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Real Housewives

Rookie Mistakes: One-Season Housewives

Glenn Rowley


Last week, I wrote a feature on Lydia McLaughlin's decision to walk away from RHOC after a single season, a piece which Lydia actually read and tweeted a nice note about! However, plenty of other Housewives across the franchise have lasted a single season, but weren't exactly given the chance to walk away. For this week's feature, I'm breaking down the stories behind the many Housewives firings after the ladies' debut seasons and the mistake each rookie made to get herself the boot.

Kimberly Bryant - RHOC Season 1


As one of the original OC Housewives, Kimberly Bryant is perhaps most easily remembered for her proclaiming "85 percent of the women around here have breast implants" in her Season 1 tagline. Her preoccupation with silicone wasn't a joke: she brought up the option of getting her boobs done in the very first episode of RHOC. Throughout the debut season, Kimberly's story perhaps best represented the suburban pressure to keep up with the Jones' as she felt pressured into upgrading her car and shopping for a new house to fit into the new money atmosphere of Coto de Caza. She also jumped into the Jo-Slade-Lauri love triangle, telling Jo that Lauri and Slade were still secretly hooking up as he was attempting to reconcile with her. (The gossip turned out to be a lie, with Kimberly trying to get back at Slade and Jo for an interview they did following the season.) However, the biggest shock of her storyline came when Kimberly was blindsided with a skin cancer scare towards the end of the season - a result of too many days spent in the California sunshine. As a result, Kimberly and her family moved to the Midwest to escape the glaring rays, and she wasn't present for the pool-side chat at Vicki's house that served as the Andy Cohen-less Season 1 reunion.

Mistake: Moving away. In order to be an Orange County Housewife, you kind of need to live in Orange County. However, Kimberly did return briefly for cameo appearances in Seasons 3 & 4. 

Cindy Barshop - RHONY Season 4


Following Bethenny's initial Season 3 exit, Cindy Barshop was introduced on the show as a successful businesswoman and single mom of twin girls meant to fill the giant heels left behind by the departing Skinnygirl. However, the raven-haired entrepreneur had plenty of things working against her as the lone newcomer in RHONY's year of brunettes vs. blondes. In the season-long war, Cindy aligned herself with Jill, Luann and Kelly while feuding with Sonja over the group's "pecking orders" and her perceived disrespect of queen bee Ramona Singer. For her part, she hosted an art party that required the ladies to take their shoes off to create a messy mural (something that could never go over well on Housewives), and attempted to organize an ill-received group outing to the decidedly un-Hamptons village of Quogue. Ramona also fought with Cindy's brother Howie over a dead man's suit. Yes, she went with the ladies to Morocco, but can you really remember anything about the newbie 'Wife besides her love of waxing and vajazzling? By the time the Season 4 reunion rolled around, Cindy found herself on the far end of the brunette couch, struggling to get a word in edgewise amid the screaming and shouting. The second coming of Bethenny Frankel she was not, and when producers fired veterans Jill Zarin, Alex McCord and Kelly Killoren Bensimon to reboot the show, Cindy was tossed to the firing squad almost as a forgotten afterthought. 

Mistake: Being overshadowed by six veteran Housewives during RHONY's most toxic season. Expectations were high for her to replace Bethenny, but you can't a brunette with a big mouth and call her the new Skinnygirl.

Joyce Giraud de Ohoven & Carlton Gebbia - RHOBH Season 4


For both fans and Andy Cohen, Season 4 of Beverly Hills is something better left forgotten, and these two 'Wives are the primary reasons why. The introduction of the duo into the cast as guests at Kyle's party for the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce seemed forced from the very beginning. From there, the two new 'Wives seemed like two pieces of a puzzle that just didn't fit with the rest. Carlton Gebbia may be the one Housewife I dislike the most out of the entire franchise. Cast to show a different side of Beverly Hills, viewers were treated to an entire season of the British Wiccan being downright raunchy and sex-obsessed. Carlton's f-word-laden antics ranged from unsettling (her cooing baby voice and weirdly sexual relationship with her children's nanny) to purposely provocative (trying on a ball gag in her private sex room and flashing vulgar signs at her pool party). Additionally, the motivations of her hatred for veteran Housewife Kyle Richards were simultaneously nonsensical (Kyle killed a bee during their first lunch together) and unexplainable (she had a dream Kyle was talking behind her back, so it MUST be true), as the two battled over witchcraft and anti-Semitism. Former pageant queen Joyce, meanwhile, had a personality that always came across as just a bit too bubbly and in your face. Unlike other beauty queens who have succeeded as Housewives, the former Miss Puerto Rico constantly came across as slightly forced and inauthentic. Responsible for the season's cast trips to Palm Springs and her native Puerto Rico, Joyce spent much of the season - and reunion - sparring with resident bad girl Brandi Glanville over accusations of racism, bullying and alcoholism. Together, the storylines driven by the two sent the season into a quagmire of arguing over racial bigotry and religion, which didn't exactly make for guilty-pleasure, must-see TV. By the end of the season, Carlton and Joyce were so disliked by fans that there was no point in keeping them around.

