The following article written by Phil Kloer in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Tuesday discusses the sentiments of real life Atlanta housewives about the "crass materialism" of the Real Housewive of Atlanta.
"The new reality series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is getting taken to the woodshed by one group in particular: The real real housewives of Atlanta.
“It was a mess — the worst representation of women in Atlanta I’ve ever seen,” said Andrea Clark, a housewife in Hampton, south of Atlanta.
“I would not want to show my face in public after that,” she added.
“I just thought it was awful,” said Sherri Caldwell, a housewife in Virginia-Highlands and author of the book “The Rebel Housewife.”
“Incredibly distasteful,” added Marie Killory, an Atlanta mother of three.
The Bravo series, which debuted last week and continues tonight, follows five very wealthy women living in gated communities in the northern suburbs as they shop, spat and crow about their status.
“I consider myself among Atlanta’s wealthy elite,” Sheree Whitfield said in the first episode, as she threw herself a birthday party with security guarding the front door and a cake shaped like a huge Louis Vuitton purse. Her friend Kim Zolciak wrote a $68,000 personal check for a Cadillac Escalade, while another housewife, Deshawn Snow, took viewers on a tour of her 15,000-square-foot mansion and interviewed applicants for her staff.
Two are married to professional athletes, and a third is divorcing an athlete, seeking a “lump sum” in “seven figures.” Another appears to be supported by a man she calls “Big Poppa.”
The timing of a TV show that wallows in wealthy indulgence when millions are panicking about their financial futures struck some viewers as especially tacky.
“In this dreadful financial climate, it is particularly unbelievable to watch this level of conspicuous consumption,” Bethenny Frankel, who was one of the “Real Housewives of New York,” posted in a blog — one ostensibly set up to promote the series on Bravo’s Web site.
Frankel called the Atlanta series “ ‘Cribs’ meets ‘Jerry Springer.’ ”
Not everyone, though, had a negative reaction.
“ ‘Real Housewives’ is supposed to be over the top,” said Tomesha Lawrence, an East Cobb wife and mother of three. “We should give the show a chance.” Some posters on various blogs have said they will continue to watch, although terms like “hot mess” come up now and then.
“Real Housewives of Atlanta” is the third such reality series location for Bravo, following Orange County and New York. While those earlier shows focused on well-off women who were sometimes catty and superficial, the women chosen to represent Atlanta appeared to some to take those attributes to a new level.
And it paid off, at least at first. “Atlanta’s” first episode drew 656,000 viewers nationally, well ahead of Orange County’s and New York’s premieres, although nowhere like what a Bravo show such as “Project Runway” draws.
Allie Schellhammer, who stays home with her infant daughter in Atlanta, hadn’t even heard of the show, but was visiting her parents in Alpharetta and happened upon it while flipping through channels.
“One of the main themes was that money and what you wear is so important in Atlanta,” she recalled. “I felt like, oh no, everyone watching is going to think Atlanta is so superficial and materialistic.”
And why wouldn’t they? As Zolciak said last week, “I’m very materialistic. I could die tomorrow, and I want to be wearing Dior.”
Some real housewives of Atlanta pointed out that the show’s housewives did not even fit the title. Two of the “wives” are single, and there seems to be very little work shown on camera.
“They don’t even take care of the kids!” said Clark.
Caldwell used to live in Buckhead, and said she was friends with women who had expensive tastes and nannies for their children. “But it’s still not an accurate representation of housewives in Atlanta,” she said.
“That’s not the real women of Atlanta,” echoed Clark. “Not the women I know.”