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Series / The Real Housewives

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Bravo Docu Soap created by Andy Cohen featuring various glamorous women in different parts of the United States. First aired in 2006 with the Real Housewives of Orange County, the success of which was followed by shows set in New York City (2008), Atlanta (2008), New Jersey (2009), Washington, D.C. (2010), Beverly Hills (2010), Miami (2011), Potomac (2016), and Dallas (2016). Each series follows a cast of about six women and chronicles the ups and downs of their relationships.


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The Real Housewives contains examples of:

  • Artifact Title: The title is meant to be contrary to the soap opera Desperate Housewives, which was set in Orange County just like the first Real Housewives series. However, Real Housewives has since grown to feature other cities and countries, and being a housewife (or even married) is not a strict requirement to be on the show. Furthermore, Desperate Housewives ended in 2012.
  • Back for the Finale: The reunion shows often bring in the husbands and other side characters, particularly when there's drama attached.
  • Blue Blood: Some of the New York cast were married into nobility, such as Luann De Lesseps, who was married to a French Count, and Carole Radziwill, whose late husband was a Polish prince.
  • Buxom Is Better: Averted about as often as it's played straight; both the acquisition and removal of breast implants are popular storylines.
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  • Cat Fight: Some last multiple seasons.
  • Characterization Marches On: Generally, each new season brings new information about the cast members; for example, Beverly Hills' Camille began in season one hated by the fans and the rest of the cast, but after her divorce from Kelsey Grammer she returned in season two to a much more positive reception. Other times, this trope doesn't play out so positively—New Jersey's Teresa Giudice lost a lot of fans after they saw her troubled relationship with her sister-in-law.
  • Confession Cam: The talking heads in which the cast members comment on the events of the episode after-the-fact.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several of the characters have their turn (especially in the talking heads), but particularly notable examples are Lisa Vanderpump (Beverly Hills) and Bethenny Frankel (NYC).
  • Docu Soap: Most of the emphasis in the show is on the cast member's relationships with each other which can be fraught with drama. Other storylines revolve around their careers and family lives.
  • Flipping the Table: One of the most iconic moments of the show's history was New Jersey's Teresa Giudice flipping a restaurant table.
  • Foreign Remake: In addition to the American shows, there are also The Real Housewives of Athens, Vancouver, Toronto, Hungary, Melbourne, Sydney, Cheshire, and Johannesburg, along with the French version, Les Vraies Housewives, that is set in Beverly Hills.
    • There are also a host of shows in other countries that aren't official but follow the same format.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Brandi Glanville. Despite being tolerated by only Kim and Yolanda she is a very firm example of this trope both on and off-show, combined with Jerkass and Country Matters insults she occasionally spews. Carlton Gebbia is this too as well to a few housewives within the Beverly Hills cast. Alex McCord has somewhat become this to a majority of the NYC wives, with a few exceptions.
  • Housewife: In spite of the show's name, only some of the women fill this role. Most have successful careers outside of Reality TV, and many are unmarried.
  • Manipulative Editing: A common complaint from the Wives when they start to look bad.
  • The Mean Brit: Some of the Beverly Hills housewives accuse Lisa of being this.
  • Point-and-Laugh Show: For some viewers, the pleasure of watching the show takes the form of smug schadenfreude.
  • Reality TV: Probably one of the most successful of the genre.
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: Several! Not all the women live in palatial quarters, but plenty of them do; Lisa Vanderpump's Villa Rosa, for instance.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Depending on your interpretation of "real life"...
  • Sassy Black Woman: The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
  • Southern Belle: Atlanta's Phaedra describes herself this way.
  • Spicy Latina: The Real Housewives of Miami runs on this trope.
  • Spin-Off: Some of the housewives get their own shows.
  • Team Mom: Caroline Manzo for New Jersey.
  • Token Minority: DC's Stacy Scott Turner was the only black housewife outside Atlanta.
  • Token White: Kim Zolciak, the only white housewife in the Atlanta cast.
  • Trophy Wife: Some of the Housewives are these, but plenty are successful in their own right.
  • Vacation Episode: There's always a group trip to a more-or-less exotic location.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Atlanta's Kandi Buress was a member of 90's girl group Xscape.
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