I've been obsessed with the Real Housewives franchise from the very beginning — before it was even a franchise. My love was amplified when Real Housewives of New York City came along as the second Housewives show. It was the perfect series to transform a TV show into a movement and I feel like the success of RHONY really paved the way for the series to branch out into all of the cities we watch today. If you ask me, Real Housewives of New York City is the best show in all of the franchise.
My fellow Housewives fanatics might be taken aback by that statement. With so many epic seasons in every city, it was a pretty big deal for me to make such a definitive declaration, but hear me out. I have plenty of reasons to back up my claim, and I'm not hating on the other shows by any means. There is just something about RHONY.
From the show's iconic setting to the catchphrases that swept the nation to the ladies who became bona fide celebrities, there are just so many distinct elements that draw the viewers in and keep them coming back for more every single season.
1. The Setting
New York City will never cease to be fascinating. The city is more than just backdrop on this show. It always provides a story line, from events like New York Fashion week to arguments about traveling from uptown to downtown. The setting is always relevant and provides the ladies with plenty of things to do.
2. The Genuine Relationships
A lot of the women on RHONY were friends decades before the show even came into the picture. Not only that, but many of the ladies actually hang out aside from filming. The ups and downs that we see are real. These aren't just cast members who contractually obligated to invite each other to dinner parties. It's so easy to get sucked into this show and be invested in every story line when real friendships are at stake.
3. The Iconic Trips
I assume that a lot of the Housewives trips are free for the cast, but I don't even know if it's worth going — especially with the RHONY ladies. As a viewer, I love their vacations, but I could never imagine being in this cast after all of the craziness that's gone down while they're out of the country. From Luann D'Agostino telling Heather Thomson "don't be all uncool" in Turks and Caicos to Bethenny Frankel screaming at Kelly Bensimon to "go to sleep" on the Scary Island episode to Aviva Drescher telling Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan that they're "white trash" in St. Barths, I can't help thinking I would need another vacation to recover from any "vacation" with this cast.
4. The Consistent Cast
Since Real Housewives has been around for a long time, it makes sense that the cast is constantly shifting. New York is no stranger to the cast shakeups, but for the most part this show has remained very consistent. Ramona and Luann have been around since the very beginning. Sonja has been making us laugh for seven seasons. Carole Radiziwill has been on the show for five years. Bethenny left, but she couldn't stay away and has given us six great seasons. It's so much easier to watch a show with women we already know instead of meeting a whole new cast every year.
5. The Comeback Stories
Everybody loves a comeback story. Bethenny left the show and returned. Sonja bounced back from a bankruptcy with a successful fashion show. Ramona and Luann became stronger than ever after divorce. Carole and Dorinda Medley continued to grow after the loss of their husbands. Even the newest cast member, Tinsley Mortimer, is trying to start over after moving back to New York and owning up to an arrest. Viewers can't help rooting for the NYC Housewives.
6. The One-Liners
Everything the cast says is instantly repeated in memes and gifs, but I need mugs and T-shirts with the most iconic quotes. I don't even know where to begin. They really have the best one-liners. Sonja asking, "What are you doing here without Dorinda?" will always make me laugh. Dorinda declaring, "I'll tell you how I'm doing — not well, bitch" was an instant classic and I've only seen it in the current season's trailer (over and over again). I'll never get over Bethenny telling Jill Zarin to "get a hobby." The New York women are witty, humorous, and nothing short of iconic.
7. The Classic Arguments
They take arguing to another, unique level. Aviva threw her prosthetic leg across a room in the middle of a spat. Kelly told Bethenny, "I'm up here and you're down here" complete with condescending hand gestures. Dorinda was livid that the ladies ruined her Christmas party and yelled, "I made it nice." If I had to argue with anyone in the franchise it would be the NYC women. Even if I got completely owned (which I obviously would since I am a mere mortal), I know I would be entertained as a consolation prize.
8. The Partying
Every Housewives show is full of dinner parties, charity events, and orchestrated lunches, but the RHONY cast truly knows how to turn up. They turn everything into a party. They have no qualms about dancing up a storm, letting the liquor flow, and making the first move when there's available men. If I could go out with any cast, it would be the New York Housewives — hands down.
9. There Isn't A Villain
Usually, reality TV shows are boring without a "bad girl," but RHONY really breaks the mold with this one. All of the characters are very balanced. At this point, they've all been in the wrong during arguments and have had unflattering moments. Still, no one is consistently evil or stirring the pot. They all provide the perfect amount of drama, but there is no one in this cast who is entirely unlikeable.
10. The Annual Traditions
Even though I don't actually know these people, I feel like I'm a part of the crew when I look forward to the annual weekends in the Berkshires and the Hamptons. Yes, these trips happen every season, but each year we get something different to amuse us.
11. The Lack Of Side Characters
The other Real Housewives shows have assistants, siblings, kids, mothers-in-law, and neighbors there to provide sass and comic relief. Don't get me wrong, I love watching these people and they are true gifts, but the New York Housewives provide all of the entertainment on their own and they deserve some recognition for that.
12. The Constant Evolution
For the most part, this show started out with women who were happily married. We all know how those relationships ended up, but the show never skipped a beat. From giving us (temporary) #RelationshipGoals, to being honest about their struggles with divorce, to being out on the prowl as newly single ladies, this show is constantly evolving and consistently entertaining.
13. The Seasons Get Better & Better
No matter what happens, I will never stop watching any show in the Real Housewives franchise. Nevertheless, I have to keep it real and admit that some of the shows have peaked. I still like all of the seasons, yet some have been some less than stellar. A few of the shows couldn't live up their first seasons again, but this isn't the case for RHONY. Sure, not every season has been my absolute favorite, but I think most of us can agree that the show's last season was beyond epic and that is a big deal for show that is now in its ninth. It just keeps getting better and better and I am so excited for the rest of Season 9.
Picking the best Real Housewives series is hard, but fans all have to admit that Real Housewives of New York is a total gem.