Everything You Didn’t Really Care To Know About The Real Housewives

At this point, it’s safe to say that Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise has made an indelible mark on pop culture. Since its conception in 2006, there’s been six installments, record deals, spin-offs, sex tapes, book deals and exhaustive tabloid coverage for these delusional divas, allowing them to transition from legends in their own mind to sort of/kind of legends in real life. The show’s appeal is easy to understand. It’s about insane privileged women who lead insane privileged lives.

Although much of the show is based on their grandiose lifestyles, the women also deal with issues that are universal. Throughout the seasons, we’ve seen the housewives have financial difficulties, get cheated on by their husbands, watch a child succumb to drug addiction, and deal with infertility. It’s in those moments that we realize that these are, in fact, the real housewives and not those space aliens living on Wisteria Lane over at ABC.

Along with being realistic, the show is also a fascinating study on the issue of class and how it correlates with geography, race and gender. Below I’ve taken the liberty of creating a kind of cheat sheet for the different seasons. In these, you will notice how things like simple geography set these women apart.

1. The Real Housewives of Orange County

What It’s About: Orange County meltdowns. This is the most depressing installment of The Real Housewives, in my opinion. The husbands tend to be more verbally abusive and controlling while the women are generally more submissive and miserable. (See: Jeana Keough, Tamra Barney and Alexis Bellino.)

Politics: Total Ralph Lauren-wearing conservatives.

Husbands: Like I said, creepy assholes.

Kids: Nightmare on Coto De Caza Street. Lynne Curtin’s teenagers are girls gone wild, Lauri Peterson’s son got addicted to heroin, Tamra’s son, Ryan, went to jail and Jeana’s son, Shane, treats her like crap.

$$$$: What money? JK, but not really. It’s basically foreclosure central, which makes Orange County very Keeping Up With The Joneses Until You Go Broke And Are Living In An Apartment In Irvine.

Feminism: It’s in short supply. Even though Vicki Gunvelson is a self-righteous narcissist, she’s the only person who has a career and isn’t dependent upon her husband. So in the words of Vicki herself, “Woo, woo.”

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://twitter.com/bravogossip Maria

    Nice effort, but missing many key points like Kelly Bensimon's insanity, Kim Zolciak's sugar daddy, the Jill and Bethenny feud, and Gretchen Rossi's drama.

    I think an important point to mention is that most of them are not college educated, don't come from money, and have all made money via self-employment. They're also very apolitical, at least on screen.

  • Joy

    This has totally been posted before.

  • Proserawson

    These descriptions of each season are dead on! Very funny, too! Glad I stumbled on this page. Good job :)

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