have.
“It seems that the mood might have shifted away from the hedonistic escapism that it once offered,” Brian Moylan wrote in an excellent Vulture piece last fall. “In a time when more and more fans are holding public figures accountable for things they say and do, both on-camera and in their personal lives, can a class of reality stars weaned on outrageousness find a way to respond — and do we even want them to?”
What’s confusing about the understated RHONY premiere is that a sizzle reel that plays at the end of the episode suggests that it may be the franchise that figures out how to get the balance right.
The Real Housewives of New York City’s First-Ever Black Housewife Isn’t Holding Back
New cast member Eboni K. Williams, the long-overdue first Black cast member of the series, arrives with an impressive confidence and, based on that trailer, wastes no time going toe-to-toe with the show’s veterans. The montage hints at drunken screaming matches galore, but this time they involve words like “gaslighting” and “Karen.” It all looks explosive and entertaining, but also in line with the kinds of conversations these shows need to be having, because they are the ones the world is having.
And however a long-term fan of the show feels about real-world, topical issues being brought into the gilded cage, no one can deny that Singer squirming as the show’s first Black cast member accuses her of gaslighting is excellent TV. It’s just, so far, a slow start to getting there.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
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