The Real Housewives of Lagos: Where’s the real drama? BY Onoshe Nwabuikwu

Last week ago, when I wrote about Showmax’s Real Housewives of Lagos, RHOL, it was to ask a question many people were asking which was why someone like Bobrisky wasn’t cast on the show. Although some other people may have questions about the feasibility of casting Bobrisky as a housewife when he’s not a woman, etc. The fact is he can always be cast as friend to the show. Anyway, the issue of who should be a cast member is one many will agree to disagree on because everyone invariably has a favourite person they’ll like to be on the show. And there’s no shortage of beautiful high achieving women who qualify to be on RHOL. However, after watching three episodes (the 4th episode is on today), I’m back to talk not about cast members but about the content of the Real Housewives of Lagos even though the cast can affect quality of the content. Just to remind us, RHOL features for its main cast six women which doesn’t include their friends, family, or other people they make come in contact with in their day-to-day activities. Here are the women of the Real Housewives of Lagos: Laura Ikeji, Toyin Lawani-Adebayo, Iyabo Ojo, Chioma Ikokwu, Carolyna Hutchings, and Mariam Trimmer.

To start off, I like all the women of the Real Housewives of Lagos, even the ones like Chioma who I’m just ‘meeting’ for the first time on RHOL. The women are business savvy, they are fashionable, and they obviously love their families. All of this rhymes with what the producers of the Real Housewives of Lagos have said that these women all “have a few things in common-they are very successful, business-minded, fashion-loving, and highly opinionated ladies.”

I have enjoyed seeing the lives of these women, behind the scenes, especially those I don’t follow on social media. In Episode 2, we see Iyabo Ojo bonding with her daughter Priscilla whose 21st birthday was coming up soon at the time. We also see Chioma’s family who were visiting from the US and how she was being pestered about getting married. Toyin also known as Tianah (she’s the CEO of Tiannah Place Empire) works with her husband Segun Adebayo who’s the photographer in Toyin’s celebrity styling business. Segun hides his face behind a mask so he’s unrecognisable. So far, I’ve not seen anything on Caroline or Laura’s families although I’ve seen enough of Laura’s through her social media handles.

Now we come to the content of the show. Drama is the main dish served by the Real Housewives franchise so the Real Housewives of Lagos without exception is expected to be bring some drama. So, what have we learnt in these three weeks? We learn on episode 1, that Laura didn’t feel at ease with the other women at an event that Toyin held to launch a project for one of her kids. Laura also didn’t like the fact that Chioma who she thought was her friend referred to her as one of her good hair customers. By episode 2, the women, minus Laura, go on a beach getaway on Iyabo’s invitation. The women turned out in one gorgeous outfit after another.

We even got to see some skin, especially Caroline who appears to love showing off her skin, when the bikinis came on but the most eventful thing that happened was the game the women played. It wasn’t exactly truth or dare but a version of a game where one woman would whisper a question to another woman and this woman will say the same of the person who they think the question or description fits. And for some reason they decided to include Laura who wasn’t there. Iyabo Ojo improvises by impersonating Laura. Of course, some things were said about Laura which Iyabo reported back to her when they had a spa meet, where Laura said something to the effect that had she been present, she’d have slapped Caroline. I don’t know about you, even as I write this, I’m feeling tired of the she said, she said tone of this.

Arguably, the only thing that resembles high drama is Caroline’s outburst on episode 3. It was targeted at Laura or rather her billionaire blogger sister Linda Ikeji. Her anger was that Linda through her Linda Ikeji Blog had written some hurtful things about her and her daughter: That her husband wasn’t the father of said daughter and Linda even capitalised on her daughter’s medical problems-she had 2 holes in her heart. Caroline really flipped and must have been waiting for this opportunity like that to get back at Linda. The only snag is that Linda wasn’t the one on the show though. It would’ve been more interesting had Linda been there. Still, it was a rather one-sided fight because Laura understandably couldn’t argue with Caroline or really defend her sister attacking a sick child. All this has led me to ask the question of the Real Housewives of Lagos: Where’s the real drama?

The first issue is that perhaps a different set of women or the inclusion of some other names would’ve guaranteed drama that’s not contrived. However, it’s one thing for drama to be contrived, it’s another for it to be obvious to the viewers, or rather for the drama not to be even that dramatic. I mean how many weeks are there in the first season of RHOL that we’ve spent three precious weeks beating around the bush? Laura is supposed to be pretender because she’s bubbly on Instagram but doesn’t instantly do that at an event she’s not the host.

Personally, I can do without too much drama. I’d rather watch a wholesome show of the women getting along, going about their girl-boss lives, with only a smattering of drama. I liked seeing a lot of the glamorous things in Lagos I wouldn’t ordinarily see. Even when I lived in Lagos, the fear of traffic kept me unambitious. But what happens when the drama looks so obviously contrived, it gets my attention directed elsewhere on the show and I begin to query other aspects of the show that wouldn’t have mattered if my attention had been well captured.

Because now I’m asking myself are these women real housewives in Lagos or they’re trying too hard to be the real housewives of some American city? Yes, I know that they are not housewives in the real sense of the word expect perhaps Laura Ikeji and Toyin but that’s the least of my problems. If I didn’t have to write this column, would I seek out the next episode of RHOL? Not likely. I would not have even watched episode 3 after the first two episodes. I’d rather follow other Real Housewives franchises.

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