A defense of Real Housewives as “fascinating and important TV”

Bravo’s exploitation of the bloody, real-life trainwreck that was The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills continues with a three-part reunion that starts airing tonight.

The producers’ and network’s inept and offensive editing left me with blind rage toward this season, even though I find other editions of the franchise, particularly New York, to be thoroughly entertaining. I recognize that some people were riveted by RHOBH, though I don’t understand that.

Today, The Daily Beast’s Kate Aurthur makes that argument, highlighting what she’s learned from the series, including “the ability to sniff out a lie” and information “about debt and foreclosure; about the erratic parenting of narcissists and the terrible things that happen to children when they have no privacy; and about hidden addictions.”

In the interest of full disclosure, Kate is my editor when I contribute to The Daily Beast, and I like and respect her, even when we have significant disagreements over this or other shows. But her distillation of why this season has “been an unprecedented character study, and truly great television” is worth a read, as she argues “scripted television has never done anything this enthralling.”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.