The XX Factor

Why “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” Is a Runaway Hit

Why is The Real Housewives of New Jersey a smash-hit? The season finale’s 4.6 million viewers in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic testify to its broad appeal, but why are we so enamored with these table-tossing housewives? Is it the big hair? The brash talk? The back stabbing? One thing’s for sure. It’s not their manners.

Out of all the Real Housewives series-from Orange County to Atlanta to New York City-“New Jersey” is the breakaway hit. Because I have deeply bad taste in TV, I’ve watched every installment of the Bravo franchise. Sometimes, I watch them twice. But the Jersey wives are far and away the most fascinating. Sometimes, I quote lines from the show. “Prostitution whore!” I shout, pointing accusingly. “I don’t like you before I like you,” I inform strangers.

I think the Real Housewives are popular for one reason: They’re mean. I mean, they’re really mean. They render Mean Girls pranks child’s play. They don’t sit around talking the talk, like the well-tanned, blond-highlighted, high-heeled ‘bots of The Hills . These bitches will cut you . They actually walk the walk, which is why tables have a tendency to get overturned.

I hope they don’t tone it down next season.

These molls are my heroes.