Living in quarantine during coronavirus has us doing things we never thought we would: justifying our cleanest pair of joggers as formalwear, going without showering for days on end, and, god help us, confronting the horror that is our front-facing camera for the sake of human interaction. It’s hard not to feel like we’re living in the Upside Down. Watching this season of Vanderpump Rules is no exception. After years of happily laughing at Scheana’s scheananigans (sorry, had to), something shifted this season. Once hilarious, the constant jabs at her now just feel cruel. I never thought this would happen, but Scheana needs a champion, and I volunteer as tribute.
The Show Wouldn’t Exist Without Her
I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge our herstory. Had Scheana not had an ill-advised affair with Brandi Glanville’s ex-husband, we’d lack the crucial link that allowed Vanderpump Rules to spin off seamlessly from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Most people would be reluctant to openly own their role as mistress in an extramarital affair on national television. Scheana not only did this, but she took the heat (being called a “homewrecker” by Stassi seemingly every episode of season 1) and humiliation (never forget her gray tooth) with grace. She’s been carrying the show on her back ever since and has given us some of the most memorable storylines. Who can forget her quinceañera wedding featuring the iconic crop top wedding dress? Or her proclamation that Rob can hang a TV on the wall in under seven minutes? She’s also the only main cast member regularly interacting with the new sentient globs of hair gel cast members. She does all of this without complaint and laughs right along with us at her cringiest moments.
She’s Getting A Misogynistic Edit
Speaking of cringe, the editors have been portraying Scheana as f*ckboy man-hungry for several seasons since her divorce. And for a while it was pretty on point and funny, mostly because the editors were using Scheana’s own words to troll her. This season, new cast members like Max and Brett are piling on, and it’s no longer fun. It’s one thing to string together a masterful, symphonic compilation of the 97 times Scheana uttered the word “Rob” in season 6. But to allow two indistinguishable greaseballs who just arrived on the scene and have zero credibility to openly disrespect her on camera and call her “boy crazy” and “middle-aged” is a bridge too far. Off camera, Lisa has joined in and called her “desperate”, and an episode of Watch What Happens Live featured a “Desperate-O-Meter” to measure this alongside various clips of Scheana interacting with men. Meanwhile, Max goes from banging Scheana to Dayna to Vegas Baby Scheana in a matter of weeks and is now being inexplicably included in scenes with main cast members. It be ya own editors, which brings me to my next point.
She’s Being Portrayed As One-Dimensional
No one is denying that Scheana enjoys male attention and is clearly looking for a serious relationship, despite her claims otherwise. But that’s just one part of her and, unfortunately, it’s the only side of her the editors are allowing us to see. Throughout this season she’s brought up her egg freezing process and subsequent surgery, yet it’s constantly being minimized and reduced to a punchline. Her fellow castmates either barely acknowledge or ignore the subject when she brings it up. I can’t say I’m totally shocked, as self-involvement seems to be a prerequisite for getting cast on this show, but why aren’t the editors exploring this storyline a bit further? It’s incredibly relevant and relatable, as more and more women are delaying starting a family. And let’s not pretend we don’t have room for it in this trash heap of a season. If there’s airtime for LVP to hide her bra in Schwartz’s luggage, a funeral for a lizard who died by negligent homicide, and 12 episodes dedicated to Jax and Brittany’s Kentucky Fried Wedding, we could’ve delved into Scheana’s fertility journey a bit more. Then again, letting viewers see her as a complex woman balancing her dating life with her desire to one day have a family wouldn’t fit the narrative of Scheana as desperate psycho.
I love a good troll as much as the next Bravo fan, but Scheana’s treatment of late goes far beyond the fun shade we enjoy as viewers of Vanderpump Rules. It’s also tired at this point. She’s been the punching bag on this show for far too long, and it’s time we give her the respect she deserves. A couple of seasons ago I could have never imagined coming to Scheana’s defense, but hashtag it’s all happening.
