Last month, The Real Housewives of Orange County finally came back after a bit of hiatus with a “reboot” of the show. With Shannon Beador, Gina Kirschenheiter, and Emily Simpson joined by Heather Dubrow and two newbies, Dr. Jen Armstrong and Noella Bergener, I was excited to see the beloved original Housewives franchise back with a new vibe. I originally loved the fact the show had a new “classy” element to it, and that we were finally getting to see new stories, new people and Heather Dubrow’s massive mausoleum of a home. However, the excitement, the flashiness, and the cast quickly bored me, and I started finding the show a bit monotonous—and I’m not alone in thinking this way. It made me think, if we don’t fix what’s happening on the show at the moment, we might not get another season of RHOC. Here’s what I think the show needs to address in order to avoid that.
Heather Is Iconic, But She Isn’t The Main Girl
I love Heather Dubrow. I find her fabulous, hilarious, and she’s obviously rich as hell. However, what made Heather so good on her original run on the show was her role as the voice of reason and, at times, the villain of the show. She’s snarky—she plays it up for the cameras and can be a bit of a smart-ass. That’s why she’s an amazing Housewife. However, I feel like Bravo kind of f*cked up by pushing her to be the matriarch/center of the show. Sure, she could give us a Bethenny Frankel tease and be the alpha of the group, but the reason why that worked for RHONY was because each of the women on RHONY had their moments of standing up to Bethenny. I feel like most of the girls on RHOC, except for Noella, have a tendency to kiss Heather’s ass. It makes the show boring, and eventually could make Heather think she’s above this group. We for sure don’t want that.
The Direction Of The Show
I’m happy that we have a reboot, and everyone (including me) wanted the show to go in a different direction—especially after such a dark season—but I feel like this season’s direction isn’t what RHOC needed. Yes, we love wealth, and yes, we love opulence, but not every franchise needs that for it to be good. Each Housewives franchise is amazing because they all have their own special qualities: RHONY has a comedic vibe to it while RHOBH is more focused on opulence and wealth. What made RHOC special was the dynamic between the women and the show’s casual vibe. I don’t know if pushing the show in the direction of RHOBH is the right idea. It comes across as a bit jarring, especially to longtime viewers. In addition to the direction of the show, the cast feels a bit disjointed. For instance, the reason the Real Housewives of Miami reboot is working so well is because there’s a good balance of newbies and OGs in different capacities. RHOC needs to bring back some OGs to balance out the cast and stir the pot a bit. Those vets would be Vicki and Tamra.
Vicki and Tamra
Vicki and Tamra were the foundation for RHOC. While I was happy to see them go at first, I deeply regret that decision. They knew how to stir the pot in such an organic way that it made the show incredibly worth watching. From Bass Lake-Gate to Vicki being a complete hater to Meghan King, those girls understood the assignment. I think bringing them back in a friend role in the same way RHOM has done with Marysol and Adriana would balance out the cast, and we all know that Vicki and Tamra would keep everyone on the cast accountable. Plus, with their recent fallouts with Shannon, it only would make sense to bring them back.
I absolutely love RHOC, and I’m not saying this season is bad. But, it is definitely missing something that could bring it from being a 6/10 to a 10/10. We need the show to change its direction a bit, bring back Vicki and Tamra, and not push Heather so much to be the centre of the show. I know for a fact that if these changes were made, RHOC could be back in its prime.
Image: Nicole Weingart / Bravo
They say all press is good press, and at this point, that’s got to be Kelly Dodd’s mantra. The RHOC star ends up in hot water so frequently these days that she basically lives in a hot tub. One would think her drama would be relegated to our TV screens, but Kelly seems determined to end up on our smaller screens, in the form of Apple News alerts and angry tweets. Kelly started off bad, jet-setting across the country when the pandemic was first in its deadliest throes, and has only gotten worse, mocking the BLM movement and repeatedly making light of COVID. Somehow, she’s managed to hold onto her RHOC spot (for now), but her general trash persona has cost her sponcon, friendships, and fans. But where will it end?
