Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The "Housewives" of Atlanta Are Back for Season Two

What premiered to low viewership in October ended with over 2.8 million viewers and a television phenomenon... those wacky "Housewives of Atlanta." Many in Atlanta were aghast at their antics and ghetto-fabulous ways, others around the country were taken in and took a weekly hour long escape with the women who call the metro Atlanta area home.

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" is the third incantation of the "Real Housewives..." brand of Bravo television. The first one began a few years ago with a similar line-up of ambitious women obsessed with conspicuous consumption on a grand scale in a gated community in Orange County, California (I just started watching Season 4 which has a few new faces). Earlier this year, a New York group was added to the franchise. And a predominantly Black group of women were found to anchor this year's newest series.

The premise is pretty simple: film the day-to-day antics of a close knit group of financially well-off women, and then let the sparks fly as they try to out spend, out class, out brag, and out consume their female counterparts on the show. Add a healthy dose of alcohol (fine wine and champagne, of course), big houses in gated communities, and plenty of free time for them to show each other up... sit back and watch the fur fly! All three series (Orange County, New York, and Atlanta) followed the same formula and all three series (to a certain extent) receive the same reaction from the "cast."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found some Atlanta housewives who weren't particularly happy with the depiction of the ATL in the show (basically lapping up the Haterade):

“It was a mess — the worst representation of women in Atlanta I’ve ever seen,” said Andrea Clark, a housewife in Hampton, south of Atlanta.

“I would not want to show my face in public after that,” she added.

“I just thought it was awful,” said Sherri Caldwell, a housewife in Virginia-Highlands and author of the book “The Rebel Housewife.”

“Incredibly distasteful,” added Marie Killory, an Atlanta mother of three.

The Bravo series, which debuted last week and continues tonight, follows five very wealthy women living in gated communities in the northern suburbs as they shop, spat and crow about their status.

“I consider myself among Atlanta’s wealthy elite,” Sheree Whitfield said in the first episode, as she threw herself a birthday party with security guarding the front door and a cake shaped like a huge Louis Vuitton purse. Her friend Kim Zolciak wrote a $68,000 personal check for a Cadillac Escalade, while another housewife, Deshawn Snow, took viewers on a tour of her 15,000-square-foot mansion and interviewed applicants for her staff.

Two are married to professional athletes, and a third is divorcing an athlete, seeking a “lump sum” in “seven figures.” Another appears to be supported by a man she calls “Big Poppa.”

The timing of a TV show that wallows in wealthy indulgence when millions are panicking about their financial futures struck some viewers as especially tacky.

“In this dreadful financial climate, it is particularly unbelievable to watch this level of conspicuous consumption,” Bethenny Frankel, who was one of the “Real Housewives of New York,” posted in a blog — one ostensibly set up to promote the series on Bravo’s Web site.

Frankel called the Atlanta series “ ‘Cribs’ meets ‘Jerry Springer.’”

Well, Bravo has decided the peach of the Atlanta group is too juicy to pass up, so they are about to begin filming Season Two. The final episode of Season One broke the record for the number of viewers of a cable show! Trashy? Yes! But then again, who can look away from a train wreck that is barreling down the track?!?

Who isn't curious to find out what has happened with Kim and Big Poppa?

Will Eric Snow - the pro basketball player - let his wife, DeShawn, come back to the show? She appeared to be the most level-headed and drama-averse of the group.

How fake can Sheree get? And did she get seven-figures in her divorce from former Atlanta Falcon's player Bob Whitfield?

How is business going with Lisa? Did she ever snatch big wig Kim bald-headed in a catfight?

And rumor had it that NeNe and her family was put out of their big house... did they get to keep it? Or are they living in an apartment?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the popular Bravo series will be back for Season Two:

Or we can take the press release quote from the Bravo exec, in less-than-colorful business-speak:
“The level of engagement on Atlanta far surpasses a typical series on cable or broadcast, with our viewers deepening their connection to the show through live wireless chats, daily blogs and additional footage online,” said Frances Berwick, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Bravo. “This, along with the colorful personalities of our housewives, helped drive the series to a watercooler sensation.”

I anticipate all five housewives will be back. I’m not sure if they are contractually required to be around for a second season but my guess is yes. I ran into Sheree Whitfield yesterday at Frank Ski’s [an Atlanta radio personality] wine auction and she said the promotion the show gives her is priceless in terms of getting her clothing line off the ground, that it’s well worth the aggravation of being insulted online and being scrutinized to such a degree.

A launch date for season two has yet to be identified though my guess is late spring or summer. I bet they will start shooting the season in January or February.

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plez sez: okay, guilty as charged! i still have season one of "real housewives of atlanta" saved on my dvr - i can't get enough of the reunion show! before you level any attacks on plezWorld, you need to know i am also recording season four of "the real housewives of orange county" as i type (it comes on tuesday nights at 10 PM ET on Bravo).

for some reason, trashy reality television like this appeals to the voyeur in me... it's also good to see that having lots of money in a bank account doesn't absolve one the troubles that everyone else experiences. i didn't see the atlanta housewives as a representative cross-section of atlanta anymore than the group in orange county speaks for the women of southern california! actually, it was pretty cool seeing how money doesn't change things that much; yeah, you can hire a chef to cook for you and you can live in a 15,000 square-foot home and drive high end automobiles. but more than likely, you still have to get your ass up for work everyday, your kids still need parental guidance or they'll go astray, happiness isn't found in a bank account or with material things, and if you're ghetto before you "get paid," more than likely you'll remain ghetto well after you "gotten paid," right, Sheree?!?

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plez sez:if you missed season one, bravo plays a healthy dose of re-runs on the weekends... check out the housewives of the ATL!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the article about criticism of the real housewives of Atlanta.

Read the article about Bravo deciding to renew "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" for season two.

Check out the plethora of blogs about "The Real Housewives of Atlanta": New York State of Mind | Journalicious! | WandaPhull World | Entertainment Weekly | Racialicious | Astrochicks | Stuff Fly People Like | I'm Not Obsessed ... and The Dish from BRAVOtv.

Go to the Bravo TV site for "The Real Housewives of Atlanta - Season One".

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1 comment:

Miss T said...

I loved the raunchy and distasteful as it was. I loved it.