Images: DFree / Shutterstock.com; Tenor (3)
There are a number of traits that all good Real Housewives have in common. An aspirational lifestyle, a highly suspect business venture, and a toxic husband are par for the course, but what really sets a Housewife apart from her castmates is the ability to deftly lob an insult, especially at another Housewife. This requires quick thinking and a way with the English language that few of us mere mortals possess, and when it’s done right, the results are simply magical. Below, I’ve rounded up some of the best Real Housewives zingers in history and provided real life scenarios where you can use them, so you too can feel like a friend of seasoned Housewife. You’re welcome.
“Well, Even Louis Vuitton Makes Mistakes”
Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Luann has had some of the most iconic lines in the history of The Real Housewives of New York. One of her absolute best came in season 4 when insulting castmate Alex McCord’s “Herman Munster shoes.” Alex immediately clapped back saying they were Louis Vuitton, and without missing a beat, Luann gave us this gem of a comeback, both winning the argument and proving she belongs in the Housewives Hall of Fame.
When To Use It: We’ve all known someone who never misses an opportunity to brag about the various labels they’re wearing. Next time Dorit that person pipes up, you can hit them with a variation of this epic line. For example:
Dorit: OMG could you die over this new purse?! It’s Gucci!
You: Well, even Gucci makes mistakes.
“, You Bald-Headed Scallywag”
OK, so Marlo may not technically be a Housewife, but she is putting in more work this season than many a cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (looking at you, NeNe). She’s long overdue for her peach, and no moment proved this more than in a recent episode on the cast trip to Toronto. As SnakeGate continued to unfold, the entire cast seemed to get into it with each other, with Marlo and Cynthia going head to head about the accusation that someone recorded Cynthia talking smack about NeNe. Cynthia loses it and goes off on Marlo, and out of the clear blue, Marlo refers to Cynthia as a “bald-headed scallywag.” The creativity in busting out a term not used in the mainstream lexicon since the wake of the Civil War leaves me no choice but to stan.
When To Use It: Although Marlo was referring to Cynthia, another woman, I think this jab would work perfectly for that f*ckboy in your life who you’re not quite ready to cut, but who continues to annoy you with his games. If he’s bald or balding, great. If not, then you can take a page out of his textbook with a neg that will surely have him considering a Rogaine purchase. The exchange could go something like this:
F*ckboy: Sry, forgot to press send. U comin over later?
You: Chad, you bald-headed scallywag
“Not Well, Bitch!”
Although Dorinda joined The Real Housewives of New York in season 7, it feels like she’s been there from the beginning. In just a few seasons she has become a fan favorite, and her incredible one-liners have everything to do with it. In season 9 she gave us this wonderfully versatile response when asked by Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, of all people, how she was doing after a particularly heated argument with castmate Sonja Morgan. In turn, we were gifted this simple, yet incredibly effective phrase. Dorinda, we thank you for your service.
When To Use It: The beauty of this one is that it can be used in so many different scenarios to capture your mood. The “I’ll tell ya how I’m doing” preamble is optional, but when you use it, it hits so much harder. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to shut up that annoying co-worker Karen who cheerfully asks you how you’re doing at 9:03am on Monday before you’ve even had a sip of your iced coffee. Or it’s a perfect response to the group chat attempting to piece together a blackout girls’ night. Like so:
Jackie (to the group): Really hurting this morning. How are you guys doing?
You: I’ll tell ya how I’m doing: not well, bitch!
“I Don’t Know If She Wants To Be Me, Or Skin Me And Wear Me Like Last Year’s Versace.”
Dina Manzo only appeared on the first two seasons of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (and randomly season 6), but she will always be remembered for her biting zingers, chief among them being her description of the one and only Beverly Ann Merrill Danielle Staub in season 1. After a bizarre encounter where Danielle hugged Dina over and over and awkwardly complimented her boobs, Dina delivered this perfect description of Danielle’s strange obsession with her. We miss you, Dina.
