Monique Samuels, Kim Zolciak & the Double Standard of Drinking on Reality Television
The ending of season 10 of the Real Housewives of Atlanta and the start of the Real Housewives of Potomac season 3 revealed quite the hypocrisy. For some reason when Kim Zolciak wanted to drink while filming as the women customarily do during breakfast, lunch, dinner or any gathering where their hands are free, she was berated for having her husband drive her. She has children which is the reason she did so, to be safe. She was literally made out to have attachment issues with her husband. While coming to age, we’ve all been told not to drink and drive which is what she avoided doing, so how all of a sudden is this a problem? I’d also like to add that she’s arguably the ONLY cast member of ANY of the Real Housewives franchises that gets a driver after drinking. Everyone else drives themselves home.
Then there is the case of Real Housewives newcomer Monique Samuels. She went out for drinks with castmember Ashley Darby, had a few drinks as they customarily do but fell asleep on the way home and crashed her car. Given that many of the other women aren’t doing that much with their lives, harping on her car accident makes for good screentime and takes eyes away from themselves. Monique’s explanation was that she was tired and fell asleep on the way home and crashed because of her grueling schedule, NOT because she was drunk. This of course turned into the cast trying to make her into an alcoholic.
I’ve been on both sides of this incident with Monique who was quite defensive accusing castmembers such as Ashley of trying to ruin her reputation. She just wants it all to go away. After all she does have a reputation of charitable work and accusing someone of driving drunk is a serious accusation and can be a reputation killer. As terrible as being in the car accident is, being on a reality show by default is going to make it an issue. As much as she would like to have it put to rest off camera and minimized for the sake of her name, sadly that just isn’t how it works. And one would think your friends such as Ashley who knows what this type of press could do to you would not make a big deal out of it, when in the every man for himself, get them before they get you reality television environment, expect everything fair game and possibly fodder to be used against you at the most inopportune time. Karen Huger’s tax issues were something she definitely didn’t want to bring to light but of course the Washington Post sort of took that option away from her. On top of that, it appears her husband wants a divorce to keep from implicating her in his tax issues. That’s fine but she can’t say that on camera because I’m pretty sure that’s considered fraud. It makes for her camera time dealing with it awkward, but it has to be dealt with on camera just the same.
And regarding the double standard, for those who said she shouldn’t have been drinking and driving, don’t all the women do that? You see everyone pull up alone to dinner and drinks then leave on their own. Andy Cohen asked Monique if she had a drinking problem. The fact remains that she did nothing more than everyone else does. Ashley did admit to having more to drink than Monique but pointed out that she didn’t crash her car. While that is true, does that make her drinking and driving more justified than Monique’s? The show’s matriarch, Karen Huger told Monique that it’s best to just get a driver when drinking as a best practice and I have to say that I agree. Life is full of double standards and while everyone else might be doing the same thing, it isn’t until you mess up doing it that there becomes a problem.
Then there is the reaction to Monique’s car accident. Monique went down a list of things in her schedule keeping her from getting a decent night’s sleep including not having a nanny, two small children, being married, doing charitable work and other business ventures. Her being young and married to a wealthy man tends to have others look down at her as though she does nothing but look pretty all day. People outside of the 9-5 world have a hard time understanding the schedules of self-employed people. Then again, people who don’t work at all don’t understand the schedule of Monique. I also understand her being young and making sure she’s taken seriously with her work. That of course seems to go over the heads of Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon who turned their nose up at her the moment they met her. The antagonizing that Robyn did to Monique inviting her to punch her in the face was 100% wrong but would have `100% been justified had she hit her. I like them both but sometimes enough is enough. It isn’t as if she’d be fired. If Porsha Williams can get in as many fights as she has and can still remain on the Atlanta franchise, Monique can get one swing in and keep her spot.
Monique has said that the rest of the cast is pretending to be “concerned” about her using air quotes as she says that’s apparently the trend now, being concerned. The correct way to handle the situation by her “friends” would have been to acknowledge her workload, discuss with her ways to handle it and tell her that she shouldn’t drink and drive. That of course can’t be done without also admitting that the rest of the cast drinks and drives to axe out all possible self-righteous which of course is the exact opposite of what happened. This is a touchy subject to me as I dated an alcoholic who had to be cut out of his car after drinking and driving years ago. While I’m happy nothing serious happened to her, it could have been and I’ll side with Karen on Monique needing to get a driver the next time she decides to have a drink while out. I also realize how extremely busy she is and with the same weight I emphasize her getting a driver, I’m hoping Monique’s schedule gets some relief. The storyline of trying to make her an alcoholic, however needs to stop. If that’s the case they may as well pack up production, send everyone to rehab and film from there.
This can be a teachable moment in time management, work/play life balance and fitting in drinking safely with a tough schedule without destroying Monique on camera. If she were someone who went after people incessantly on the show, it would be understandable, but she isn’t. Some of the older women are simply making this unfortunate event into something it really isn’t. And for God’s sake, can we be consistent? Don’t pick on Kim Zolciak for NOT drinking and driving, having her husband drive her around, then when someone DOES in fact drink and drive, tell them to stop it. In Monique’s case, she did the right thing. She stated what happened and has moved on to the next scandal which in this case is Gizelle’s man Sherman Douglas being arrested for creeping in parks. For the record, I’ve never heard of straight men doing that. I’m just saying.
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