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How I became a Real Housewife of New Jersey

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Reel Mama: How I became a Real Housewife of New Jersey

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How I became a Real Housewife of New Jersey

Today my two-year-old daughter caught a glimpse of a rerun of the 1990s classic sitcom The Nanny while I was sleeping in (!), and apparently she pointed at the TV upon seeing Fran Drescher and said “Mommy!”  I’m not at all insulted by the comparison.  In fact I’m flattered, but I wasn’t sure how to feel when she saw one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey on a magazine cover (I’m pretty sure it was Teresa Giudice), pointed to it, and said, “Mommy!"

Fran Drescher on The Nanny

Me at a wedding
Teresa Giudice on The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Again, it’s certainly not an insult if we’re just basing this on looks, but for me this one was more cringe-worthy.  It’s not that I mind a comparison to Jersey girls, just to these particular Jersey girls.  I admit I haven’t seen much of the show, but I’ve seen enough to know that these are the women we watch in order to feel superior.  We audience members who indulge in these guilty pleasures love to think that we are above it all.  We look down our noses at their wretched excess, afraid to admit to ourselves that we are living vicariously as we watch.  
I guess the comparison made me uncomfortable because Teresa embodies some of the qualities that I would never want to admit that I have.  Who, besides these women, would like to announce to the world that they are petty, or jealous, or superficial, or indulged in some reckless behavior or wretched excess? (Wow, I feel like I’m running down a litany of the Seven Deadly Sins--let's add manipulative and vindictive to round out the list).  But at one time or another, who hasn’t been guilty of one or two of these (can anyone say high school), albeit on a drastically less spectacular scale?   Just today I sneaked more than my fair share of cupcakes at my friends’ daughter’s first birthday party.  Not as bad as being $11 million in debt after buying a snow plough, breast implants and god knows what else like Teresa, but we all have our weaknesses. 
Of course, my daughter has no way to know any of this.  This was a case a mistaken identity, pure and simple.  While I would have been happier if she’d mistaken me for Penelope Cruz or Kiera Knightley, I won’t take it personally that my daughter thinks I live in a world where the hair is big (Fran Drescher in the 1990s and Teresa Giudice in any decade) but the drama is bigger. Maybe I just need a new ‘do.
But if she sees Miss Piggy on TV and says “Mommy!” then I’ll be worried.

Miss Piggy


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