This Sunday marks the return of the two most demure, understated families on television! We thought we'd honor the return of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" by comparing the feisty broods. Only one family will be crowned Sunday's Most Undeniably Watchable Family. Let the pageantry begin.
Achievement in Screaming and Yelling
If the Kardashians were ever set to unite with the Giudices et al., we would need Brookstone to invent special earmuffs in anticipation of that event. Both families are loud. Caroline Manzo projects like no other. And Scott Disick was born to rage. But the Kardashians stand out because they simply can't. Stop. Talking. Ever. Quick-witted Khloe Kardashian probably spits out one-liners in her sleep. That said, when it comes to sheer noise level, the Jersey crew is way louder, way more often. They fight more, so they yell more. When we see Teresa's eyebrows go up, we reflexively cover our ears. You would think that the shrieking alone would crack glass tables, but no. Jersey folk score extra noise points for breaking glass tables with their bare hands. Then again, Kourtney Kardashian can talk just like a robot.
The "Housewives" go off:
Winner: Still gotta go with Housewives. Kardashian noise tends to skew happier. Plus, you think Kendall Jenner would ever risk breaking a nail to break a table? Nope.
Talent in Media-Friendly Side Projects That (Potentially) Change the World
If you have a friend who's got a new career every week — I'm a tap dancer! I'm a law student! I'm a salsa dancer! — you know that it can get old. And in reality TV, resumés of cast members average a thousand pages. Everyone's got a website, of course, but the Housewives could be a little more aggressive. Caroline Manzo's online shop still isn't open, for example. Tsk, tsk. Then, if we had a dollar for every career path attempted by Rob Kardashian, we could buy Kimye a really nice baby gift. Teresa Giudice's cookbook title alone gets under your skin: "Fabulicious! Teresa's Italian Family Cookbook," and Melissa Gorga's single "On Display" burrows into your head at a dangerously fast pace. But...
Winner: Kardashians. Simply put, Kris "Momager" Jenner turned being an overbearing stage mom into a thriving business complete with Sears jewelry.
Most Innovative Courtship Rituals
What do you do when you're on a reunion show and you're trying to make your wife fuhggedabout something shady you did? If you're ex-con Joe Giudice, you go big. Joe actually defended his creepy accidentally recorded conversation to Teresa by saying he was talking to a male co-worker. It's a good thing Joe's not a lawyer, 'cause that would never stand up in court. But then you think about Kanye West winning over Kim with a single called "Perfect B-----" and the fact that Bruce Jenner is seldom seen sleeping in the same room as Kris Jenner, and Rob K.'s inability to date someone without seeming like he's about to cover his body in tattoos of their name. Oh wait. He doesn't have that much room given the giant tattoo of his mother, which is, you know, superappealing to single gals 'cause you know Kris will never be an in-your-face mother-in-law.
Bruce Jenner needs his space:
Winner: Kardashians. Think about it. Kourtney still loves Scott in spite of all his shenanigans. He's her perfect dude, which is endlessly fascinating.
Awesomeness in Offspring
We have to be grateful that Teresa is, at least, able to laugh about her delicate-tongued daughters. What's that word teachers use to be nice when they talk about difficult kids? Oh yeah: "spirited"! Teresa's girls, especially Gia, are adorably spirited, and Teresa told Bravo the following: "My girlfriends tell me when they come over, they remember to take their birth control." Mason and Penelope Disick are not old enough to mount poles on subways and accuse their aunties of being strippers (shoutout to Gia), so there is really no contest here among the beauteous brunette babies. Milania is the one who infamously cried out against her hair stylist, "I want the jerk out." His sentiments exactly, no doubt.
Gia throws a tantrum:
Winner: Housewives. If we had to babysit for Milania, we would probably wind up locked in the basement. That girl will run the world one day. Just wait.