It all began back in April 2020 with Kelly’s insensitive AF comment about how “the coronavirus was God’s way of thinning the herd”. Although she issued an apology after the ordeal, it clearly meant nothing as she was posting videos of herself dining at Newport Beach with friends just last month. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize the pandemic didn’t apply to celebrities. Kelly’s socials were littered with a mask-less crowd enjoying food and drinks at a local bar. Kelly tried to defend herself in a since-deleted probable lie, stating “everyone was vaccinated” therefore there is “nothing to spread” and the “sheeple are mad”. Sure, Jan. A source close to the Housewife says she was not, in fact, vaccinated—which tracks because I’m pretty sure the Venn diagram of people who say “sheeple” non-ironically and antivaxxers is a circle.
I guess tequila shots are the only shots Kelly’s interested in.
It’s no surprise that shortly after that incident, Kelly was let go from her venture with Positive Beverage, a sparkling water company that she invested in and promoted heavily on RHOC. I mean let’s be real, Kelly isn’t the poster child for positivity at this point. The company released a statement saying, “it has been clear over the past few months that Kelly’s controversial views and opinions have distracted from our primary objective”. Kelly seemingly brushed it off in a Twitter post stating her well wishes to the company and is excited for her next venture into the beauty space. Let’s hope whatever beauty products she comes up with work on the inside.
I’m glad I could help put Positive Beverage on the map and wish them well. I’m also really excited about my next venture in the beauty industry, which is my real passion. Stay tuned!
— Kelly Dodd (@RHOC_KellyDodd) January 31, 2021
To add fuel to the fire, Bravo is reportedly not impressed with her outrageous behavior on the show and social media. Rumors have been swirling that Kelly will be fired from RHOC, and even Kelly herself is embracing the potential outcome. Over the weekend, Kelly’s IG bio was updated to “Proud veteran cast member of #RHOC”. Moreover, a source told E! that Kelly is “expecting to be fired from the show”. Regardless, she stands by her opinions and “feels the show is favoring the other ladies whilst being pushed out”.
You would think that after her sponsors started dropping like flies, Kelly would at least try to make some friends in the industry. One friend she won’t have: Perez Hilton, who called her “so unlikeable” after she randomly attacked his appearance after he called her out on her B.S. The uncalled for comments are no surprise, as even her castmates couldn’t deal with Kelly’s toxicity. She was labeled as a racist and homophobe by Braunwyn Windham-Burke, and Tamra Judge also called for Kelly to be fired from RHOC after her racist remarks. Even Heather Dubrow stated she would only consider returning to RHOC if Dodd wasn’t part of the show. Without the support of many current and former RHOC ladies, Kelly has her work cut out for her if she wants to stay—which it seems like she doesn’t.
K*lly D*dd when someone else is having a nice moment on the reunion #RHOC pic.twitter.com/RFwrXwGQAA
— bravo by betches (@bravobybetches) January 28, 2021
To top it all off, Kelly started a feud with the one person you don’t want to piss off, at least if you’re a Bravolebrity: Andy Cohen. After mentioning he’s receiving copious amounts of messages about how she’s perceived as “uneducated, misinformed and behaving like a moron”, Kelly fired back, claiming Andy is viewed as “un-American” by the public because he doesn’t like Donald Trump. Uhm, last we checked, the majority of Americans didn’t like Trump, either. Besides, anyone who watches Bravo knows Andy Cohen is the boss, and you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
After nine months of Kelly’s problematic behavior, and no public response from Bravo, to say fans are pissed is putting it lightly. They’ve labeled Kelly as “vile, narcissistic, and disgusting”, pressing the network to hold her accountable, and even boycotting RHOC’s recent season. And it doesn’t stop there. On top of boycotting the show, there have also been calls to boycott Uve Beauty in light of their new collaboration with the Bravo star. So far, the company hasn’t commented, but money talks, and maybe the brand will listen.
To sum this f*ckery all up, it’s been an almost unbelievably problematic year in the life of Kelly Dodd. While most Bravo stars are problematic in some regard, Kelly really goes above and beyond to be awful in just about every respect. And with no fans, no sponcon, no friends, and hopefully, no role on a national TV show, it seems like Kelly will fade into obscurity where she belongs.
