On Sunday night, the Real Housewives of Potomac premieres, introducing America to a new crop of women who will gossip, air their dirty laundry and fight until their contracts aren’t renewed. But before they do that, they’ll play nice—so nice that, if you’ve watched enough seasons of a variety of Real Housewives shows, you’ll notice that they all tend to greet each other in exactly the same way.
It wasn’t always like this; Season One of the original show The Real Housewives of Orange County was more normal, focusing less on the interpersonal relationships of the women involved and more on their family lives. Despite their wealth, they would get together for meals, but in a relatively casual way—a far cry from the lavish vacations and parties they all attend today. And as the glitz of the show has increased, their attention to their own physical appearance has grown as well, so much so that you’ll notice that every time they see each other (particularly for the women of the California shows, Beverly Hills and Orange County), they squeal with delight and marvel at whatever—literally whatever—the other is wearing, performing for the camera the audience can’t see. When these moments are spliced together, their noises and wide-eyed excitement at the sight of one another (whether real or a mask for their true feelings) resemble the sort of animal ritual that anthropologists will likely study one day, if they aren’t already.
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Video by Nicholas Stango