What separates a good Housewife from a great one? For me, it’s the longevity of their dramas. Will their actions or comments forever define a franchise as Teresa Giudice‘s table flip did for New Jersey, or NeNe Leakes‘ “Close your legs to married men, Wig!” on Atlanta? A great Housewife doesn’t necessarily have to be likable, but she does have to be memorable, and defining. When you think of a particular show which Housewife comes to mind.
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Taylor's lips became the sensation that got everyone talking about RHOBH, but that was just the very, very tip of the tongue. It was her grifter past, crazy meltdowns, and the $100,000 birthday party she threw for her toddler that helped make RHOBH a sensation.
Known for her 'Taylor Tantrums' which happened just about any old place - from suitcases in ski chalets, to almost flinging herself over the balcony of a Malibu mansion, to a limo at midnight in the middle of nowhere.
In the end the mystery over Taylor's past, shocking domestic abuse allegations in her marriage, alleged alcohol abuse, the suicide of her late-husband Russell Armstrong, and her reported affair, proved too be too diabolically confusing for a show about wealthy women fighting over shoes.
Even thinking about all Taylor's drama makes me feel like someone went Oklahoma on my ass!
Back when Real Housewives was in its infancy, along came the insanity of Danielle. So pay attention PUH-LEASE!
Years later, what Danielle supposedly knows ... has gone on to become the stuff of RHONJ legend which spawned the birth of Teresa's family feud and exposure of her financial messes, leading to the first reunion fight.
Has there ever been a Housewife who spawned a more iconic moment than when a dramatic dinner concerning a book about Danielle's past ( 19 engagements!), sent Teresa flipping a table and screaming "Prostitution Whore!"
Danielle also spawned the rise of the Posche Fashion Show. Seriously, in Danielle's only TWO seasons on RHONJ, she terrorized the cast by threatening to expose their secrets, stalked them like last season's Versace, introduced us to Kim G, and brought a Hell's Angel to a charity event. Danielle - you're more notorious than legendary, but you're damn good TV!
Former pageant queen, Kenya twirled onto RHOA proclaiming to be "Gone With The Wind Fabulous!", but left us all wondering Miss WHO-S-A?!
And in Kenya's twister of crazy came fake boyfriends, a fake sitcom, fake bootys, a mysterious $20,000 charity fiasco, the nastiest of feuds, exposure of Phaedra's marriage to Apollo, a knock-down-drag-out-brawl at a reunion, and Krayonce, Kenya's Beyonce-lite alterego.
While most of Kenya's life on and off screen appears to be heavily crafted, and full of more water than substance, anytime she waves that scepter trouble is sure to follow, and not even a stallion could tame this mess.
Phaedra is a contradiction in every way, lawyer by day; criminal mastermind by night? Bible thumper on Sunday; air mattress sinner on a Saturday night? And her stranger than fiction life has brought fascinating drama to RHOA.
Bravo's ice queen has seen a husband go to prison, a best friendship flounder, and endless drama with Kenya, and undergone a complete life transition since she joined the show. Which is why it's so riveting to watch Phunerals By Phaedra bury these ladies with her shady comments and facial expressions. Get your holy water out.
Splits, helicopter hair whips, and kaftans... oh my! From the dinner party from hell, to Faye Resnick, to the mystery over who stole Kim's G-D house, Kyle cannot help but find herself drowning in drama.
Kyle has always dealt with more than the usual social climbing shenanigans on RHOBH thanks to her often devastating family dramas. The rawness of the complicated dynamic between the Twisted Sisters Richards is a reminder that money cannot buy everything no matter how many mansions Mauricio sells.
The former Lady Morgan has some ocean front property she'd like to sell you in Arizona, but unfortunately the French wild boars ran off with her business proposal when they invaded the her yacht during a P.Diddy party, and all she has left is her name, some interns, and a toaster oven.
Sonja endeared herself to viewers with her tales of a past cavorting with billionaires and royalty, but watching Sonja come to grips with her reduced circumstances, while clinging to her former grandeur and bickering with wannabe voice of reason Ramona, as her town home crumbles around and the men get younger and younger, is fascinating.
No matter how many lose teeth fall out into her cocktails, Sonja's sunny good humor and charming wittiness remains the straw that stirs the drink.
The faker the hair the closer to fame? We met Kim when her 'job' was mistress to the mysterious Big Poppa. Entitled, vain, self-absorbed, no one could look away from the ridiculous psychic-believing Kim and her many christened wigs.
