I love my Real Housewives (except Orange County--eww). The New York ladies sucked me in their drama the past few months: Bethenny and Jill's disintegrating relationship, Kelly's wackadoo antics, Alex's hives, Ramona's harmless self absorption, and Sonja--oh, man--the aging Holly Golightly is my new fave.
Contrarily, the New Jersey housewives have been a disappointment. Carolyn, Dina, Jacqueline, and Teresa seem like the same person with subtle variations. They dress the same (Sopranos-Lite), live in the same McMansions, chant the same mantra ("Family, Family, Family"), and groove on their hatred of Danielle. And what is our villain's motivation? To force a friendship with these clannish ladies? No matter how crazy Danielle is, the reality is four against one, and an unfair fight is a boring one.
The drama in RHONJ is forced at best. But what were the producers to do with four inherently uninteresting women and one seriously deranged ex-con?
There is a lesson here for writers. I often read books where plot is king and the characters seem just pieces on a checkerboard, moved here and there without much thought or definition. If the characters' personalities and desires are not well-drawn, it's definitely harder to let the drama unfold organically.
These ladies are primo examples of true characters:
(PS--I heard Bravo is thinking about doing The Real Housewives of Chicago. Think I should apply?)