The Lighter Side: We all became Real Housewives in 2020
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The Lighter Side: We all became Real Housewives in 2020

From clapping for the NHS to indulging in the latest binge-worthy TV, Brigit Grant reflects on an unprecedented year

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City (RHOSLC). 
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City (RHOSLC). 

You’ll hate to admit this, but we all became Real Housewives in 2020. 

Not the aesthetically-enhanced, designer-clad wives who star in the reality franchise set in New York, Beverly Hills and Cheshire etc. No, we were the schlochy grey-rooted, pyjama-wearing house fraus seen in Mike Leigh films – and some of us even appeared on the news in this apparel while clapping for the NHS. 

There were no lunches at The Ivy or cocktails at The Connaught for us, just an Osem soup wolfed down between dusting, washing and Office Team meets on the PC. 

Some brushed up for those doorstep portraits with the amazing Adam Soller but, encouraged (ordered) to stay in, all we could do was dream of 2019 BC, when we went out to work instead of applauding by the gate and chanting:

Wake, Vent, Clap Repeat 

Has Hancock got it wrong?

Sleep, Cook, Eat, Repeat

This  year has gone Pete Tong. 

We also watched a lot of telly, returning to old favourites and guilty pleasures, which for me was the Real Housewives. Imagine my delight, then, when in the midst of this interminable malaise, a new Housewives strand appeared. 

Meredith ‘s RHOLC birthday dress

Yes, just as I tired of rewinding NYC’s Bethenny Frankel – along came Meredith Marks of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City (RHOSLC). 

Immaculate and smoothly coiffed despite the frozen temperatures, one can only wonder how this Jewish jewellery designer wound up in the Wasatch mountains of Utah. Don’t most females of the faith avoid dipping their Louboutins in snow? 

“Well, I’m originally from Chicago,” says Meredith, with an accent worthy of her roots. “Up until very recently, I was living between there and Utah, but since violence ensued in Chicago with  all the protests, I really haven’t spent any time there. It’s been heart-wrenching to watch.” 

Now, only Meredith’s husband, Seth, commutes back and forth, as it was his work that first took the family to Salt Lake City 10 years ago. However, much like the terrain they inhabit, theirs is  a rocky 24-year marriage, about which they make no secret, from episode two when they announce a split. 

Meredith and Seth

So did Meredith really want her spiralling union aired internationally to millions? “Honestly, I didn’t really understand what I was getting myself into. I’d not watched a tonne of reality television prior to this and usually put on the news. So I got a quick lesson basically watching one episode from each US franchise prior to filming. 

“In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the best way to go about it.” 

Had she only asked, I would have told her that every eye roll and blistering row would now be fodder for the fans who invest in the housewives’ humdingers.  

On the upside, she gets to parade and position her fine jewellery, bags and accessories to an aspirational audience who can visit her Park City store or buy online (www.meredithmarks.com).  All the housewives have collectively made a mint over time with endorsements and signature branding, but Utah is a long way to go to meet the sassy Salt Lakers. 

Meredith, Seth and their adult children

Home to the world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormons, the area is known mostly for raising the Osmonds, but that was the 1970s. 

While it’s an appropriate location for the baptism of fire that is reality TV, what is it like for this fine arts major and her Jewish family?

“It’s completely different to Chicago and other cities I’ve lived in in America, but Utah has a unique culture,” insists Meredith, who has three children: Reid, 23, Brooks, 21, and Chloe, 19. “They’re all thriving and incredible – I could not be more proud.”

Spoken like every Jewish housewife/mother, and she also informs me that
Salt Lake is “more religiously diverse than you imagine” and there is a synagogue in Park City. 

“I’m definitely very in touch with my Judaism in a cultural and historical way and I am so proud to be Jewish.”

As a footnote, Reid, who works in New York, was on the Team Chicago 16-and-under basketball squad at the JCC Maccabi Games in 2013 and Brooks, who is gay, has already announced his fashion line on RHOSLC. Why wait would be my attitude, too, after a year like this, so if they ever make Real Housewives of Barnet I’ve got the childrens’ book, knitwear line and a singing daughter ready to market.

Until that happens, Keep Well.
Be Safe. Repeat. 

 

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is on Hayu

 

Izzy Alert

Final shout out for the year for Izzy Stream, where you will find Shira Haas in the short film Lost & Found and the warm and consuming drama series Where Do You Live? (Eifo Ata Hai? starring Rivka Michaeli, which is about Israel’s Bukharan community and its struggles with a traditional life and building a new one. Think of it as Central Asia’s Shtisel.

https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/spotlight/subscribe-to-izzy-the-israeli-netflix-for-less-than-5-a-month

Sign up NOW!

Men in Black

Just when you thought Israeli television couldn’t get any more addictive, along comes The New Black (Shababniks).

In what could loosely be described as American Pie meets Yentl, this comedy-drama created by Eliran Malka and Danny Paran is about four hip, happening and sometimes struggling Orthodox students trying to master their mojo. 

The New Black is definitely green in Israel, where it has gone ahead in the ratings and picked up four television awards. With actors who look as good as Daniel Gad, Meir Sabag, Dov Lazer and Gedaliah, the appeal of these young men in black is not surprising. Take a good look at their good looks in The New Black at ukjewishfilm.org and tell me I’m wrong. 

The New Black (Shababniks)

 

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