Mistake: No natural point of entry into the cast. Carlton and Joyce served as a major learning lesson for future seasons of the franchise. Neither woman had any pre-existing relationship to anyone in the cast, so their inclusion constantly felt unnatural and forced. As a result, any time Andy's asked what it takes to be a Housewife, he now adds "being connected to someone in the cast" to the list of requirements. Producers clearly fixed the problem, as evidenced by much-loved additions Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson in the subsequent season of RHOBH.

Peggy Tanous - RHOC Season 6


I see Season 6 of Orange County as a definite low point for the series. Vicki's relationship with Donn crumbled, Tamra was naked in a bathtub and there wasn't a single brunette in sight. During the season, new Housewife Peggy Tanous was introduced as a friend of Alexis Bellino. However, the Bentley-driving, decidedly anti-"soccer mom" spent much of the season in competition with her friend as viewers watched the two constantly try to one-up each other. The competition between the two was incessant, and bled into their parenting, marriages and friendships with the other women. Peggy also bonded quickly with Alexis' frenemies Vicki and Tamra, which was probably the exact opposite of what Alexis wanted by having her friend join the show. By the reunion, Peggy was seated at the end of Tamra and Vicki's couch as she dropped the bombshell that she had dated Alexis' husband Jim before the Bellinos were married. The revelation proved to be the final straw for the two's failing friendship.

Mistake: If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. Peggy's exit from the show was prompted by her inability to handle all the interpersonal conflict that comes with the territory of reality TV. Following the Season 6 reunion, she appeared at the beginning of Season 7, but promptly quit the show saying she didn't want to fight with Alexis anymore. It remains unclear whether she was supposed to be a main Housewife for Season 7 before jumping ship, but all I have to say is thank goodness for Heather Dubrow. Peggy and her family also appeared this year on Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell, so there's that.

Ana Quincoces - RHOM Season 2


Out of the four new Housewives introduced during the Season 2 reboot of RHOM, Ana Quincoces was my favorite. I really, genuinely liked her on the show. A hybrid lawyer/chef, Ana spent much of the season dealing with her decision to file for divorce from her long-separated husband, with whom she owned a successful law practice. She also served as a calm voice of reason among the other six 'Wives, standing up for Marysol Patton in her fight with drag performer Elaine Lancaster, walking out of the dinner party co-hosted by Housewife Karent Sierra and notorious Miami bad boy Thomas Kramer and pointing out holes in Karent's story about her relationship with her faux-boyfriend. However, by reunion time, Ana found herself on the end of the couch, failing to stand out enough among the gigantic cast. At the reunion, she openly feuded with Lea Black, armed with a manila folder of evidence and alleging that the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Miami" had a shady past and earned her fortune based on her relationships with the right men. However, it wasn't enough to keep her on board for a second season, and she returned in a recurring capacity during the third season along with Marysol.

Mistake: A classic case of too little, too late. Ana's power play against Lea during the reunion made for great TV, but seemed to come out of nowhere, as the two hadn't fought at all during the season. Ana stated in later interviews that she felt her family-driven storyline validated her place in the cast, but it just wasn't enough for producers. I enjoyed seeing her here and there throughout Season 3, though.