The whiniest babies are obviously the grown-ups. Honestly, we feel for Lord Disick when Kourtney gets going about his behavior or her tiredness or her desire to be a family or be skinny or whatever. Girl can complain. Of course, the Housewives seem to think they are the first women to ever procreate. It's like Teresa can't stop announcing the fact that she has children. Her time would be better spent telling those children not to whine and scream when they're getting their hair coiffed. Oh, but we just got a flash of Rob Kardashian wanting to basically live in a cradle at Khloe and Lamar Odom's. Oh, but our ears just burned with the sound of Caroline Manzo bemoaning her sons for — get this — growing into men! The nerve!
Caroline cries over her family:
Winner: Housewives. Kardashian whining tends to result in some sort of action. Housewives whine and ... well, they whine again a few minutes later.
Dopiest Dudes Division
If the "Kardashians" writers wanted to go on vacation, they could theoretically just rig cameras to follow Bruce Jenner around all day. He's that lovably schmaltzy, goofy, lost dad who's basically entertaining without meaning to be. Also, he seems like a nice guy and there's that whole American Olympic hero past that doesn't interest his kids all that much. You want to hug him and give him hot cocoa and a certificate of Good Human Achievement, which is baffling when you realize that he is a wealthy, married, successful Olympian. That Kris Jenner, she would wear any man down. The Jersey husbands, on the other hand, are like sweet bulldogs that mean well but lack the wits to get stuff done. They're terrible liars. And they seem so much more at ease hitting people than talking to them.
Bruce returns home:
Winner: Kardashians. Brucey-poo takes a beating like no other. We'd ride shotgun on his golf cart any day of the week.
Most Attention-Seeking Vacations
There's a way to travel on TV where it doesn't seem like a desperate change of scenery to make the same old fighting seem new again. Last season, the Housewives went into an RV, which was hysterical for obvious reasons. Botox and hot plates don't mix well. And they were smart to get out of that big vehicle and glam it up at wineries for "business" (LOL) meetings. The Kardashians, however, just like to show off. When they jet-set, they are like your Facebook frenemy who posts four albums of her five days on Maui. And since they are based in sunny tropical places like L.A. and Miami, well, going to islands to drink out of coconuts and scream in bikinis is not that special for the home voyeurs, er, viewers.
Winner: Housewives. Was the RV concept 100 percent used for good TV? Yep. Did it work? Yep.
Acting Ability in Obviously Staged Scenes
The whole Kris Jenner reuniting with her ex to bat her eyelashes and invent will-they-or-won't-they suspense goes down in the books as one of the fakest plots ever. It was so bad that it seemed like the maitre d' was off-camera tapping his watch and snapping his fingers for them to wrap it up. But the Jersey cast can fake it, too, especially when they hit the beach for Big Spontaneous Confrontational Conversations by the Sea. When Joe Gorga tried to reach out to Teresa Guidice as everyone else played in the waves, it felt like a re-enactment on a crime show. In his interview, Joe said that Teresa is "in serious denial about life. if you don't have issues you're not human." And if you think humans act like these families, you need to get out more.
Winner: Kardashians. Tough call, but the Kardashians have more intense lighting, all the better to showcase their cringe-inducing acting skills.
ABC Award: Acronym, Beauty Treatment, Catfights
KUWTK vs. RHONJ. Um, there's a reason we just call 'em "Kardashians" and "Housewives," but RHONJ is less clunky and KUWTK looks like a warning from outer space.
Bruce Jenner's face is a piece of art. Kim Kardashian stole her sister's breast milk to put on her psoriasis. Kardashians trump, obviously.
Now on to catfights. Tables don't turn over in Calabasas the way they do in Jersey. But the Kardashian talent for talking smack pretty much tops any sticks and stones that Melissa might have stashed in her Fendi bag. Hmm.
Winner: It's a tie.
Phew. You have to break the Most Undeniably Watchable Family tiara in half and give a piece to both families. Honestly, it's not only the right move, but the safest one as well.
"Keeping Up With the Kardashians" returns Sunday, 6/2 at 9 PM on E!, and "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" returns Sunday, 6/2 at 8 PM on Bravo.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Bruce Jenner
- Khloe Kardashian
- Kris Jenner
- Scott Disick
- Kendall Jenner
- Teresa Giudice
- Rob Kardashian
- Caroline Manzo