Review of Secret Lives of the Stepford Wives on Investigation Discovery

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There are two types of people in this world: those who cheer for you and are happy when you’ve finally made it, and those who stew on the sidelines, pray for your failure and dance a schadenfreude jig when you go down in flames. That’s why supermarket checkout counter glossies and tabloids were invented in the first place. Everyday people slog through the day with mediocre lives while celebrities and tv personalities live it up to the hilt, their every move, partner, acquisition, success, appearance are captured, celebrated, photographed, and written up.

But oh what a delight and pure joy when we find their marriages torn asunder, their weight gained, their plastic surgery gone wrong…a little celebratory Roman candle somewhere inside us goes off. At least we can say: we’re not alone in our misery.

And that’s basically the reception the trope of the Stepford Wives have received since the debut of Bryan Forbes’s movie based on Ira Levin’s satire _The Stepford Wives_. “Nobody can possibly be that perfect! Somewhere, somehow, THERE MUST BE A FLAW! THERE MUST BE A DIRTY SECRET!” Otherwise how can we bear to live with our lackluster, ordinary, spotty life?

That’s where Investigation Discovery’s _Secret Lives of the Stepford Wives_ come in. Each 30 minute episode is based on a true crime story of a spotless marriage gone bad. What opens as a picture-perfect marriage of a upwardly mobile couple reveals flaws before the first commercial break. A “Stepford Wife” who is a domestic goddess eventually succumbs to madness, infidelity, financial crisis, stress, and/or an over-controlling husband. One of the two perishes by the end of each installation, living up to the show’s slogan “Perfect Life, Perfect Wife, Perfect Knife.”

Basically it’s a spinoff of Investigation Discovery’s Deadly Women tv series that first aired in 2005 and then resumed in 2008. Think of The Secret Lives of the Stepford Wives as Wives with Knives(another ID series) with cupcakes and sprinkles.

If you have to watch one episode, we recommend _Stay-At-Home Murder_ (Season 1: Episode 3). It has all the classic elements, foibles, and issues of being a true Stepford Wife: a controlling husband, a huge workload at home, keeping up appearances, cleanliness, perfection, control, sex and stress. It is the story of Houston’s hottest homemaker Susan Wright, and how things begin to fall apart. We didn’t find the series entertaining, mostly because we can bear to see things go wrong. A misstep here and there is okay, but we take no schadenfreude pleasure in seeing one of our kind go to pieces.

This doesn’t mean we battle these issues every day, but they do come up. And when they do, how we deal with them and how we make the most of the most of those pressures is why The Stepford Wives Organization and our website and this blog exists!

And yes, the creators of _The Secret Lives of the Stepford Wives_ have contacted us when they were developing the series. We declined, because our husbands said they didn’t want us or our families in the spotlight.

Look. We at the Stepford Wives Organization never said we were perfect. Our husbands write the rules. We merely live by them. It’s a blueprint, a guide. We aim for perfection in homemaking and providing comfort to our men, and when we fall short, we go back the next day and try to give more and get it right. Otherwise, we’re pretty ordinary ourselves.

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