Author: Brian Moylan
"Brian Moylan is a Real Housewives anthropologist and writer for Vulture, The New York Times, The Guardian, and elsewhere."
1. What is your relationship with writing? When did you start and how has it affected your life?
I feel like the Dorothy Parker quote, "I hate writing, but I love having written," really applies to me. I started writing poetry in college and studied that in graduate school when I also started working at a newspaper. I've been writing ever since and thank god it's paid for my sarcastically extravagant lifestyle.
2. What inspired you to write “The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives?”
I read a book called "Bachelor Nation" by Amy Kauffman about the behind the scenes, history, and cultural impact of "The Bachelor" franchise and the whole time I couldn't believe someone hadn't done that yet for The Real Housewives franchise.
3. K.W. Colyard mentioned you and your book in her article, “How Real Are The Real Housewives? Ask The Show’s Producers” and ended it with quote: “Production gets a bad rap, but if it wasn’t for production, I mean, what would you do? Just sit there and watch girls eat nachos? You can’t do it without production.” What are your thoughts on the production practices on the Real Housewives shows knowing that some producers are a little more hands on in some cases than others?
I totally agree with that quote. I think the producers are necessary to get us the show that we really love. I think the women know what they're in for on the show and some of them play ball more than others. I think the producers are actually less involved than a lot of fans, who see invisible puppet strings everywhere, think they are. What I really hate though is when things are clearly produced (like who "hosts" the cast trips) and production won't recognize the audience's savviness and just tell us that it is.
4. Why do you think people love the Real Housewives franchise so much?
I wish I had a short answer. There's a whole chapter in my book devoted to this! I think it is what Freud would call "overdetermined." It's a million reasons all at once. I think people like it to relax, they like to talk to their friends about it, they like to see a life that they can't afford, they like to feel better than the women, they like to judge, they like to spend time with people who have become like friends. I think the combination of all of those different things are in all people in different quantities.
5. What is something you wish you knew about writing a book before starting the creative process?
I wish I knew how long it takes books to physically print. I'm used to writing for the internet where something is done and they can just slap it up on the website instantly. Books take so long not just to write but to physically make.
6. How are you using your experience with the Real Housewives creative teams to write a book? In other words, what kind of impact, or what message, are you hoping people understand after reading your book?
I hope that the book answers all the questions fans have about production and how the shows are actually made, from the casting process all the way through editing and receiving network notes. I hope they also learn that it's a lot more real than they think it is. I also hope that fans will stop internalizing the negative connotation that society has put on "reality TV." There is nothing wrong with this thing that we love, so I wish everyone could take the guilt out of their guilty pleasure.
7. What was something about the Real Housewives franchise that you were surprised to find out during your research for this book?
I was surprised about how much research Bravo does into each Housewife and how much people like them or loathe them. They even read Twitter while the show is airing to make "social sentiment reports" so all of those mean tweets people make about the women actually have an impact and can get them fired.
8. What is your favorite Real Housewives city and why?
I think New York is the best. It never lets you down, the women are funny, they've been together for a long time so they have a complicated dynamic, and they always find a way to surprise us just when we think we've seen it all. However, Potomac is nipping at its heels as the best these days.
9. The show has been criticized for its lack of diversity and its enhancement of cultural stereotypes. Over the course of writing your book did you find why these issues arise either from the internal team at Bravo or from the fans of the shows?
I think for a long time Bravo was happy to have the shows segregated into shows with white casts and black casts and that is something I learned researching before the death of George Floyd. However, after the resurgence of the BLM movement in 2020, Bravo seems to be working hard to diversify the traditionally white cities, which I think is great and much needed.
Since then a lot of the conversations on the shows have been about race and racial issues and I think that really shows how those same conversations are happening in homes all around America.
10. What is your favorite Real Housewives moment and why?
The one I watch on YouTube the most often is Sheree's fight with Anthony the party planner where she says, "Who gonna check me, boo?" It's outlandish, absurd, dramatic, and hilarious all at the same time. I love when Sheree ends it with her comedic, "What ever happened to customer service?"
11. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
Just write, even if it's a little bit. Plow through it and keep going. The writing is in the revising, so even if it sucks you can just make it better later.
12. What’s the best book you have read this year so far?
I hope one day that I have had enough crazy life experiences and to relate them as humanely and hilariously as Casey Wilson does in her book "The Wreckage of My Presence."
13. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
I don't know if this is about happiness, but a friend once said to me, "I no longer feel the need to demonstrate to the world how great I am," and that is something I think about often.
14. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
I'm working on ghostwriting another book — my fourth — now. So yes. And you will definitely see my name on the cover of a book again.
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