Tonight, I wasted a few brain cells watching the conclusion of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” Reunion Special and I realized – more than Marlo’s flawless weave and Kandi’s apparent buy-in to the drama – that the underlying desperation of our favorite Georgia peaches was more apparent than at any other time during the show’s run.

There was a brittleness, a palpable sense of “Look at me; I’m somebody,” that made my disgust at the way these women were behaving fade away in the face of my pity for them.

There was nothing there. No story-line, no drama that wasn’t manufactured, and no genuine friendships. All that was present was a group of women grasping at anything to maintain their slippery hold on quasi-celebrity.

As I watched them, I realized that they weren’t doing this just for themselves. They were doing it for us. The women who tune in week after week to point our fingers and shake our heads because we know that we could never be that ridiculous (pun very much intended and those who know why, know what I mean.) They know that we don’t tune in to “reality” television for positivity and upliftment. We don’t tune in to watch career women taking care of their families, building their communities, while maintaining their dignity.  We don’t tune in to see how ladies are supposed to behave; we watch to get a guilty glimpse of just the opposite. Because, let’s be honest, we don’t have to watch television to see women walk in the shoes that society has laid out for them, many of us can just look in the mirror.

We claim we want positivity, but how many of us would watch it? How many of us would support these women if they did everything by the book? If they followed the rules like we all do day-in and day-out, would we praise their efforts? Would we gather around water-coolers and congregate on Twitter and Facebook if they didn’t make complete fools of themselves? Professional women who watch the show talk about it in secret like it’s a meeting to discuss plans for the Underground Railroad. They are that afraid of being judged – yet they still watch.

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  • iQgraphics

    this chit is lame. it’s entertaining in the way that a 5 car pileup during rush hour is entertaining.

  • itsme

    I tell my husband all of the time that reality shows today are what game shows were in the 70’s, soap opera’s were in the 80’s, and talk shows were in the 90’s. The popularity will die out eventually and some other type of programming will replace them.

    I watch RHOA, but I also love Braxton Family Values, Tia & Tamera, Mary Mary’s new reality show, LaLa’s Full Court, and I loved The Family Crews when it aired a couple of years ago. All of these shows are positive with little to no drama. I’m an equal opportunity reality show watcher :-) One reason I think RHOA gets higher ratings is because of the network that it’s on. Many people don’t tune into Oxygen or Style Network and some cable or satellite providers might not even have these channels in their lineup.

  • Shelly

    Do you all even advertise the Wise Words section? I had never heard about it until you put it in this article.

  • janubie

    I will. And I do. I love Lala’s full court life, Mo and Kita on the TO show when it’s running. And styled by June.

  • ms_micia

    In 1985 there was a show that came on television. A black doctor was married to black (maybe mixed with Latina) but African American nonetheless lawyer. They had children and life full of culture and laughter. They talked about real issues regarding race, class, sexism and classism. They love, they laughed and you didn’t see them cheat on each other, throw bottles or bows. There was familial ties, stresses of education and community and yet…the show did well. People saw themselves and were entertained. So I don’t buy that twenty years later with an African American president AND First Lady that the only thing we can be entertained by is black women being overly sexual, catty gold diggers in search for fame. Whether or not I see it on a daily basis I want to see the representation in the media as well. For every Martin, there was a Cosby’s and a Living Single and a Family Matters. These scripted, yet supposed “unscripted” reality shows have been the demise of good shows. Good black shows get tabled before they even grow legs. Look at Between the Lines, or even Let’s Stay Together, one has been tabled, the other has the unwanted red head child of showing times. Who’s awake at 10:30 on a weekday??? Support for these shows have waned in the Hip Hop era. Everybody wants to be a baller, rapper, video girl. The images we had 20+ years ago of ourselves as black people had diminished into what you see today. Alot of people WANTING to be somebody, but who actually nobody at all.