Photo Credit: Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage
"I definitely feel that doing a reality show is having a deal with the devil," said Vicki Gunvalson, of The Real Housewives of Orange County, in a recent Bravo interview.
Yep. You get a big paycheck and your (cosmetically enhanced) face on TV. And the viewers get to judge you for your outrageous, fame-whoring behavior. If and when that behavior leads to the end of your marriage, well, that's just collateral damage. Watch her interview here:
This same clip features Gunvalson's grown children, Briana and Michael -- two people who decidedly did not engage in any Satanic deal-making. Michael weighs in on the dissolution of his parents' marriage: "They didn't really spend that much time together, and when they were they were fighting, and they didn't really get along," he said. "And so, to kind of see that played back, and have other peoples' perspectives, was super awkward."
Super awkward, it seems, would be just the start of how it feels to be the offspring of a Real Housewife. Frustrated and irritated would have to be two others, right? Imagine going on a job interview, and your potential boss immediately recognizes your last name. "Lauren Manzo?" she cries. "As in, daughter of Caroline Manzo?!" Then you'd shrink back in your chair, desperately hoping she didn't catch last night's episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (wherein Mom could be seen screaming at Teresa Giudice at the top of her lungs).
But the truth is, amidst the scattered press coverage of Real Housewives children, the overwhelming majority of them come across as surprisingly normal and well-adjusted. In a video taken during a Glamour magazine photoshoot, Briana, 25, Lauren, 24, and three other daughters of Real Housewives talk about their mothers like any young women might. Pandora Sabo, 26, complains that her mom Lisa Vanderpump (of RHOBH) is "on top of me" to give her grandchildren. Victoria de Lesseps, 17, says she gets embarrassed when her mom, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (RHONY), sings karaoke. "But she is a good singer," she adds. "And I love her." And Tierra Fuller, 26, giggles over the poor family planning advice she's gotten from her mom, Sheree Whitfield (RHOA). Watch the video here:
So... does the debauching gene skip a generation? How is it that these young women all seem capable of refined conversation -- no vulgar comments or tawdry insults to be heard? Perhaps the answer lies in Michael's comment about hearing "other peoples' perspectives."
Maybe these grown children learned how other people react to their parents' behavior, and they got a new and enlightening view? You can imagine the thought process: What, not everyone throws punches at $10,000-a-plate charity balls? Just my crazy parents? Hmmm. Good to know.
Hey, maybe this guilty-pleasure of a franchise serves an educational purpose after all!
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.