When listing the largest television phenomenons of our generation, it would be irresponsible to skip over The Real Housewives. Recently, we (or probably just me) celebrated the 10 year anniversary of when The Real Housewives of Orange County premiered on Bravo.
I remember the day more than I do my first day of school that year. Even in sixth grade, there was something about the program that was calling my attention. Although I was never a big fan of traditional reality television like The Bachelor or American Idol, there was something about Housewives. And what better time to idolize the bodies of 40-year-old women on the coast of California than during the midst of my pimple-filled puberty?
Now 10 years later, I can confidently attest that I haven’t missed an episode from any of the Housewives' cities and seasons. Embarrassingly enough, I’ve even shown up to book signings, wine signings, and yes, even a high school reunion in order to meet the ladies I had "known" for years. Kelly Killoren Bensimon, most commonly known for her stint on “Scary Island” during season four of The Real Housewives of New York City, was surprisingly warm and appreciative at her book signing in 2012. And I swear to you, there were sadly only five people at her book signing in Rockford, Illinois, and two of those people were her parents.
Andy Cohen, you’ve really done it and I don’t think people give you the credit you deserve. Creator Mr. Cohen, former executive producer of Bravo and reunion referee, transformed the landscape of reality television.
As Cohen most accurately put it during the 100th episode special for The Real Housewives of Orange County, these women, more than almost anyone in the entertainment industry, are truly thrown into stardom overnight and it’s unlike any celebrity status that can be attained from participating in The Bachelor, American Idol, Survivor, etc.
So now as I sit here writing my third letter to Teresa Giudice as she sits in the Danbury Correctional Center for tax and wire fraud, I can only imagine her inevitable thinking, "I would be eating my homemade Bolognese at home right now if I hadn’t signed up for Real Housewives."
As "the wives" often say, "You don’t go on a reality show when you have something to hide."
So... what’s next?
Orange County is filming season 10 with original cast member Vicki Gunvalson, Beverly Hills has an upcoming finale and reunion featuring the Richards v. Rinna feud, and Bethenny Frankel makes her epic return to the New York ensemble on April 7th. Will you be watching?