I’ll admit that prolonged exposure to “The Real Housewives” franchise has worn me down. I regularly get swept up in the (probably fake) battles, the screaming, the backbiting. While their lives of self-indulgence and aimless luxury are both enviable and kinda gross, put any gaggle of women together in a room, sprinkle in some envy and hormones, and the end result will be kinda watchable.
At least I thought that was true until I saw “Princesses: Long Island.”
It turns out there’s ridiculously privileged and then there’s ridiculous AND privileged. The “princess” who is most distasteful (and that’s saying something) on this show is Ashlee. At 29, she considers her parents her best friends and has no desire to move out, work, be a contributing member of society. “Why would I ever want to leave?” she asks the camera, pointing out that her mom cleans her room, she never has to set foot in a supermarket and all her bills are covered. That leaves her for ample time to drink with her friends, shop, and get mani-pedis with her dad (yes, this happens on the show — Daddy even picks out her nail polish before settling in to have his feet scrubbed).
The most disturbing part of this supposedly cute segment isn’t the mani-pedi with Daddy in the next chair over, mind you — it’s that she discovers, to her horror, that the after-polish flip-flops provided by the salon do not have heels. As she’s only 4’9, she never, ever wears flats. Thus, she feels perfectly within her rights as a disgusting waste of human flesh to ask the one guy working at the nail salon to CARRY HER TO HER CAR. Because she can’t possibly suffer the indignity of walking to her BMW in flats, she feels entirely justified in treating this guy like a house slave.
Do you hate this show yet? Because there’s more. It actually gets worse. I’m just warming up.
Ashlee, who has VERY IMPORTANT plans to buy a dress for her 30th birthday party (some women living at home with their parents and no prospects might spend their 30th birthday crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or searching Monster for a job, but those women aren’t Ashlee), decides to pick up her friend Joey to assist in this VERY IMPORTANT task. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize how poor Joey really was. Ashlee is so terrified by Joey’s neighborhood she actually has to pull over and call her Daddy for support. “There are, like, COUCHES on the front porch!” she squeals, near tears.
At this point, I had to pause the DVR and take deep, cleansing breaths simply so I wouldn’t hurl my remote at the television.
Ashlee is so overwhelmed by, like, all the pedestrians (these people walk? ON THEIR OWN FEET?) you’d think she was driving through New Orleans the day after Katrina hit. She wants to both hug everyone she sees and get the hell out of there (the stink of poverty would, like, totally ruin her clothes after more than an air kiss).
When Ashlee finally arrives at the clothing store she is sure holds the perfect dress (Joey and Erica are both in attendance, as Ashlee is incapable of shopping by herself), she finds they’ve closed because of a power outage. She proceeds to wheedle and beg and plead until the two women guarding the door relent and let her roam around, pawing at the clothing in the dark, promising to return when their credit card machines are back up. “I always get what I want,” she says, smirking at the camera.
As Joey might say, Ashlee is a member of the “lucky sperm club,” which Joey herself is not. Of all the girls (and these are girls, mind you, despite their ages), Joey is the only one who a) works and b) seems to have a lick of common sense. While she makes delightfully acid comments about her richy-rich friends, I’m not sure one sane player is enough to make this show watchable.
In addition to the asshat who is Ashlee, we have Chanel. Chanel is 27, an Orthodox Jew, and being eaten alive by jealousy over her 24-year-old baby sister’s looming nuptials. Chanel seems to have some perspective, telling us that in Long Island, “when you’re 27, still single and living with your parents, it’s time to panic.” She also seems to understand that the Long Island way of women staying at home until husbands come to whisk them away isn’t necessarily the norm. Though Chanel is the first person we meet and seems to have potential as a somewhat acerbic presence, she’s quickly lost in the shuffle. We soon meet Erica, who was once the hottest girl on Long Island but now, at 29, seems to be a borderline alcoholic in a messed-up relationship.
The final “princess” is, even more than Joey, the odd duck in this tenuous “clique” clearly created by Bravo casting. Amanda dresses like a stripper, lives with her equally stripperiffic (and weirdly attached) mommy Babs, and dates a guy she met on the Long Island railroad, Jeff. If you’ve watched the show, please let me know whether or not your gaydar went off when Jeff showed up.
Jeff, who at 38 is 12 years older than his girlfriend, can’t stop telling Amanda how hot she is. This suits her fine, of course, although there doesn’t actually seem to be much actual heat between the two. No, they’re more interested in telling one another what they’re going to do to one another after the camera leaves, and when we do see kissing, it’s an awkward affair akin to watching two sworn enemies smooch after an unlucky spin of Kiss the Bottle. But Amanda loves that Jeff isn’t like other guys. He doesn’t like sports, but instead loves to tag along with her and her mom when they shop for clothing! He even tells Babs she looks great in a hoochie outfit that exposes her tummy bulge! What a great guy!
Despite having to put up with Babs and her bizarre commentary (she semi-jokingly accuses Jeff of “cockblocking” her when she tries to invite herself along to Erica’s pool party, which suggests she doesn’t entirely understand the word, or at least I hope she doesn’t), Jeff only loses his cool after an encounter at said party. One of Joey’s friends, a “poor” girl from the wrong side of Long Island, realizes she knows Jeff as the creep who “stalked” her on Facebook. When she drunkenly tries to warn Amanda that she’s dating a weirdo, Amanda isn’t interested. Then, for some reason (she is drunk, as is everyone else), Sara calls Jeff a word that I won’t use, but it’s a slur that is usually used to suggest someone’s gay.
Jeff, who has only seemed slightly upset that Sara is trying to pick a fight, loses his mind because of this (I categorize this as he doth protest too much), and full-scale panic erupts. Ashlee, because she wants to be a part of the drama and always gets what she wants, starts crying and begging Sara to apologize. Amanda demands that Joey force Sara to go home, because Joey is, of course, responsible for her low class friends. Joey tries to ignore the whole mess because I think she already realizes she’s too smart to be on this show but probably needs the money. And that’s where we leave this disaster of a television show — with drunk, angry, pointless people running around and making much ado about nothing. Which, really, sounds like what viewers will be seeing week in and week out. Enjoy.
Did you watch “Princesses: Long Island”? What did you think?