How RHOC Season 18 Can Breathe New Life Into the Real Housewives Franchise

RHOC Season 18 to bring new life back into the franchise.
Photo Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

It’s a wrap on filming for Season 18 of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Soon, we will see these ladies’ efforts playing out on Bravo, aided by a hopeful side of snark and receipts from their producers. However, at this point, many of the viewers have grown weary of the Real Housewives franchise. From cities filled with cast members that refuse to film as one, to the repeated, often scripted storylines that have emerged as of late, this franchise is in a massive place of stuck.

Can RHOC Season 18 save this lot? It’s possible. It will likely air at a time when the other Real Housewives series have gone dark. Therefore, this might be all that we have, but if these ladies can turn their gated community around, then the other series might also follow suit.

In the earlier years, this cast was all that we had. As the OG’s of this franchise, these stars presented as unpolished little messes. Back then, hireable glam squads were not a thing, which gave us (mostly) relatable women in turn. Also, the storylines were much lighter, and in time, the women within actually let their beefs mice go.

Sure, these women still fought, but it was over silly topics, such as casseroles not showing up on their doorsteps during their times of need. These days, it’s the same exact thing on repeat, and some of these regurgitated arguments are currently dark AF. We’ve now got tax fraud, strippers, and divided families, on top of the orphans and widows. So again I ask, can RHOC Season 18 breathe new life into this tired old franchise?

I think that there’s a chance, and I’ll explain why now.

The 100th season of Housewives can usher in changes

First off, Season 18 in the OC marks the 100th season of the Real Housewives franchise. I love that the original series that first kicked this whole mess off gets to celebrate this win. But I also know that several longstanding cast members want to keep their oranges, and with 100 seasons in the can, they know that they now have to bring it. As a result, their storylines will likely hook us all in for a great, more organic sort of ride, which will hopefully create a ripple-down effect in this stalled-out franchise.

Speaking of their storylines…

RHOC’s storylines will show many non-scripted issues

I’m not here to bash any of the other cities. So, let’s just say that some of these other locales have only one storyline, which they beat to death, year after year after year. Thankfully, this won’t be the case for RHOC Season 18. Instead, this cast is coming in hot, with multiple struggles to sort out.

To start, Tamra Judge, Heather Dubrow, Emily Simpson, Gina Kirschenheiter, Shannon Beador, and Jennifer Pedranti are all expected to return. When they do, they’re going to be met with an old fan-favorite in Alexis Bellino, who is returning in a friend-of role. Additionally, we’re getting ourselves a Housewives newb in Katie Ginella.

Oh. Vicki Gunvalson has also been spotted filming. As has Jo De La Rosa.

Currently, the Tres Amigas are fighting. Therefore, when Vicki rolls back into town, we can expect to see a showdown among herself, Tamra, and Shannon. Speaking of Shannon, Alexis is dating her ex, John Janssen, so Alexis’ return will bring up many new storylines as well. But also, Shannon’s DUI and subsequent community service hours will equally be taking up a lot of air time, but luckily for Shannon, she won’t be the only cast member in the hot seat.

You see, Jennifer’s man Ryan Boyaijan was just linked to a $16 million scheme, which involves Shohei Ohtani from the MLB. Cue the covering for Ryan narratives, likely right from the jump.

As you can see, there are a ton of different, all very real storylines already at hand. I haven’t even touched on anything regarding Katie, Gina, Heather, Jo, and/or Emily. Because of this, RHOC Season 18 will likely pull us all in, with multiple non-scripted balls to focus our brains on.

Take note, other cities.

RHOC Season 18 brings us back to actual friendships

Throughout this franchise, many of the stars flee from each other once their cameras go down. Long gone are the days of organic casts, who are also friends off-air. That’s not the case though for the bulk of this series, as now, Tamra and Heather are back to being tightly knit. Likewise, Heather’s also good with Alexis, as is Tamra.

Obviously, Gina and Emily are also besties, and for now, they’re also good with all of the names mentioned above. It’s been a while since we’ve had so many close nutbags in one series. I’m here for it. Other cities take note of this because friendships will always top fractured casts.

Clearly, confrontations will still exist. However, as RHOC Season 18 is bringing us real friendships, more storylines than we can even begin to count, and the return of several of our favorite alums, our time spent in the OC should present like a breath of fresh air. Or so I hope.