When To Use It: This line is best used when you want to highlight the Single White Female in your life who is seemingly always around and annoying the ever-loving shit out of you. Whether she keeps going after the guys you like, insincerely compliments you in a backhanded way, or is always showing up to frat parties in a sad variation of your outfit from last week, you can describe her as such:
Your Bestie: What’s up with Hannah? She’s basically wearing the same dress you wore last weekend.
You: I don’t know if she wants to be me, or skin me and wear me like last year’s Versace.
“Is Your Ass Jealous Of The Sh*t That Comes Out Of Your Mouth?”
I can’t say I’m going to miss Tamra now that she’s gone, but she did leave us with some truly memorable jabs. Tamra does her best work when she’s angry (never forget Jesus Jugs) and she exploded during the season 6 reunion when she sensed that Gretchen was being less than truthful, giving us this truly excellent insult. RIP, Tammy Sue.
When To Use It: This one comes in handy whenever you want to call bullsh*t on someone who is obviously lying. Of course, you can use it for more serious lies like Tamra did, but it also works when you want to joke around with someone close to you about a more harmless lie. Case in point:
You: Hey, just got here. What’s your ETA?
Friend (just got out of the shower): On my way!
You: Does your ass get jealous of the sh*t that comes out of your mouth?
Of course, there are far too many incredible Housewives insults and many of the very best had to be left off this list. What are some of your favorites and how would you use them in the real world? Sound off in the comments. Until then:
Images: Bravo; Tenor (2); Giphy (4)
When it debuted in 2014, Southern Charm captivated Bravo viewers with its breezy Charleston backdrop and dynamic cast. But in recent years, the show has started to lose its luster, particularly with its continued indulgence of seriously toxic men. It seems that the powers that be at Bravo are also ambivalent about the show, as rumors swirl that production on season 7 has been delayed in an attempt to breathe new life into the stagnant franchise. But should they even bother? Unless some serious changes are made, my inclination is no, for several reasons.
TRav Continues To Dominate The Conversation
I’ll admit that when the show premiered, I enjoyed watching Thomas Ravenel. Despite being old enough to be the grandfather father of several of his castmates, there was something endearing about him, especially in his tearful breakup with Kathryn at the end of season 1. At the time they seemed like two star-crossed lovers, and it was genuinely heartwarming to learn that not only did they get back together, they had a baby after filming on season 1 wrapped. Of course, as the seasons went on it became very clear that Thomas was a veritable monster. We started to see firsthand his emotional abuse of Kathryn and his manipulation of both the press and the rest of the cast in a devious crusade to destroy Kathryn’s reputation and force her to lose custody of their two children. As if that weren’t disgusting enough, he was also arrested for sexual assault and battery.
Despite being removed from the cast, Thomas was implicated in virtually every major storyline in season 6 with the focus on his custody battle with Kathryn, the return of his whackjob on-again, off-again escort girlfriend Ashley, and even the casting of his family friend Eliza Limehouse, with that connection being touted several times throughout the season. This obsession with Thomas-adjacent plot points makes it seem like Bravo is afraid they can’t put together a successful show without Thomas somehow being involved. The rumors confirm this, with sources alleging that production approached Thomas’ cousin to join the cast for the upcoming season. Even Kathryn is seemingly buying into this idea, with a recent Instagram she put up with her estranged ex that suggests they might be back together. While I hope for her sake that it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt, if the show depends on a problematic and toxic cast member for its survival, this seems like a sign that Southern Charm may not be long for this world.
