Have you ever watched, oh, I dunno, more than eight hours of Real Housewives episodes in a row? Because I have! And let me tell you it is thirsty, thirsty work. The thirst is real. The drinks are always flowing, overflowing, overserved, knocked back, knocked down, knocked over, thrown back, thrown down—and sometimes—just plain thrown. In someone’s face. Not cool. Not cool at all. Don’t be all, like, uncool.
Not to be outdone by the drinks, there are also moments of deep, desperate thirst for cool, clear drama. Attention. Recognition. Validation. Fame. Etc. Et al. Ad infinitum. And let me tell you unequivocally and without shame that I love every single second of it. When I’m current with each franchise and have exhausted its latest season there is a moment of sadness wherein I shed one singular, solemn tear. Then I pick a franchise to go back to, usually whichever one is about to come round again with new episodes, and start rewatching old seasons all the way up through the newest again.
Because I commit, goddammit, but also because there are a great many layers of complexity one must identify, observe, and analyze. Sure, some wives aren’t even wives and other wives use their time on the show as a #ad, but there is still plenty of material to study. I mean, if a housewife wants to go around spilling tea and throwing shade, they'd better be prepared to own it, baby. Know that.
Sometimes I wonder if, perhaps through the help of reality TV, these women are in the process of ascending to a level of self-awareness never before achieved by other mere mortals?! All transformed through performing the ritual of public atonement for their perceived wrong-doings. When a wife is made aware that she’s broken a rule—usually notified by another wife, or the entire group of wives, or worst-case scenario the entire group of wives and all of Twitter—trying to ameliorate the situation with an: “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings,” just won’t do. Once confronted, the best path to continued acceptance by the other wives and viewers alike is through an auto de fe that consists of owning it. Then and only then can everyone forgive and move on at whiplash-inducing speed from what previously seemed like a mortal sin. It seems simple enough, giving an earnest apology, but when you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, it can be so hard to do. I’m telling you, it’s fascinating, you gotta watch!
These are real people with real lives and real problems—they’re real, okay? And yet, they still find the time to get together and argue over petty bullshit in front of cameras for us. They are doing this for us, dontcha see? And I, for one, am proud to thank them for this service. There was a time I thought I must be squandering my life away, watching countless hours of Real Housewives, and I felt shame. But no more. My life’s work finally got the recognition it deserved in what was quite literally the proudest moment of my academic career thus far. An award for anthropological awesomeness won for best group project in my anthropology of food class in 2018. And it was all thanks to Real Housewives. And a whole lot of research. Shoutouts to Derika Jayne, my partner for the group project whose tagline was “I may be pretty, but I’m also petty,” and to Dr. Zhen, our professor, tagline unknown. It turns out I wasn’t wasting my life away, I was just preparing for the right moment. And my tagline for the presentation? It’s expensive to be me, bachelor’s degrees don’t come for free.
I also find it comforting to rewatch Real Housewives just as I do my other old favorite TV shows and movies: Clue, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Goonies, The Princess Bride, The Twilight Zone, Arrested Development, Futurama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, X-Files, all the Star Treks...okay the Catholic guilt is creeping up now so I better end this damning list of slothery. But there is something to be said for the transportive quality of the writing, acting, and visual storytelling of these shows and movies that never gets old, despite their age and my own. There is relief that comes from the mitigated tension of conflict you already know will be resolved. It all becomes soothing. It is comfort television. Sure, Housewives is different from everything else on the list because it’s a reality TV show. But...is it? Is it? Each cast member is sharing the best version of their reality that they can. Does that make it real? Can’t the same be said for us plebs as we go about our own lives each day—not being filmed, mind you—but still trying to put forth the image of ourselves we want others to see, or that we believe we are? Does that make our realities fiction? And who gets to decide? I relate hard to people who struggle with not being “perfect.”
Hell, I just rewatched Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for, oh, I dunno, probably the eighth time? Who even knows? Who even cares! All I know is that, truth be told, season one of RHOBH was pure magic. Like, lightning in a bottle magic. Watching the season one cast trying to learn the ropes together of how to balance their reality with the reality they want to portray as those ingredients are tossed into a cocktail shaker and strained through an editing process in hopes of making good reality television? Amaaazing. But, hey, that’s my opinion! Real Housewives is nothing without opinions. And out of allll the franchises? RHOBH is my one. True. Love. Speaking of opinions, it takes a special new addition to the cast to make it, for one, to another season, but also to be adored by the fans, and when Erika Girardi/Jayne joined the cast they broke the mold and every housewife has since been trying to play catch-up. I immediately noticed a difference in everyone's "glam" before and after EJ, most noticeably in Dorit, initially quite the critic of Erika's style. Ahem, long live Erika's stunning t-shirt dress, thank you very much.
While there are veritable oceans of wine and vodka—some of which are even Housewives’ own brands being prominently displayed (hocked)—what you really need to prepare yourself for, is to see a lot of – so, so, so very much of – the very most of – in fact all of the margaritas. All of them. Skinny ones, spicy ones, ones with salt, ones without salt, green ones, pink ones, frozen ones, short ones, tall ones: all of the margaritas! There was a battle of the beverages for a while on RHOBH between the margarita and rosé, but tequila has taken over, for now, in part I think because the carbs, you guys, the caaaarbs. But really I think it all comes down to who is drinking who's Kool-Aid, and how many of them are drinking it together. Whoever’s drink reigns supreme is likely to be the current queen of the show. It will tip you off to who is leading and who is following.
So, to welcome back the ladies of Beverly Hills I’m making my own margaritas. Anybody can make a margarita. And I have been so parched after waiting an especially long time for this season to start that these are much needed for the occasion. Now, I don’t care for overly sweet drinks of any kind and these margaritas are no exception. Like, I crave a soda a few times a year. But if you prefer your cocktails with a touch more sweetness try adding honey or agave nectar. Diamond is obviously the preferred ice shape for this drink. If you’re feeling particularly fancy put a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice into the tray when you’re making it and your drink will acquire a pretty pink hue as the ice melts. Now there’s nothing left to do but work on my tagline. Hmmm. Life isn’t all ice diamonds, margaritas, and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but it should be. Or...Some people say I’m cold, but that’s not diamonds, it’s my ice...Or...I like my diamonds dripping and my ice shaped like diamonds...Or...Ice diamonds and margaritas go together like toilet paper and quarantine...Or...I think I need to keep working on my tagline. In the meantime, cheers, bitch!
Grapefruit and Blood Orange Margaritas
Yield: 3 Margaritas (about 2 cups)
Hello! I'm Kat.
Cooker, baker, amateur pottery maker.
I'm a CIA graduate (culinary arts & applied food studies) who previously studied anthropology.
Food obsessed. Anxiety disorder. Grief bearer.
Here you'll find recipes for what I'm currently feeling and sometimes even why!