How relationships on Vanderpump Rules are artificially authentic

Despite being a devoted viewer of Bravo’s shows about Housewives, both real and symbolic —the New York, Beverly Hills and Atlanta varietals are my trash-TV of choice — I hadn’t seen Vanderpump Rules until this year, creating much tension in my Bravo-specific friendships.

Pump Rules became meta-reality: are we to believe that the cast of a successful show (seven of whom recently bought their first houses in the same neighbourhood) still puts in hours at the restaurant?

At the same time, this year the show moved from a nichey favourite to a real cultural concern, which included one of its stars, Lala Kent, in an Instagram-ordeal having to do with her fiancé owing 50 Cent a million dollars, and a Vogue profile that compared hanging out with Stassi ; Brittany, the former Hooters waitress and southern charmer, engaged to the show’s male “lead,” Jax; and Katie (the other one), to hanging out with Friends ’ Rachel, Monica and Phoebe.

I love reality TV for the concentrated social machinations, especially between women: even when storylines are edited or amplified or twizzlered to the point of absurdity, there is almost always a sense of the people inside of the stories, making decisions, asserting their values, feeling things.

They aren’t coming to their roles on this Bravo show with long lives as soap stars and entrepreneurs and real housewives behind them, but as gelatinously unformed as anyone else at, you know, 25 or 30 or even 35.

Even if it’s basically fake, the connection that comes from a shared, daily experience is real and intense, and even more so when everyone gets famous at the same time.

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