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The Fantasy of Reality

Critical Essays on «The Real Housewives»

Edited By Rachel E. Silverman

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.


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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 Face- book. There, a friend and Masters Degree colleague, Kristin Murray com- mented, “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 schol- arship 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 col- leagues in the department of Humanities and Communication at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Without Sarah Fogle’s inspiration, encour- agement, and support, this collection would not exist. Her seemingly simple...

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