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The real house husbands of the NBA

9/7/2011

First let me explain, in part for my bosses, why I spent a chunk of time at my desk watching "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

It was not for fun. On the contrary: the whole thing left me feeling traumatized.

It started over Labor Day Weekend at a beach house with a solid supply of gossipy magazines. With a vodka tonic in one hand and a copy of OK! in the other, I learned all kinds of things I had not known before:

  • NBA player Kris Humphries' family was surprised (sources said) that his wedding to Kim Kardashian seemed to be as much television production as life event.

  • Some guy on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills really killed himself.

Those two things go together poorly, I'm thinking, if you're married to a reality show, or -- similarly -- a Kardashian, as are Humphries and Laker Lamar Odom.

I had an idea to write about "reality" of which there would seem to be too little in the first bulleted point above, and way too much in the second.

It was going to go something like this: All around us is nothing but reality. Waiting at the DMV, having a button missing on your shirt, hearing the hold music from your mortgage company, enduring a rough parent-teacher conference, growing out-of-control eyebrow hair or (gasp!) having poor muscle definition, flabby thighs or a flat chest. We all live like that. But somehow the thing known as "reality TV" is all trays of margaritas and bikinis by the pool. It's called reality television, but the real stuff is surgically removed.

Whatever world the Kardashians live in, it's about as far as this life can get from what most of us call "reality."

So, as research, before writing that post, I tuned in.

I saw a designer dog in a designer jacket sitting at a designer dinner party on a designer lap drnking from a $550 designer wine glass and that was the good part!

The rest was entirely traumatizing. Oh please, oh please don't try to make me believe people really live like this, in an endless torrent of petty, high-heeled arguments.

I also got a dose of the smelling salts on the issue of the NBA, which I love. The evidence is undeniable that that same NBA loves wherever it is that reality TV comes from. These shows are practically some kind of shadow NBA. With about 14 seconds of research I can tell you that:

  • Adrienne Maloof, sister of Joe and Gavin and part owner of the Sacramento Kings, is also on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In fact, it was her $550 wine glasses that were put in jeopardy by a designer guest dog. At the same part she and her husband berated each other in front of the guests, then handed out literal olive branches, shortly before a big ol' altercation (over, of all things, therapy) ended the party early.

  • The guest list at the Kardashians' (feels wholly inaccurate to say" Humphries'") wedding wasn't all that long, but it did include NBA figures like Carmelo Anthony and Scottie Pippen.

  • At an intimate little Kardashian dinner to celebrate Kim's engagement, hey, there's Odom who is, of course, part of the family.

  • Shawn Marion's family is reportedly making a pilot for a reality TV show about their own lives.

  • There's a whole show called "Basketball Wives," loaded to the gills with other NBA reality drama.

None of it really matters all that much. These are entertainers, making money any way they can. I don't believe the line of reasoning that these kinds of dramas signify the downfall of society. People have always loved this stuff.

But it's a creepy place to park the important parts of your life, and I wonder what would motivate someone to do the hard work of working their way onto a show like that.

I'm a little worried that the Kardashian script called for a strapping athlete, and a wedding, and Kris fit the bill. What happens if one day the script will call for an affair or a divorce or some other heart-wrenching trouble? If that's the case, I really hope the script doesn't first call for pregnancies and babies.

So, Kris, Lamar ... your real happiness and your real lives are built from the wood of this fake forest. I hope that won't leave you feeling empty and hurt one day, or at the very least if it does, I hope they're paying you one hell of a lot to put your private lives on parade in this way.

Maybe you're cool with all these risks. I hope so. but it's worrisome to hear the report that the Humphries family was disturbed at the highly staged nature of the ceremony.

Or maybe I'm just being a nosy jerk who should leave OK! magazine alone.

If that's the case, cut me some slack. The reality is I'm still pretty shell-shocked after watching one whole episode of RHOBH.