There was probably a time when one could have argued that obsessing over shows like the Real Housewives distracted Americans from infinitely more serious issues. But these days, I’m really not sure that what you see on Bravo is any more ridiculous than what you see on C-Span. For several days in Vegas, no one mentioned Jewish Space Lasers, lied about an election, or threatened to shut down the government. Maybe they are our true representatives after all. They even have the honest decency to describe their annual interactions with the public as, The Con. “More than a hundred and sixty reality stars descended on Las Vegas, for BravoCon, where they were pulled apart by their harshest critics, who also happen to be their most diehard fans.” The New Yorker: Bravo in the Flesh. “A romantic does not spend thousands of dollars on tickets, hotels, airfare, food, and drink because she seeks to be hustled as she urinates. A romantic accepts the flood of advertisement theatre at BravoCon because the event promises her real fourth-wall breaking. Executives at NBCUniversal, Bravo’s parent company, and fans on the ground parrot one another: You come to the Con for a mental escape. BravoCon is the natural evolution of an inorganic corporate entity. The virtual consumption of human story while watching reality television becomes temporarily, and weirdly, physical.”

+ The Hollywood Reporter: It’s the Bravo-conomy, Stupid! “Witness the insanity at BravoCon and you’ll understand why the ‘Real Housewives’ ecosystem has remained so successful amid the decline of linear TV — by ignoring the haters and giving its rabid, advertiser-beloved fans more drama, more content and more ways to part with their cash.” (It’s not about ingoring the haters, it’s about embracing them.)