Real Housewives of New York has been under plenty of scrutiny this season. It’s not looking good. With the exit of Dorinda Medley and Tinsley Mortimer, there was plenty of speculation about how the new cast would work. Leah McSweeney was added last year, bringing some
chaotic energy youth into the mix. And Eboni K. Williams was added, becoming the first Black housewife to join the franchise.
But Eboni has had a lot of hate for her role on the show, with fans calling her too “preachy.” It’s no surprise that educating OG housewives like Ramona Singer and Luann de Lesseps might be a tall order. And Eboni is taking the hate in stride, refusing to apologize for who she is. Aside from Eboni, Leah has also been blamed for “ruining” the franchise.
At this point, I’m ready for Season 13 of the Real Housewives of New York to be over already. And it honestly makes me sad as hell to say that. RHONY used to bring reliable entertainment year after year. I never get tired of Sonja Morgan and Ramona Singer’s Thing One and Thing Two antics. I loved the mess that was Tinsley Mortimer, particularly when Dale Mercer was involved. Before Bethenny Frankel started bashing Bravo, she was the Queen B. But this year, it’s just a bust.
RHONY has gone through a major shift in the past year, much of it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eboni K. Williams’ entrance as the first Black cast member has brought conversations about racism and white privilege to the forefront. Luann de Lesseps is past her days of falling in bushes and sleeping with pirates, opting for yoga and alcohol-free rose instead. And the majority of scenes in Season 13 fluctuate from being dark and gloomy to downright boring. Although she came in hot, Bershan Shaw had a point when she called them a bunch of “boring grandmas.”
Bravo recently changed the direction of the Real Housewives franchise. What started as mindless entertainment about luxury lifestyles shifted towards addressing societal ills in America. Of course, producers won’t give up on the irresistible formula that turned Real Housewives into the success story that it is. There’s still plenty of bickering, fights, drunken antics, and the lifestyle in general. But taking a cue from the Black Lives Matter movement, these ladies are now discussing race relations and white privilege. It’s ruffling some feathers within the cast and viewers.
It started with the addition of Tiffany Moon to the Real Housewives of Dallas cast. Tiffany shared her culture and experience of being Asian in America. Then Crystal Kung Minkoff joined Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with the same premise in mind. Real Housewives of New York was an all white group until Eboni K. Williams and Bershan Shaw were added for Season 13. Even Southern Charm took on race relations. Leva Bonaparte confronted Charleston’s dark history, and Kathryn Dennis’ ancestry.
Throughout Sonja Morgan’s decade+ on the Real Housewives of New York, she’s shown she really is the straw that stirs the drink. Sonjarita is the life of the party — whether she’s dancing on a (glass) table in front of Ramona Singer’s 50 best girlfriends or jumping naked in the pool with Leah McSweeney and Tinsley Mortimer. She knows how to let loose, have fun and not care what people think. And while it (and Sonja in general) are a gift, sometimes it doesn’t always work out for Sonja with a Sexy J.
Sonjarita has had a rough past with alcohol. But let’s be honest — most of the RHONY ladies have fallen victim to having a few too many and making dumb mistakes. Sonja doesn’t always make the best decisions when she’s drinking, and the Ramonacoaster is quick to call it out, publically I might add, when she falls off the wagon. It’s why I’m happy to see Eboni K. Williams taking Sonja under her wing — she needs a good friend who won’t ditch her for a date. Or shame her for her past *cough cough* Luann de Lesseps.
For those viewers enjoying the cast mix on the Real Housewives of New York, know that producers are looking to shake things up more next season. With a core group that was untouched for almost seven seasons, change was arguably needed. Dorinda Medley, Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, and Luann de Lesseps were together since Season 7. And the rotation of supporting cast members that included Bethenny Frankel, Tinsley Mortimer, and Carole Radziwell, provided shifting drama and story lines.
