Bravo’s New Real Housewives Show Wants to Send Women Back to the Kitchen


Hey Mama, welcome to the Sixties, where, apparently, things were simpler because women didn’t have to deal with such modern hassles as smart phones and gainful employment. Today Bravo announced a slate of new programming, including Your Shitty Family, a prank show, and Beverly Hills Driving School, which is exactly what it sounds like. But most notable in the new lineup, which was first reported by TheWrap, is a new iteration of the Real Housewives franchise, Real Housewives of the 1960s, a docuseries in which “a cast of modern women will be sent back to the 1960s to experience the ultimate era of the American Housewife.” So, sort of like Wife Swap meets Handmaid’s Tale.

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The network description of the series is a real doozy:

[These] women and their families will be transported back into a traditional decade where men made the money, women made the home, and teenagers actually did as they were told. In living through the ‘golden age’ of Sixties family life, the cast will discover if more time spent together, traditional husband and wife roles, and no digital distractions might actually improve their chaotic lives and even fix their relationships.

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I have roughly 60 questions. First of all, who wrote this, Don Draper? Literally none of this sounds good for anyone involved. Did some people have a good time in the Sixties? Sure probably. Quincy Jones. Do a series where everyone has to live their life like Quincy Jones and I’d watch. Real Housewives of ‘You Like Brazilian Music?Instant hit. But to pretend that this was the “ultimate era” for anyone, particularly the American Housewife, is just bonkers.

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And then there’s this: ” a traditional decade where men made the money, women made the home, and teenagers actually did as they were told.” What is this word traditional? What is the meaning of this word traditional?

What tradition are we talking about here? Look, I don’t want to be too hard on Real Housewives of the Patriarchy before its even aired, but the pervasive MAGA fantasy that there is some sort of unilateral cultural tradition that we’ve woefully drifted away from is just poppy-cock. A variety of family configurations, relationships, and income sources is not a modern invention. And even the homes that were comprised of a heterosexual couple with a single income from the man in the couple weren’t all alike.

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Haven’t these people ever watched The Marvelous Miss Maisel? Give me a TV series about modern women who travel back to the Sixties, get divorced, and embark on a standup comedy career in Greenwich Village and I’ll tune in for roughly 12 seasons.

Who knows, the series may actually just end up being a series of segments where busy career professionals puzzle over how to make a meatloaf and have meaningful low-tech conversations with their kids. But just call it Real Housewives of That Time When the Wifi Went Out and move on.

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The “golden age” was remarkably ungolden for many women of color, queer women, and—this may shock you—even some white, middle class housewives. Am I the only person who has seen The Hours? I feel like this ground has been covered.

Here’s a series I would actually enjoy: Real Housewives of 20th Century Women, where modern people have to live life like Annette Benning and Greta Gerwig in the film 20th Century Women, which is to say, exactly as they want to, despite the oppressive society in which they were born. Ah well, maybe next season.



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