Behind us lay Atlanta, smouldering and in ruins, the black smoke rising high in air, and hanging like a pall over the ruined city.
— William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman
Smell that? It's Atlanta going up in flames again. But this time, the flames are figurative. This time when the survivors look back at their ruined city, they won't see the wreckage left from a North-South battle. No, they will smell the rot of decay from selling the city's soul to reality show producers.
Which brings me to "Big Rich Atlanta" (8 tonight, Style network), another show about unseemly people who live in Atlanta. I know, I know I shouldn't take these shows seriously. Trust me, I know intellectually that the Atlanta I see in all these Atlanta-based reality shows (Housewives, Sisterhoods, rappers, baby daddies) isn't Atlanta in its totality. I know intellectually these people aren't the real anything of Atlanta. And yet, after watching so many of them (it's my job!) I think of Atlanta, the real one, and I shudder and say "Ugh." Guess TV images do matter.
So what's the deal with the latest show to make Atlanta look like a place populated by awful, awful people? There's these two skinny blonde gals, I think named after those Harlequin-wearing chicks who work for the Joker in Batman. With their blonde mother's money, they are starting a jewelry line that is sure to cause said mother to lose all her money. They have 'friends'; There's another blonde who is spacey and sweet (she has a blonde mother too). There's a blonde girl with pumped up lips who is mean and unlikeable, but is supposed to be the one we love to hate. (She doesn't seem to have a mother around.) There's another friend with the same name as Queen Latifah's character on "Living Single" who couldn't possibly be friends with these women in real life; there's just no reason for her to even talk to them. And there's another girl whose mother is a dancing pastor.
They fight, they argue, they make up, they steal boyfriends from one another. And I only saw one episode.
Listen, I like a guilty pleasure as much as the next couch potato. I'm a First Amendment fanatic. And I have a high tolerance for muck. Yet "Big Rich Atlanta" got me all philosophical about the state of the state of Georgia's most known city. And I tell you I see a "Gone With The Wind" moment coming. "Big Rich Atlanta" could be the fire this time.