I had heard the rumblings on social media and in conversation about a mansion in the Kingswood neighborhood being used for a reality television show. I can’t imagine how that would impact property values. Nevertheless, this email gave me an address and with a few minutes to kill before a lunch date, I decided to take a look.
Driving down Dumbarton is classic Atlanta. The homes are architecturally diverse and distinct, some newer than others, all with old-growth trees dotting manicured lawns. There are toys in the driveways and soccer goals in front yards. The neighborhood remains as it always has until you get to the end of the cul de sac. There behind a wrought-iron and brick fence is a magnificent columned, stacked-stone facade mansion designed by noted architect Yong Pak.
The nine-bedroom, 13-bathroom home has a two-story foyer, a media room and a swimming pool. It is listed at $6 million on www.Atlantafinehomes.com. But what makes this house stand out, really, are the hot pink shutters and a hot pink band across the top of the four columns. Similar accents have been made to homes by earnest homeowners. The light riggings in the driveway and the pink heart adorned with horns above the door tell a slightly different story.
The rumor is that a television show on the Oxygen channel called “The Bad Girls Club” is filming at the house. The premise of this show is predictably horrible. Producers take seven emotionally unhinged but relatively attractive girls who like to “go out” and have them live together for three months and edit the footage down to about 15 45-minute episodes. Cue the Friday night fights. I don’t watch a lot of reality TV but I am acutely aware of its existence and especially of the fact that for some reason, several of the programs are filmed in and around Buckhead.
I admit I have a double standard when I see Atlanta portrayed on television. If it is an old Matlock episode, I jump up and down telling anyone who will listen about the park Andy Griffith is walking through while eating his hot dog between trials. However, when one of my favorite restaurants pops up on say “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” I cringe and change the channel. Granted that is because I am embarrassed about watching “Housewives.” But really it is because I wince at the thought of people who have no concept of Buckhead having a segment on a reality television show color their idea of our community.
I hope that some homeowners and their Realtors are bringing home large paychecks by granting access to our neighborhoods to these ridiculous people who have absolutely nothing to do with us. I can’t imagine these faux-celebrity sightings do anything for the businesses and restaurants themselves except to serve as a warning for people to stay away.
I can’t say we don’t deserve it. The streets of Buckhead are paved with moments that are made for reality television, but fortunately there were no live television cameras rolling. I will not be the one to air dirty laundry, but there have been plenty of fisticuffs, spurned spouses confronting cheating husbands, even occasional public nudity all usually resulting from over indulgence.
While we have always tolerated these behind-the-scenes escapades, they are little harder to stomach when they are produced and made to reflect in some minor way our community.
Thornton Kennedy is a fifth-generation Buckhead resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.