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The Real Housewives of New York City
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series focuses on five women who live within the privileged circles of New York City's social elite. Like their TV counterparts in Orange County, they place great importance on wealth and status, and as a result often come across as materialistic and superficial. There's plenty of catty behavior, some strong sexual innuendo, and plenty of drinking, and some of the kids act spoiled. The women must also cope with complicated issues like blended families and dealing with chronically ill children.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A spin-off of The Real Housewives of Orange County, THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY offers an East Coast view of what it means to be a (credit) card-carrying member of society's elite upper crust. Cameras follow the lives of five Big Apple socialites -- Alex McCord, Bethenny Frankel, Jill Zarin, LuAnn de Lesseps, and Ramona Singer -- who live in a world where wealth and status are the ultimate goals and spending loads of money on designer clothes, luxurious homes, and endless parties is the way to get there. But, as in the original series, these women also have to cope with problems that money simply can't fix, such as balancing their careers with their home life, building and strengthening personal relationships, and raising happy, healthy children.
Is it any good?
Unlike some of their Orange County counterparts, these non-traditional housewives aren't just Botox-injecting big spenders; they also wield some real professional and social power in Manhattan. Bethenny, for example, is a celebrity chef and was a runner up in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, while LuAnn uses her position as Countess de Lesseps (thanks to her French aristocrat husband) to benefit multiple charities. And, like any loving partners and/or parents, they want to provide their loved ones with the best. But despite their hard work and good intentions, the greediness and self-important attitude these women often exhibit sometimes makes them difficult to like and usually hard to take seriously.
Though not particularly exciting, the series offers some voyeuristic pleasure -- especially for those who like looking at how "the other half" lives. But the show's emphasis on status and materialism doesn't send a great message to kids. Still, teens might connect with some of the parent-child dynamics and the exploration of other, more personal issues if they can see through the endless flaunting of wealth and the privileges that come with it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the lifestyles featured in this series are appealing (or unappealing). What would be the hardest part about living like these people? The easiest? Families can also discuss why so many reality shows feature rich and famous people. Is it because people really want to be like them? Or could it be because their lives just don't seem real?