We've reached the day of atonement for VH1's Housewives killer Basketball Wives, a show that is essentially Flavor of Love in good shoes. On last night's Season 4 reunion special, head Basketball Wife in charge, co-creator/executive producer/star/Shaq's ex Shaunie O'Neal lamented this season's imbalance of "good" and "bad." In the former category, she cited scenes in which her child had a birthday party and two women got mammograms. The latter category included every other scene.
Basketball Wives scenes break down roughly like this: a) women discuss an upcoming event that is bound to result in a confrontation, b) women attend said event and take part in that confrontation and c) women discuss the past event in which the confrontation went down. Over and over again, the show the show pounds at that structure with the insistence of a migraine. Extreme examples of fights from this most tumultuous season involve separate instances of Evelyn Lozada throwing a bottle of wine at Kenya Bell and running over a table in an attempt to assault Jennifer Williams. Tami Roman (formerly of The Real World 2) castigated Kesha Nichols for coughing and later took Nichols' purse hostage. Lozada and Suzie Ketcham played a "prank" in which they hid dead fish around the hotel room of Kenya Bell before she checked in. O'Neal stood by, looking not nearly mortified enough.
That scene is the most telling because it's clear that as much as O'Neal likes to lament the behavior on this show, she can't really do anything about it. Every reality show is its own content farm and to say, "Hey, maybe you should put the fish carcases away and stop being such rancid human beings," would be to get in the way of the reality. In the clip below, O'Neal claims in a manner that is at least clinical, if not canned, "We are going to do our best moving forward to show you some better content, some more positive, intelligent women that, you know, we got our act together."
Good luck with that — she's been saying it for a while now. Now it's become a plot point in the wake of realer-than-reality lawsuits and a "boycott" proposed by Star Jones in April that had no discernible effect on the show's ratings.
It has had an effect on these women's discourse, though. Now O'Neal can wring her hands on camera and Lozada can tear up about her stepdaughters enjoying the extreme human behavior that is her art and Roman can go on Wendy Williams, calling herself a "pure fool" and vowing never to shame her daughters again.
The women of Basketball Wives have entered a new phase of talking about talking. What all of this controversy and ridiculous behavior has produced is more content, more talking points, more ways to fill the time before we all die. That's not even a metaphor — it's just life.