Teresa Giudice Reality versus Real Life Reality
Teresa Giudice, I am not.
You’ve probably heard of Teresa Guidice. It’s hard to miss her. Teresa Giudice on the magazine covers in the checkout lane at the grocery store. Teresa Giudice on the magazine someone leaves dangling over the toilet paper in the restrooms at work. Teresa Giudice, everywhere!
A few nights ago while channel flipping, I caught an episode of THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY which, on the occasions I’ve seen the reality TV show, I’ve always found a bit perplexing in that way that you pass an accident on the highway and can’t help but look. This was the episode in which Teresa Giudice and Dina Manzo dish about Teresa Giudice ’s feud with Caroline Manzo over silly snipes from Teresa’s cookbook, ugly quips about menopausal bitchiness, mean-spirited gossip in celebrity tabloids…
…And other first-world problems.
Sigh. All the Melissa Gorga, Joe and Teresa Giudice, Manzo sisters, and their extended families and neighbors and spa friends aren’t really that different from how I grew up. Just…a better neighborhood and more expensive beauty parlors. My extended South Georgia family of cousins and friends and mortal enemies—often overlapping—was merely a hick version of the same drama on THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY. But…
But there came a point when I walked away from the constant in-fighting and drama and focused on living my own life, as happily and as serenely as possible, even if it meant walking away from many members of my dysfunctional family. That’s something none of these women have learned to do, or either they have not been able to do it contractually.
Is any contract or paycheck worth this???
Why can’t Caroline Manzo walk away from the drama? Why can’t Teresa Giudice? And why can’t all the viewers?
I know from my daughter’s eye-rolling over her experience with the JERSEY SHORE filming in Florence, Italy, that these reality TV shows are heavily influenced by edited and manufactured situations. My daughter watched first-hand as JERSEY SHORE representatives populated filming areas to make a scene look more “Italian” than it was, and one of her classmates was told to alter her normal route to class in order to be more congruent with the film crew’s needs. To my daughter, getting a first-hand look at reality TV was slightly enlightening but mainly just something to be avoided while she focused on the real reason she was in Italy.
If you watch a few episodes of THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY, it’s obvious that much of the drama is manufactured, usually by the show but often by the women on the show itself, particularly Teresa Giudice. Then again, I think in real life (vs reality TV), people do tend to manufacture drama even when they’re not under contract to do so.
But like I said, Teresa Giudice, I am not. By comparison, my life is rather dull—dull being a synonym for drama-free. And yet, I am having a blast with every aspect of my life right now. Let’s put this in perspective.
What if my life were reality TV like Teresa Giudice and her friends and relatives’ lives? What then?
I can imagine the cameras following me to my job, which is fun, exciting, meaningful, and sends me home at the end of each day feeling accomplished and like maybe my work saved a few lives. But I can also imagine having to side-step cameras to get from meeting to meeting until I scream at an underfoot cameraman and shove him out the window because he’s in the way of my rush to get things done, done, done! Another cameraman would capture my annoyance, photos would show up in various tabloids, and I’d suddenly have a reputation not for flipping tables but for flipping cameramen and flipping off producers.
The cameras would follow me around my kitchen at home, peering onto the Foreman where I’m grilling or into the wok where I’m stir-frying a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free dinner while filling a tall glass with…ice and water. Yawn. BRAVO just lost half their audience for this time slot, huh?
Oh, wait! The camera zooms in to the list of ingredients on a package and they’re….organic, pronounceable, few. Either edit in the wine bottles that are decoration above the cabinets or cue the sound of channels flipping.
Then the cameramen (poor things) have to follow me on an 8-mile powerwalk while I dictate a chapter of the next novel after THE SECRET LIVES OF LIBRARIANS. They’re in my face, though, and I get annoyed and can’t concentrate on the storyline. I give up and scowl a lot. A show rep mentions cancelling my contract for lack of anything exciting. Cut to some former boyfriend’s new wife dressed up in rhinestones and glitter eye shadow and talking to the camera about whether she thinks the novel I’m writing is about her, because whatever she says is much more interesting that watching a writer write, even if it’s spoken lyrics to “Ice, Ice, Baby.”
Finally, when the crew is about to give up, they catch me sneaking out of the house and film me with that lime-green night-vision camera that makes my eyes look like a lemur’s in the moonlight. I find a quiet spot in the back yard to raise my arms to the Goddess and call down Her blessings in a simple prayer of gratitude. Oooooh, now we’re cooking. Show popularity just went up a notch! I’m done in 5 minutes, and smile my way back to my bed to end this beautiful, loving, fun, creativity-packed day and start all over tomorrow.
But the cameras cut from my heavens-stretched arms to the earlier kitchen scene where I sharpened a knife…and then to my neighbor’s skittish black cat in my driveway as it freezes, then hisses at the camera. Yeah, that’s more like it!
Heh. My peaceful life could be just as drama–filled as Teresa Giudice ‘s life…but wow, am I glad it’s not.