Brent Bozell

In an interview with People a few weeks before his death, Armstrong admitted that "Real Housewives" was ruining his actual reality. "It got really overwhelming," he told the magazine. "When you get a TV show involved, and all the pressure -- it just takes it to a whole new level...We were pushed to extremes."

Armstrong's family is reportedly considering filing a lawsuit against Bravo for contributing to the emotional state that led to his suicide. In response, snarky Bravo defenders in Hollywood gossip circles are mocking the mourning family for granting too many interviews. When you're a Hollywood sleaze, everyone's motives are dark. No one can be imagined as having a conscience.

In a preview tape sent to TV critics this summer, Bravo displayed a scene reuniting their "housewives" that ended with Taylor distraught and crying in the bathroom over the sorry state of her marriage. After that scene, another housewife typically suggested the tears were just phony waterworks for attention. Even if Bravo deleted scenes like this, it shows just how cruelty is the bread and butter of most reality shows.

The way that Hollywood scripts these programs, there is no way Bravo won't spend an entire second season (and maybe a third) milking Taylor's reaction to and potential recovery from her husband's suicide. There's a reason why The Washington Post asked after this suicide if joining a "reality" show is like "making a deal with the devil." When Bravo executives and producers seem just as happy to watch you die as live, they certainly look evil.

At The Wrap blog, Mali Perl summed up the toll of "reality" TV makers: "What amazes me is that even now, when we can longer hide behind the naivet? of not knowing quite how this newfangled machine works, there is still a seemingly unlimited amount of people not just willing but eager to get caught up and mangled in its gears."

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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