Last year, Season 13 of The Real Housewives of New York City was cast during a momentous time in our nation.
Unfortunately, much of white America appears to be back to being as disinterested in conversations about racism as Ramona Singer.
This means that some outspoken viewers aren’t loving RHONY, and are blaming Eboni K. Williams.
But the ones at fault — on the show, at least — aren’t the Housewives, but the producers who run things.
There are no scripts on reality television, but that doesn’t mean that production doesn’t have a hand in things.
We all know that random rich women don’t go on annual vacations with their neighbors except when they’re on reality television.
Sometimes, production will cast specific people for specific roles, and ask the ladies to discuss specific topics.
Enter Eboni K. Williams, a brilliant and accomplished woman.
It is distressing, though not surprising, to remember that she is the first Black star of RHONY.
Somehow, it took thirteen seasons and the largest civil rights protest in history for Bravo to make a sensible casting choice.
At the time, all of America was involved in a complicated, nuanced, and often educational conversation about race, racism, and white supremacy.
The Real Housewives of Orange County, of all of the shows on the planet, somehow had a very good conversation at the time.
Both Gina and Braunwyn explained things using different terms, facing off against Kelly Dodd who did what she does best: being wrong and awful.
Production opted to hire RHONY‘s first Black Housewife and to prompt her and other Housewives to discuss race.
Some in production wanted the important topic aired. Others simply wanted to capitalize on a “hot topic.”
Others likely wanted to do both — profit while using the show’s platform for something positive.
As we all know, many months go by between filming and when the episodes air.
(Outside of pandemic circumstances, the delay is often around eight months, but can be less … or much more)
In the intervening time, things have changed.
Sadly, it looks like so much of white America is done pretending to care about Black people and their experiences.
We wish that there were a nicer way to say that, but … how else would you phrase it?
Check social media after any RHONY episode airs, and you’ll find certain viewers whining about Eboni daring to discuss her life.
An inside source close to the show’s production spoke to The New York Post about how production is feeling.
“They have a mess on their hands,” the insider characterized.
“At the time they were casting this,” the source said, “they thought it would be a good idea to bring on a Black woman to school these women on race.”
This attempt to exploit an important conversation for ratings backfired.
Viewership has dropped to just 764,000 early this season.
“By the time it aired, our country was in a different place,” the insider explained.
“And,” the source added, “the producers f–ked themselves.”
Unfortunately, a lot of viewers just want to see hollow entertainment about rich women behaving poorly.
“There’s frustration behind the scenes,” the insider revealed.
Of course, some of the inside source’s commentary is a little worrisome when it comes to Eboni K. Williams.
“She is just on the wrong show,” the source claimed.
Kind of sus to say that the show’s first ever Black star shouldn’t be there because she’s doing exactly what she was hired to do.
“Production is amping her up and telling her to address this, push Ramona on that,” the insider described.
“Don’t blame any of the girls,” the source stressed.
The insider said that viewers should “blame the production and the casting choice.”
Here’s the question: regardless of ratings, is a show making a mistake by not catering to white comfort?
That could be a matter of perspective, but white supremacy is allowed to go unchucked for business reasons all of the time.
Not casting “certain people” for years is how the Bachelor franchise ended up with a massive racism problem. Bravo needs to avoid that same problem.