Some people consider being a Real Housewives fan a character flaw, but I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I don’t consider watching them a guilty pleasure, because I feel no guilt about it (although I refuse to watch the truly heinous women of The Real Housewives of Orange County).
The Housewives was meant to be a behind the scenes look at the series, with interviews with current and former cast members, by Brian Moylan, who has been recapping episodes for years, and ghostwrote Erika Jayne’s (pre-fall from grace) memoir. However, when Bravo got wind of what he was planning they quickly told cast members they couldn’t participate. While a few did so anyway, the book is less satisfying than it would have been had he been able to interview the stars.
Beyond that, though, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Moylan takes us through the conception and development of the show, an exploration of how Housewives have monetized their roles, and an entertaining chapter is spent at BravoCon. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the chapter where he spent a weekend at a special event hosted by Vicki Gunvalson. Much as I truly can’t stand RHOC and Vicki in particular, this chapter humanized her and also illustrated the best part of watching the Housewives: like any other fandom, the sense of community you feel when you’re around others who like what you like.
Some parts drag, a bit, and it’s certainly not for anyone who doesn’t watch the Housewives, but I enjoyed it and I think other Housewives fans would as well.