The ‘Real Housewives of New York City’ Don't Exist in a Vacuum

Real Housewives
Ramona Singer, Jill Zarin, LuAnn de Lesseps, Bethenny Frankel and Alex McCord. Photo: Photo Courtesy Bravo

As you all know, Gossip Girl is returning to the airwaves soon, therefore saving us from having to unleash all of our obsessive glee on another unwitting subject. But if we were to do so, the victim of our endless critiques would probably have been The Real Housewives of New York City. Come on, you know you're going to love hating yourself for loving to hate it. We got hold of the first two episodes, and they did not disappoint. The show serves to show us a whole new class of people that we haven't really seen before. The Orange County edition was just as campy and trashy as one would expect; after all, money is what shows status out there. Here, class still matters. Real Housewives trains a telescope on the little-examined but arguably powerful firmament of wealthy adults in Manhattan, those who aggressively crowd around established society stars, hoping that some of the glitter may fall on them. They're the people in the background of Bill Cunningham's pictures in the "Styles" section, the donor names you don't recognize, the bodies filling in the chairs at Da Silvano. It's kind of uncomfortable to watch, because at the end of the day most of the women are sort of sweet, happy, and slightly flawed. You feel like you're watching a show about your mom's kooky friends. What saves the show, though, is the reactions of the supporting cast family members, friends, and staff around the five ladies. They make the women redeemable and real. For every nutty social climber, apparently there is a nanny, a tennis pro, one to three children who have a 50-50 chance of surviving boarding school, and a devoted husband or boyfriend. This week in New York, we profiled our five favorites. Check it out, and if anybody's slept with the tennis pro, e-mail us at intel@nymag.com. We don't want to publish anything; we just have some questions.

Behind Every Housewife… [NYM]