Theoretically, The Real Housewives is an interesting concept when it comes to Reality TV. A show featuring women who portray themselves as power players in their respective cities complete with lavish lifestyles. However, throughout the years people became less interested in the opulence and more fascinated by the train wreck aspect of their lives. Rather than pay attention to the money, power, and respect these women try to convince the audiences they have, viewers are more intrigued by the bankruptcies, evictions, and relationship problems that come with trying to keep up with the Joneses. When drama and strife take center stage on any of The Real Housewives shows, it translates to ratings for Bravo.
A good example of this is The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which scored its highest ratings during its sixth season (and also achieved the highest ratings of any Real Housewives franchise in the process). The show is airing a three-part reunion for season six, the first of which premiered this past Sunday, April 20. I tuned in to watch, as I'm sure many others did, solely to see the exchange between cast members Porsha Stewart and Kenya Moore -- a fight that had already been covered by the media prior to airing since it involved a physical altercation. I thought it was going to be amusing, but it wasn't. Instead, it was sad. Watching the moment where Porsha grabbed Kenya's hair and dragged her across the floor made me uncomfortable. I turned it off shortly after.
I'll admit I was a one-time huge fan, but I don't keep up with The Real Housewives of any city anymore. Reason being because I started to see a shift in the way the ladies were being presented a few years back. The shows representing each city (Orange County, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, and Miami) became darker and much more mean-spirited than when they first began, which is strange considering that even though all the shows air on Bravo, they are produced by different entities. It almost seemed as if each production company's mission was to outdo the other cities by becoming the show with the most poorly behaved women, and in doing so, simultaneously become the meanest and most popular kid in the Bravo sandbox.
The first installment of The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion magnifies the darkness that has taken over the franchise. It also showcases how out of touch the cast, production, and possibly even Bravo have become with reality in their quest to bring "Reality" to the masses. While it's true that adults should be held accountable for their own actions, why on earth would anyone involved with production during the reunion have allowed Kenya Moore to walk on set with a handful of props? (Moore waved around a scepter prior to barking comments into a bullhorn, and both actions escalated the tension between her and Stewart.)
Of course, a logical explanation is everyone involved with filming that day probably thought it would provide the reunion show with the right amount of agitation and humor, and give them some great footage. Even Andy Cohen can be seen smirking as Moore uses the bullhorn -- that is until Stewart and Moore both stood up from the couch they were sitting on and things got physical. This wasn't the first time a housewife dragged a prop onto a reunion show, but it marked the first time a prop led to a housewife being dragged across the set.
Moore was wrong for provoking her cast mates, Stewart was wrong for pulling Moore's hair, and both Bravo and True Entertainment (the production company responsible for The Real Housewives of Atlanta) were wrong for providing and cultivating the environment that allowed all of this to happen.
For his part, Andy Cohen tweeted that props would no longer be allowed at reunion tapings the day after the episode aired:
It's official - no more props at reunions.
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) April 21, 2014
Remember when Teresa Guidice flipped a dinner table during the first season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey? Several years later that bold act seems almost like something out of an Emily Post etiquette book when you take into consideration how mean and aggressive these "housewives" have been behaving lately. With Moore and Stewart's fight, the ante has once again been raised. Where the crazy train is heading depends on how badly these women want the paychecks and fame attached to The Real Housewives franchise, and how much Bravo and the production companies are willing to let them act a fool.