Image Credit: Patsy Lynch / Retna Ltd. Bring your own beer production crew. According to a report from the Daily Beast, White House gatecrasher Michaele Salahi — she of the Coca-Cola Can Red sari and chemically straightened platinum locks — has been cast on Bravo’s upcoming Real Housewives of D.C. (The Daily Beast report notes Bravo declined to comment on casting, quoting a rep who said the network had “absolutely no announcement beyond the fact that we’re doing the show and the production process continues.”) You may recall the Virginia-based woman, on the arm of her husband Tareq, swanned into President Obama’s first state dinner in November, having been in the company of a camera team for the Bravo show’s producers that day. They were nabbed as uninvited guests only after Michaele posted a gleeful photo album on her Facebook page showing her mugging with the likes of Katie Couric and Vice President Joe Biden. If you want to be a reality star, what better way to announce your ambition than publicly humiliating the Secret Service and then writing a status update about it?
I used to love me some Housewives. Remember the good old days when the highlight of an episode was watching Vicki blow her top over her family van? I’m not suggesting it was ever high-caliber TV but there was something satisfying and even modest about the show’s ambitions. These were overprivileged, silly, mostly harmless women who tended to behave badly. Viewers at home could sit in benign judgment while secretly admiring the nice pool or granite tops. When did this series jump the shark? I think giving any of these ladies a Season 2 was a mistake. The hiatus gives them too much time to cynically retool their public and physical images. But things really got dicey when Housewives became a chain, setting up franchises in New York, then Atlanta, New Jersey, and now here comes D.C. and Beverly Hills. (Okay, I’m actually looking forward to Beverly Hills.) Now everybody has a product to hawk, a makeup line to launch, an unnecessary book to shill, a regrettable single to record. (Oh LuAnn. Elegance is lear-er-ERNEDDDD!)
It’s true that I am the idiot who watches, though I’m not sure I would describe my habit as a guilty pleasure anymore. Every now and then someone still comes along who is good TV purely because they don’t care about the fact that they’re on TV. Think NeNe in Season 1. (Then she got bit by her drop of fame and returned in Season 2 as bizarro NeNe.) Or Caroline from New Jersey. Donn from the O.C. Ramona, if she’s been hitting the Pinot Grigio. Perhaps Bravo thinks the Gatecrashers’ notoriety is the best thing ever to happen to the show. And I’m damned sure Michaela and Tareq are giving each other manicured high-fives for their ingenious efforts to wrench some spotlight in their direction. After the infamous evening, the couple went on a media round of righteous indignation — pleading their innocence on the Today show through s—-eating grins — and have reportedly since signed a book deal. They finally are guzzling from that little goblet of fame. If the report pans out, the Salahis have graduated from aspiring reality TV stars to reality TV stars. They wanted attention very, very badly, and now it appears they may indeed get a season of it. This can’t end well for any of us.
What do you think PopWatchers? Does this make you more or less inclined to tune into Bravo’s D.C. antics? Are the Salahis diabolical or merely misunderstood? Why must Andy Cohen insist on using the term “Bravo-lebrities?”