The Men Still Suck
Even putting TRav aside, my many qualms with the men on Southern Charm are well-documented. I won’t wax poetic on the varying degrees of their suckage here, but instead I’m most concerned with the lack of evolution we’ve seen with any of the men on this show. The most successful and compelling reality stars are the ones who evolve season after season and show us new sides of themselves. Sometimes this involves real growth, other times they regress, but the point is that there’s a general forward momentum that keeps viewers interested. The men on Southern Charm, if you can even call them that, have shown little to no growth over the course of six seasons. Shep, once an affable goofball, has transformed into a misogynistic emblem for white male privilege. Whitney continues to be creepy, and Craig, though adorable, seems content to push pillows and sleep ‘til noon for as long as he can ride this reality TV wave the foreseeable future. Austen’s never really been more than Shep Jr. until Madison came on the scene last season. Their dynamic added some spice, but not enough that I want to have my eyes and ears assaulted with more cries of “MAAAHDISEHHHN!” and a side of Austen’s half-mast boner next season.
The Rest Of The Cast Is Boring
So who does that leave us with? Cameran was fun the first few seasons as our resident narrator and f*ckboy-wrangler, but she hasn’t brought much else to the table throughout her tenure on the show. She’s always removed from the drama and seems to think palling around with Shep & co. while eating various fried foods passes for a legitimate storyline season after season. Her attempts to document her struggles as a new parent also fell flat last season. We watch reality TV to escape the more mundane aspects of our lives and to see something aspirational, not to watch someone whose challenges look much like our own. It’s great to be nice and normal, but like I’ve said before, well-adjusted people have no place on reality television. Chelsea, though sweet, is cut from a similar cloth as Cameran and has done little to hold my interest as a viewer. Eliza initially seemed like a potential new villain, but turned out to be a total non-entity last season. Naomie seems almost passive in her new relationship and did little to engage viewers either. Kathryn’s fascinating, but inconsistent, and if she’s really back with Thomas, the last thing any of us need to see is a vulnerable woman falling back into the arms of a sociopathic ex. You does it much better anyway.
Unless Bravo can shake its TRav obsession and add some fresh blood to the mix, I’m not sure how much longer Southern Charm can last. They took a step in the right direction with casting Madison, who was dynamic and unafraid to stand up to Shep last season, but she can’t carry the show on her own. Adding other new faces might be just what this franchise needs to stay afloat. It’s a strategy that seems to be working well on this season on Vanderpump Rules, despite some questionable new choices. Whether Bravo and the cast can get the show back on track this season remains to be seen, but here’s hoping these Southerners can once again turn on the charm.
Images: Heidi Gutman/Bravo; Giphy (1); kathryndennis / Instagram; Tenor (2)
Just weeks ago, a grown woman was caught on film having a meltdown while on the job. She yelled at her boss, suggested that she was the reason for his success, and publicly shamed a coworker with same-sex proclivities, saying, “We don’t do that” and “Turn it down!” In any other functional workplace, this behavior would get a person immediately fired, but in Real Housewives land it gets you ratings and a promotion. Of course, this isn’t the first time Vicki Gunvalson has gone off the rails, but it is the first time it has felt like a palpable line had been crossed. After her entitled and delusional outbursts at The Real Housewives of Orange County season 14 reunion, it became clear that she had fallen prey to some classic Real Housewife pre-retirement symptoms, suffered by many fellow Housewives, past and present. Read on for the signs a Real Housewife should leave the party.
1. Not Fully Participating in Filming and Reunions
There are always going to be parts of our jobs that we don’t like, for example, having to interact with other human beings partnering with coworkers on group projects. However, we’re paid to fully execute our responsibilities, and a Housewife’s duties are no different. This means showing up to all filming obligations, regardless of whether you feel like it or are getting along with your fellow castmates. Unfortunately, Lisa Vanderpump didn’t seem to understand this concept throughout season 9 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, when she just decided to stop filming midway through and chicken out on the reunion because she wasn’t getting along with the other women. It’s no wonder she was fired won’t return for the upcoming season. NeNe Leakes is also currently suffering from a similar delusion on this season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She’s barely been a presence and is leaving the heavy lifting to “friends of” like Marlo Hampton. It’s like asking an intern to bear your entire workload. Aspirational, but not how it actually works. If the Bravo execs have any sense, they’ll give Ms. Leakes her walking papers.
