Testing the tried and true theme that nothing sells better than smeared mascara, Bravo has banked on this extension of Real Housewives.
“We tested the show against a broad spectrum. Kids in Haiti, for one, while initially confused as to why these women were crying, soon moved to laughter at the ‘crying clowns,’ as they called the plastic surgery scarred women. Talk about a universal train wreck. These kids, overcoming such tragedy, were able to step back and say, ‘Haha, these women are stupid,’” says marketing exec Thomas Franklin.
Cultural theorist Jamie Slavas claims that the laughter stems from “instinctual human inertia: it’s the Tower of Babel on a modern, personal stage. You witness people that have no right being so dramatic, emotional, save that they are human, breaking down, crying, ‘Woe is me!’ while they valet their Bentley. That is what we find so appealing: a train wreck on a grand scale. It’s why the Titanic drew so much interest. It’s why Housewives does as well. Only now, you get to see the ship before it sinks, and wish and wait for the iceberg to topple the narcissistic a-holes. I say, ‘Bravo, Bravo!”
Slavas adds, “The incongruity is that these people think they’re watched because they are interesting. Couldn’t be further from the truth. America watches to watch them fall, to sneer at their imperfections.
“They don’t realize they’re only clowns, post-modern or what have you, embracing an illusion of stardom that is founded on America’s hope of watching them be Humpty-Dumpty, crashing and not being able to be put back together again.
They think they’re royalty, but they’re only well paid clowns.”
Watching an upcoming episode in the midst of orphaned children, one had only to wish, “Cry on clowns, cry on” amongst the rubble and suffering.
For a moment, at least, the Haitian children were able to glimpse the possibility of the concept: More money, more problems.
That is until they had to shuffle back to their orphaned lives of malnutrition, dysentery, and pervading sense of hopelessness.
“Funny thing is,” says Slavas, “if they invested the same money they pay these rich bitch clowns into these kids, a lot of these problems could be healed. You wouldn’t be feeding illusions of grandeur. You’d be feeding starving kids.
“Instead, America loves a crying rich clown.”
Beards & Bellies Press © 2011