Everyone loves The Real Housewives!
OK, to be fair, not everyone is aware of how magical the Real Housewives can be on occasion. While a lot of people find them irritating, where else are you going to find crazy moments where weird rich women debase themselves like insane animals in a menagerie for we the people to marvel at?
No matter what your opinion is on The Real Housewives franchise, it’s hard to deny that they’re a bonafide cultural phenomenon. Love them or hate them, their hilarious quips, wild cat fights and generally unblinking attitude towards affluence are here to stay.
So, if we were to cast a new season of Real Housewives, populated by some of the most desperate women in classic literature, who would we call?
Let’s find out.
First thing’s first, you can’t have an all-star list of literary housewives without Daisy, the green light-symbolizing, beautiful-little-fool birthing, long-suffering wife of Tom Buchanan and secret love of Jay Gatsby. If you haven’t read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, you should go back to school, but if you have, you know she’d be a perfect fit in The Real Housewives universe. She possesses just the right combination of quasi-airheadedness, secret depth and insane wealth to roll with the girls.
The next housewife on our hit parade is Emma Bovary, the wishy-washy, vain wife of a boring husband who she cheats on in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Also, she has a drug problem and owes money to shady dudes. She hits rock bottom after first being dumped via apricot basket, and again when her boyfriend (still married) refuses to help her pay off her debts. She’s perfect for a dramatic housewife intervention episode.
Poor Anna is ostracized by her elite high-society companions after leaving her husband for a dashing young military officer. Eventually, she’s estranged from both her husband and family, and from the lover she left them for. She gets paranoid in the throes of her social isolation, and (spoiler alert) has a really bad time. Long story short, throughout Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, it’s clear that she needs to get out more, which is why being a Real Housewife would probably be good for her.
The undisputed queen bee of our little literary Real Housewives group would undoubtedly be Mrs. Dalloway, from Virginia Woolf’s novel of the same name. She’s an expert at keeping her true emotions to herself, and at throwing awesome parties. She does come with two major drawbacks: 1) she’s almost too classy to be a Real Housewife, and 2) she has too rich an inner life to deal with all the shenanigans necessary for the drama of the show to actually work. However, for the one season she’d stick around, she would be totally majestic.
The only thing our group is missing is “the crazy one.” Well, considering the fact that Bertha, wife of Jane Eyre‘s Mr. Rochester, has been locked in an attic for a decade, she fits the bill. In the unofficial yet critically acclaimed prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea reveals that there’s more to Bertha than meets the eye. Her real name is Antoinette, and she’s a victim of sexist circumstance. Even though her situation is extremely sympathetic, our Classic Literature Real Housewives still need someone willing to set things on fire to get the show going, so Bertha will be a perfect fit.