About a month ago – for the first time in more than a decade – I found myself totally obsessed with the NCAA tournament. It sort of started by accident. See, I like to leave the television on while I'm at work so my puppy doesn't feel so alone and I guess I'm willing to pretend that the people on TV make her feel like she's got company. Usually I put on CNN so she can stay informed, but one day I started to grow concerned that her fragile baby canine mind maybe shouldn't be exposed to the tragedies currently plaguing the world – you know, terrorism, people who don't believe global warming is real, Trump's views on women – so I decided to put on a different channel before I left the house. I think Married With Children was airing as I walked out the door at the ass-crack of dawn. I heard a loud roar of canned laughter and the unmistakable growl of Al Bundy and sure, I worried that Tallulah would watch the show and I'd come home and discover she'd shimmied herself into some Lycra and managed to procure a can of Aqua Net and she'd ask me if I knew that Traci Lords could act, but I decided to just deal with those issues if they popped up.
By the time late afternoon arrived and I walked back through my front door, sitcoms from the early-nineties had ended and basketball was on instead. I found myself playing fetch with the dog and getting my stuff ready for work in the morning and doing yoga, all with the TV still on. The cheers of the crowd and the sound of the rhythmic dribbling offered me some unexpected solace. I didn't go all in – I never drew up a bracket or anything — but I legitimately began to care about the tournament and there were a few teams I started to root for. I wanted University of Michigan, Miami, or UNC to come out on top. Why? Well, there are very good reasons for all my choices! My ex-boyfriend went to Michigan and I have fond memories of going to those games. I even remember half of the school’s fight song, yet another little ditty I can’t sing on key. Most of my family roots for Miami so I threw that team into my mix because it's always nice when my family is happy. As for UNC, it's really very simple: the blue they wear is the prettiest shade of blue in all the land.
I had to DVR the final game a couple of Mondays ago because my top priority was to throw all my concentration at the last part of the Vanderpump Rules reunion. (Yes, it takes a great deal of concentration to describe a collection of leaky douchebags who fancy themselves human.) With my recap gloriously complete, I finally settled in to watch the game. I was riveted. After writing about the morons on Bravo, it was inspiring to see people with actual talent appear on a screen in my home – and while I was upset that the team who wore the nice color didn't walk away victorious, it still felt like a lovely way to wile away the late evening hours. Besides, I've found guys line up for you when it's clear you not only don't mind sports, but you show up to watch a game wearing a hot lace bra under a thin tee while holding a bowl filled with the most amazing spinach and artichoke dip known to man. (The trick is the red pepper flakes.)
I couldn't help but think about those games and the team rivalries tonight as I watched the season finale of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Sure, on the surface these two forms of entertainment have almost nothing in common, but dig a little deeper. Both the teams and these women have complicated, public histories. Both have fans cheering them on. Both experience the harsh hatred of the public, some of it very much warranted. And I'm imagining that some basketball players harbor vivid fantasies about ripping fellow athletes limb from limb like you know our Housewives dream about on an hourly basis.
As we're at the end (almost – I’m betting there will be a twelve-part reunion where these women can once again discuss arguments that will still not make a bit of sense) of a season that has seemed fucking endless, let's review the blistering battles that have gone down. Since no fight on this show actually gets resolved, the ripples of dissension are still being felt and analyzed. In no particular order of importance – because none of these arguments actually matter – here's a recount of who has hated someone or who currently hates someone: