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The Fantasy of Reality

Critical Essays on «The Real Housewives»

by Rachel E. Silverman (Volume editor)
Monographs XIV, 198 Pages
  • Library Access

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • The Real Housewives: Casts and Seasons
  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Getting to Know The Real Housewives
  • 1. Queering “Housewives”
  • 2. “Brains, Booty and All Bizness”: Identity Politics, Ratchet Respectability, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta
  • 3. Race (Re)visited: It’s a (Mostly) White World
  • 4. Sunshine Blondes in a City of Glass: On Watching the Real Vancouver
  • Part 2: Watching and Selling The Real Housewives
  • 5. Affective Enterprising: Branding the Self Through Emotional Excess
  • 6. The Real Entrepreneurs of New York City: Selling Elegance and Class in the Marketplace
  • 7. Hate-Watching the Housewives: Gender, Power, and the Pleasure of Judgment
  • Part 3: Beyond The Real Housewives
  • 8. Do Mean Girls Grow Up? Watching “Queen Bee” Stassi Schroeder on Reality Television
  • 9. Love the Housewives, but Where’s Our Feminism?
  • 10. Every Housewife’s Best Friend: The Sidekick
  • Part 4: Without Him, The Real Housewives Wouldn’t Exist
  • 11. Notes on Andy Cohen
  • Contributors
  • Index

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Acknowledgments

This book has, in many ways, been a long time coming. Two years ago, when I put out a Call for Papers soliciting chapters, I also included a post on Facebook. There, a friend and Masters Degree colleague, Kristin Murray commented, “Rachel, if I had a crystal ball ten years ago this would have been the perfect sentence predicting your future! How fun.” So in ways, the book is at least ten years in the making—but probably longer than that. Like Janice Radway and Bonnie Dow, my love of romance novels began early and held strong for many years. And like Andy Cohen, I too had a penchant for soap operas at a young age, General Hospital to be exact. Many afternoons were spent glued to the television with my sister Barbara and my neighbor and friend Ariella watching Duke and Anna, Luke and Laura, Felicia and Frisco, and the whole Quartermaine clan. This book would not be possible if it had not been the feminist scholars before me who have paved the way for scholarship such as this to exist, and this book would not be possible if my parents hadn’t trusted me to read and watch what I wanted.

The more recent stages of this book are due in a large part to my colleagues in the department of Humanities and Communication at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Without Sarah Fogle’s inspiration, encouragement, and support, this collection would not exist. Her seemingly simple suggestion, one day in my office, “You should write a book about The Real Housewives,” was the beginning of this collection. The hours we’ve spent discussing the antics of the women on the show helped keep me focused and inspired throughout the editing process. I would also like to thank the chair of my department Dr. Donna Barbie for her editing tips and her unending support. Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Course Reallocation Committee, Mohamed Camara, M. B. McLatchey, Mike Perez, and Jim Shoopman, for awarding me a course release during the Spring of 2014. ← vii | viii →

Without the contributors, Tony E. Adams, Jacquelyn Arcy, Erin Ashenhurst, Roxanne Bañuelos, Judy Battaglia, Keith Berry, Peter Bjelskou, Robin M. Boylorn, Ashley Cordes, Nicole B. Cox, Ragan Fox, David Gudelunas, Rachael Liberman, Kathleen Norris and Emily D. Ryalls, this book wouldn’t be possible; a sincere thanks to each of you for your patience, persistence and overall commitment to this collection. And an extra special thank you to Emily D. Ryalls, her insights and editing throughout the stages of this book have been invaluable, as has her general support for the project.

In addition to all the scholars mentioned above, I’d also like to thank one of my earliest mentors, Susan Mackey-Kallis, who inspired me to take television seriously and opened my eyes to a new world of scholarship. I would also like to thank the faculty and students (former and current) in the Department of Communication at University of South Florida. Elizabeth Bell, who taught me how to write and how to use a comma (although it is still a struggle), Rachel Dubrofsky for proving, through her own insightful work, that reality TV is real scholarship, and Antoine Hardy for encouraging me to find my voice and like it. Stacy Holman Jones, Marcy Chvasta, and Michael LeVan your encouragement during the early stages of my PhD program means more than you will ever know; and a special thank you to Meagan Araujo and Lori Roscoe for your love and care (and lots of wine) during the final stages of graduate school.

And finally, thank you to all of my friends and family whose support allows me to do the work I do. Thank you Abby Dritz Salzer for being my go—to girl for all things Housewives—especially for attending Jill Zarin’s lecture and Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen’s book signing with me. Thank you to Linda Yakle for keeping me grounded and well fed throughout my school vacations when much of the writing and editing occurred. Thank you Courtney Bishop for your help with the title and section headings. Thank you Barbara Silverman for always having episodes DVR’d and ready to watch when I come out to visit. Thank you Mom and Dad for letting me read trashy novels and watch soap operas throughout my childhood and young-adult life. Thank you Matt, for allowing me to stay with you in New York, when (fingers crossed) Andy Cohen invites me to his clubhouse because of this book. And of course, most of all, thank you to my love Abby Nicholson. You’ve now been with me through a dissertation and two edited volumes. You’ve read every piece I’ve written and spent many mornings alone in bed as a result of each one. You’ve also endured countless evenings of Bravo TV and Sundays full of Housewives marathons when I know you’d rather be watching football. Without you, this book would not exist.

