Scott D. Pierce: Rude, obnoxious, racist Mary Cosby is being played for laughs on ‘Real Housewives of SLC’

There’s something about Mary — and it’s rather awful.

On “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” Mary M. Cosby is rude, obnoxious, occasionally racist and prone to saying really dumb things. I almost feel sorry for her.

Why? Because she’s on the show as comic relief. That’s clearly the intention of the producers. That’s why they brought her back for Season 4 after firing her at the end of Season 2.

But if viewers are amused by Mary, they aren’t laughing with her, they’re laughing at her.

She is not at all like Heather Gay, who gets a lot of laughs on “RHOSLC” because she says amusing things. It was laugh-out-loud funny when, after it became clear that none of the other Housewives had read Heather’s best-selling autobiography, “Bad Mormon,” a gathering devolved into a horrible fight. “It’s like ‘Lord of the Flies,’” Heather said, “which is probably a book they haven’t read either.”

Heather is vital to “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” Mary’s presence is a mystery. Are cruelty, insults and bad manners entertaining?

(Charles Sykes |nBravo) Heather Gay on Watch What Happens Live."

Mary rarely says anything intentionally funny. She’s the object of derision because she says and does awful, ridiculous things. She has close to zero sense of humor, and she doesn’t seem to recognize humor in others. In one recent episode, in the wake of a vicious argument between Meredith Marks and Angie Katsanevas, Mary’s only concern was, “Like, where’s the food?” And she wanted her food “to-go” — from Lisa Barlow’s party.

Monica said, sarcastically, “a fresh pizza is what we need right now.” Mary, who completely missed the sarcasm, brusquely said, “you can order your own.”

This season, Mary has been remarkably rude, remarkably often. She displays open contempt for pretty much everyone else on the show. She refuses to participate with the other Housewives. (Officially, Mary is not a Housewife. She’s a “friend” of the Housewives — well, of Meredith — and will not appear in all the episodes.)

The other Housewives have wondered why Mary went along on a trip to Palm Springs when she so clearly did not want to spend time with them. One might ask the same question about Mary’s presence on the show this season, since she’s so sour and annoyed seemingly every time she’s on camera.

Apparently, she enjoys the fame. Although she doesn’t recognize that, in her case, it’s infamy.

(Photo courtesy of Bravo) Mary Cosby in an episode of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

She’s just not nice to people. She doesn’t seem to possess basic social skills. Her defenders argue she’s just being honest, but that’s not true. I may honestly believe that someone’s fashion statement is unattractive, but — if asked — I would at least try to find something tactful to say. Unlike Mary, I wouldn’t call out someone’s fashion choice without even being asked.

Am I holding Mary to a higher standard because of her continual expressions of religious faith? Because she is a leader of the Faith Temple Church? Maybe. I would call out any cast member who acts the way she does, but her hypocrisy adds another level to it.

And just when I thought I was, perhaps, being too harsh toward Mary, she showed her true colors. When she wanted her food to-go from Lisa’s party, she castigated a catering staffer for not putting it in a box for her. When he politely said he thought she wouldn’t want him to touch her food with his bare hands, she called him “lazy” to his face. She doubled down on that when she appeared on “Watch What Happens Live.”

You can tell a lot about a person from the way they treat service workers. And Mary’s behavior toward this service worker was abominable.

Is it better this season?

Over the past couple of seasons, “RHOSLC” became increasingly difficult to watch. In all of the “Real Housewives” shows, the entertainment value comes from watching rich, privileged women acting badly. But Jen Shah turned the show into a true-crime drama.

Jen and Mary arguing over allegations of “hospital smell” was ridiculous; Jen lying that she was innocent of swindling thousands of people, costing many their life savings and reportedly causing at least one man to take his own life, was not. It was a serious crime that landed her in prison.

(Randy Shropshire | Bravo) Whitney Rose and Meredith Marks on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

So it was a relief when this season began and Meredith and Whitney were arguing over dirty bathtubs.

But then … the (still unexplained) fight between Meredith and Angie took a turn when Meredith (allegedly) spread rumors that Angie’s husband, Shawn, has been cheating on her with men. These rumors have, no doubt, gotten back to Angie and Shawn’s 12-year-old daughter, and could affect the entire family.

Nobody is going to prison, but this is serious stuff. It’s not light-hearted entertainment.

Andy Cohen’s hypocrisy

In a recent episode of “Watch What Happens Live,” Andy expressed his disgust with the rumors about Shawn’s sexuality: “I hate it when it happens on a ‘Housewives’ show. I think it’s one of the grossest tropes to come out when a husband is accused of” being gay.

Um, Cohen’s company produces all the “Real Housewives” shows. He is an executive producer. To act like he had nothing to do with this is simply not true.

They’re not making a hard-news documentary. This storyline could have been left on the cutting room floor. It was a business decision to include it in an attempt to juice the ratings. If Cohen really hated it, it wouldn’t be in the show.

(Nicole Weinagart | Bravo) Lisa Barlow and Andy Cohen on the "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" reunion.

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