Images: Tommy Garcia/Bravo; rhoc_kellydodd, bravobybetches / Twitter
At its peak, The Real Housewives of Orange County was a staple amongst Bravo fans. You had everything you could ask for in a Real Housewives franchise: real-life drama, lavish lifestyles, cancer scams, and a great group dynamic. However, this season is anything but great, and has been called the worst season in the show’s 15-year run. While COVID has put a strain on the production of many shows, anyone with Bravo access can see that COVID is not the reason this show has been on a downward spiral. With this season receiving negative reviews due to its controversial casting choices, cast members’ behavior on social media, and the lack of authenticity within the cast, Bravo fans are wondering what went wrong, and if the show can ever bounce back.
Let’s just get this out of the way. Kelly Dodd is arguably one of the most controversial Housewives to date. This season, however, it was her social media behavior, rather than her on-camera antics, that landed her in hot water. Dodd has made numerous controversial choices in the past year, from calling COVID “God’s way of thinning out the herd”, to spreading misinformation about the virus, to even wearing a “Drunk Wives Matter” hat at her bridal shower. Some viewers have been so disgusted by her behavior that they boycotted the show this season.
Here’s the thing: this behavior is nothing new to Kelly. In 2016, before her first season on the show even aired, she proclaimed to TMZ (while drunk) that she does not like Black men. This statement alone should have gotten her fired a long time ago, yet Bravo decided to keep her on and it took years for her statement to resurface. Trust me, if I knew she said this years ago, I would’ve never watched the show while she was on it.
But let’s be real—a majority of people, including myself, liked Kelly on the show. She is incredibly blunt, has funny moments, and knows how to keep conversations going. She is good television. But when and where do we draw the line? Kelly thinks the reason for her downfall among some Bravo viewers is because they want to “censor” her, and that people refuse to separate politics from television. That’s not the case. If conservative politics were a dealbreaker when it comes to watching Real Housewives, the Orange County, Dallas, and New Jersey installments would be obsolete from our minds. See Kelly, we do not care about your politics, it’s your behavior and your continued bigotry that is turning people off from watching the show.
I mean, in a preview for the conclusion of the Season 15 reunion, Kelly rebuts the accusation that she is racist by proclaiming that she is Black. According to her 23andMe results, shared via Instagram, she is 2.3% African. Kelly, that does not make you Black, and even if you were 30% African, you have lived your life as white-passing—or at most, racially ambiguous—and you’ve benefited from that. Apologizing for your continuous derogatory behavior does not make up for the fact that you continue to use horrific and prejudiced rhetoric on an almost daily basis. God forbid, but if Bravo decides to keep Kelly on the show after everything she’s done, I do not want them hiring a Black woman or a woman of color for the sole purpose of “explaining” to Kelly what she has done wrong and how she can “fix it”. It is not the responsibility of Black women or women of color to save the images of controversial individuals. She needs to be held accountable for her behavior, whether that means firing her, a severe pay cut and demotion, or making her donate her entire salary to the marginalized communities that she continues to purposely offend.
Connections: You Need Them
Speaking of casting, one of the reasons why this season fell flat is because the cast lacks genuine connections with one another. The reason why we love The Real Housewives is because of the real friendships and bonds the women have with one another. This is a big reason why installments like Potomac, New York, and New Jersey have had successful multiple-season runs with barely any cast changes. When you throw a group of people together with nothing in common but the same zip code, you are setting yourself up for a sh*t show. This cast of ladies would probably never hang out with each other if there weren’t cameras around. Chemistry is what makes any television show amazing. It’s what made seasons 10-11 of RHOC amazing, and the lack of chemistry is what has made the show unbearable since season 12. With that being said, to bring this type of “organic” connection to RHOC, there has to be a major cast shake-up.
Bring Back Vets
First of all, getting rid of Heather Dubrow was a BIG mistake. HUGE. She was rich, blunt, and had a genuine connection with the cast. Yes, she was a bit pompous and it was hard to watch her at times, but the show needs someone who is a little bit snobby. Someone who will get the group all the way together in an effortless fashion. Someone who has the over-the-top lifestyle that RHOC once represented. I also think it’s time to bring Tamra Judge back. Yes I know, Tamra was not always a fan favorite, but she knows how to keep the momentum going by stirring the pot, and she isn’t a bigot. Seriously, the bar is so low with the RHOC that ANYONE who is not a bigot would be a good casting choice for this show. Bring back these two and maybe throw in a newbie, and I think the show will finally be back on the right track.