Editing a book takes many people’s time and commitment. This collection is truly a community process and I appreciate each and every member of my community.

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The Real Housewives

Casts and Seasons

Domestic Installments

The Real Housewives of Orange County

Season 1 (2006)

Vicki Gunvalson

Jeana Keough

Lauri Waring

Jo De La Rosa

Kimberly Bryant

Season 2 (2007)

Vicki Gunvalson

Jeana Keough

Lauri Waring

Jo De La Rosa

Tammy Knickerbocker

Season 3 (2007–2008)

Vicki Gunvalson

Tamra Barney

Jeana Keough

Lauri Waring

Tammy Knickerbocker

Quinn Fry

Season 4 (2008–2009)

Vicki Gunvalson

Tamra Barney

Jeana Keough

Lauri Waring

Gretchen Rossi ← ix | x →

Lynn Curtin

Season 5 (2009–2010)

Vicki Gunvalson

Tamra Barney

Jeana Keough

Gretchen Rossi

Lynn Curtin

Alexis Bellino

Season 6 (2011)

Vicki Gunvalson

Tamra Barney

Gretchen Rossi

Alexis Bellino

Peggy Tanous

Season 7 (2012)

Vicki Gunvalson

Tamra Barney

Gretchen Rossi

Alexis Bellino

Heather Dubrow

Season 8 (2013)

Vicki Gunvalson

Tamra Barney

Gretchen Rossi

Alexis Bellino

Heather Dubrow

Lydia McLaughlin

Season 9 (2014)

Vicki Gunvalson

Tamra Barney

Heather Dubrow

Shannon Beador

Elizabeth Rovsek

The Real Housewives of New York City

Season 1 (2008)

Ramona Singer

LuAnn de Lesseps

Bethenny Frankel

Alex McCord

Jill Zarin

Season 2 (2009)

Ramona Singer

LuAnn de Lesseps

Bethenny Frankel

Alex McCord

Jill Zarin

Kelly Bensimon

Season 3 (2010)

Ramona Singer

LuAnn de Lesseps

Bethenny Frankel

Alex McCord

Jill Zarin

Kelly Bensimon

Sonja Morgan

Season 4 (2011)

Ramona Singer

LuAnn de Lesseps

Alex McCord

Jill Zarin

Kelly Bensimon

Sonja Morgan

Cindy Barshop

Season 5 (2012)

Ramona Singer

LuAnn de Lesseps

Sonja Morgan

Aviva Drescher

Carole Radziwill

Heather Thompson

Season 6 (2014)

Ramona Singer

Sonja Morgan

Aviva Drescher

Carole Radziwill

Heather Thompson

Kristen Taekman ← x | xi →

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Season 1 (2008)

NeNe Leakes

Kim Zolciak

Sheree Whitfield

Lisa Wu Hartwell

DeShawn Snow

Season 2 (2009)

NeNe Leakes

Kim Zolciak

Sheree Whitfield

Lisa Wu Hartwell

Kandi Burruss

Summary

With over twenty different casts, multiple spin-off series, and five international locations, The Real Housewives franchise is a television phenomenon. The women on these shows have reinvented the soap opera diva and in doing so, have offered television viewers a new opportunity to embrace a loved, yet waning, genre. As the popularity and prevalence of the docu-drama genre of reality TV continues to increase, the time is ripe for a collection of this sort. The Fantasy of Reality: Critical Essays on ‘The Real Housewives’ explores the series and the women of The Real Housewives through the lens of race, class, gender, sexuality, and place. The contributing authors use an expansive and impressive array of methodological approaches to examine particular aspects of the series, offering rich analysis and insight along the way. This collection takes seriously what some may mock and others adore. Chapters are both fun and informative, lending themselves well to Housewives fans and media scholars alike.

Details

Pages
XIV, 198
ISBN (PDF)
9781453915639
ISBN (ePUB)
9781454190219
ISBN (MOBI)
9781454190202
ISBN (Book)
9781433130496
Language
English
Publication date
2015 (February)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. XIV, 198 pp.

Biographical notes

Rachel E. Silverman (Volume editor)

Rachel E. Silverman (PhD, University of South Florida) is Assistant Professor of Communication in the Department of Humanities and Communication at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She is co-editor of Communicating Pregnancy Loss: Narrative as A Method for Change (Peter Lang, 2015).

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