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So much for the Real Housewives of New York City. The show hasn't debuted yet—it starts tonight on Bravo—but it's already been ravaged by critics, even ones who willingly admit to being fans of the 17 other iterations of the show. (After all, it's not too often that a critic tells the entire cast of a reality show to "drop dead.") The main beef? Not that the show focuses on horrible women who happily spend a weekend afternoon "gearing up for an event for a magazine called Social Life." That's nothing new, of course. It's that the show is hopelessly out of touch with the current economic climate. It was all well and good for Simon Van Kempen to pretend he had a dollar to his name when the economy was cruising along. Now that the world is falling apart and Simon is still "spending" $8,000 on resort-wear? "The whole enterprise, like so much else on Bravo, the 'affluencer' network, feels like a moldy leftover from the pre-Obama age," writes Ginia Bellafante in the Times.

Money is the only currency: the status markers understood by a huge faction of the privileged class figure not at all in the "Real Housewives: universe. Here there is no premium placed on education or refined tastes, and a businesswoman is someone who makes cuff bracelets at her kitchen table. The whole enterprise, like so much else on Bravo, the "affluencer" network, feels like a moldy leftover from the pre-Obama age; the currently fashionable values—humility, intelligence, restraint, style—are eclipsed by money-grubbing witlessness and big-carbon-footprint living.

"The Real Housewives of New York City" continues to feel especially yucky in this regard—and fraudulently offensive to a certain kind of New Yorker who would never actually envy someone like Alex.

Already I'm missing "The Real Housewives of Orange County," which comparatively seems as if it were guided by the hand of Margaret Mead.

Oh, well. Guess we'll just have to watch that more realistic show about the matchmaker who sets up carefree, Cristal-sipping millionaire moguls with slutty golddiggers.

The 'Real Housewives' Grip on Reality Starts to Seem Unreal [NYT]
'Real Housewives of NYC' Are Really Clueless [Fox News]
Critic to 'The Real Housewives of New York City': drop dead [EW]