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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In the Spotlight: 'Desperate Housewives'

This week, the Rossia channel started a new daytime show called “Otchayanniye Domokhozyaiki,” or “Desperate Housewives.” The presenters wear high heels and dresses to deliver words of wisdom on how to cook rice and make yourself trim and on what kind of dressing gowns can be worn during the day.

The title of the show is a bit odd. I think it’s meant to convey images of glamour from the U.S. show, which has aired in Russia, but surely it’s rather insulting. The show’s creative producer told Moskovsky Komsomolets that the show will be watched by people who are unemployed and “are very pessimistic in mood,” and that’s why it’s colorful and upbeat. I can imagine the storm of outrage if someone making daytime television on the BBC said something like this — however true it may be.

The show is described as a “gift for women” on the Rossia web site. The show’s four hosts are writer Tatyana Nedzvetskaya, former news anchor and State Duma deputy Alexandra Buratayeva, Rossia host Nika Ganich and Yekaterina Konovalova, who hosts a Moscow news show.

These women might have something interesting to say, but they are limited to one topic each, respectively: a retro “where are they now?” section, cooking, fashion and dance.

The best thing about the show is that it’s live, so there’s plenty of potential for things to go wrong. On Thursday, the chef couldn’t turn on the gas and viewers were given the wrong instructions for a home-made face mask as the host busily grated carrots. If anyone wants to galvanize the downtrodden classes into action, they should book a slot between the dance class and the cooking section, although the viewers may be too pessimistic to respond — or still wearing their dressing gowns.

On Thursday, Ganich lectured women on wearing dressing gowns at home during the day — a common habit in Russia — with the help of a fashion expert called Alexander. “Why would you wear a dressing gown during the day? You should wear something that shows off your assets,” Alexander said, suggesting something “clingy but comfortable.”

Ganich handed over a tracksuit to a blonde woman called Larisa, who admitted that she had worn the same dressing gown for the last four years. To be fair, she wasn’t wearing it in the studio. “Be charming and attractive,” Ganich ordered her.

She also touched on leggings and whether they can be worn by women with spare tires. Alexander ruled that they could, as long as you wore a long top to cover up your offending curves.

Another woman explained that she always wears something pretty around the house. “Your husband has to like it?” Ganich questioned her. “First and foremost,” she replied. “Oh, a real woman,” Ganich praised her.

Buratayeva’s section is called “Desperate Cooking,” which makes it sound rather more interesting than the chicken and fried rice recipe being demonstrated Thursday. The real  work was done by a chef, a quiet man called Yury Kim, who stayed calm as the stove refused to light.

The audience members swayed gently to the “retro section” where the singer of a band called Blue Bird recalled his glory years. We also got to watch a video where he performed wearing an outsize bow tie.

In the dance section, a gym instructor showed off some exercises to do at home, wearing a flowing outfit. The hosts all showed that they followed Ganich’s rules of attractiveness by joining in while wearing little dresses and vertiginously high heels.