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Summer has arrived, and that means you’re probably in the process of planning numerous exciting parties and gatherings. A friend’s birthday park hang? A long weekend at a family lakehouse? A beach day that will require leaving the house at 8am? So many fun things to do, but wtf are you supposed to drink? I always struggle with the rosé vs. seltzer vs. liquor conundrum, so I decided to make a fun little guide to steer your beverage choice in the right direction.
If you’re planning a day of drinking, just choose which Bravo show’s vibe you want to emulate, and then go with the corresponding drink. This is a totally scientific list, so make sure to choose carefully… or just say f*ck it and drink four different things in one day—what could go wrong with that choice?
‘The Real Housewives of New York City’ – Overpriced Vodka Soda
Nature is, as they say, healing, and that means it’s time to get back out there and spend $14 on a barely drinkable vodka soda. Now that you can finally return to the bar scene, you’ll need all the bottom-shelf liquor you can get to suffer through small talk with finance bros and guys who think their stories about their cryptocurrency investments are a little too interesting. Pro tip: if you want your vodka soda in a wine glass, just ask for The Ramona!
‘Southern Charm’ – A Beer That’s Been In The Sun A Little Too Long
Patricia has long made fun of Austen for his startup beer company, but if TropHop isn’t available near you this summer, any beer will do. Grab a six-pack, a 30-rack, whatever—just make sure it doesn’t get too cold. Your warm can of whatever your boyfriend has lying around the house will go down nice and mediocre, just like this franchise that’s several years past its prime. It’s not fresh, but it’ll get the job done, I guess.
‘Summer House’ – Anything In A Can
If your local liquor store carries Loverboy, that’s obviously ideal, but any alcoholic beverage that comes in a can (excluding beer) will automatically make you feel like a Summer House tenant whose main objective is to cause drama. An ideal day-drinking choice, these drinks go down like water, because they sort of are, and you’ll definitely arrive at dinner sunburnt, tired, and ready to eat everything in sight. Just save a sandwich for Lindsay, we don’t need to get her activated.
‘Vanderpump Rules’ – Cheap Tequila
Nothing says “I wish I was still 23” like choking down a sh*tty tequila shot in your friend’s kitchen, and that’s the exact vibe that the Vanderpump Rules cast has given off for the last few seasons. Just be careful to pace yourself and drink water, because you don’t want Hot Girl Summer to turn into Tequila Katie Summer. No one wants to deal with your rage texts, I promise.
‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ – Expensive Tequila
What’s it like to invest in liquor that you can actually sip without wanting to die? I’d love to know one day, but if you’re already there, congratulations. I still think about Denise’s classic Casamigos reposado order on a daily basis, and you know these women don’t touch anything that’s not top-shelf. Goals.
‘Top Chef’ – Red Wine
Ok, I see you Miss Adult! While your less-mature peers are still pounding tequila shots, you’re having a chill night at home, cooking dinner with a luxurious glass of wine in hand. And not just any wine—you’ve probably assessed which red will pair best with whatever you’re making for dinner, and Padma Lakshmi would be impressed. Congratulations on having your sh*t together this summer.
‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ – Champagne
We all have that one friend whose entire personality is built around “popping bottles,” and honestly I respect the dedication. If I have too many bubbles, I get a headache that lasts approximately 3-5 business days, but you might be the one who’s over there chugging Veuve like it’s nothing. A nice champagne buzz always inspires 1) fun times and 2) messiness, and the women of RHOP are constantly bringing both. Cheers!
Images: Heidi Gutman/Bravo; Giphy (7)
With people constantly showing off their professional accomplishments, personal life milestones, and expensive purchases, it’s easy to feel like nothing in your life measures up. Let’s be clear: you’re not actually jealous of that girl from your hometown who has a husband, two kids, and a fixer-upper house by age 30—that sounds like hell, tbh—but you still feel like your life is missing something. Faced with this lack of fulfillment, others might say that you should “work on yourself,” but what does that really mean? Self-help books are boring, and who can afford to see a life coach?
