Before watching Basketball Wives I compiled a list of reasons why I was better than watching the show and its regressive portrayals of women. I am too smart for this coonery, I thought.
Then I watched an episode and another.
It was a cerebral Big Mac after a diet of schoolwork, poetry and recovering from giving my life to The Gramblinite.
It is a guilty pleasure and one of which I am increasingly comfortable.
I might be addicted. Even reruns captivate me.
Whenever it airs, I exhale and freeze, except to live tweet or lurk on the Twitter pages of media personalities far more linguistically liberal than I.
I am now an active participant in the Basketball Wives (ahem, concubines, companions, associates, exes and arm candies seem more befitting, but that’s beside the point) debacle.
I watch the show largely because my palate for unadulterated raunchiness was already whet when Viacom (the media company that owns MTV and VH1) set Black women back eons with Flavor of Love shows and the I Love New York movement.
Then Jersey Shore tested the sensibilities of viewers. It is official.
People of every shade are televised cutting up, which makes it easier to stomach and in a sense, liberating.
These shows are like affirmative action for asinine behavior.
Besides, seeing is not necessarily believing or doing.
Reality television thrives because of the instant entertainment it provides, but viewers know that these lifestyles are not real or common for most of us.
Additionally, nothing solidifies consequences faster than e-crucifixion.
We can access the consequences of actions through the Internet and smart phones much faster than previous generations of rabble-rousers.
Pic and flick leaks travel internationally in seconds.
Nonetheless, I live vicariously through the breast augmentations, fat blasting, hair and eyelash extending, tuition rivaling shoes, gossip flavored tongues, constant snogging, acrylic nail clawing and pandering to the media that is Basketball Wives.
Twisted, capitalistic logic is employed on the show. The women overindulge and judge each other for manifesting similar behaviors.
They go to war with each other and remain coiffed casualties to domestically abusive or unavailable men many of whom also are rolling stones.
The fact that some of the show’s stars are middle aged and exhibit middle school characteristics speaks volumes.
Basketball Wives is not just a parade of trashy women of color throwin’ ‘bows in stilettos, crashing charity events, pouring drinks on each other and playing telephone with each other’s secrets.
It touches on deeper-rooted issues of cattiness and classism.
Who remembers boughetto Tami’s fist flying after internalizing Jennifer’s condescension regarding her government assistance?
It touches on the perpetual pursuit of youth and beauty.
We rarely see the characters in action without full faces of war paint, barrel curls, corset fitted dresses and oft-gaudy accessories.
Then there are parallels between the cast and a brothel.
Shaunie O’Neal, a producer of the show was rarely questioned on-air or castigated for having an unsuccessful marriage with Shaquille O’Neal.
She treated her tricks to a trip to Madrid, which increased drama between the women and naturally boosts ratings.
She also played nice in the reunion specials and attempted to bait them into additional mudslinging, um, shows.
“You know, I appreciate each and every one of these ladies for what they bring to this show.
“And I really just thank them and appreciate you guys all for putting your business out there like that. It’s difficult,” she said.
It must be especially difficult if the scene selection, quote manipulation and overall image of the show is outside of your wallet’s reach.
Maybe the other women will wise up. Maybe not.
Nonetheless, there is a lot involved in the little show that grew from a non-mothalovin’ factor to a franchise in just two seasons.