(there’s no way on Dog’s green earth i would link to frank zappa’s song on this topic. just so you know…)
can six life-impaired, personality-stunted millenial women from my tribe grow the fuck up and get lives? yes, this is but one of the questions i ponder now that bravo tv, home of such important television productions as the real housewives of new jersey and don’t be tardy, unleashed a new show onto the world: princesses: long island.
they were four men, living all together. yet they were all alone. whoops. wrong show. it’s what i call car crash tv — so awful, yet i cannot look away from these six glamazons, all vying to be the poster child for a long-standing stereotype of jewish women: the jewish american princess, or JAP for short.
so may i present to you exhibit a: the ladies, in their late 20s/early 30s — each one more frightening than the next. there’s amanda, who met her smarmy, stalker-like beau jeff on the LIRR. she lives with her divorced cougar mom who seems a little too eager to insert herself inappropriately into amanda’s existence. there’s ashlee (and i always have trouble with women whose names end up cutie-pie-spelled, like what a double e does here), a very spoiled young lady whose middle name i’m betting is veruca salt, who clearly has daddy issues, and who probably will never be able to function in a life by herself. (in a rental beach house in the hamptons, ashlee calls her mom, freaked out because she has issues sleeping on sheets other people have slept on. oh. and she has a small stain on her sheet in her bed. can her mom help her via phone?) casey is as close to normal as you get on this show, though she is still crushed over being betrayed by erica (you’ll hear about her in a sec) back in high school. there’s chanel,
named for the bag in which she was conceived who may end up banished from her home shtetl, anatevka, as her younger sister is engaged and she herself has no visible prospects for love. erica, who trumpets the fact that she was apparently the biggest slut on long island of her day. her day, unfortunately, has come and gone, and she finds herself surrounded by women whose boyfriends she has stolen in earlier times. (uh oh.) last but not least, there is joey, who lives in the poor area (according to a screeching ashlee who braces for a carjacking while driving through joey’s ‘hood) and, while she lives at home, is attempting something entrepreneurial but who is shaping up to be a little two-faced conniver. (mark my words.)
all of these women still live at home. most of these women do nothing every day except shop (with mommy and daddy’s money), tan, get mani/pedis, drink, and meddle in each other’s affairs. they are waiting for their rich guy to take them away from all this… and then give it right back to them, preferably at an even higher $$ level. this is the prequel franchise, if you will, for the real housewives. they all make marjorie morningstar look like a bra-burning radical. there’s something very sad about women who, in 2013, expect men to take over their care and feeding. there’s something also very disturbing about how entitled these women are: as if somehow, they are deserving of this material wealth; it is their birthright, though they had no part in creating it — and some man needs to come along and pick up the tab from mommy and daddy.
to be sure, it is a bit unsettling watching a show that is perpetuating a stereotype, especially one i know my jewish girlfriends and i have worked very hard to kick to the proverbial curb. i still remember when a friend of mine nicknamed my cousin and i the JAP cousins (when nothing could be further from the truth for either one of us.) clearly, no intelligent person who watches bravo reality TV thinks that this is real life, right? it’s escapist bullshit spun into expensively bleached and teased gold. but because it is called princesses, it brings to mind the concept of jewish princesses; and for those idiots of the world who take this as literal truth in tv, this becomes their absurd perception of the reality of all jewish women.
now, i would be lying if i said i never encountered these sorts before. when i was going into ninth grade, my mom and her friend worked one summer as teachers/counselors at a tony summer camp in upstate new york. this camp was the domain of jewish kids from long island. her friend’s son and i went to camp that summer in exchange for their labors.
it seemed like a good idea at the time.
i wrote about that experience awhile back. in short, though, it was a disaster. i didn’t get on well with the JAPpy girls in the bunkhouse, as i had more on my mind than just polishing my nails. i spent my time with the counselors after hours, as they liked me and loathed the other campers. and admittedly, i carried that bad taste and stereotype around in my head for a long, long time.
fortunately, time has shown me a lot of long island jewish chicks who don’t fit into that mold — and plenty of other women, not necessarily from long island and not necessarily jewish — who do. i wish some of those amazing long island jewish women could get more airplay for the feats they’ve accomplished, as some of them are just stunning. but i guess that doesn’t make for great reality tv. only stereotypes make for great reality tv, apparently, as stereotypes provide a mental shorthand for the mentally weak.
so, for those who require such categorization (and with sincerest apologies to the seven dwarves), we’re stuck with the six dipshits: dumpy, dopey, stunted, old maideleh, slutty and the kvetch. but the twist?
they’re not looking for prince charming. these girls are all looking for doc.