It’s deeply painful for me to say this: Bravo’s Real Housewives, once the most riveting franchise on all of television, is going stale.
Last night, the eighth season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills debuted with more of the same wrung-out storylines as last season. Erika Jane is cold! Dorit’s husband PK is a pig! Lisa Rinna continues to shove her model daughters Delilah Belle and Amelia Grey (not a sweater company for rich ladies, but a 16-year-old girl) down America’s throats whether we like it or not! Rinna’s husband Harry Hamlin continues to hate Kim Richards, supposedly for returning a gift Rinna got for her granddaughter, but more likely for bringing up an old blind item that legally we can’t discuss on Jezebel OR Bravo. Yes, there’s a newcomer: Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave, daughter of John Mellencamp, but things do not feel promising.
The problem goes beyond Beverly Hills. Orange County, with its storylines of divorce and domestic violence, has grown too heavy to bear (at least from my approach of love-fueled mocking) and New Jersey has gone to similarly dark territory. (Whether or not this is the price paid by any long-running reality TV cast whose lives become public consumption is a topic for another day!) Even New York, typically good even when it isn’t, seems to be limping; I’d call last season a total wash if it wasn’t for that last minute Mexico trip. Dallas—too horrible to watch last season, but making a STUNNING comeback in season two—and Atlanta remain the only two worth regularly tuning into.
Part of the problem, maybe, is that Housewives is being so outpaced by Vanderpump Rules, their bratty, coked-up offspring, which—in its fifth season—has earned its crown as the best show featuring the worst people that you can possibly watch. The cast, though at the age where they should be aging out of such idiotic behavior, remains broke, stupid, selfish, and most importantly wildly entertaining, with seemingly no shame. How embarrassing for its mother, Beverly Hills, that Vanderpump Rules—a show created to feature a server known only as the mistress of Eddie Cibrian, ex husband of a Beverly Hills housewife—has surpassed it in so many ways.
So what is there to be done? An idea oft discussed by my friends: Fire everyone on the Real Housewives and start fresh with people who aren’t so tired and over the whole game, i.e., slash and burn casting. If that’s too much, Bravo could also let Vanderpump terror Stassi Schroeder graduate and become a Real Housewife herself. (Her and Lisa Vanderpump as equals—imagine!)
Or they can keep turning out the same boring and/or tragic content because, in all honesty, I am an idiot and will watch anyway.