Thankfully, there’s an alternative. If you need a little self-esteem boost, or reassurance that things are going to be okay, I recommend turning to The Real Housewives. As someone who has devoted thousands of hours to studying the ins and outs of reality TV, I can confidently say that there’s no more efficient cure to whatever kind of ennui you’re currently experiencing. From rich-people problems, to problems it doesn’t seem like rich people should be having, Housewives serves as a comforting reminder that being rich and kind-of-famous might not actually make your life better. Here are some ridiculous storylines that might make you feel a bit better about whatever you’re dealing with right now.
Did you let a tabloid rumor about un-adopting a puppy get blown out of proportion and rip your friend group apart, or are you normal? For everyone but the ladies of Beverly Hills, I hope the answer is the latter. We still don’t know who leaked the story of Lucy Lucy Apple Juice to Radar Online, and we probably never will, but we do know one thing: Lisa Vanderpump can hold a grudge unlike anyone else. She ended multiple friendships, not to mention her decade-long run on RHOBH, all because of a dumb rumor about a dumb (but very cute) dog. If you’re currently dealing with some drama in the group chat, there’s no need to take a polygraph or print out text messages at 200% zoom—those things are fun on TV, but you don’t want everyone to hate you. Just talk through your issues like a normal f*cking person.
The Great Hospital Smell Debacle
The Salt Lake City cast certainly had real issues during their first season. Meredith’s marriage was on the rocks, Heather’s relationship with the LDS Church left her with deep wounds, and Lisa Barlow’s pre-teen sons unfortunately had not become moguls yet. Truly, so much strife. But beyond all those boring real-person problems, we can’t forget that the season’s over-arching narrative stemmed from one grown woman saying that another grown woman smelled like “hospital”. Honestly, who has the time? Much like PuppyGate, you can likely rest easy knowing that your friend group has better things to argue about.
Kameron Westcott’s Pink Dog Food
Do you ever worry that your career has hit a dead end? Of course you do, you’re not like, Jeff Bezos. But whatever your #GirlBoss aspirations may be, they’re probably more likely to take off than Kameron Westcott’s foray into entrepreneurship. Kam was talking about SparkleDog from the moment she joined the show, and through the power of
her husband’s money perseverance, it hit the market a year later. Good for her, but judging from the Amazon reviews, the food was not good for the digestive systems of actual dogs. Oops! The food is no longer available, and Kameron has since moved on to newer, less ridiculous storylines. So if you’ve been thinking about selling your needlepoint on Etsy, or getting into freelance graphic design, even if you don’t have a rich husband to bankroll your hobby du jour, go for it! Hustling isn’t easy, but at least your hustle isn’t pink dog food.
Everything About Sonja Morgan
Sonja Morgan is undoubtedly a fan-favorite, but there’s something undeniably tragic about her. The moment that crystallized it for me was when Tinsley Mortimer discovered that the ice in the freezer of Lady Morgan’s Upper East Side townhouse was… yellow. YELLOW! You might not give off an air of old-money elegance, but at least you can feel secure knowing that the ice in your modest apartment kitchen is CLEAR. We’ve watched a decade of Sonja’s financial woes and failed business ventures, and even though there are some moments of glamour, aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with any of that? Between the failed movie deal with John Travolta (and resulting lawsuit), the toaster oven saga, and the multiple underperforming clothing lines, I feel grateful for my steady paycheck.
Lynne Curtin’s Literal Eviction
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that if you’re reading this, you’ve never received an eviction notice on national television. Congrats, you’ve cleared the bar set by RHOC‘s Lynne Curtin! Well, technically her teenage daughter received the eviction notice because Lynne wasn’t home, but my point stands. Even if you’re behind on your bills, living paycheck to paycheck, or have dipped into your savings because of, like, reasons, you can stand proud in your truth that the entire country is not privy to your financial status. It’s the small things!
Images: Heidi Gutman/Bravo; Giphy (5)
In a television landscape where most shows never make it to a second season, the success of the Real Housewives franchise is nothing short of remarkable. What began 15 years ago as a sort of half-baked ploy to capitalize on the popularity of ABC’s Desperate Housewives has ballooned into a sprawling TV empire complete with thousands of episodes, numerous spin-offs, and more than a dozen international franchises. The women who have starred on the shows have used them as launchpads for countless business ventures ranging from tequila and shoes to pink dog food and a very elusive toaster oven.
