I don't know Danielle Staub, one of the "stars" of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I have never met her. But I don't like her. Isn't that really the crux of her appeal? She's the woman we love to hate. Still, I cannot help but feel relieved by Bravo's official announcement that Staub will not return to the show next season.
I am so tired of watching bad behavior being rewarded. The more outrageous, offensive and mean-spirited the character, the more attention they receive in the media. What a disconnect this is from "real" life! We teach our children the value of honesty, integrity, character and hard work, but let's face it, that is not what they see being celebrated on television. Look at the antics on Jersey Shore, The Hills, the various incarnations of Real Housewives, Pretty Wild, you name it -- good guys finish last (at least on TV).
I lament the first time I walked into the room where my wife and younger daughter were watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey. It took me only a moment to be simultaneously reviled and hooked. I admit that watching is a guilty pleasure. Danielle was a monster. That seems to be the way the show's producer's like it. After all, this a reality "show." It is heavily edited, most likely scripted and packaged for viewers' entertainment. Maybe watching Danielle makes us each feel better about our own friends and our own lives.
I finally decided to go cold turkey and stop watching altogether. I felt too much like a hypocrite with my own kids to add to the show's ratings or buzz by tuning in every week. But eventually I relapsed, as both my thirteen year old son and I tuned in for the last two weeks to see the insanity displayed on the "reunion" shows. In fairness, Danielle was not the only one portrayed as out of control.
I am sick of "bad-ass attitude" being applauded over real substance and achievement. Who needs to be honorable? Meanness sells. Why should I work hard to send my daughters to college? If we take the lessons learned from television, my money might be better spent on video equipment for a home-made sex tape which could be conveniently stolen and released over my daughters' vocal objections (ask Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton). Danielle is known for her arrest in 1986 on charges of drug possession and extortion, her sex tape, which she claims was stolen (surprise), her botched boob job for which she went under the knife again to correct and her alleged lesbian relationship with singing partner Lori Michaels. Oh yeah, and she's also a devoted and loving mom.
Danielle appeared unfazed by early speculation of her firing. At her birthday party in New York last month she told Life & Style, "I'm more excited about talks of my spin-off than anything else." A spin-off?
Heaven help us all.