Critical Essays on «The Real Housewives»
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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