But while the Housewives franchise is an undeniable, genre-defining success, it’s hard not to wonder what the future will look like. With its five longstanding flagship properties—Orange County, New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, and Beverly Hills—all past the 10-season mark, each facing varying degrees of growing pains in recent years, it’s become an unavoidable line of questioning: what’s next? Where do we go from here? Are we nearing the end of Real Housewives?
In a word, no, I don’t think so. Despite RHOC’s much-maligned recent 15th season, and a slew of major cast departures in the last two years, these shows are still generally consistent performers in the ratings, and the brand identity they’ve helped to build for Bravo is arguably even more valuable than actual viewer numbers. But there’s another key reason I see Housewives continuing to thrive when I look into my crystal ball for the new decade: Salt Lake City.
When Andy Cohen first revealed the location of the newest Real Housewives installment at 2019’s BravoCon, the reaction was one of excitement tinged with confusion. To many people, the idea of Utah was synonymous with modesty and sobriety—two concepts that seemed fundamentally at odds with the time-honored Housewives traditions of getting drunk and starting fights. But from the moment the first teasers for The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City arrived last fall, we knew our fears were unwarranted. The women of RHOSLC—most of whom are not members of the LDS church—have no problem getting drunk and starting fights, and their 13-episode first season has been not only a rollercoaster of drama and shifting group dynamics, but a template for what housewives can be.
On any reality show, casting is key, and I could talk about the RHOSLC cast for days. First, and most importantly, these women actually know each other. Heather Gay and Whitney Rose are cousins. Heather and Lisa Barlow went to college together (though Lisa may not remember). Lisa and Meredith Marks go way back, with the throwback photos to prove it. The perfect Housewives cast shouldn’t be six best friends (we need drama, duh), but we can at least believe that this group of women might be at the same party, whether cameras showed up or not. We’ve seen plenty of drama onscreen, but there’s always the feeling that something deeper is simmering under the surface—is Jen Shah really that upset about Mary’s “hospital smell” comment, or is it a metaphor for something they don’t even want on camera? This tension raises the stakes for everyone involved, including the viewers.
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Besides seeking out complex interpersonal dynamics, another key element of casting is diversity, and not just in the box-ticking, “I guess it’s time” way that we’ve seen in recent seasons on other reality shows. RHOSLC is one of the most well-rounded, truly diverse casts we’ve seen on Bravo, with a variety of racial, cultural, and religious backgrounds represented. With Salt Lake City’s deep ties to Mormonism, the religious aspect is especially interesting. Religion has rarely been a major topic on Real Housewives, but with current Mormons, ex-Mormons, a Jew, a Muslim, and a Pentecostal First Lady in the cast, the RHOSLC producers have done an excellent job of exploring these dynamics, without derailing what we already love about these shows.
Whether or not you feel RHOSLC’s first season lived up to the considerable hype, there’s no denying that its success, and that of 2016’s The Real Housewives of Potomac, has opened up a new world of possibilities in the Real Housewives universe. It makes sense that big cities were the early focus, but these mid-size cities and suburban locales have just as much money and personality, with the added opportunity to bring the viewers something new. In the past year, Bravo has aired seven different shows centered in greater Los Angeles, but Salt Lake City is one of a kind, and that mountain air is FRESH.
Rumors abound that Bravo plans to revive its long-dormant Miami Housewives franchise this year, but beyond that, it feels like there are more choices than ever for where the empire could go next. As a St. Louis native, I’ve always seen the potential in my hometown, with its historic roots and a major old money vs. new money divide. Popular ideas online include Boston, Las Vegas, and Nashville, but RHOSLC has shown us that there can be diamonds (or snowflakes, rather) in the rough where you least expect them.
Andy Cohen, the godfather of the Real Housewives empire, was quick to deem RHOSLC a hit, and on the heels of its season finale, it was officially renewed for a second season. With a three-part reunion—a rarity for a first-season show—beginning this week, it’s clear that Bravo sees the value in the mountains of Utah, and hopefully this success story will fuel creativity and originality within the Real Housewives franchise in years to come.
