Danielle Staub is the most notorious cast member to ever come out of the Real Housewives franchise. There's no arguing on that point.
Her two seasons as an original star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey are the things of legend; her scorched-earth exit made her a seemingly permanent enemy of her co-stars and an unforgettable name among fans. Her appearance on Watch What Happens Live following her departure, wherein she left host Andy Cohen rattled after demanding he apologize for saying she'd been fired, only contributed to the feeling that the erstwhile Garden State villain was likely persona non grata as far as Bravo was concerned.
But if ever the time was right for Danielle to make her triumphant return to RHONJ, it's now.
Look, we were just as shook as the rest of you when Teresa Giudice tweeted that photo of herself doing yoga alongside Danielle, a woman she once chased through a country club and then off the stage the season two reunion, throwing poor Andy like a ragdoll in the process. "Loved catching up this am & bonding with @daniellestaub," she tweeted. Andy's comment as he retweeted the photo summed it up best: "Wowza!"
Was this a calculated move on Tre's part to get back at her current enemy Jacqueline Laurita? You know, one of those "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" things? Or had hell frozen over, pigs taken flight, and Teresa actually forgiven someone? Who even cares. Look at Danielle's face in that photo. Now imagine it back in the cast photo for next season. Don't even try to tell us the idea doesn't excite you. (For the record, Teresa says she "never had a problem with her.")
As riveting as this season has been, with Teresa adjusting back to civilian life, Jacqueline going to war with both Tre and Melissa Gorga, and poor new Housewives Siggy Flicker and Dolores Catania stuck volleying back and forth in the middle, the longer it goes on, the more its beginning to feel like we're running out of mileage on this Teresa story. If the show wants to continue to dominate the conversation when it returns next season and keep up with its franchise siblings The Real Housewives of New York City and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, it would do be wise to follow in their footsteps and bring Danielle back.
Look at how Bethenny Frankel completely brought RHONY back to life when she returned after three seasons away. Season eight, her second back on the scene, delivered some of the show's highest ratings in years and was quite possibly the best in franchise history. Similarly, Sheree Whitfield's return to RHOA (while not as overwhelmingly successful as B's) has helped to keep the series' drama quotient high despite fellow OG NeNe Leakes turning in her peach for good.
(It would also be wise to not let the one-and-done dud return of Dina Manzo scare them off. Sometimes stories have run their course. Dina's had. Danielle's definitely hasn't.)
With a history as rich as the one the franchise has created over the years, the desire to return to familiar faces (ones with built-in storylines who don't need weeks and weeks of introducing to skeptical fans) is very real. Understandably. "The Housewives are like the mafia, once you're in you're in. I always love the idea of a dramatic return," Andy told E! News. When asked specifically about Danielle, Andy, who is also an executive producer on the show, wouldn't rule anything out. "Look, I never say never," he said. "I never say never."
To that we say: Bring. It. On.
(Although, there's a warning about the opening of the flood gates that must be noted because you just know that somewhere, Jill Zarin is smiling to herself, imagining the day she too might be granted a Real Housewives return of her own.)
Would you welcome Danielle back to RHONJ? Let us know in the comments below!
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Bravo.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)