I am not a huge fan of reality TV. As a writer, I think it's a lazy way to fill hours with the publicity-seeking, ratings-hawking folks willing to do a little bit of anything for their fifteen minutes of fame. That being said, from time to time I must admit to having been pulled into the train wreck. Last week, I decided to see what I've been missing and sat down to catch two shows.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo: I did not watch Season 1. I was told it was to be a portrayal of bougie black women in Atlanta so my expectations were somewhat elevated… until I read the episode one synopsis:
Watch what happens as the second season promises to be filled with drama. Nene shows her "gay boyfriend" Dwight her new home, located in Lisa's neighborhood, and he gives her design tips. Sheree has also moved into a smaller home, after her husband failed to pay the mortgage on her former estate. After mending their friendships, Nene, Sheree, and Lisa celebrate the Birthday of Niecy Nash in downtown Atlanta. While celebrating, the three notice Kim's attendance and talk about her lies and their new attitude towards her. Nene was very offended by the fact that Kim walked past her and didn't say anything. Sheree also mentions Kim and their lost their friendship during the offseason. At home, Lisa and her husband talk of having another baby, as Lisa is getting a bit older; she is 38. Kim visits her long time psychic who tells her she will have a baby boy in the near future. New girl Kandi speaks of her singing career and a new phase in life, as she is engaged to long time friend A.J., who has six kids of his own. Her mother, however, does not approve of their marriage along with her daughter Riley, who doesn't believe she will be happy with all of her new brothers and sisters.
I joined a lot of people in watching the Season 2 premiere – 2.7 million. I also know that twitter-land seemed to enjoy it. I did not love it so much. There were far more wince-worthy moments than I expected; highlighted by Sheree going all "Angry Black Woman" on her flamboyant party planner Antoine. Le Sigh.
Hammertime on A&E: I will admit to having preconceived notions about this show. I was expecting some buffoonery on an epic scale. I watched a marathon of six episodes on A&E and was very pleasantly surprised.
Stanley Burrell (MC Hammer) now lives a more economically balanced life in Oakland, California with Stephanie, his wife and confidant of more than 23 years, and their family of six kids ranging in age from 4-21. In Hammertime, A&E takes an unprecedented look behind Burrell's larger-than-life personality and into his life as a devoted husband, father and business entrepreneur busy juggling childrearing responsibilities and daily household chores with speaking engagements, his own music label, an online website, and concert performances. Because when life hits hard, Hammer hits back.
Guess what I discovered? The Burrell family is bouge ya'll. Everyone's in school, the kids are getting braces, Stephanie and her two girls went off for a spa day and left Hammer in charge of the house. The Burrells vacationed in Hawaii, took the whole fam and renewed their wedding vows. They did an episode where Hammer moves his mother from Vegas back into a house a few miles away from his family. There is a hilarious moment where all the Hammer men pull out their gold Hammer pants and do a "Can't Touch this" dance-off. The whole thing was so very, very ordinary that I was entertained.
So surprise, surprise and shame on me. I made snap assumptions based on titles. Who knew the Real Housewives of Atlanta would be so much more hood than a rapper reality show. We live and we learn people. Bloom and grow.
Do you watch either of these shows and if so, what were your thoughts?