Bravo's Real Housewives franchise is truly a gift that keeps on giving, now more than ever while the nation (and much of the world) adheres to social distancing guidelines in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. Once I got over the jealousy and intense feeling of longing after seeing the ladies at restaurants, I accepted the Real Housewives stars as my personal saviors during this weird, stressful and anxiety-inducing time.
New episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and The Real Housewives of New York City have become appointment television. Getting lost in opulent lives and adventures of old friends like Kyle Richards and Dorinda Medley are some of the most important moments in my life right now.
The comfort of Real Housewives is layered. Each show usually has an underlying, lighthearted current. A recent episode of RHONY featured Sonja Morgan, Tinsley Mortimer and newcomer Leah McSweeney getting trashed, running around with a vibrator, tossing tiki torches and skinny dipping in Ramona Singer's pool. What's the entertainment value in that you might ask? Witnessing debauchery isn't always entertaining, but when Sonja is involved it's almost always unpredictable and certainly going to be a good time for viewers. Will there be dramatic fallout from Sonja and Co. not cleaning Ramona's kitchen? For leaving a vibrator in the chicken dish? Most likely. It's the kind of drama that's so trivial but continues to fuel the show and spark little fiery arguments for weeks on end. It's inane. And that's why it's fun.
Checking in with the Real Housewives is like a vacation. A vacation back in time when you could bicker over which restaurant to go to, fret over which friends to invite over for a party or have the mental capacity to take offense to the littlest of social faux pas.
Over on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the ladies are doing their best to have lighthearted fun in the wake of the season-long Puppygate drama of season nine. Lisa Rinna continues her hustle, proving she's in a class above the rest when it comes to Real Housewiving. There's newcomer Garcelle Beauvis who is wasting no time winning over viewers with her frank and honest commentary. And then there's the drama that everyone knows is lurking: What happened between Denise Richards and Brandi Glanville? Did anything? Who's lying? Why are they lying? It's a detective game for viewers at home.
Real Housewives is the best because it's not just wine-fueled adventures and fights over nothing, these women put it all out there, for better or for worse. Find a more human scene than Carole Radziwill retrieving her husband's ashes in London and bonding with Dorinda over their widow status.
Reality TV provides the perfect distraction, at least for an hour, from the reality of our daily lives. That's always been the case with these shows, but now the gift they give is even more appreciated.
In the past, I've gone back and watched The Real Housewives of New York City from the beginning, and like any good comedy or drama, it holds up. I'm doing the same with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills now, and just started The Real Housewives of Potomac, which is a different kind of treat. For me, anything after the midway point of Potomac season two is new. What exciting adventures and drama await Gizelle Bryant and Ashley Darby? How will Karen Huger distract me from creeping existential dread and boredom?
Real Housewives is a slice of life and escapism rolled into one. The stars of The Real Housewives franchise have given us years of entertainment, a warm bubble of boozy arguments, table flips and general merriment to retreat into. They've been there to help with a shady comment or $25,000 sunglasses, and I hope that never changes.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays, 8 p.m. and The Real Housewives of New York City airs Thursdays, 9 p.m. on Bravo. The Real Housewives of Potomac will return in summer of 2020.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)