Bravo to feature ‘princesses’ from Long Island
Published: Monday, April 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 00:04
The television network Bravo may be best known for the creation of the “Real Housewives” series, but their new spin-offs “Vanderpump Rules” and “Don’t Be Tardy…” seem to prove they can make a reality show out of almost anything. They have announced 17 more series for their summer season, including the new “Princesses: Long Island,” which hits close to home for some university students.
The new series was announced the first week of April and while the cast has not been revealed yet, the show is set to premiere June 2. In 2010, E! attempted to air a similar show called “Long Island Princesses” but it was cut after the pilot episode.
Bravo’s website describes the new show as a docu-series that follows six girls of Great Neck, N.Y., “who return to their pampered lifestyles in the comfort of their parents estates and at the expense of their fathers’ back accounts.” It also says their lives are “filled with labels, luxury and love trials.”
Senior Sophie Lesser lives in Great Neck, located in northwest Long Island, and says her biggest concern is the cameras around town. It may be fun to see her friends in the background of shots, but she says she will not like the inconvenience this will have on her every day life.
“I don’t want to put on makeup to go the bank,” Lesser says.
She and her friends have been trying to guess who may be featured on the show, but they do not know for sure, she says. Lesser says Great Neck is made up of five villages and Kings Point is the most affluent, so there is good chance the girls may be from that area.
She also says the attraction to Great Neck may have to do with the fact that many episodes of MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” took place on Long Island and specifically in Great Neck, she says. In addition, Lesser says the town was home to last year’s SAT scandal, in which some students were paid to take the exam for other high school students. The students paid to take the test were fined, but due to the affluence of some of the families, it was not seen as a big deal, she says.
While Lesser says there are some “spoiled areas of town,” she does not think Great Neck is a town exclusively for rich people. She says there are other towns on Long Island, in Westchester County, N.Y. and all over the country that have affluent families.
“Spoiled people exist in every town,” she says.
Though the website states the focus is on Great Neck, Lesser says many girls in her town move to New York City after college, so it could show them in the city more often.
Sophomore Heather Johnson says she lives in a town near Great Neck, but does not think of “princesses” when she thinks of the town’s residents.
“The town where I’m from is laid back, and we’re really just a close-knit community and there are some high-end house, but I would never think the town over from me has princesses,” Johnson says.
She says Great Neck is a beautiful area right on the water and has a park intertwined with the town. She says a poor representation of the town may occur because she has seen it happen with other reality shows especially with the choice of the word “princesses” in the title.
“If they’re going to portray it as a snobby Long Island town, they’re going to be wrong,” she says.
Another appeal of the location is the fact that the late author F. Scott Fitzgerald modeled the fictional town in “The Great Gatsby” after his home in Great Neck, junior Brittany Kalman says. She lives about 25 minutes outside of Great Neck in Nassau County and knows the town as a high-end, wealthy place where many of the houses have indoor pools and tennis courts she says.
The show could be popular among college-aged students and teenagers due to the age of the “characters,” but it might not be received as well by adults Kalman says. And just like other reality shows, it will document how another class lives, which is what Kalman says she enjoys about other Bravo reality series.
Additionally, Kalman says while the show’s portrayal may be accurate of the reputation of the town, it is not representative of everyone there. Many of her best friends live there she says, and their family’s wealth does not influence their personality.
“Just because they have that money doesn’t mean they’re snooty and resting on their fathers’ bank accounts,” she says.
That being said, the show could cause the public to make generalizations about all people from Long Island in the same way other reality shows like “Jersey Shore” have impacted the whole state, she says.
While Kalman says this town’s reputation has always existed, playing off of it is not the most moral thing to do. It would be entertaining, and if the network is looking for a money-making show Great Neck would be a great choice, but Kalman says manipulating the people and town to get more viewers is callous.
“It’s sad and pathetic but from a business end, it’s a good idea,” she says.