2. Forgetting The Show Is An Ensemble Effort
It’s natural that in any season there are going to be fan favorites and breakout stars. But Housewives get into trouble when they start believing their own hype and convincing themselves that they are the stars of their shows and their fellow castmates are merely supporting players. Vicki demonstrated this over and over again on the season 14 reunion, constantly making references to “my show” and saying “Get her off my show!” in reference to Braunwyn. Teresa Giudice is also guilty of using similar language on multiple occasions. What both Vicki and Teresa fail to realize is that they are on a show that thrives—nay, depends—on the interactions between cast members. Unless you’re Bethenny Frankel, you’re not compelling enough to carry your own show. Suck it up and know your role before you find yourself out of a job.
3. Crossing Moral And/Or Legal Boundaries
As Housewife fans, we live for drama, but when that drama derives from behavior that is immoral or downright illegal, it becomes hard to stand by the Housewife in question. We can never forget Vicki’s entanglement with real-life Dirty John Brooks Ayers, who spent the bulk of season 10 perpetrating a cancer scam, and although she was fully aware of this claimed to know nothing about it, she lost a lot of her luster with fans and the storyline was widely considered a low point for the series. Behavior that goes even further and ventures into criminal territory will get you fired, as Phaedra Parks learned after the revelation during the season 9 Atlanta reunion that Phaedra spread defamatory rumors claiming Kandi and Todd wanted to drug Porsha in order to take advantage of her. Attorney Phaedra should have known better than anyone that no one wants to deal with lawyers.
4. Being Inauthentic
We’ve all deduced by now that “reality” television is hardly real in the way, say, documentary footage or live news reporting is real. Plots need to be fleshed out, and at times that leads to storylines that can come off a bit contrived. However, when a Housewife herself is inauthentic, it’s a deal-breaker, and a telltale sign that she has no business being on the show. Tamra Judge on Orange County is a perfect current example. A woman who was once a pot-stirring firecracker prone to taking her top off is now, over a decade later, a pot-stirring firecracker prone to taking her top off. Only now it’s no longer novel and comes off as a desperate attempt to stay relevant on a show that is evolving without her. Another party guilty of inauthenticity of a different type is Dorit Kemsley on Beverly Hills. Forgetting about her put-on accent, Dorit’s refusal to air any of her real-life controversies makes her one of the phoniest Housewives we’ve ever had. It’s unclear what she brings to the show, other than a piggish husband and a penchant for over-the-top, label-displaying fashion she can’t actually afford. Yawn.
5. Avoiding Drama
Just like part of the job is showing up to filming at the appointed times, another integral part of being a Housewife is getting into it with other Housewives. Yet, year after year, there are always several women who complain that they “don’t want any drama” and refuse to go toe-to-toe with the others. In fact, aside from Puppygate, the entire cast of Beverly Hills built a whole season around this ethos, leaving us with one of the most boring seasons of the show we’ve ever seen (and that’s saying something). Even Namaste Teresa is a shell of the table-flipping, prostitution-whore-calling woman she once was, staying out of the fray and letting other people like Danielle Staub do her bidding. One might say this is growth and one might be right, but we all know dignity and maturity have no place on reality television. If I wanted to watch respectful and thoughtful people politely interact with one another, I’d put on The Great British Bake Off. Pick a lane, people!
It will be interesting to see what Bravo does with its OGs, who are some of the worst offenders when it comes to this list. While there’s something comforting about keeping around those who have been there from the beginning, getting rid of the women who aren’t pulling their weight keeps the others on their toes, especially those who lack the self-awareness to course-correct like Lisa Rinna, who does her best despite her drama-eschewing castmates. What other signs are there that a Housewife needs to go and who do you think needs to get off our screens? Let me know in the comments!
Images: Paul Morigi/Getty Images; Giphy (4); Tenor (1)