This formula worked until Tinsley left RHONY to follow Scott Kluth to Chicago. Dorinda was left wanting for a target for her misguided anger and starting lashing out at the rest of the cast. Unable to take responsibility or resolve any issues during the reunion, Dorinda was axed from the show. Her departure provided an opportunity to reshape the dynamic of RHONY. Producers added Eboni K. Williams to the Season 13 cast and her presence is a welcome change to a very homogeneous group. Eboni brought diversity of heritage, thought, opinion, perspective and culture. Now, Bravo producers are looking to include another woman of color to RHONY with the potential hiring of a Latina radio host.
The Bravo gods have answered our (my) prayers — Heather Dubrow is returning to the Real Housewives of Orange County. The news of Fancy Pant’s long-awaited return comes along with some arguably even better news — Kelly Dodd and Braunwyn Windham-Burke are OUT for good. No more Kelly Fraud’s nasty comments and total ignorance. Or Braunwyn’s over-the-top narcissism. Both ladies were eyeing for a return, but the fans have spoken. And Boringwin really uprooted her entire life as she knew it for a TV show that doesn’t want her back. What a shame. Oh, and Elizabeth Lyn Vargas is out after one season, but we hardly got to know her anyway.
The Fancy Pants news is just too much to bear. We’ll finally see the completed Dubrow family mansion. Terry Dubrow, despite duping fans about Heather’s return, will be back on our screens to provide plastic surgery advice and corny dad jokes. And this could lead to a potential Tamra Judge return, but no news has been announced yet. CHAMPS FOR EVERYONE, except maybe Shannon Beador.
Last season of the Real Housewives of New York, the great divide between viewers was the nasty feud between Dorinda Medley and Tinsley Mortimer. There were arguments for both sides, with most people agreeing that Dorinda took it to the lowest level and she needed a break from the show. And this season, the feud between Leah McSweeney and Heather Thomson is causing yet another rift amongst fans.
Heather claims Leah bullied her off the show early, referring to her as the “Queen B” which we all can agree is a title that belongs to Sonja Morgan. Leah was coming from a place of defending her co-stars since Holla Heather has made some nasty remarks on her podcast about her former castmates. Unfortunately, Leah isn’t exactly known for her delivery. And that’s even more so this year due to all of the personal issues she dealt with while filming.
And RHONY newbie Eboni K. Williams has gotten herself in the middle of the feud. It all started when Luann de Lesseps called Eboni “angry” in an argument about education. Lu’s ego got the best of her, but Eboni wasn’t backing down. Since Mama Heather considers herself to be embedded in “black culture” aka she worked for major hip-hop stars back in the day, she tried to whitesplain to Eboni and Leah and it was cringe-worthy.
I feel for Eboni. She has a lot on her shoulders being the first Black cast member and attempting to make these women, particularly Ramona Singer, understand microaggressions and white privilege. I’d take a break from social media too if people were saying half of the nasty remarks Eboni is receiving for advocating for herself. And she’s trying to defend her friend Leah who brought her on the show, which definitely isn’t an easy position to defend.
Cast changes are rarely ever smooth. Viewers get used to seeing the same dynamic and change is hard. Even when it’s necessary. Such is the case with Real Housewives of New York. One time fan favorite Dorinda Medley finally overstayed her welcome and was let go from the franchise. Tinsley Mortimer also made an exit to chase love in Chicago with now ex-fiance, Scott Kluth. I’m hoping her breakup leaves the door open for her to return but there are no guarantees.
In their absence, Leah McSweeney joined the cast as a younger, fresher, face. And I’m not age shaming – it’s just a fact that she’s much younger than the current cast she was thrown into. But it worked. She brought some fireworks and also blended in seamlessly. Another excellent addition was the first Black cast member for RHONY, Eboni K. Williams. I’m loving her and everything she’s bringing. She’s holding Ramona Singer accountable for her nonsense and she’s proved to hold her own against Luann de Lesseps.