The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives

Flatiron. May 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250807601. $27.99. TV
Lavish spending, brushes with the law, and drama galore: Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, a series of reality shows following fame-hungry urbanites of New York, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, and other cities, is generally considered the ultimate guilty pleasure. Moylan (of the blogs Vulture and Gawker) would disagree. Aware that the programs are often objects of derision, he fiercely defends them, arguing that they offer vicarious thrills, a social outlet, and the opportunity to bond with fellow viewers. Moylan approaches his work with the ardor of a fanboy, attending BravoCon and a weekend-long meet-and-greet with a former Housewife. Appealingly snarky, Moylan turns gossipy at times—though he doesn’t unearth quite as much dirt as he might have liked; because he and his editor turned down a deal with Bravo, the network forbade Housewives from speaking with him. While his affection for the show and the women is palpable, his research is also meticulous, detailing the ins and outs of filming and the history of reality TV. Moylan’s argument that dismissing Real Housewives is sexist (“A love of reality TV…is a tiny stab in the heart of the patriarchy”) isn’t entirely convincing, though it is intriguing nevertheless.
VERDICT A smart, entertaining tribute that no Real Housewives fan should miss.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing