Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who's yo Big Daddy?

These Georgia peaches, unreluctant stars 
of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," don't do windows.

I have a humbling confession--my guilty pleasure: I am addicted to the BRAVO "watch what happens" television network. To its early morning West Wing re-runs. To the infomercials. To its relentless reality competitions, er, artistically-astute design shows.

Surely it cannot be the programming content, e.g. hair styling tournaments and tours of the dating lives of bratty Manhattan preppies.  Something about BRAVO's audio or video production mesmerizes, destroys my will to watch the news, or read a book, or take a walk, or make a bed.  
BRAVO is like a department store that pulls you in with the scent of cinnamon or hot buttery popcorn or invisible pheramone air spray, then leads you by the credit card to sparkly glass cosmetic counters, and forces you to buy this season's pink lipstick which is just like last season's pink lipstick except in a sexier case and bearing a new and improved promise of ecstasy and eternity.

Television exerts similar subliminal power over us consumers. Sometimes when channel surfing, my remote controller will halt suddenly at an odd channel stop,  where I am spellbound by an exotic soap opera with not-often-tall, but very dark, and very, very handsome actors next to very buxom and very often over-dressed actresses, speaking Spanish on my American television.

With such inexplicable magnetism--and English--BRAVO hooks me into its endless spread of Top Chef leftovers. And six seasons of hand-me-down Project Runways. And irresistible repeats of hysterical Flipping Outs and horny Work Outs. And soon with the tantrums of bony babydoll stylist Zoe. (If I'm trapped by television, why cant it be the other Rachel--sardonic, brilliant Maddow on MSNBC-news?)

I have a jones for BRAVO.

I spend (waste) excessive hours in reality purgatory, watching "housewives" of New Jersey, New York, Orange County never do laundry, never do the dishes, never vacuum and dust their penthouses or gated community mansions.

Recently I'm transfixed by a goup of fluffed-up, prissy Atlanta belles, who cuss and slap at each other like ding-dong bee-aa-uches. ("Bitch" is a three syllable word in the South.)

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" is a tacky, trailer park trainwreck that I cannot keep my embarrassed voyeur eyes off.

Most of the onscreen shenanigans seem scripted, but an occasional character is genuinely Shakespearean. Enter Kim Zolciak, the platinum-wigged villainess from season one who "almost" had cancer and who can almost "almost sing" and has a newly released country single ...and who is "kept" by a mysterious and married man she calls "Big Poppa."

GO HERE TO: Watch what happens
BRAVO's Andy Cohen, real housewife Kim Zolciak, and Flipping Out's Jeff Lewis

The big question of season one was Big Poppa's identity--who was this reportedly "short" benefactor with the fat wallet funding kuh'razee Kim's big hair and her Cakebread and Bentley lifestyle?

Call me kuh'razee, but Burl Ives sprang to mind.

I know. He's dead.

But who else could handle a her'iccane like Kim? Only Burl was worthy of a fine, powerful Southern woman with a fine, powerful Southern wig (soon to become a fine, powerful Southern wig "line.")

Remember him in the steamy Hollywood telling of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?  Click this to  experience Burl Ives!

No, Paul Newman couldn't handle catty Liz Taylor. But Big Daddy--Burl Ives-- could handle Paul and Liz. AnBurl would be Ken enough to handle a Barbie like Kim. If she started spoutin' ef this and ef that and ef you, Burl would grab her wig in one fat hand, with bourbon in his other fat hand, and a big fat cigar stuck between his big fat lips, and roar somethin' powerful and paternal like Big Daddy:

"...with your loud voice and your old busybody buttin' in here, there and everywhere, sashayin' around here, and makin' a big noise like a boss, but I'm the only boss around here...ain't nothin' wrong with me but a spastic colon, made spastic by all the lies and liars I've had to put up with around here!" 

Burl Ives didn't care about Jimmy's cracked corns. And Burl Ives wouldn't care what any of ya'll think about anything.

Burl Ives was The Mother of Big Daddies.

He could eat Big Poppa's chicken fried lunch.