Real fakes: ‘Housewives’ tape in Decatur

On Thursday evening, Bravo network’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” taped scenes in Decatur’s Wahoo Grill. There were three large TV cameras facing a table facing the restaurant’s front window. Seated at the table were four ‘Housewives’: Sheree Whitfield, Kandi Burress, Zeppo and Shemp (i.e. two I didn’t recognize).

I knew reality TV was more fake than Atlanta Public Schools test scores, but until I ate a delicious fish dinner adjacent to a taping of ‘Real Housewives,’ I didn’t understand the mechanics of the fakeness.

How fake is ‘Real Housewives’?

1. It was a restaurant scene, but the women didn’t actually eat during the taping. According to a restaurant staffer, dinner gets in the way of taping.

2. The conversation was repeatedly interrupted and guided by a crew member. The women would talk for a few minutes, then a crew member would approach the table and tell the women what to talk about. At one point, the crew member told the women they needed to switch to a light topic because they’d already spent a lot of time on serious topics.

3. When one of the crew members was leaving, one of the ‘Housewives’ said she would see him tomorrow at the ‘funeral home scene.’ If she’s calling it a ‘scene,” how ‘real’ can it be?

4. For some reason, the first taping of the women exiting the restaurant didn’t work. At the crew’s direction, the women returned to their seats, then taped a second exit scene.

5. After ‘exiting’ Wahoo for the cameras, the women returned to their table and ate dinner. The meal was not taped.

When we retrieved our car from the valet, my wife asked him if he valet if the ‘Housewives’ drove fancy cars. “Yes,” he said. “But they were all rental cars.”

44 thoughts on “Real fakes: ‘Housewives’ tape in Decatur”

  1. I guess I am too much of a stick-in-the-mud to understand the popularity of this genre of shows. Do we expect anything “real” to happen when two or three cameras + crews are present? The same goes for “Kitchen Nightmares”, “Undercover Boss”, etc. Ugh.

  2. I hate reality shows. Bring back the game shows and lame comedies. A few news shows and documentaries would be nice. The only shows that are watched in our house are sports, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and one hour of Sponge Bob per day, weekends only.

  3. “Zeppo and Shemp”– hilarious. I don’t watch any “reality” shows except American Idol (and then, only the auditions), but I unfortunately know more about them than I’d care to because I’m a huge fan of The Soup (Joel McHale’s skewering of this genre is comedy gold)…

  4. At the end of last season, we met one of the RHOA Housewives, NeNe Leakes & her huband Greg Leakes at Bahama Breeze in Gwinnett. She comes across rather “fierce” on the RHOA show (as well as on Celebrity Apprentice), but I found her to be sweet & quite beautiful in person (and very tall!). I slipped her a note at the bar and asked if my husband & I could have my photo taken with her (yes, I had already downed a cocktail or three….seemed like a great idea under the influence. Would not have been able to do this sober). She said yes & said we should meet outside to avoid a scene in the crowded bar.

    Both NeNe & Greg were gracious & funny (Greg seemed exactly like he does on TV- seemed a little used to this routine & ordered another beer), so I don’t know how much of her TV persona is actually her, editing or acting. But I enjoyed meeting her immensley. Turns out she was celebrating her birthday and still had time for her fans. Much sweeter than portrayed on TV, so I know this show is scripted.

    I have no report on the car they drove that night, however.

  5. It was “real” and seems just like my life.
    1. Restaurant. Really don’t get to eat, kids constantly interrupting me.
    2. My conversations are constantly interrupted by kids and often have to be repeated.
    3. When leaving, new dates are preset for the next time.
    4. I always have more than one exit. Returning for game piece/toy/artwork left behind. Running back to the bathroom with the little one.
    5. After exciting restaurant, finally get to eat dinner in peace, at home after kids are asleep.

    And yes my driving a fancy car-it would definitely be a rental!

    1. I love your comparison. I remember those days well. There were a couple of years where we couldn’t eat out because of the kids. Now that they are teens, we are able to actually enjoy their company (well, most of the time).

  6. P.S. Good for Wahoo! I hope they got a great plug. Oh wait, I don’t want the dinner wait to be longer than it already is.

  7. I mean, let’s not get all preachy about the tv programs that are and are not acceptable to watch. In the end, it’s all tv and we all could probably be spending our time with more edifying endeavors but the long and short of it is that it’s all entertainment. While you may only enjoy trivia and your children only cartoons, some people enjoy the suspension of disbelief these programs offer and don’t deserve condescension from the holier-than-thou’s. In the end, however, my main concern is that the taping does a disservice to the fine city of Decatur, rather than promote our local eateries.

    1. ”… It was agreed, that my endeavors should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.”

      Ya think that Coleridge had Real Housewives in mind?

    2. I’ve read through all the posts again and don’t see anyone saying what’s acceptable and not-acceptable to watch; all I see is folks indicating their own dislike of reality shows. It’s ok if some folks like them and others hate them.

  8. What would real Hosuewives (or Husbands) of Decatur look like?.

    ~Way to go Wahoo!

