‘Princesses Long Island’: Turn up the stereotypes

What the housewives all have in common is that, at one point or another, they married rich, they run the gamut of ethnicities.

June 16, 2013 21:22
2 minute read.
PUTTIN’ ON the schvitz: The cast of ‘Princesses Long Island.’

The cast of ‘Princesses Long Island. 370. (photo credit: bravo)

When Ashlee White says “if I can’t wear stilettos, I can’t go,” television viewers may have already dismissed the new Bravo series Princesses of Long Island as just another Real Housewives reality show.

But the difference between these six princesses and other reality royalty is in their birthright – they’re Jewish.

The show, which began last week in the States, follows the girls as they sunbathe, shop and search for men to “put a ring on it.” Meanwhile, they will not leave the Manischevitzcoated walls of their penthouses until marriage, living at home while their parents care for them. They are almost 30.

Chanel Omaro, the token Orthodox Jew, says this failure to launch is “a Jewish thing, and it’s kind of a Long Island thing.”

Perhaps it’s a thing that happens when you name your daughter after a purse.

Regardless, Israeli viewers might be enraged at the claim that this immaturity is inherently Jewish – their mandatory IDF service contrasting sharply with the life of privilege displayed on screen. But, while many American reality television audiences are used to wine throwing and weave pulling, many might not be used to it occurring at a Shabbat table.

But cancel the cries of anti-Semitism for now; the show is really just a bevy of misinformation.

The scattered references to Judaism are sorely misplaced. Chanel explains that as a modern Orthodox woman, it is normal for her to live at home until marriage. However, this may easily be confused with the belief that the normal Orthodox woman does nothing but try on bikinis and schedule pedicures. Later, Chanel happily chomps on an unkosher hot dog without reading the package.

The show is perhaps most damaging to Jewish American parents, who are portrayed as millionaires that only want their daughters to get into prestigious American universities so they can meet wealthy lawyers and Wall Street heirs.

This lack of independence is what separates these girls from their reality-housewife predecessors.

Despite an almost matching appetite for materialism, the other housewives always (or sometimes) took pride in their entrepreneurial skills.

Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel was just about penniless when the show began. She used her TV exposure to launch a low calorie, ready-to-drink cocktail line that exploded into a major life-style liquor line, reality spin-off shows and her own day time talk show. Other housewives used their celebrity to launch singing careers (maybe not so successful), skincare products, cookbooks, or promoted their own autobiographies.

While the housewives all have in common that, at one point or another, they married rich, they run the gamut of ethnicities from Italian- American, Africa-American, or Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

Despite the all Jewish showing on Princesses, the message to parents can transcend all ethnicities – if you keep them rich, they’ll less likely want to search for their rich husband (I never said it was a positive message).

In one scene, the petite four-foot-nine White is unable to put her stilettos on after a pedicure.

The solution involves her father schlepping her chair to the door and the salon owner carrying her to the car. Later, White contemplates marriage and asks, “why would I ever want to leave?” Viewers would have difficulty finding the answer.

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