Who Needs To Go
We need to make room for people that would actually contribute to the success of the show, and that means some of these ladies should get the axe. First, get rid of Emily. She seems to have a more dominating presence on social media, but this is not The Real Housewives of Twitter, so unfortunately her time is up. Also, her viewpoints at times align with Kelly’s, and to be honest, I do not need any more of that on my TV screen. At least Kelly is somewhat interesting. Emily is not. The jury is still out when it comes to newbie Elizabeth Vargas, as she seems to have an interesting relationship with the ladies, so maybe she should come back for one more season.
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Braunwyn helped carry this season without a doubt. I’ll give her that. She talked about Gina’s home being too small, accused Elizabeth of consistently lying about her whole life, and her relationship with her husband Sean is… interesting. I do think that Braunwyn has a tendency to embellish and she can be hypocritical at times. The staged paparazzi shots and her allegedly offering drugs to Shannon’s teenage daughter aren’t helping her case, either. However, I don’t see Bravo getting rid of her anytime soon, mainly because she has the most interesting storyline out of all the ladies. So, the most I can ask of Braunwyn is to genuinely be herself and to stop giving us what she thinks will be “good reality TV”. Also, we NEED to hear more about how her kids and her husband Sean truly feel about this new stage in her life.
Obviously, with the Black Lives Matter movement reaching millions in 2020, the conversation about politics is bound to come up on some of these shows. Here’s the thing, as a Southern California native, I am painfully aware of how conservative Orange County, and Newport Beach in particular, can be. Yes, when we watch The Real Housewives, many of us are looking for an escape. We want to see wealthy women argue over frivolous things—it can be hilarious and, in some weird, sick way, therapeutic. We aren’t tuning in every week to see these women discuss politics. However, there is a clear line between what is political and what is about basic human rights. Trying to politicize human rights is a fault of your own. That is when watching RHOC can get a tad uncomfortable, mainly because some of the cast members, notably Kelly Dodd, have made these conversations political. When she does this, it comes off like she is in fact a bigot. We do not want to watch bigots on television.
Let me also make myself clear: just because I am a progressive leftist does not mean I align bigotry with everyone that has conservative values. It just so happens that a majority of the conservative cast members on this show tend to use egregious rhetoric in conversations surrounding social issues. I, without a doubt, commend Braunwyn, one of the only two liberal cast members on the show, for attempting to have a conversation about social injustices with the ladies, knowing that a majority of the cast is conservative. Whether her intention was genuine, to stir the pot, or even performative, having conversations about serious topics can be intimidating. However, it is not the responsibility of Braunwyn or any other woman (especially Black women and WOC) to explain racial injustice to these women. Bravo prides itself on being a network that is not only inclusive, but also a network that does not tolerate divisiveness. We saw this with the firings with some of the Vanderpump Rules cast members. However, it seems to me that Bravo is picking and choosing who they feel meets this standard of discrimination. If they do decide to keep the cast as-is, especially Kelly Dodd, then there is no one else to blame but Bravo for the fall of what was once one of the most-watched installments across the Real Housewives franchise.
Images: Tommy Garcia/Yavir Ramawtar/Bravo; Giphy; bravobybetches / Instagram
It’s been nearly 15 years since the creation of the first Real Housewives show, and the concept has grown and changed into a reality TV empire with millions of devoted viewers across multiple continents. There are many things to love about Housewives, but there really is nothing like a reunion. Every time Andy Cohen sits down with these women, it feels like a must-see television event, and the level of glam has risen accordingly.
But while the Housewives have full teams prepping them to be camera-ready for a grueling day on the couches, not all reunion looks are slam dunks. From decent concepts that fell flat to looks that are just painfully outdated, these are the most tragic reunion looks of all time.
Danielle Staub – New Jersey, Season 2
Danielle Staub is tragic in many ways, but this iconically bad reunion look tops the list. Certainly, the reunion dress code was more casual back in the day, but while the other women wore cocktail dresses,
Beverly Danielle showed up in a white tank top and a sequined mini skirt that’s giving me strong Wet Seal vibes. She finished off the look with a statement necklace and some black peep-toe booties, which thankfully you can’t see in this picture, because they may have actually made the outfit worse.
