On Saturday the Post broke the biggest news out of the Garden State since the installation of a duck phone in a Jersey Shore house: Teresa Giudice, gaudy princess of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and her husband, Joe, owe creditors nearly $11 million, on a combined income of $79,000.
Jeane MacIntosh of the Post put it as only the Post can:
"She has a gaudy new mansion, pricey breast implants and spends thousands of dollars on shopping sprees for her spoiled brats -- but a New Jersey reality star and her goombah hubby are real-life deadbeats who owe $11 million, court records show. Free-spending "Real Housewives of New Jersey" diva Teresa Giudice and her husband, Joe, make just $79,000 a year and are up to their tanned necks in liens, foreclosures and unpaid bills, according to bankruptcy papers filed in Newark federal court."
If it's any consolation to Teresa (who may or may not have some wads of cash taped beneath dining room chairs, if you catch my drift), she's in some good misery-loving company with her fellow hausfrau reality sirens.
Indeed, a mind-boggling array of off-camera legal and financial troubles has beset the casts of every season of the Real Housewives, not to mention some graver personal tragedies. So as to avoid writing a novella, here's a recap:
Real Housewives of Orange County: The original installment of basic cable's all-time greatest slow-mo train wreck devolved from a sun kissed palm tree of a series into a Grand Guignol-via-SoCal nightmare as the Great Recession robbed the ladies of what little dignity they had left, including overleveraged tract mansions and marriages shakier than the San Andreas on a bad day.
Real Housewives of New York: New York's finest fauxialites appear to have escaped the recession relatively unscathed (key word being "appear"). But on top of exhausting interpersonal histrionics in the just-completed third season, cast members have had a rough go of it when the filming halted. Kelly Bensimon's alleged boyfriend alleged she'd beaten the crap out of him and she faced a lawsuit over plagiarized jewelry designs. "Countess" LuAnn de Lesseps was dumped by her husband of 16 years for some young chickadee. Luann was rumored to deal with her marital woes by drunkenly hitting up every party in Manhattan and the Hamptons and greeting male guests not with her patented double-kiss but a fervent crotch massage. How European! And just last week newbie cast member Sonja Morgan was busted for drunk driving in Southampton.
In related news: Sonja Morgan has never been happier than when she opened up the Post on Saturday morning.
Real Housewives of Atlanta: We'll always have "Tardy for the Party," by Kim "I Never Actually Had Cancer" Zolciak and Paris fashion week mainstay She by Sheree from Sheree Whitfield. But in addition to standard issue soap opera nuisances--failed marriages, failed extramarital affairs, flailing bank accounts--the most soulful (read: only black) Real Housewives cast met truly horrific misfortune when A.J. Jewell, the ex-fiancé of cast member Kandi Burruss, died of massive head injuries sustained during a fight outside an Atlanta nightclub.
Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa's the one feeling the heat right now. But Danielle Staub continues to struggle with revelations about her alleged cocaine-addled "prostitution whore" past. Also, the poor things have to wake up each morning and realize they still live in Jersey.
Real Housewives of Washington D.C.: It's too early to tell what this future installment of the franchise holds for us. But the Salahis are involved, so it's probably nothing good.
"Summer By Bravo" is how the cable network which feeds these women to the lions is pimping their banner schadenfreude season. You can argue that anyone hungry enough for attention to go on reality TV deserves his or her comeuppance. But as the wreckage of the Real Housewives franchise extends beyond cheesy and likely manufactured contretemps into real real struggles, "Bummer By Bravo" might be more apt.
Photo 4 via Zimbio