John De Vries loves doing the math. Baseball’s endless supply of statistics has led the local data analyst down pleasurable wormholes about launch angles, exit velocity, and win shares. MLB shutting down amid the COVID-19 outbreak prevents new inputs and has caused a minor crisis in the De Vries household.
“Obviously, we’re all looking for distractions right now,” said De Vries. “And my main distraction has always been baseball stats. Those are gone, vanished.”
The scramble to fill his extra free time proved fruitless. Abortive attempts at woodworking (“I keep getting splinters”), becoming a scotch guy (“expensive swamp water”), and understanding TikTok (“This feels like it’s actively harmful”) depressed him even further. At wit’s end, he found something different. Something far removed from the national pastime but one that still allows for analysis and modeling.
“My wife and I were watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey one night, and one of the wives shoved another one for getting all up in her business, when she’d clearly been told she oughtn’t,” said De Vries. “We’ve seen this situation unfold a number of times in various iterations of the show. And that’s when it occurred to me: How often has this happened before? Are there patterns? Are there tendencies? And can we predict when it happens again?”
De Vries got to work immediately, watching hours and hours of Real Housewives programming. The show, which claims to document the lives of glamorous, affluent women named Jacqueline or Nicole in various urban centers, soon revealed observable data that could be documented and, perhaps, understood.
The project, tentatively called Real Housegraphs, has led to quantifiable metrics, including:
- Value Over Replacement Wife (VORW). This measures the quality, worth, and subtlety of the housewife’s attire/jewelry/accessories versus which marriage her spouse is on.
- Expected Friends Made While Not Here For It (xFM/WNHFI). If a new housewife is introduced to the show, she often says she’s not there to make friends. This attempts to gauge how many lasting friendships or enemies are made over the life of her story arc.
- Dousing Average on Champagne In Glass (DACIG). How much of the champagne in a housewife’s glass ends up in another housewife’s face due to perceived disrespect/giving her that look again, versus how much is consumed?
- Weighted Drama Created Plus (wDC+). Not just who is causing drama, but when and why? Is the conflict caused in high leverage situations like season finales or crossover specials? Is the perpetrator conniving due to financial considerations, potential spin-offs, vodka?
“I miss baseball,” added De Vries. "Man."
(Image license here.)