Full disclosure on today’s blog: I watch a lot of trash reality TV. I can’t help it, I can’t look away. A lot of them have to do with girls, both young and old. Girls, a new HBO comedy, is written, produced, directed and starred in by 25 year-old Lena Durham (Durnam? Something like that). There is a lot to admire about a 25 year old who does all that at her age. She’s clearly got something going on, but I don’t get her girls. They are twenty-somethings out of college, living in New York. The series is about their friendship and their lives and loves. it has been billed as “this” generation’s Sex and the City. These are not girls I think I would have hung out with at that age. Too many neuroses, not enough thinking forward. Was I like that at that age? I don’t think so. In college, my friends and I couldn’t wait to get out and start working and to experience life, hopefully some place far away. We took life by the horns and made it what we wanted. These girls seem to cope with what life throws at them.
And then there are the grown-up girls living privileged lives in big cities like New York and Beverly Hills. I am talking Real Housewives, a guilty pleasure. First of all, none of them are real housewives. They all have help, and we all get to live vicariously in world where you have drivers and plenty of money for botox. But they treat each other horribly. They fight, they confront each other about perceived slights or bad parenting in strange, inappropriate places. I am sure the producers encourage it, but still…I don’t know anyone like this. I don’t know who would want to do this on national TV. My friends are respectful. We all have appropriate boundaries and we do not pick fights or cause scenes. We do NOT make remarks about each other’s parenting. I guess that’s why we’re not on TV.
I won’t even go into The Bachelor, in which 20 women vie for “love” with one guy and somehow develop such intense feelings in a few short meetings that some will become catty and mean with each other, because I want to get right to Dance Moms. I am happy to say I’ve only seen this a couple of times because even I, queen of trash TV, can’t take this one. The dance coach of a girl’s dance team, and the dancer’s moms, talk about each other, pick fights, threaten to quit and storm out, or get thrown out, all in front of their young daughters. The girls just keep dancing. I have friends whose kids are involved in all sorts of activities. They band together with other moms to support the activity. They don’t wait until one walks out the room and rip into them, or scream at the teacher with them standing right there. Of course, I don’t think they have teachers who put the kid down to the parent in front of them, either.
I can’t really complain about how awful it is that these shows are on TV because I watch them! But I usually watch them with my mouth hanging open, wondering, who does that? No one I know. The women and girls I know are very supportive and friendly and caring. Oh, and they all read, which is a big bonus . I can’t imagine life without them, and I can’t imagine ever getting into a screaming match with any of them. Especially not on TV!
Have you seen these shows? What’s your take? Tell us about your circle of girls–what are you all like? What things do you like to do with each other?