DeShawn Snow - RHOA Season 1


We first met DeShawn Snow as one of the original Real Housewives of Atlanta. Over the course of eight episodes, the NBA wife moved into a 15,000 sq. ft. mansion, planned a black-tie charity event and served as the calm voice of reason between feuding friends NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak and Shereè Whitfield. Towards the end of the tumultuous debut season, DeShawn even hosted a barbecue for all the 'Wives in an effort to promote reconciliation within the group. At the Season 1 reunion, she had a ringside seat to the fighting between the other ladies, including NeNe's epic "close your legs to married men" line to Kim. However, when Season 2 premiered, she had been replaced by Kandi Burruss. Following the show, she divorced her husband, wrote a series of children's books and now works as a luxury real estate manager. We just recently caught up with DeShawn during the RHOA 100th episode special, wherein she credited the show for being a groundbreaking portrayal of  successful African-American women. 

Mistake: Being too normal. Every cast needs a voice of reason, but DeShawn was a bit too calm and down-to-earth for reality TV stardom. As she explained in a later press interview, producers let her go for being "too human for a circus show."

Karent Sierra - RHOM Season 2


Ana wasn't the only casualty following Season 2 of RHOM. Celebrity dentist to the stars Karent Sierra also got the boot following her single season in Miami. Karent was the focal point of plenty of drama during the season, and came across as a publicity-seeking social climber to many of the other women. No matter how hard she tried, poor Karent simply couldn't do anything right, whether she was beating Adriana de Moura to a tweet or making a scene at Alexia Echeverria's Venue Magazine cover party. Her relationship with Latin soap star Rodolfo Jimenez was also called into question by her fellow Housewives, who saw the relationship as a house of cards. The drama came to a head on the cast trip to Bimini, when the other 'Wives confronted Karent with evidence of her faux-boyfriend's cheating. Though she was the center of such a major storyline, Karent was relegated to farther down the couch than I expected during the reunion time, and Mama Elsa couldn't even remember her name, referring to her hilariously as "number three".

Mistake: To borrow one one Karent's favorite phrases, "at the end of the day," viewers have to like you. Fans saw through the dentist's toothy smile and simply didn't respond to her wide-eyed, attention-seeking personality.

Quinn Fry - RHOC Season 3


Quinn Fry joined the cast in Season 3 as the OC's resident cougar. Introduced to the show halfway through the season, Quinn's main storyline revolved around juggling her relationships with her son Jared and her younger boyfriend Billy. She also attended original Housewife Lauri Waring's season finale wedding to George Peterson, but failed to make as big of a splash as the other new addition that season, the "hottest Housewife in Orange County" by the name of Tamra Barney. One thing about the OC 'Wives is that they tend to create a community, particularly the women from the early seasons, so we've seen Quinn pop up once in a while since she left the show. Most notably, she had a ringside seat to Tamra's red wine toss at Jeana over the cease and desist letter in the Season 6 finale. At the time, you may have done a double-take in recognizing her, as she had died her brunette locks a stark platinum blonde.

Mistake: Being too boring. In order to succeed on Housewives, you need to have both drama and a solid storyline. Quinn's cougar lifestyle may have been amusing to watch, but viewers can barely remember any impact she made during her single season beyond toying with a younger guy.

Cristy Rice & Larsa Pippen - RHOM Season 1


Dynamic duo Larsa Pippen and Cristy Rice were lightning rods for controversy during Season 1 of RHOM. In her time on the show, Larsa (married to legendary NBA All-Star Scottie Pippen) was known for her diva-like behavior, hosted an Italian cooking lesson at her private restaurant and cycled through problems with multiple nannies for her kids. In the first season finale, she clashed with fan-favorite supporting character Mama Elsa over the Miami matriarch's assertion that Larsa was "emotionally immature" during an energy reading. Meanwhile, Cristy, the ex-wife of NBA player Glen Rice, often had a self-important attitude verging on the wrong side of ghetto, all under the guise of "keeping it real." She found herself at the center of much of the season's drama after crashing Lea Gala's Annual Gala without an RSVP and two uninvited friends in tow. By the end of the season, she had been elbowed into the role of villain within the cast and went into the live reunion show at odds with many of her fellow 'Wives. By Season 2, the pair of troublemakers were nowhere to be found, replaced by the likes of Joanna Krupa and Lisa Hochstein.

Mistake: Being victims of a reboot. The biggest issue with the first season of RHOM was that it was never meant to be a Housewives show. Initially pitched as a restructuring of Bravo's 2009 flop Miami Social Club, the show didn't become a part of the Housewives canon until after filming had wrapped. Following the minor success of the season, producers completely overhauled the show for Season 2, rebranding the look of the show, firing Larsa and Cristy and adding multiple new 'Wives.