    1. You see them out in droves getting coffee on Saturday morning. Wearing a pair of Tevas holding a cup of granola in one hand, toting along 2 highly intellectual children with the other. (Sometimes you can spot dad in a Fish t-shirt trying to prove he’s still cool) They only bathe once a week, not for money reasons, to conserve water of course. They’re very proud of their new greywater system and talk about it loudly and incessantly so anyone within 10 feet will know all about it, and the composter too. During the week, they drive a $40k hybrids on the way to their lawyer and web developer jobs praying no one finds out how filthy stinking rich they are.

      1. Really? I have to say I don’t know people like this in Decatur and I’ve been all along the working/non-working/part-time spectrum as a City Schools of Decatur. Maybe those are all private school housewives?

        Actually, what’s the definition of a Housewife these days? Can one work? When I was a kid, it meant a woman who didn’t work outside of the home which she hardly left because of all the housework, cooking, and child care, and whose main identity was based on being a wife and doing the housework. Of course even then it was a stereotype and my mother’s group of friends were housewives technically but also started a cooperative playgroup to give one another a break and many got graduate degrees as their kids got older and then eventually entered the workforce as professionals.

                1. I loved NJ at first, but am not interested this season. I just can’t watch them. I also watched Beverly Hills, Miami and DC…but got to say, NY and OC are my favorites.

                  1. Ok, but this brings tears to the eyes of Joe and Teresa Guidice. That and the fact that a bankruptcy trustee is going to auction off all of their stuff.

                    1. I can’t handle all their family drama and I feel so bad for Joe and Teresa’s kids. At least most of the other kids that have these fame-seeking parents are a little older or in the care of caring nannies most of the time. I did love the episode of Teresa shocked that the vocal coach thought her daughter had an accent.

                      And yes, I did go to Sherlocks to meet Ramona last week. Even have the picture (and signed bottles of wine) to prove it.

                    2. Well now you are way past my level of knowledge. I saw it once, maybe twice, and wondered “how do people this stupid get this rich?” Apparently, they don’t.

              1. +1…used to not admit to watching it/them but now i own it…guilty pleasure at its best….don’t judge me 🙂

              2. Gah! Yes… One of my only 2 brain cells that function in the morning had run out for coffee. The rest have been killed off by watching too much reality tv. NY and Jersey are the only shows of the franchise I’m guilty of watching. I always watch Top Chef when its on, but I don’t really consider that reality tv in the true sense.

                1. I feel that I need to invite you all over to watch a marathon of all of the Real Housewives shows. I love anything on Bravo.

                  1. name the day and time and i’m there! i can’t offer up any signed bottles of ramona’s pinot, unfortunately 🙂 oh, and if you haven’t watched “flipping out” you are in for a REAL treat!! love me some jeff lewis…

                  2. yes Broavo is “is my guilty pleasure”, too. – but Real Housewives of Atlanta is my least favorite. And yes, I have always suspected that the “scenes” have been staged. But I still watch them away.

    2. As a Decatur father, I can tell you that my wife and I would never go to Wahoo and then not order anything, so there’s one difference. Might I recommend the salmon?

  9. My sister worked behind the scenes in Hollywood for years, and worked on a reality show about finding the next Spanish soap opera star (really). She said the two ingredients to making a successful reality show were 1) constantly keeping the contestants drunk and 2) keeping them up all hours of the night. For this show, her job was to make sure the contestants were always standing in the right place, so in every shot she’s either hiding behind stairs, in a closet, or behind some furniture (now you know why she left such a glamarous career).

    1. “1) constantly keeping the contestants drunk and 2) keeping them up all hours of the night”

      Back in my day, we called this experience ‘college’.

  10. The Atlanta Real Housewives is the only one I watch. Those women are SO trashy, self-absorbed and superficial, it’s downright amusing. It just goes to show you that having money and having class are two different things.

    There are so many different kinds of reality shows these days. I enjoy Project Runway and Pawn Stars, but avoid the Big Brother, Bachelorette and almost everything on MTV. (Why doesn’t MTV ever devote a prime time segment to, well, music?)

    1. You are very right about the money and class thing, except that the “real housewives” don’t have money. They have stuff they bought on credit. Big difference that is all too often overlooked these days.

      In relative terms, a huge percentage of these women have declared bankruptcy. If they made them have sit downs with Suze Orman, her brain would probably explode. But it would be fun to watch.

  11. This is nothing new. Reality shows are still a production. It’s unscripted television. All the stories are real, but to produce a quality show for tv, there has to be guidance for production sake. This affects the visual, not the story. Learn about reality tv production before you judge.

  12. I’m still wondering: What is the definition of housewife for these reality shows? Can they work? Is it just another expression for “wife”?

    1. Karass – on the Real Housewives programs, some of them work (some start music careers or fashion lines while on the show) – some are not even married. So the show is really about a bunch of wealthy (or women who want you to think they are wealthy) – and what they do all day.

      On the NY program, the women seem a bit more legit than the ATL show. If you decide to try watching one (they are terrble, but I am addicted), I would recommend you start with Real Housewives of NY. The finale is this week so I imagine there will be a marathon on Bravo one day this week or weekend.

      1. Thanks! So it’s Real Primadonnas or something like that. I don’t even know what Bravo is but I’ll ask my kids if we get it! I used to record and watch soap operas at points of my single life so I’m not a snob about reality shows. I’ve just hated all the ones I’ve seen so far and have had to turn them off at the first commercial.

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