In the end, the big reveal of ["The Real Housewives of Orange County" (Bravo)] is that there is no big reveal, beyond the news flash that money does not make you happy or nice or even very interesting. This is 2009. There is no poetry in the suburbs, no art to be gleaned from the battle between society and the individual. Society won, pal, and what's wrong with that?While I appreciate the endorsement, I am suspicious. If what we've set up is a continuum of lived experience and of understanding that imagines rote laboratory experiments at one extreme and an appreciation of poetry at the other, haven't we just basically tapped the last nail into poetry's coffin?
No one in these suburbs is secretly yearning to live in Paris or be a painter, and if there is any self-doubt, it's buried under the silt of professionally prescribed pharmaceuticals and the belief that looking straight at the camera makes you seem more serious. Hedda Gabler left the building years ago; these heroines are tragic only in their lack of conciousness . . .
It's hard not to worry, just a little, that given the tanking economy, the wives and their gated communities may soon be stormed by disgruntled O.C. peasants bearing pitchforks and tiki torches. But even if "Real Housewives" does make it through the lean times, these women will no doubt remain right where we all want them to be: trapped in the fabulous shabbiness of their lives, having conversations that run back and forth like trained rats along dim and narrow mazes of the mundane.
Which is precisely why we will always need our poets. Now more than ever, no one more so than those housewives down in the O.C.
("Decay at play in the O.C.," Critic's Notebook, Mary McNamara, 2-10-09)
By the way, I have been known to watch an episode or two of Real Housewives. Not that I'm in any way endorsing it.