TV Ratings Thrive Off Black And Blues
Violence on 'Basketball Wives' now includes the husbands
VH1's Basketball Wives isn't exactly the bastion of class and maturity. Drinks get thrown just as much as punches on that other all women reality show where grown women claim to be bad girls. This week’s episode stooped to a new low as the only NBA player to star in the show ironically about basketball, Eric Williams threw a drink in his estranged wife Jennifer Williams' face with the glass clipping her in the chin.
Both Eric and Jennifer have vehemently denied any previous physical abuse in their marriage and claim this was an isolated incident. While video clips of "drinkgate" racked up views, both parties were silent. That is until Jennifer did a radio interview last week speaking on pre-existing martial woes with her soon-to-be ex husband. While it is true that Jennifer instigated the conflict by throwing ice at Eric during their argument. His reaction was in no way justified. Eric Williams should have continued walking away.
Violence is not acceptable.
The show often highlights violence and the ratings prove that the audience craves it but this time the conflict wasn’t between two 30-something year-old women ripping out each other’s hair. With a man being the culprit it’s an even sadder and more disturbing time for the faux-reality series.
Creator and executive producer Shaunie O'Neal acknowledged that the show isn't what she envisioned. “When I started the show I really just wanted to follow this group of ladies around. We all have a common bond; we understand each other’s lives. It started as that," Shaunie told Fox411’s Pop Tarts column. "Since then, it’s taken on a life of its own. I never imagined it would be a group of ladies fighting and arguing the way that they do. That was never part of the plan.”
Shaunie is at least expressing some regret now that the show has gone down into the bowels of reality television. While her concern may be genuine, she is still collecting a check off of the show. As executive producer she has some say at taming the beast she created. It’s one thing to notice that your creation consists of fights, cursing arguments, and gossip, but it’s another to do something about it.
A man throwing a drink, in this instance, is simply the natural devolution of an environment the show created where mothers behave like teenagers. What is more disturbing is that Basketball Wives is not alone. Real Housewives and Jersey Shore all hit ratings gold the more bickering and fighting is the focal point of the show. The fact that the violence has now crossed the line into gendered violence isn't surprising. Violence against women isn't only between a man and a woman. Two women beating the crap out of each other set a standard for the show and it has just naturally progressed.
Violence shouldn't be a ratings draw, but I have no doubt that last night’s season finale ratings spiked significantly because of the violent trailer of Eric dousing Jennifer... and that's a damn shame.