Images: Fred Hayes/Bravo; bravobybetches / Instagram; Giphy
If you’ve been watching Bravo shows like Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules for years, you’ve probably come to terms with the fact that not all the cast members are great people. But usually that’s in the context of the show. It’s entertaining to watch someone be a nightmare on a group trip, but when that same person starts spouting ignorant nonsense on social media, it’s no longer fun.
A lot of Bravolebrities usually keep their views on real world events pretty quiet, but in the last week, pretty much everyone has posted in support of the Justice For George Floyd campaign, at the very least. And while some Bravolebrities have had amazing, inspirational responses to the current situation, some have really f*cked it up. Here are some of the Bravolebrity responses to what’s going on in the world right now, from the uplifting to the problematic.
Porsha Williams is the granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams, and she’s done his legacy proud over the last week. Last week, she peacefully protested in Atlanta with RHOA costar Shamea Morton, and spoke to a local news network about the need for justice. In the powerful clip, Porsha said “I may be well-known, but I am here to be a voice for the voiceless,” and demanded justice for George Floyd and greater change in black communities. Porsha has come a long way since the days when she thought the Underground Railroad was an actual train.
I swear the media is doing THEE MOST race baiting! If it wasn’t for social media, we wouldn’t have seen the peaceful protestors at all! Watch the news and it’s all violence and looting by people who are clearly not a part of the cause! Am I the only one seeing this? Frustrating!
— Monique Samuels (@iammrssamuels) June 1, 2020
Monique has been very active on Twitter over the past week, sharing her own thoughts as well as retweeting a lot of information and insightful commentary. She also brought attention to the elections happening in many states on Tuesday, which is important, because state and local elections have a direct effect on a lot of the issues at hand here.
To put it simply, Kelly Bensimon has been a disaster on social media this week. Multiple times, she’s posted something offensive or inaccurate, gotten called out, deleted the post, made a confusing apology, and then put up another offensive or inaccurate post. We’re all learning, and it’s okay to make honest mistakes, but Kelly’s posts just feel reckless and tone-deaf.
In this tweet from Monday, she shared a photo of peaceful protestors blocking a highway, claiming that it was a scene from the Hamptons in real time. She called for an end to the protests and loitering (lol, she meant looting), ignoring the whole reason why the protests are occurring. On top of that, this isn’t the Hamptons, it’s Connecticut, and the photo was from Sunday, not Monday.
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Despite making some bizarre apologies, Kelly obviously still doesn’t get it. On Thursday morning, she tweeted this graphic attempting to explain white privilege. In the tweet, Kelly called herself a “victim of how white privilege sounds” (not a thing), and also used a Blue Lives Matter hashtag. Kelly says that she’s learning, but any white person who thinks now is the time to call themselves a victim clearly hasn’t learned enough.
I’m a victim of how white privilege sounds. See below to help change the way we speak. #BlueLivesMatters pic.twitter.com/Edyx9wdtcr
— Kelly K. Bensimon (@kellybensimon) June 4, 2020
Kelly also doesn’t seem to understand the reasons Black Lives Matter exists and why it’s problematic to swap out “Black” with other words. Over the weekend, she posted an “All Lives Matter” tweet, which she later deleted. She’s apologized for the “verbiage mix up“, and has used #BlackLivesMatter in many subsequent posts. But then, today, she’s talking about Blue Lives all of a sudden? Yeah, no.
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The Real Housewives of Orange County is one of the more conservative casts on Bravo, so Braunwyn’s recent behavior has been a breath of fresh air compared to that of her costars. Braunwyn has joined peaceful protests multiple days this week, and even brought some of her children to a protest on Wednesday. She isn’t afraid to speak out, and her sign in this photo is really great: “There is a name for white people in OC who protest their ‘right to a haircut’ but stay silent when black lives are murdered: RACIST.” Damn.
Speaking of Braunwyn’s RHOC costars, this has been a trying time to follow Kelly Dodd on Instagram. She’s spent the last few months flying back and forth between New York and California, downplaying the danger of COVID-19, and even calling it “God’s way of thinning the herd.” Unsurprisingly, she’s been similarly problematic over the past week. In one Instagram story (which got deleted), she called protestors “animals” committing “terrorism on our land,” and opined that they don’t have problems like this in England (false, btw). Her words were completely disgusting, and though she’s pivoted to saying Black Lives Matter on social media, it’s hard to believe that’s anything more than a PR move.
