No humour no irony... just a sad world of self-obsession

Pat Stacey

I WAS fully prepared to hate Dublin Housewives.

What can I say? I'm glad I was prepared. I'd hate to think what might have happened if I hadn't been. I could well have been dumbstruck, which most certainly wouldn't be a good thing, not when you've got to come up with a few hundred words about it for the following day.

That it was awful almost goes without saying. How could a four-part TV3 reality show about a quintet of self-appointed "celebrities" flitting like moths around the fast-fading flame of the Celtic Tiger social scene be anything other than awful?


For the record, our five heroines are model, socialite and chipper family scion Virginia Macari; beautician and socialite Lisa Murphy; Botox doctor Danielle Meagher; businesswoman Roz Flanagan (she's in food apparently), and entrepreneur Jo Jordan.

But Dublin Housewives is awful in unique and unexpected ways that previous Irish reality shows weren't. RTE's stilted Fade Street just begged you to sneer at the preening narcissism of its vacuous "characters", with their silly, self-applied nicknames and self-deluding non-jobs.

Tallafornia did the same, with the extra gawp factor of flirting, fighting, drinking, vomiting and, if anyone got sufficiently pissed, perhaps a little actual sex.

Dublin Housewives, on the other hand, doesn't invite you do anything other than sit there in a blank-faced stupor as it rolls pointlessly by. There's no irony, no humour -- intentional or unintentional -- and not a tiny sliver of self-awareness.

Hyped to high heaven for weeks with promos that promised fireworks and high (heeled) drama, the keynote of the first episode was its abject dreariness. Much of the time was taken up introducing the five, each of them thoroughly self-absorbed -- and thoroughly boring with it.

What strange lives these wealthy women seem to lead. They live in a bubble-world of their own making, where they're legends in their own lunchtimes, obsessed with parties and premieres, tripe and trivialities. It's a world of paralysed faces and frozen intellects.


All the things that are important to women in the real world, but which they also regard as a routine part of progressing through life -- things such as getting a job, finding a partner, getting married, buying a house, having a baby -- seem to be elevated in the minds of our not-as-famous-as-they-think five to epic triumphs and towering achievements.

"I actually forget that I'm pregnant sometimes," trilled Virginia Macari, the first woman in the world to have a baby, it seems, from behind an eight-month bump as full and rounded as the inflated airbag of a BMW. "I'll be back out there pardying again very soon."

"I'll take on anyone that comes my way," snarled Danielle Meagher, for no apparent reason. "If you want a fight, I'll fight you." Hypodermics at dawn, then.

They talk a hell of a lot, these women, but most of the talk is about nothing. A monotonous stream of drivel.

People who take part in reality shows usually do it because they're desperate for attention of any kind.

Dublin Housewives, which relies on bigging up Dublin socialites, turns out to be too dull to merit the attention of even the shout-at-the-screen brigade, who tune in to these things to be appalled and have their prejudices reinforced. Somehow I don't think that's what TV3 had in mind.