Tamra Judge – Orange County, Season 7
The season seven RHOC reunion is like a time capsule, because it’s a jarring look at the brief time that Tamra didn’t hate Gretchen Rossi. For this reunion, Tamra was clearly taking style cues from Gretch, as evidenced by her massive pageant hair. The two sat next to each other wearing the exact same color dresses and similar hairstyles, like some Newport Beach Us tethers. In a technical sense, Tamra looked good at this reunion, but the Gretchen cosplay is just not for her, and soon enough, these two went back to being enemies.
Ashley Darby – Potomac, Season 4
For RHOP’s legendary fourth season, they went with an all-white reunion theme, to varying degrees of success. Ashley’s outfit was definitely the worst of the bunch. The fully-sheer lace bottom half was a choice, as was the large mesh boob panel, but my greatest issue is with the cape. First of all, why wear a cape in the first place? You’re sitting the whole time, so it’s just an extra piece of fabric that’s going to be bunched up on the couch under you. But also, the strip of fabric across her chest that held the cape in place made the actual dress look even worse. It’s a no from me.
Luann de Lesseps – New York, Season 7
Sometimes you can tell there’s a good idea somewhere within a look, but the execution just doesn’t work. For this reunion, I liked that the Countess was giving us more of a fun disco vibe, but this dress looks beyond cheap. Stretchy metallic fabrics are tough to get right, and while money can’t buy you class, it could have bought Luann something that looked a little more high-end. This was before her iconic partnership with Jovani, and it shows.
NeNe Leakes – Atlanta, Season 1
In more recent years, the Atlanta women have consistently turned out the best, most glamorous reunion looks of any franchise, but season one was… rough. No one came dressed to impress, but NeNe’s extra-long cowl-neck top paired with black pants is absolutely disastrous. Over the past 12 years, NeNe’s style transformation has been something to behold, and it’s wild to think that this was probably considered cute back in 2008. We have truly been through so much this these women.
Kim Zolciak – Atlanta, Season 1
NeNe’s first reunion look hasn’t aged well, but I’m pretty sure Kim Zolciak’s first reunion look is timelessly fugly. This was back in the Big Poppa era, and it’s absolutely shocking to realize that Kim was still in her 20s during RHOA‘s first season. Here, she wore a mustard-yellow silk blouse, topped with a black vest and paired with black slacks. Kim looked more like a blackjack dealer at a third-rate casino than a Real Housewife. This was also during the prime ~wig~ era, and that synthetic-looking blonde hair makes me itchy just from looking at it.
Denise Richards – Beverly Hills, Season 9
The cast of RHOBH doesn’t take their glam lightly, and though she’s the most famous person on the show, Denise was clearly unprepared for her first season. Aside from the fact that I don’t think this beige dress is particularly cute or flattering, the dress and ponytail combo is about seven notches of glam below everyone else’s looks. I mean, Dorit had 10 pounds of metal clips on her head, and Kyle Richards was in a floor-length neon gown. I love Denise as a housewife, but she’s never going to win any fashion awards around these ladies.
Kameron Westcott – Dallas, Season 4
If you don’t watch RHOD, Kameron is basically a Barbie doll come to life, so suffice it to say that her sense of style doesn’t appeal to everyone. I think a lot of her head-to-toe pink looks are actually really cute on her, but this red dress from the most recent reunion just wasn’t it. From the floor up to the chest it’s pretty! But then you get to the shoulder region, where two pieces of tulle come together into giant puff-balls that literally touch her ears. Considering we mostly see the women from the waist up, it was incredibly distracting to constantly see Kam’s earrings get caught in her dress. This whole reunion was a mess, and this look wasn’t helping.
Gretchen Rossi – Orange County, Season 8
Gretchen has an interesting sense of style (see Tamra’s pageant look above), but I really can’t with the glorified figure skating costume she wore to the season eight reunion. Turquoise is a hard color to pull off, and the weird one sleeve/neck choker silhouette combined with the bedazzled waist adornment is just too much. This would’ve looked great on Tonya Harding, but it’s not a dress that should be worn anywhere other than an ice rink. Also, with all of her hair bunched on the same side as the dress’s fabric, this whole look feels imbalanced.
