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The Fantasy of Reality

Critical Essays on «The Real Housewives»

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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4. Sunshine Blondes in a City of Glass: On Watching the Real Vancouver



The raucous patio of the Amsterdam Pub, roughly five thousand miles from its namesake city, provides an ideal vantage point from which to observe the promenade of Whistler Village. It is just after 2 p.m. on a weekday and, despite the drizzle, tables of inebriated snowboarders heckle passersby. The lively scenery includes tourists wrangling face-painted children, cyclists cruising in matching spandex, and most notably, a stag party celebrating a groom in a tutu and a hat with a large phallus he is able to animate. With the spirit of the ski resort embracing extreme behavior in both the realms of sport and alcohol consumption, it is not surprising that this is the chosen stage for the first episode of The Real Housewives of Vancouver (RHOV). Across from the pub, the illuminated sign of Araxi Restaurant promises prices set to deter youthful boarders and self-identifying ski bums. After strolling down the pristine cobblestones in towering heels, it is in Araxi, surrounded by fine wine, where Jody, Ronnie, Mary, Reiko, and Christina engaged in the first of many awkward dinners (“Let the Games Begin”). The unnatural engineering of their friendships and attempts to insert conflict fit well in this artificial village, the Aspen of British Columbia. However, this is the only episode set in the resort, leaving the crew to find—or create—equally glamorous local places in the city of Vancouver for the ladies to call their playground. Over the next 24 episodes, Vancouver residences...

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