Tonight, I wasted a few brain cells watching the conclusion of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” Reunion Special and I realized – more than Marlo’s flawless weave and Kandi’s apparent buy-in to the drama – that the underlying desperation of our favorite Georgia peaches was more apparent than at any other time during the show’s run.

There was a brittleness, a palpable sense of “Look at me; I’m somebody,” that made my disgust at the way these women were behaving fade away in the face of my pity for them.

There was nothing there. No story-line, no drama that wasn’t manufactured, and no genuine friendships. All that was present was a group of women grasping at anything to maintain their slippery hold on quasi-celebrity.

As I watched them, I realized that they weren’t doing this just for themselves. They were doing it for us. The women who tune in week after week to point our fingers and shake our heads because we know that we could never be that ridiculous (pun very much intended and those who know why, know what I mean.) They know that we don’t tune in to “reality” television for positivity and upliftment. We don’t tune in to watch career women taking care of their families, building their communities, while maintaining their dignity.  We don’t tune in to see how ladies are supposed to behave; we watch to get a guilty glimpse of just the opposite. Because, let’s be honest, we don’t have to watch television to see women walk in the shoes that society has laid out for them, many of us can just look in the mirror.

We claim we want positivity, but how many of us would watch it? How many of us would support these women if they did everything by the book? If they followed the rules like we all do day-in and day-out, would we praise their efforts? Would we gather around water-coolers and congregate on Twitter and Facebook if they didn’t make complete fools of themselves? Professional women who watch the show talk about it in secret like it’s a meeting to discuss plans for the Underground Railroad. They are that afraid of being judged – yet they still watch.

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