There have been many other reunion misses over the years, but these were the ones that I just couldn’t ignore. Let me know in the comments what your (least) favorite looks of all time are, because I could talk about this for days.
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Images: Charles Sykes, Heidi Gutman/Bravo; Andrei Jackamets, Vivian Zink, John Crooms (2) /NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images; Charles Sykes, Nicole Weingart (2), Evans Vestal Ward /Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
It’s no secret from my many articles on the subject that I’m a Bravoholic with an affinity for all things Real Housewives. And while I didn’t think my appreciation for these women could get any deeper, I’ve been especially thankful for them while battling bouts of boredom and anxiety in self-quarantine. In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, it’s only right that we pay tribute to the amazing women that not only gave life to our Housewives, but who have made a lasting impression in their own right while appearing onscreen.
10. Ms. Diane, ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’
Ms. Diane is an angel. She ranks this high on the list because she’s one of the most normal and seemingly sane mothers this franchise has ever seen. Her calm demeanor and unwavering support of Porsha through everything from the divorce from Kordell to the infidelities of The Hot Dog King is truly heartwarming. Porsha is one of the few lucky ones.
9. Judy Stirling, ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’
Lydia’s mom, Judy, made an immediate impression when she breezed her way into the OC from what seemed like another planet entirely. She sprinkled fairy dust on her grown daughter, smoked a ton of pot, and even managed to get into it with Vicki’s aggro son-in-law over having her feet on Vicki’s couch. In short, she was a lot more interesting memorable than Lydia.
8. Dr. Deb, ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’
Dr. Deb is what you would get if you swapped out Judy’s weed for acid and proceeded to have a really bad trip at Burning Man. When she first appeared on the show, Dr. Deb intrigued viewers with her multicolored dreadlocks and general IDGAF attitude. She really got into the mix last season at “OC Fashion Week” (I refuse to believe that’s a thing) by fighting with another attendant and allegedly using a racial slur. Clearly used to chaos, it’s no wonder Braunwyn decided to have seven kids.
7. Ms. Dorothy, ‘Real Housewives of Potomac’
Ms. Dorothy made an impression from the moment we met her in season 3. Between her monthly stays at the house she bought for with Candiace and Chris and her attempts to control every aspect of their wedding, this therapist seems to have a blind spot when it comes to respecting boundaries with her daughter. Last season she took this to another level by slapping Candiace upside the head with a purse. It be ya own mother.
6. Lois Rinna, ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’
When we first met Lois, she charmed us with her happy-go-lucky attitude and positive energy. Little did we know that this ray of sunshine nearly died after surviving an attack by a literal serial killer. And not only did she survive that, she also managed to sit through dinner while Camille defended Brett Kavanaugh and served us some epic facial expressions like this in the process:
5. Marge Sr., ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’
As if Marge Jr. weren’t enough of a gift to the show when she was cast in season 8, we got the added bonus of Marge Sr. Dating well into her seventies and even admitting that she’s had sex in a cemetery, Marge Sr. is the Hungarian Samantha Jones. We have no choice but to stan.
4. Mama Elsa, ‘Real Housewives of Miami’
Almost exactly one year ago, the world lost a legend. Mama Elsa was the indisputable star of the otherwise lackluster Real Housewives of Miami. With her strong Cuban accent, flair for drama, and witchy sensibilities, she stole every scene and gave us so many hilarious moments. The world was a wonder while she was here.
3. Dale Mercer, ‘Real Housewives of New York’
Regardless of whether Tinsley decides to return to RHONY, her mother Dale would be a welcome addition to the show. She never misses an opportunity to shade her own daughter, whether it’s pointing out to Tinsley that she’s wearing shoes designed by Tinsley’s ex-husband’s new wife, or implying that her relationship with Scott is doomed. And, of course, we can never forget her indulging Tinsley’s crazy and crying with her over Tinsley’s frozen eggs “babies” while Tinsley tries on wedding dresses despite not actually being engaged.
