The Real Housewives of New York City did the near impossible with season eight: It delivered its best season yet…and dare we say the best season of any show across the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo.
It was no easy task. But the stars and dirty martinis seemed to align for a perfect storm of comedy, drama, Skinnygirl margaritas and drunk ex-boyfriends showing up at dry cleaning parties. To quote Dorinda Medley, the ladies of The Real Housewives of New York City made it nice. But what was so special? TV Scoop's Chris Harnick and Billy Nilles investigate.
Chris: Last night's finale was the cherry on the top of a season full of goodness.
Billy: It really was. There's been a trend among the franchise as of late where the season finale sort of just peters out, ending the run of episodes with an ellipses. But this finale bucked the trend. It was a legit exclamation point. And I'm not afraid to go on record and say that season just might be my favorite season the franchise has ever delivered.
Chris: That's a bold statement, especially when comparing to both Real Housewives of New York City season three—Scary Island forever—and Real Housewives of New Jersey season one.
Billy: It is. And those two seasons are the golden, the best of the best. But when I think about how—against all odds and the laws of reality TV—RHONY delivered this master class in drama EIGHT SEASONS IN, I'm awestruck. It shouldn't work this way. And yet, there was never a dull moment. That's an impressive feat that just inches the season above those others.
Chris: I have to agree. I was thoroughly entertained and not just from a "reality TV" standpoint. This was entertaining like the best scripted shows out there. And given what's been going on with the other Housewives shows—Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was taken over by off-screen conversations about Munchausen by proxy syndrome and Real Housewives of Orange County's Brooks Ayers problem—RHONY season eight was a welcome breath of fresh air. Thanks to Luann de Lesseps' whirlwind engagement there was a storyline propelling everyone and thing forward to a huge culmination with the pictures Bethenny Frankel got dropped in her lap. Sure there were a few filler episodes that had little to do with the majority of the story, but The Good Wife season seven was basically all filler until the series finale.
Billy: And before we even got to Luann's engagement, the season was already one for the record books. Betweeen Dorinda Medley's boyfriend John Mahdessian causing all manners of trouble with Bethenny Frankel and Ramona Singer, that nightmare trip to the Berkshires ("I made it nice!"), and the glorious, but all-too-brief time we spent with Rey, Luann's out-of-this-world ex/stalker, season eight is littered with moments that we'll likely be talking about for years to come.
Chris: Never forget Rey. But just talking about RHONY, I can't help but go back to the beauty that was Scary Island, and the Bethenny and Jill Zarin falling out, all of which I hope are included in an upcoming season of Ryan Murphy's new FX series Feud. That season was also magical, but the ladies weren't as savvy (which is a good thing) and social media wasn't as prominent a fixture as it is today.
Billy: Kelly Killoren Bensimon and her satchels of gold are the things of legend, and the dissolving of that central relationship in real-time was a painfully devastating, yet riveting, thing to watch. Season three is an incredible season, but when I try and remember anything else from it outside of those two plot points, I struggle. And maybe that's a me problem, and not a RHONY problem, but I don't think I'll ever have that problem with season eight.
Chris: Where does the show go from here though? If I were the producers, I'd have cameras on Luann and Tom as their wedding draws near and obviously season nine would be a redemption and repairing season for the ladies considering how nasty it appears the reunion got. I would keep the exact same cast.
Billy: We're on the same page regarding keeping the cast...My greatest fear (and I'm almost afraid to type these words and put them out into the universe) is that Bethenny might decide to walk away once more. She's seemed remarkably detached from the show as she's done press as of late, admitting as much to us last week. And, frankly, the show needs her more than she needs it. Can it survive another exit from Queen B?
Chris: A thought I don't want to even waste time on, but it probably could, but then would possibly need another season five style facelift, which is something I'm just not ready for.
Billy: Me either. The producers found the perfect alchemy with this particular cast of ladies. Let us hope no tinkering is necessary. As for season nine, if Luann's New Year's Eve wedding doesn't get its own spin-off (as Bravo is often want to do), it's a no-brainer for the jumping off point. I'm particularly interested in seeing how she navigates her relationships with the ladies who aren't buying what she and Tom are selling—or if she'll even want to.
Chris: Sorry did you mean the perfect Modern Alkeme?
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on Bravo.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
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