This blog is my random ramblings about Bravo's The Real Housewives franchise. I am a huge fan of every incarnation of the Real Housewives and decided I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions on the shows and the Housewives. This is by no means a "hate blog" but it's not a fan blog either. I will share my honest opinions which at times will be critical of the Housewives and at times praising them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Russell Armstrong: His Suicide and Its Affect on The RHOBH

By now, everyone knows that Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of Beverly Hills housewife Taylor Armstrong, committed suicide. Russell's suicide has received massive media attention (more than probably any other housewife related event) and put into question the fate of not only the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but also the entire franchise.

Season 2 was set to premiere on September 5th and a major storyline for the season was set to be Russell and Taylor's deteriorating marriage and impending separation. In the weeks leading up to his suicide, reports surfaced that Russell was abusive to Taylor and reports since his death have stated that he beat Taylor so bad she required surgery.  Russell was purportedly concerned that he would be portrayed poorly in season 2 and as a result the media and his family have capitalized on the situation to claim that the show contributed to his death. Personally, I find this claim ridiculous.

In the wake of Russell's suicide it has come out that he had a very troubled past and was in dire financial straits. He had a history of abuse. Taylor filed for divorce months prior. He was facing a $1.5 million lawsuit. He clearly had problems other than the show. Further a suicide can only be blamed on one person, the person who committed suicide. Russell made a choice, a selfish choice that his 5 year old daughter and 2 sons will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Russell on the other hand does not suffer the consequences of his actions as he is gone.

Bravo is now scrambling to edit season 2 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in order to portray Russell in a more favorable light or to remove him completely. Their concern being that they do not want to be disrespectful and cast Russell as a villian so soon after his death, especially in the face of media backlash and a possible lawsuit from Russell's family (they won't win). There has even been calls to scrap the entire second season or to get rid of all of The Real Housewives shows. That latter is ridiculous.

As a fan, I think getting scrapping and never airing the second season is ridiculous. The reality of tv is the Bravo would never completely scrap the second season. They've already laid out a lot of money filming and editing on the second season, they are not going to flush that money, especially given that they will likely get high ratings after all of this press. May sound insensitive, but it's true. So the question becomes what will Bravo do?

Personally, I would like Bravo to leave the season as it is. I probably in the minority and I know that won't happen, but Russell was who he was and while it may be considered insensitive to show a dead man in such poor light, this is a man who chose to kill himself. A man who purportedly beat his wife. This isn't a man who has earned himself the right to be respected. Others will say that he shouldn't be portrayed in a bad light out of respect for his children. Well his children should probably not be watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and it is up to their mothers to ensure they don't. I'm sure I sound insensitive, maybe I am. I feel horrible for Taylor, Kennedy, Russell's sons, and the rest of his family, they are the ones left to grieve. I have less sympathy for Russell himself. Many people claim that reality shows take things out of context and take something that was one thing and portray it as another. I believe that in instances where Russell was editted inaccurately ot unfairly it should be reeditted to correct. Then again, as a purist, I wish everything in reality shows was edited correctly rather than manipulated. Then again, who knows, maybe I wouldn't like them if they were. I don't think that they should take away scenes where Taylor and Russell go to counselling to work on their marriage. Leaving that in would be a good thing. It would show that they worked on their marriage and didn't just give up. Maybe not all of the fights and everything that portrays Russell as a villian should be left it, but Bravo should still show how the marriage deteriorated. If Taylor and Russell are only shown happy and cheery it will not only be fake it will make his suicide more baffling. The people left after a loved one has committed suicide want answers and want to understand, especially in instances like with Russell where there was no suicide note. Showing Russell in some of his last months of life may help give his family and friends some insight into what he was feeling and how he was doing. It will not bring Russell back but may give them peace to understand why.

Well that is just my random rambling on what I think about Russell's suicide and its effect on the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. All in all, I wish Taylor, Kennedy, Russell's sons and his friends and family the best through this very difficult time and hope that the show does not bring them further pain. I express my deepest condolences to them.

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