13 Major Ways 'Real Housewives' Has Changed Over The Years

At this point Bravo could easily be renamed the Real Housewives Network. Not only has the reality TV franchise taken over the channel, but it's become a major part of pop culture. It didn't happen overnight and the formula had to be tweaked along the way, but it is pretty much the perfect franchise now, if you ask me. With that said, Real Housewives is way different these days than it was when the show first started out. There are so many new aspects to the franchise that it's hard to believe that the new episodes are even part of the same show as the first Real Housewives of Orange County season.

It's so crazy to think that the show that used to focus on a handful of friends living in the same gated community in California is now a globally recognized franchise with new shows popping up all the time in major cities. I've been hooked from the very beginning and even I can't believe how much the Real Housewives franchise has evolved over time. The show went from focusing on regular, but well-off, ladies with relatable problems to highlighting business women running empires and endorsing products with their every last breath.

Here are 13 aspects of Real Housewives that have become major staples of the franchise, but that were not always a part of the show.

1. There Is More Than One City

Real Housewives of Orange County continued of course, but now there are so many other cities that have turned the TV show into a franchise. Sometimes you can watch new episodes during three different nights of the week.

2. There Is More Diversity

Real Housewives of Orange County was full of blonde women who were difficult to tell apart when the show first started. Now the franchise has opened itself up to people with different ethnicities, religions, and lifestyles.

3. They Go On Multiple Trips Every Season

At this point, the women are on paid vacations for a good part of each season. And the biggest drama usually goes down when these women are outside of the show's set location.

4. The Women Are Bona Fide Celebrities

Sure, most of the ladies are solely reality stars, but a lot of them have broken barriers to become genuine celebrities. Even people who don't watch Real Housewives know who NeNe Leakes, Bethenny Frankel, and Teresa Giudice are.

5. Their Social Media Activity Plays A Major Part In The Show

Now that everyone and their grandmother is on Twitter and Instagram, social media plays a major part in the show. With women live tweeting the episodes and talking trash to instigate even more drama.

6. The Ladies Are All Endorsing Products

If you aren't inappropriately promoting a product in every day conversation, are you even a Housewife? These ladies endorse everything from alcohol to cookbooks to teeth whiteners. They are not only getting paid to be on the show, but they all want to make money off of its viewers.

7. They Are More Glamorous

When Real Housewives started out, the women didn't always have makeup on and they even wore sweatpants around the house (like normal people). Now, they can't even go to a casual lunch without full hair and makeup styled by a professional. So much for keeping it real.

8. The Husbands & Boyfriends Are More Involved

Now the Real Husbands are getting in on the drama. Remember NeNe calling Cynthia Bailey's husband Peter Thomas a b*tch? And Ken Todd loves to gossip with Lisa Vanderpump about the RHOBH ladies. They are honorary Housewives at this point.

9. They Aren't Actually Wives (For The Most Part)

At the beginning, most of the cast members were married with children. Now, a majority of them have had multiple divorces and are back on the prowl. What it means to be a Real Housewife has definitely expanded over the years to include single and divorced women, as well.

10. The Reunions Air For More Than One Episode

These reunions go on for three or four episodes sometimes. They almost take up more time feuding about what went down during the season than they did actually filming it. The reunion is now such an epic occurrence that it would be a shame to reduce it down to one hour-long episode.

11. There Are Love Triangles (And Squares)

I have no idea why the dating pool is so small within these circles. Three RHOC cast members got with Slade Smiley (for reasons that I will never understand). Harry Dubin had relationships with more than one RHONY cast member. And Luann de Lesseps' fiancé Tom D'Agostino has a past with both Sonja Morgan and Ramona Singer. It is getting way too crazy.

12. The Housewives Can Talk Smack On Watch What Happens Live

The Real Housewives cast appears on Watch What Happens Live multiple times a week. Even the ladies who aren't guests on the show, tweet in questions and talk trash, which all gets read on the show. Andy Cohen's talk show definitely amplifies the drama between the Real Housewives cast members.

13. There Are Spinoff Shows

Not only are there multiple Real Housewives cities, but there have been so many other shows that are a direct result of the franchise. Vanderpump Rules focuses on Lisa Vanderpump's SUR restaurant. Kim Zolciak and her family have a super cute show called Don't Be Tardy. Bethenny Frankel and her ex also had a spinoff series that focused on their wedding planning and married life.

I have no idea how there are still people who don't watch Real Housewives, it has gone from a reality show to a phenomenon. And it's just crazy to think that it started out as a reality TV show about a group of women living in a gated community in California.

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