Real fakes: ‘Housewives’ tape in DecaturAndisheh Nouraee | July 17, 2011
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.”