The reality TV trip has been a source of drama from season one of The Real World, when Heather, Becky, and Julie went to Jamaica, where Becky and Bill the show’s director—ex-Real World director, that is—hooked up.
That trip was positively tame considering what followed over the next 25 years, and of course, now entire shows (Below Deck, The Challenge, Bachelor in Paradise) are structured around sending casts to a fabulous vacation destination to see what happens when they hang out, drink, and interact.
The Real Housewives of New York City trips are definitely peak reality TV for me, and this season has given us three already: the Berkshires, a Vermont cabin, and last week and last night, Mexico.
The first episode of the Mexico trip mostly focused on choosing a room in an ultra-luxury resort and Ramona’s related demands. Yes, there were several acts of television about choosing a room.
The episode ended with the magic of LuAnn falling into the bushes. And that was before they visited a tequila factory in the second Mexico episode, which aired last night.
This cast is at its best when they’re trapped in a confined space, all together, with nothing but their ridiculousness. I would watch hours and hours of this trip. Thankfully, it continues next week.
As is the case with RHONY, most of the cast’s interaction is trivial, absurd, and repetitive, badgering each other about perceived and actual slights. They act entitled, doing things such as tearing light fixtures off the wall of their friend’s home (or at least, Ramona does).
It’s superficial fun and it’s an hour a week when I can just get caught up in the light drama.
There is underlying realness/darkness—Bethenney’s ex’s harassment of her, whatever Ramona is or isn’t dealing with, LuAnn’s relationship with Tom and her constant dismissal of their problems and his behavior as absolutely normal parts of a relationship—that reminds us these are real people who are dealing with some brutal shit. But they have a job that allows them to unwind and be petty and have fun.
I’d love to see spin-offs, like Ramona and Sonja Change Rooms, or just an season that’s nothing but a vacation, though perhaps they work because they’re spread out and a chance for warm tensions to boil over. They definitely do work, and that’s why they’re a staple—thankfully!—of The Real Housewives.