Arts Desk

For Your Viewing Displeasure: “The Real Housewives of D.C.”


In front, from left, "Real Housewives of D.C." cast members Mary Schmidt Amons, Michaele Salahi, and Catherine Ommanney.

So, I'll admit it: I fell asleep before I had the chance to watch last night's premiere of the The Real Housewives of D.C., so I can't offer you my own incisive critique of the show. I have, however, scoured the web for opinions on the first episode, and in general, they're not good.

WaPo's aptly billing its extensive coverage of Real Housewives as a forum "where smart people come to talk about something incredibly dumb." They called the D.C. series "the most awkwardly contrived of the franchise so far," and said that the show "imparts a sinking feeling that it's made by and for people who can't stand women."

Alex McCord, of Real Housewives of New York, noted that if "currency is proximity to power," as was proclaimed in last night's episode, the D.C. housewives are broke. "So far, most of the D.C. Housewives seem to be sitting in the balcony—about as close to power as Sarah Palin‘s ex-stylist’s manicurist." Between the castmembers' personalities and their namedropping, McCord "shuffled between being bored and turned off while watching The Real Housewives of D.C." While she may not be alone in her thinking, she's not exactly an objective viewer–those housewives are notoriously competitive with each other, and not just within their own cities (or, in D.C.'s case, region).

Entertainment Weekly accurately noted that "D.C. really is known as Chocolate City, which makes it extremely odd that there is only one black cast member." The reader known as NQ commented, "I was born & raised in the suburbs of DC, and lived in the city for 7 years while attending G-town & law school. I have never heard it referred to as a “chocolate” city..." Really? How is that possible, NQ? Even McDonald's is aware of it–remember those "Hot Chocolate City" bus ads? There wasn't much in the way of EW critical commentary, but they did hilariously write, "Does everyone on this show smoke packs of Merit Lights whenever the cameras aren’t on because these women’s voices are shot." Maybe Michaele Salahi consumes cigarettes instead of food.

Washingtonian was The Real Housewives of D.C.'s only champion, and called last night's show "a delicious hour of television, a successful reproduction of Bravo's formula of side-eye, social awkwardness and stilettos, sharpened by a dose of Washington racial politics and proximity to power." Hmm. Never having had any desire to watch any of the Real Housewives shows in the first place, I'm skeptical as to whether a "successful reproduction" of the franchise is possible, let alone one in which but a single castmember lives in the title city.

Inside our own pages, Mike Riggs wrote that in D.C., a Housewives castmember–in her role as a "Washington insider"–can't just be rich and embarrassing, she must be "rich and embarrassing and symbolic, a civics-class primer of our federal city’s hierarchy majesty and might." He noted that the Housewives are so far removed from Washington influence and power that "the buskers in Farragut Square are closer to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave."

Did you watch last night's premiere? What'd you think? What should I expect when I check it out on DVR?

Photo: Jaime Windon

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  • Mark

    In the opening segment on Mary Schmidt Amons, when she explains her father's connection to Ethel Kennedy as "personal friends", there is a quick shot of a photo of several people posed on the steps of an airplane. Look carefully. It's a HORRIBLE cut-and-paste job to insert her father into the photo. Check it out.

  • Dave Peterson

    This post is more lame then the show. You can't even watch the show before you write about it? How pathetic.

  • Anthony

    The reader known as NQ commented, “I was born & raised in the suburbs of DC, and lived in the city for 7 years while attending G-town & law school. I have never heard it referred to as a “chocolate” city…” - clearly NQ was in a bubble because DC has been referred to as Chocolate City for at least a few decades.

  • Cindel

    @Mark: EXACTLY!

    One of the poster on a DC regional forum said that she went to school with the Kennedys and never heard of this woman. Also Colin Powell doesn't live across the street from her.

    Ms Amons needs to stop lying.

  • Toni

    The Salahis are totally out of control! It's time for Michaele to go to rehab--image rehab! Do some charity work or just resist the urge to jump on every TV show that invites her b/c she inevitably fights with someone ...
    That's just my opinion:
    Image Rehab: What Should Michaele Salahi Do Next? | Famecrawler