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Real Housewives

WWHL - Bethenny Turns the Tables

Glenn Rowley

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After this week's RHONY, we were gifted a special episode of Watch What Happens Live where Bethenny sat down with Andy to grill him about all things Housewives. Andy has done segments like this before - on WWHL's YouTube channel with veteran Housewives like Lisa Vanderpump, Ramona and Sonja, and on his Ask Andy web series. But it's never been a half hour of uninterrupted time with Andy in the hot seat. Being my personal idol in life, you can bet I've thought many times about what I would ask Andy if I had the chance to sit down with him and pick his brain. Here's what we learned from his dish session with Bethenny.

The Skinnygirl starts with a question that has been brought up time and again by various media outlets: does the Housewives franchise contribute to so many cast members' failed marriages and relationships? Andy wisely points out that appearing on reality TV accelerates the downfall of marriages that already aren't working. This is something we've seen time and again - from Tamra and Simon in Orange County and Porsha and Kordell in Atlanta to Taylor and Russell and Camille and Kelsey in Beverly Hills - if you go into Housewives with your marriage on shaky ground, turning the spotlight of millions of fans' opinions on your relationship likely won't help. Now, there are a couple of different exceptions to this rule: both Vicki and Ramona started on Housewives with strong marriages to Donn and Mario, respectively, and only divorced after years on the show. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Shannon and David Beador - whose marital struggles were a major plotline on RHOC last season - credit Housewives with strengthening, and even saving, their marriage.

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Bethenny's next big question is an important one: What does it really take to be a Housewife? Andy points out that the absolute key to joining any city in the franchise is to have a natural, real connection to the existing women. This is something I've been saying for years. It's the reason why Carlton and Joyce were such a mistake during Season 4 of Beverly Hills and why Lisa Rinna and Eileen were so spectacular as their replacements for Season 5. Dorinda is fitting in so well this season on RHONY because she's been a longtime friend of both Ramona and Luann for years, and knows Heather from vacationing in the Berkshires. If your inclusion in the group feels forced or inauthentic, the viewers will be able to tell. 

Andy also took time to explain the difference between Housewives we love to hate and the ones we simply hate to hate. Though every woman will certainly have her fans, each cast in the franchise needs ladies to root for and to root against. As much as I personally can't stand her, Beverly Hills wouldn't be the same without Brandi playing the willing villain. Tamra may be polarizing in Orange County, but she's certainly never boring to watch. Some seasons I've even rooted for her (no, not during Season 9). It comes down to asking "would I watch the show without her?" If we're talking about someone like Carlton, the answer is an emphatic yes. Many fans probably wouldn't have the same answer if Brandi doesn't come back next year. 

Next, Bethenny gets controversial by asking Andy to dish on the biggest conflict of interest the franchise has ever produced. Andy's answer to that is obviously RHONJ, since it's the one franchise that's all about family. Casting Melissa and Kathy behind Teresa's back for Season 3 created the most glaring controversy, but you can also throw the backstory behind the Dina vs. Caroline/Jacqueline feud in there as well.

A few fun facts: Out of all the husbands, Andy wants to sleep with Apollo, the NYC 'Wives email him the most and he's worried every season that the NJ fans are going to come burn his house down. 

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When asked to identify the most quintessential moment in Housewives history to this point, Andy chooses Kim Zolciak's convoluted story about waiting for cancer results in a Chili's during the Season 1 Atlanta reunion as an "absurd moment that defines the whole operation." The story, and Andy's retelling of it, kills me every time. However, I expected him to choose something related to Vicki, the OG of the OC, so his pick took me by surprise. 

I loved the comfortable, gossipy vibe of this chat between Bethenny and Andy. Unfortunately, it'll have to tide me over until Andy one day writes his tell-all book and gives away the rest of his Housewives secrets. Now I turn the question over to you: What would you want to ask Andy if you could turn the tables on him? And Andy, if you're reading this, call me. I have so many more questions to ask you, not the least of which include "How can I become just like you?"