The Un-Real Housewives of Atlanta

By Desiree Prieto

“If it doesn’t make me any money, I don’t do it.” “People are intimidated by my success.” “I don’t keep up with the Jones’s, I am the Jones’s.” This suburban bubble of land rovers, Porsches and fake benefit events exists on the Bravo show The Real Housewives of Atlanta. We’re told we’re watching a reality show about rich, talented and insanely beautiful women. What a parody, because it only takes a few minutes to learn we’re actually watching a group of untalented, ungrateful –and let’s not forget vapid—women, who don’t understand there are currencies of wealth other than money.

Yep, we’ve all heard the saying, ‘money doesn’t buy you class,’ but now we get to watch it in action. Throughout the show, a group of five women boasts their ‘talent,’ ‘skills,’ and ‘hard work’ by turning their pretend hobbies into a career.

There’s Kim Zoliciak, an overwhelming blond who not only compares herself to the next Carrie Underwood and Cher, but also thinks she’s black for some reason and is aghast to learn that professional singers take vocal lessons.

Second, is Sheree Whitfield, the ex-wife of NFL player Bob Whitfield. She’s an aspiring clothing designer, albeit unoriginal, albeit, someone should tell her the show is not called the Real Ex-Wives of Atlanta.

Third, there’s Lisa Wu Hartwell, wife of NFL Player Ed Hartwell. You’d actually kind of like Lisa, if you could get past her self-proclaimed business woman status, as a jewelry designer, fitness instructor, real-estate mogul and clothing designer.

Deshawn Snow, the wife of Cleveland Cavaliers Captain Eric Snow (who happens to be a great guy) plays foundation president, and ambitiously throws a benefit to raise a million dollars in one night. Forget the fact that all-the-while she’s revealing her crazy scheme to disapproving, somewhat practical friends, she still manages to go thru with the financially fruitless disaster. But, at least most of the women try to work. Nene Leakes, aka, the loser of the group and wife of a real-estate agent, never really articulates her career. Although, we learn she talks trash for a living, perpetuates an outdated black stereotype, is a ‘hater’ and says things like, “we’re paying for our son’s college out of our pocket.” Whatever that means, because if we’ve learned anything from this silly reality show, it’s that everything, including money, isn’t real.

Periodically, producers make an attempt to humanize or real-ify the lives of the five women. NeNe learns for the first time on the show that she doesn’t know who her real father is, and Lisa’s husband will move to Oakland to play for the Raiders while she is alone in Atlanta with their baby. We also learn these women are mothers, but we can’t help but wonder what values these parents impart, as most of us grew up with parents who taught us to live humble and giving lifestyles, or the complete opposite of what is portrayed here.

How has reality television become so obviously un-real, that now, most budding adolescents aspire to grow up and become the exact opposite of what our parents’ taught us? Perhaps we’re not all taught to “think outside the box” after all, but instead to be the box that sits inside our living rooms.

Click here to check out Desiree’s blog “Gal About the Globe.”