Wigs N Cigs, was the original faker of cancer and the first of the many terrible Housewives songs with Don't Be Tardy For The Party.
But it was Kim with NeNe that got us hooked. Friends or fighting, they brought out the best and worst in each other that was amazing TV.
Kim finally closed her legs to married men and then got knocked up (again and again and again...) on her spinoff.
Ramona of the crazy eyes and Singer Stinger has been a delusional force to be reckoned with since day one of RHONY.
Through her Ramotional years as a Housewife, Ramona has undergone many Tru-Renewals, endless tours as the apologizer, and seen the ups and downs of her marriage and friendships, but she's still the same old Ramona. Don't ever change, Pinot!
NeNe does everything bigger, bolder, louder, blonder, and sassier. The six-foot-tall former stripper with a terrible temper and an ego to match, simply cannot keep her comments to herself. And for that we love her. BLOOP!
NeNe's commentary and catchphrases have made RHOA a must-watch, and to me, more than any other Housewife, NeNe has made the Real Housewives franchise into a phenomena.
Bethenny's life has changed more than any other Housewife.
Once battling wealthy Housewives with only her wit, Bethenny built a Skinnygirl empire through hard work to become the richest.
Bethenny left RHONY for greener pastures, and has returned, but she doesn't seem happy to be there.
Yet for all those experiences Bethenny never seems to experience personal growth. She's still the same angry, tormented, scrappy Housewife she was when she was hawking muffins in a supermarket. Now Bethenny seems to be living proof that money cannot buy happiness.
Who ever heard of a fashion show with no clothes? Sheree did!
Whoever built a chateau to nowhere? Sheree did!
Whoever shopped like they had a 7-figure divorce settlement in her bank account? Sheree did!
Who gonna check Sheree? Probably not reality, boo!
Delusional or not, She By SherAde is an institution. We should just turn Chateau Sheree into a Housewives Museum in which to marvel in She By SheBroke in all her elegance and sophistication.
If most of us could be a Housewife, we'd probably be Lisa.
The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills encapsulates the fabulous life of glamour, wealth, and exuberance. Surrounded by mini poms and ponies, draped in diamonds; guarded by swans, her ever-loving Ken, and her shred British humor, Lisa is simply delightful.
It's too bad Lisa's so-called friends just can't let her crown be and just bask in Villa Rosa glow.
Luann de Lesseps
She's a Countess, a "singer," and an expert on how to behave and why, and she can put a Housewife in her place with barely a word. But we love Luann because she's just really f--king cool (even when her fellow housewives are just being so uncool.)
Luann tops this list because she lives a life full of adventure, excitement, and even pirates!
In her strut through RHONY Luann has maintain her cool one-liners no matter what Herman Munster Shoes are trying to trip her up (I mean, "Even Louis Vuitton makes mistakes...") Luann will always be our countess - even if she's married to everyone's Tom!
It doesn't matter if Teresa is loved or loathed, the arc of her portrayal on RHONJ is befitting of a Shakespearean tragedy (too bad she's probably never heard of that guy!). Teresa is a living soap opera - is she the cause of the drama, or is the drama attracted to her like debt to a credit card?
The arc of Teresa Giudice on RHONJ is one of many tribulations and few triumphs. Still she keeps fighting; rarely changing tactics or ideologies. She should probably run for office. In her years on RHONJ, emerging as the zany over-the-top fan favorite, Teresa has flipped a table, lost her friends, feuded with family, shopped into bankruptcy, thrown ridiculous re-done house parties, been indicted, been called a c-u-next-Tuesday by her husband, and even gone to prison! But, still, she insists her life is perfect. At least her delusion perseveres.
Will Teresa ever change? Do we want her to?
Vicki is here because, without irony, she will compare herself to Jesus on the cross rather than admit she is wrong. Satan is confusing! Vicki is here because she actually LOVED Brooks. Like legit fell in love with a conman! On TV.
Vicki is here because the tragicomedy of her life is interspersed with tremendous professional success and a loving family, yet she's never happy or settled.
Vicki is my number 1 Housewife because when the gates of Coto opened and we walked through, we found ourselves needing an insurance policy to survive the collateral damage Real Housewives Of Orange County would inflict upon our lives.
Vicki is no 1 because she will always find herself in a "fake cancer scheme," (euphemistically) and though her face has changed countless times, her perspective and understanding of life have never altered.
Hell or high water crashing onto the orange county shores, Vicki will still be whooping it up after the flood washes everything else away.
WOO HOO Vicki - you win!
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[Main Photo Credit: Bravo]