' ' Cinema Romantico: Real Housewives, the Wrath of God

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Real Housewives, the Wrath of God

The problem is, in typing this post, I am confessing that I watch Bravo’s venerable Real Housewives franchise, three of their myriad incarnations anyway. But you know what? I’m not confessing. A confession implies formally admitting guilt and guilt suggests having committed a crime and this is no crime, figurative or otherwise. If you wonder in this age of superhero spandex and PG piffle, where all the outrageous 1950s and 60s-styled Hollywood melodrama went, it’s on Bravo in the form of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. The recent Season 4 premiere was all galactically haute fashion, a cornucopia of withering putdowns, enormous personalities operating at the known limits of eccentricity, and a typically wild study of postmodernism, people fully inhabiting their own warped realities. “You don’t come for my family,” declares Meredith Marks, Pharoah of Park City, after taking offense to a fellow cast member taking offense to her and her husband seen on camera together in the bath, “and you don’t come for my bathtub,” fusing home life and home decor until they become virtually, hysterically inseparable. The season premiere concludes with a deliberate snowball fight meant to expunge lingering resentments that is conveyed like a horror movie, jibing with the episode’s opening, a Bermuda flash-forward that is the Real Housewives equivalent of the storytelling promise. 

That brings me to my point here. One of the recurring tropes of these shows for the uninitiated is a girls trip spanning several episodes, and despite typically being in some sort of tropical paradise, these ostensible vacations almost always devolve into calamity, none more famously than Real Housewives of New York’s so-called Scary Island episode, where events on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands went off the rails. And in last year’s Real Housewives of Potomac, when the ladies go swimming in a Tullum cenote, what should be spiritually rejuvenating, becomes mosquito-infested (semi) agony, the editors and producers deploying horror movie like cuts and needle drops. 

Aguirre, the Wrath of God, above, Scary Island, below, or maybe it’s the other way around...

And that’s when it hit me. “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) produced by Andy Cohen, a Real Housewives girls trip to some seemingly tropical idyll that gives way to madness. Of course, to make this movie, we will need a group of faux housewives, and because the Tampa/St. Petersburg area of Florida seems fruitful for the kind of abnormality we require, let’s set our fictional Real Housewives show there.

Real Housewives of Tampa/St. Pete

Abbi Jacobson. The contractually obligated Nick Prigge Player, yes, but tell me Abbi wouldn’t make for the ultimate Rosé warrior. 
Natasha Lyonne. The peanut gallery as a person, her confessionals would eventually dominate social media. 
Regina Hall. Hall’s housewife shows up for the girls trip with a gaggle of interns and multi-person glam squad, all of whom will be picked off one by one, gradually reducing her to a shell of who she appeared to be, like Tisha Campbell in the earthquake episode of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” if she and Will had been stuck in the Nostromo instead of the basement. 
Jennifer Aniston. If rewatching a lot of “Friends” during the Pandemic taught me anything it’s that Angry Aniston rules, and I see Angry Aniston as the housewife dealing with feuds on multiple fronts. 
Reshma Shetty. The British American star waiting to be born will play a housewife claiming some sort of convoluted Royal heritage while parlaying it into a nominally successful music recording career. 
Anne Hathaway. The pre-eminent pot-stirrer, taking this one’s strictly confidential confession about that one to that one hella quick and then stepping back, feigning innocence, a haughty and content version of Ken Watanabe in “Godzilla.” 

Anne Hathaway as a Real Housewife

Mira Sorvino. Sorvino was on fire in “Union Square,” which not enough people saw, but I have come to realize that the one thing I failed to appreciate is how it essentially was her Real Housewives audition reel. 

And starring... 
Academy Award Winner Michelle Yeoh...

as The Grand Dame®.

No comments: