Anyone who thinks that the Real Housewives series is "just a reality TV show" is sorely mistaken. The Real Housewives franchise has shaped pop culture in many ways over the years. I am an admitted super fan and I realize that this may sound crazy, but hear me out. There are lots of examples that prove Real Housewives has significantly shaped pop culture.
The biggest fans know the catchphrases, origins of memes and gifs, and the lead-up to iconic scenes by heart. Plus, even non-viewers have witnessed some of the shows' best moments, like the Teresa Giudice table flip during the first season of Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Real Housewives has served a launching pad for several spinoff shows and even spinoff shows from those spinoff shows. The cast members have recorded memorable songs. The ladies have even produced products that have a reach greater than the Real Housewives fandom. The contributions from Real Housewives to pop culture at large are too many to count, but I did what I could to narrow them down.
These are just some of the ways that the Real Housewives franchise has shaped pop culture.
You might feel like a Real Housewife if you party at the same spots and order the same drinks, but you can really take your fandom to the next level if you buy alcohol created by the Housewives themselves. One brand that really crossed over and became more than just a reality TV star's business venture, is Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl, which is in stores all over the place, and includes items like margaritas and sangria. But Bethenny isn't the only one to start an alcohol line — there's also Pinot Grigio from Ramona Singer and Collette champagne produced by Heather Dubrow, to name a couple.
You know you've made it when something you've said has become a highly-repeated catchphrase. From Luann de Lesseps saying, "Don't be all uncool," to Shereé Whitfield declaring, "Who gon check me boo," to Sonja Morgan asking, "What are you doing here without Dorinda?" there are so many phrases that will live on forever and ever — even outside of Real Housewives conversations.
3. Meme & Gifs
Thanks to the cast members, we now have gifs and memes to express pretty much every thought that comes to mind. If you're excited to go out, there's a meme for that. If you are so annoyed being single, there's a gif for that. At this point, it's possible to have a back and forth conversation solely using Real Housewives memes and gifs.
There are so many catchy songs from this franchise that you could have a Housewives-themed party and only listen to music recorded by the shows' cast members. From "Money Can't Buy You Class" by Luann de Lesseps, to "Tardy for the Party" by Kim Zolciak, to "On Display" by Melissa Gorga, and all of the hit songs written by Kandi Burruss, there are a lot of fun tracks to choose from.
5. Spinoff Shows
There are currently seven different cities with Real Housewives shows in the United States. Most of these have been on TV for a few years, which means there are ton of episodes to choose from and this doesn't even include the international versions. Not only that, but we have Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to thank for Vanderpump Rules, which also gave us Summer House. Real Housewives of New Jersey spawned Manzo'd With Children. Real Housewives of Atlanta led to Kim Zolciak's family show Don't Be Tardy. Plus, there are all those wedding specials to keep us entertained, too. And if you really think about it, Real Housewives as guests and conversation topics were instrumental in making Watch What Happens Live a successful talk show.
Not only do the ladies have a lot to say during the episodes, but plenty of them have shared their wisdom and entertaining stories in their own books. The Real Housewives authors include Carole Radziwill, Bethenny Frankel, Teresa Giudice, Shereé Whitfield, Vicki Gunvalson, Ramona Singer, and Melissa Gorga.
7. Fan Communities
There is no better or quicker way to connect with someone than to find out that you are both Real Housewives super fans. From the people you meet in person, to the randoms who respond to your live tweets while you watch the show, to the viewers who share their opinions in Real Housewives Facebook groups, the fandom is in constant contact, forming genuine bonds, and making the series — and series like it — an even stronger force.
8. Awareness Of Important Issues
Pop culture is more than just fun entertainment. The ladies have brought attention to illnesses, like Yolanda Foster did by being so outspoken about her Lyme disease diagnosis. A major part of Lisa Vanderpump's story lines revolve around her activism for LGBT and animal rights. Phaedra Parks highlighted the continued struggle in Flint, Michigan thanks to the water crisis. Through these efforts, viewers have learned a lot over the years and have been inspired to help many people in need in the process.
One true sign that this show is iconic is the amount of parodies it has inspired. Amy Phillips does spot-on impressions of every Housewife (who matters) in the franchise. The Saturday Night Live cast has had a few interpretations of the show including the Real Housewives of Disney sketch. There has even been "mini" versions of Real Housewives with adorable kids taking on the lead roles.
10. Inspiration For New Shows
You know what they say: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm not really surprised that several reality shows have been "inspired" by the winning formula that Real Housewives invented. In my opinion, we have Real Housewives to thank for the creation of Mob Wives, the Little Women franchise on Lifetime, Basketball Wives, and WAGS.
11. Successful Offspring
Not only are the ladies cast for these shows successful and famous, now their kids are too. Yolanda Foster's daughters, Gigi and Bella Hadid, are supermodels and Lisa Rinna and Camille Grammer's daughters are budding models, as well. Having famous moms definitely helped these kids get their foot in the door when it comes to modeling.
12. Bona Fide Celebrities
When a Real Housewife does something major it goes beyond the sector of "reality TV news." Now these ladies are genuine celebrities thanks to their successful business empires, noteworthy style choices, and inspirational charity work. When a Housewife is the top news story for the day or on the front page of a magazine, it doesn't even surprise me anymore.
Like it or not, the Real Housewives cast members are everywhere. From music, to books, to products, they will always be a major part of the pop cultural landscape, so you might as well embrace it.