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Reality T.V. Gets Real with Abuse

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Andrew Sullivan’s article looks into how a Bravo t.v. hit reality show, suddenly got very real about abuse.  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, dealt with one of it’s cast member’s  being physically abused (off set) by her husband, which was known privately by everyone involved except for the audience. It’s a powerful moment for reality t.v. having the abuse exposed in front of the camera, as happened here, when another cast member in a heated discussion, suddenly blurts out about all the violence being committed. Suddenly in front of the world, the ugly elephant in the room is unleashed. It’s a fascinating article and shows once again that abuse can happen to any of us, even to a housewife in Beverly Hills.                                                                                                                                                                                       Please, if you haven’t done so, take our pledge to become an abuse stopper and join us a member. Together, we can stop abuse, but it’s going to take all of us. JOIN NOW. Become a part of the movement to stop abuse. 

                                                                 HUMANKIND CANNOT BEAR VERY MUCH REALITY TV – Andrew Sullivan

(Photo: Kennedy Armstrong, Taylor Armstrong and Russell Armstrong attend the Lollipop Theatre Networks 3rd Annual Game Day at Nickelodeon Studios on May 7, 2011 in Burbank, California. By Todd Williamson/Getty.)

Critics I respect wanted Bravo to axe the entire season before it even aired, and others were repulsed throughout its run. I’ve felt the opposite; to me, scripted television has never done anything this enthralling.

Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it enthralling, but it sure took reality television into a zone it is designed never to enter: reality. The obvious goal of the fantastically successful Bravo series – a personal addiction to which I blame entirely on Aaron – is to create petty squabbles between rich, pampered women, preferably about inane things like where Lisa Vanderpump will hold her daughter’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas. The second feature is classic Depression era porn: such fantastic obscene luxury and wealth paraded like a 1930s movie set in aristocratic New York apartments with massive sweeping staircases and near-mandatory black tie. But on the Beverly Hills season, two things actually happened beyond orchestrated pissing matches. First, one of them was clearly on some sort of drugs and was deteriorating in front of our eyes. Second, and much more dramatic, one of the more fragile of the golden female parakeets got progressively more disturbed and panic-stricken and volatile.

Her husband, a very tightly wound and humorless executive, gave me the creeps from the start. And then halfway through this season, in one compelling scene, in a conversation in which Taylor demanded total honesty from her friends about their views of her increasingly unraveling personality, one of them blurted out that she had already told the group that her spouse was beating her, even breaking her jaw. Suddenly, the subtext became text.

Bravo clearly panicked. Reality shows are not supposed to be about reality. There’s usually more reality in scripted sitcoms and cartoons. So they removed any footage they might have had revealing the abuse, kept the sub-plot off-stage, built tension, and then simply cut the period after Taylor finally quit her marriage after one last bruise on her face and her husband committed suicide. We got a bewildering swift mention of the suicide in the beginning of the final episode before we got on to the more serious question of whether the outside air-conditioning was sufficient for a Beverly Hills marriage tent.  PLEASE CONTINUE READING AT THE LINK BELOW.


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