2. Mama Dee, ‘Real Housewives of Dallas’
Speaking of women that take pleasure in shading the hell out of their spawn, no one does it like Mama Dee. Watching D’Andra squirm while asking her mom for more money to let her take over the business and Dee revel in the power dynamic is truly captivating television. Is this a healthy mother-daughter dynamic? No, but I really don’t give a dog’s rip.
1. Mama Joyce, ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’
Love her or hate her, Mama Joyce is the G.O.A.T. of outrageous Real Housewives moms. She never misses an opportunity to harass her son-in-law, whether it’s butchering the lyrics to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to make a threat, or recounting a childhood trauma about a lunchbox to allude to her distrust of him. The thirst doesn’t stop there. She tried using a shoe as a weapon against Carmon during Kandi’s wedding dress shopping trip, and put on an actual trench coat to dig up dirt on Phaedra, giving us this iconic moment:
She may be a monster hellbent on destroying anyone that gets too close to her daughter’s money, but she’s given us some incredible moments in the process.
Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that the moms on this list make for great TV. Which Real Housewives mom is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!
Images: Bravo (2); Tenor (5); Trash Talk TV; 1drdeb / Instagram; Giphy (2)
In these trying times, it’s important to maintain normalcy in any way possible. Shower and get dressed every morning, or do an at-home workout. Or in my case, spend the majority of your time thinking about Real Housewives. Just because Bravo has suspended production on its shows doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on in the Bravo-sphere. There are lots of problematic coronavirus posts, but the most interesting development has to do with the Tres Amigas.
Of course, I’m referring to The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Tamra Judge, Vicki Gunvalson, and Shannon Beador, who have spent the last three seasons as a (mostly) inseparable trio of friends. Some people loved them, many people hated them, but they were a total package deal. Things were bound to change after Tamra and Vicki both announced their departures from RHOC earlier this year, and it looks like the Tres Amigas have officially cracked.
On Sunday, Tamra busted through the coronavirus noise on Instagram with a cryptic quote post that immediately raised some questions. The post says: “Fake friends are like shadows. They follow you in the sun but leave you in the dark.” Wow, that’s deep.
With her firing from RHOC, and her ex-husband’s ongoing battle with Stage 3 throat cancer, it’s no secret that Tamra’s life has been tumultuous lately, but the particular timing of this post was pretty openly shady. It came just hours after Shannon Beador posted a picture hanging out with fellow Housewife Kelly Dodd. Kelly hasn’t been on such good terms with the Tres Amigas recently (Vicki literally sued her), and Kelly and Shannon pretty clearly hated each other at the most recent reunion.
My, how the tables have turned. We’re not even supposed to be seeing people right now, and there Shannon and Kelly are, arms around each other with their respective significant others. In terms of the future of RHOC, this is a good sign, because with Vicki and Tamra leaving, she had to be friends with someone. But clearly her Tres Amigas colleagues aren’t thrilled that Shannon has reconnected with Kelly.
As of right now, both Tamra and Vicki have unfollowed Shannon on Instagram, which means it’s officially just the Dos Amigas now. For what it’s worth, Shannon still follows both of them, but we’ll see how long that lasts. I have a feeling that these friendships have been on the rocks since Vicki and Tamra found out they weren’t being asked back next season, because honestly, who wouldn’t be mad about that? So now they’re stuck at home without their Housewives paychecks, while Shannon is still making money, and hanging out with someone they both hate. Sure, it might be petty, but I can totally see how Shannon posting the photo with Kelly was the final straw for Vicki and Tamra.
It’ll be interesting to see how Shannon and Kelly finally patch up their differences—and if it lasts—but it’s unclear when that will happen. Production started last month for the landmark 15th season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, but depending on how the coronavirus pandemic pans out, we might have a little longer wait than usual. Production shut down last week due to health concerns, and currently all Bravo production is on hold until further notice. Other shows affected include The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Dallas, as well as Southern Charm‘s already-delayed seventh season. Luckily, the New York, Beverly Hills, and Potomac housewives’ upcoming seasons are finished, so at least there’s still something to look forward to.
Images: Bravo/Getty Images; tamrajudge, shannonbeador / Instagram
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)
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)