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Eva has been one of the most active Housewives on Instagram this week, posting informational videos, voting PSAs, and inspirational messages daily. Her profile has become a valuable platform for updates, including multiple posts bringing awareness to fake protestors breaking windows and looting just to cause chaos. Eva isn’t taking any of this lightly, and her dedication to this cause has really been amazing to see.
More than most in the Bravo community, Katie seems to understand and accept the work that it takes to educate yourself and be a good ally. In addition to posting several times in support of Black Lives Matter, she’s also used her platform to spotlight black-owned businesses, anti-racist literature, and a Google Doc with hundreds of resources dedicated to dismantling systemic racism. Katie showed a hint of this understanding on this season of VPR when she called out the police prank as problematic, and she’s backing that up with action.
What is happening now has nothing to do with the tragic death of George Floyd – criminal looting is stealing – our businesses hurt by COVID don’t deserve this!!! You are blessed to live in the USA. Leave our small businesses alone!
— Taylor Armstrong (@TaylorArmstrong) June 3, 2020
Taylor Armstrong is the kind of person who makes me want to stay off of Twitter right now. While she’s repeatedly condemned the murder of George Floyd, she doesn’t seem to get the larger issue here. She’s tweeted many times about looting and the effect on small businesses, and yesterday she added that the protestors are “blessed to live in the USA.” Really? I’m sure I can think of plenty of people who don’t feel blessed to live in a country that has systematically oppressed them for centuries, and to even suggest that is incredibly tone-deaf.
In another tweet, Taylor suggested that, because she is part Native American, she understands “heritage issues.” I don’t really know what she means by that, but I’m going to stop thinking about it before I get any more angry.
Candiace Dillard Bassett
In a powerful Twitter thread from last week, RHOP’s Candiace Dillard challenged non-Black allies to do better, saying that “the oppressed cannot drive out oppression on our own.” She called out those she works with, saying, “I’m disappointed that amongst my white colleagues, who have no problem using their platforms to promote their businesses, their clothing lines, their restaurants and everything in between, there has been virtual silence.” In the week since Candiace posted this, many more people have shown their support and joined the conversation, but this is an important message to remember even when Black Lives Matter isn’t trending. Being an ally is a 24/7 job, not just when there’s a hashtag to share.
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My kids researched and found this peaceful protest that we attended today. It was organized by teenagers and was 2k-3k strong. My girls made our signs and wanted to be the 1st ones there. You have to talk to your children so that they understand because they too want their voices heard. #blmbethesda #justiceforgeorgefloyd
RHOP’s Gizelle Bryant has been outspoken on social media, and on Tuesday, she posted that she brought her daughters to a protest. She specified that her daughters did the research to find the protest, made their own signs, and wanted to be the first ones there, which makes my heart so warm. The children, they really are the future.
If you’ve watched even one episode of RHONY, you probably know that Ramona Singer is a piece of work, and her behavior this week has been… frustrating. After saying nothing over the weekend, her first comment on the current situation was in the form of an “all lives matter” comment. Oof. She was called out by many, including castmate Leah McSweeney, and deleted the comment. Since then, she’s posted a couple times, and said Black Lives Matter, but she’s been quiet since her Blackout Tuesday post. It seems like Ramona got the message about not saying All Lives Matter, but I’m not convinced she actually cares, or plans to do anything more meaningful. Not necessarily surprising, but it’s too bad.
The majority of the Bravolebrities haven’t been problematic this week, but he’s be honest, our expectations for them are pretty low. It’s good that only a handful have been out here spreading bullsh*t, but the vast majority of them could still do way more. These are just some of the best and worst examples, but if you want a more in-depth list of each Housewife’s posts, writer Tracie Morrissey has meticulously catalogued them in her Instagram Story highlights.
Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com; itstanyatime, bravobybetches, braunwynwindhamburke, musickillskate, candeegal09, ramonasinger, evamarcille, gizellebryant / Instagram; kellybensimon, taylorarmstrong, iammrssamuels / Twitter