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AlanCummingTraitorsHousewives.jpg

Alan Cumming On ‘Traitors’ and Why He Doesn’t Watch ‘Housewives’ Shows

By Emma Chance | Celebrity | May 24, 2024 |

By Emma Chance | Celebrity | May 24, 2024 |


AlanCummingTraitorsHousewives.jpg

Alan Cumming may host reality TV stars on The Traitors, but most of the time he has no idea who they are.

“I don’t know who many of the people are. Because I just don’t watch those shows. And actually I quite like it, just to meet the people on their own terms—rather than with all the history they bring,” he told Variety. His impression of the Housewives brand of shows specifically is that they’re “very much about creating drama.”

“The structures are the same, these kind of rich, affluent women, who all kind of gather and do various things. But ultimately, their petty beefs and infighting become the focus. And there’s lots of white wine being thrown at each other.”

That’s not the kind of television he’s interested in. “One of the reasons I don’t watch those shows is I don’t really like the notion that we celebrate rich people behaving badly,” he said. “That kind of behavior isn’t very nice. And it’s not my favorite thing at all. So actually, I think coming on ‘The Traitors’ is a leveling thing. You’re playing a game, and there’s enough drama just because of the game. You don’t have to bring any other stuff to it.” So, Alan Cumming and I disagree on the entertainment value of rich people behaving badly. I can live with that. At least I get to watch him romp around a mansion with them in silly outfits. And he’s just happy to be there.

“I can’t tell you how much I love this show,” he said. “It’s such a left-field thing for me to have done at this stage in my career. I think that’s also interesting for me, as the kind of performer I am, to be sort of subverting the notion of a host as well. Because I’m obviously hosting the show, but I’m also doing it in character. I’ve hosted things before like documentaries and shows. But nothing like this. This is very much a very different person to who I actually am.”

He also thinks there are positive messages hidden under all that silliness—namely, the fashion, which helps him get into character.

“I have always, in shoots and a lot of characters I’ve played, been quite outlandish, and I purposefully toy with sort of gender norms. I’m quite good at looking androgynous. I realized that if I go the whole hog and go drag, I’m not a very attractive lady. But I’m good at androgyny. I think that’s actually a really interesting thing about the show. In the midst of this big reality competition show, there’s someone who is bending the fashion, cultural mores of what a man should be wearing. And that, to me, is a really positive thing. Hopefully, when people go out into the world and see someone in the street who’s a bit more nonbinary in their fashion tastes, they won’t be surprised, or they’ll enjoy it more.”