As I write this article, we are slowly, but surely approaching the unofficial end of summer. Hopefully, you've been out and about enjoying some sun, surf or sand. But if the recession has been keeping you homebound, have no fear! There is still lots of entertainment to be had for the tightfisted couch potato. For the next seven weeks, I'll be sharing some of the best stuff to be seen and heard from the comforts of home at little to no cost, especially if you have internet or cable/satellite and if you don't, it's probably because they can't attached a dish to the rock you've been living under. Some of the selections might surprise you, but I hope you approach this list with an open mind (which is easy for me since I have fourteen hours a day of free time). If you check out the suggestions, let me know what you think and be sure to recommend a few viewing delights of your own.
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY (Bravo, Mondays @ 10pm):
Yes, I'm picking the oft-maligned, but oft-watched 4th installment in the Real Housewives franchise and not only that, but I'm picking the wives from a state with probably the least cachet. The cast might not have the same pedigree as their sister shows, but at least they are actual housewives. There's only one divorcee on the show and she's the black sheep.
The series, in its second season on Bravo, centers around sisters Caroline and Dina, Jacqueline (their brother, Chris's wife), Teresa, a longtime family friend and Danielle, an acquaintance (barely) and aforementioned black sheep. The show works better than it predecessors for three main reasons: one, most of the cast are related in some way and have known each other for a long time. The dynamics are developed and the interactions aren't forced; two, the problems feel relatable. Nobody's talking about how hard it is to keep up their $3.5 million summer home. And three, the tension is real.
Danielle is an outsider, but a necessary antagonist. After watching the other cast members speak disparagingly of her and bully her (to the point of the police being called in one episode), I felt sorry for her. After the first season's finale, most of the women decided to cut off all communication with Danielle, who in the process, has become more paranoid and deluded in the isolation.
Mother hen, Caroline, leads the anti-Danielle charge and has encouraged others to stay as far away from her as possible. Her lack of Danielle interaction limits her camera time, but when she does get some, it usually centers around her children Albie, Lauren and Christopher. Lately, though, Caroline's tough as nails demeanor is showing cracks as her children leave home and her husband remains engrossed in work, leaving her lonely and sad.
Dina, after being the focus of much of Danielle's verbal attacks, decides to leave the show , but not before taking some time to get closure (i.e, give Danielle a piece of her mind and then some). Teresa and Jacqueline are both dealing with new babies (a girl and boy, respectively); Teresa has four kids under 10 and not a babysitter, nanny, cook or driver to her name; Jacqueline, on the other hand, has to deal with three kids at various stages in life (newborn, 9 and 18). Her oldest, Ashley, moved out after an argument and was engaging in a nasty twitter battle with Danielle. The feud came to a head at a fashion show where Ashley, falsely thinking that Danielle had attacked her mother, comes from behind and pulls out her hair. Charges are pending…and I can't wait!
THE CHERRY ON TOP: interestingly enough, the breakout star of the season isn't a cast member, but a hanger-on, a sixth man if you will, Kim G, a two-face, double crossing camera hog. The woman will befriend anyone in the cast, almost as though she's making a play for a spot on the show…hmm…don't be surprised if they make her a series regular.