We all know now that reality shows serve as a platform to sell products, with that purpose sometimes even supplanting the entertainment they provide. But it’s fascinating to watch the people on the show behaving as if their talent and abilities drive the success of their products, rather than the automatic advertising.
On “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” the gang went to Punta Cana on vacation, and Teresa decided she needed to do “research” for her cookbooks, taking the women to an extremely graphic – in the sense of where our meat comes from – local market. She reminds us that she is a New York Times bestselling “cookbook author,” and said that she is considering doing a future cookbook that is an “Italian/Italian” fusion. She then corrected herself and said that she wanted to do an “Italian/Latin” fusion, which, according to the history of the Romans, is still redundant, but never mind (what is that wonderful thing they say in the South? Bless her heart).
The idea that Teresa, herself, wrote anything is a bit of a stretch. I believe she believes she wrote the cookbooks, but I have a feeling that co-writer Heather McLean likely did most of the heavy book-producing. That she thinks that researching a book consists of going to a market and asking someone who does not speak English if they have any “spices,” with the end result of a few bottles of hot sauce in front of her, is kind of sweet, and leads me to believe that McLean is likely sorely underpaid.
Though they’d hate to be compared, Teresa’s sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga also seems to think that her fledgling music career is due to her hard work and commitment, as she’s been plugging away at it for at least several months now, and if you haven’t made it in six months, you’re just not going to. She spoke of wanting to do her first gig ever in a club that wasn’t too small, and apparently her husband considered bringing in some large cats for the performance (no, not the other ladies, though the confusion is understandable; it was lions or tigers).
Despite the fact that she had not yet taken the stage, Melissa adopted an attitude during rehearsals, which the poor choreographer tried to dispel time and time again to get her to focus and learn her steps. She was not deterred from her delusion of superstardom, though, and at one point, he told her she needed to listen, and she, in response, barked out the single syllable: “Speak.”
And the detail not to be missed is that Melissa’s debut performance was the entertainment for the launch of a product represented by the Manzo brother’s brand-new public relations firm. Honestly, a public relations firm on a reality show is a special, meta kind of genius, but nonetheless, everything about the Manzo boys implies that they must rely on their instincts and hard work to get the word out about their first product, a kind of water which is black on purpose.
All of these ventures would prove so much easier to take if only the people involved would own up to how much or how little involvement they really have. It’s not as though anyone believes Teresa is suddenly a writer or Melissa is suddenly a singer. We know the score; if only we could say the same for them.