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Real Housewives

Filtering by Category: WWHL

Breaking Down The Bravos

Glenn Rowley

the-bravos

This week was the first-ever Bravos, an awards show celebrating all things pop culture in the Bravo universe. Joined by a parade of Housewives and other Bravolebrities on both coasts, Andy Cohen hosted an evening where none of the categories were boring and that no true fan of the network should've missed. For this week's feature, I break down my analysis of all the winners, as well as who I think got snubbed or robbed of their rightful awards. Read on for my two cents on all things Bravos...

Don't Call It A Comeback Award

bravo-award-teresa-giudice

Nominees:

  • Teresa Giudice - RHONJ
  • Stassi Schroeder - Vanderpump Rules
  • Craig Conover - Southern Charm
  • Shereè Whitfield - RHOA

Was there ever a question that anyone other than Teresa would win the Don't Call It a Comeback Award? I mean, please. The queen of RHONJ spent most of 2015 locked away at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution and her release was heralded as the return of the century in the Bravo universe. Tre is so critical to the success of the New Jersey franchise that the show shut down production while she was away, and didn't pick up for Season 7 until she was a free woman again. Now, Teresa is back and better than ever, and the new season of RHONJ looks to be its most promising yet. That being said, Stassi's humbling yet necessary return to SUR this season comes in a close second place...

The Bravo Bro Award

bravo-bro-award-jax-taylor

Nominees:

  • James Kennedy - Vanderpump Rules
  • Jax Taylor - Vanderpump Rules
  • Shep Rose - Southern Charm
  • Ben Robinson - Below Deck/Below Deck Mediterranean

Now, yes, I will concede that Jax is probably the biggest bro found in the Bravo universe and so, for that, he deserves the first-ever Bravo Bro Award. However, his brand of greasy, smarmy playboy has never sat particularly well with me. (There's a reason I haven't covered #PumpRules on THG yet.) For that reason, I voted pretty much daily for my beloved Sheppy to win big. Like he said on the recently concluded Southern Charm Season 3 reunion, there's a big difference between amorous and a misogynist. Shep respects women and never crosses that boundary (besides his rather unfortunate "DTF" confessional joke this season.) Jax, on the other hand, doesn't seem to respect much of anything. And how hilarious was Amy Philipps' pouty impression of James after losing to his number one nemesis in the SUR crew??

Most Socially Driven: Powered by Chevrolet Cruze

bravo-awards-kandi-burruss

Nominees:

  • Bethenny Frankel - RHONY
  • NeNe Leakes - RHOA
  • Kandi Burruss - RHOA
  • Scheana Shay - Vanderpump Rules

Inexplicably the sole award being sponsored by the all-new Chevy Cruze, Most Socially Driven is supposed to be awarded to the Bravolebrity with the most active presence on social media. I may not understand why exactly Kandi won (since I don't follow her as closely on social media), but I feel it needs to be pointed out that Bethenny was jipped out of this award solely on the strength of her hilarious Snapchat game alone. Everyone go follow her!

The Sorry Not Sorry Award

sorry-not-sorry-erika-girardi

Nominees:

  • Erika Girardi - RHOBH
  • Bethenny Frankel - RHONY
  • Tamra Judge - RHOC
  • Caroline Stanbury - Ladies of London

Sorry not sorry, I am overjoyed that Beverly Hills newbie Erika walked away with the award for giving the least amount of f--ks. (Sing it with me, "Not one! Zero! Zero! Zero! Done!") In just a single season on RHOBH, Erika has proven to be the Housewife the people needed, and I am here for it. With her glam squad and bevy of backup dancers in tow, she and her sexy, sassy alter ego were the runaway stars of Season 6 and had absolutely no tolerance for any kind of BS from her new friends and co-stars. I can't wait to see how many "sorry not sorry" moments Erika Jayne serves up during Season 7.

Wacha Award for Animal Excellence

bravo-awards-lisa-vanderpump-menagerie

Nominees:

  • Fredrik Eklund, - MDLNY
  • Carole Radziwill & Baby - RHONY
  • Lisa Vanderpump's Menagerie - RHOBH
  • Vida & Ziggy - Shahs of Sunset

LVP deserved this award, named after Andy Cohen's adorable pooch, solely for the size of her collection of animals alone. Her menagerie of dogs (including Giggy the Pomeranian and golden retriever Rumpy Pumpy) swans Hanky and Panky and mini-horses Diamonds and Rosé have turned Villa Rosa into a veritable zoo. To her credit as an animal activist, Lisa spent much of last season of RHOBH organizing a protest against the horrific Yulin Dog Meat Festival and has since launched Vanderpump Dogs, her very own nonprofit organization dedicated to championing the rights of our four-legged friends all around the world.

Biggest Bravoholic

biggest-bravoholic-michael-rapaport

Nominees:

  • Wendi McLendon-Covey
  • Jerry O'Connell
  • Michael Rapaport
  • Chrissy Teigen

As much as I love Michael Rapaport - and trust me, I adore him - Chrissy Teigen was ROBBED in the race for Biggest Bravoholic. Serving as a famous voice for Bravo addicts since as far back as I can remember, Chrissy is truly one of us and her Twitter feed proves it. Take a casual scroll to see her dedication for yourself. I mean, the woman didn't get asked to be a guest on WWHL's 1000th episode for nothing. That being said, Michael Rapaport is an absolute delight every time he shows up in the Clubhouse, and I love that he reps for all the guys out there who love all things Bravo. Hey Michael, where can I get a "Real Men Watch Real Housewives" t-shirt? Andy and all of the folks at ShopByBravo.com, please get on that ASAP...

Cutest Couple

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Nominees:

  • Kandi Burruss & Todd Tucker - RHOA
  • Lauren Manzo & Vito Scalia - Manzo'd With Children
  • Tom Sandoval & Ariana Madix - Vanderpump Rules
  • Ryan Serhant & Emilia Bechrakis - MDLNY

Out of all the nominees, I suppose it makes the most sense that Tom and Ariana walked away with the title of Cutest Couple in the Bravoverse. There's a certain charm about the way they've emerged as a down-to-earth couple out of the incestuous stew known as the SUR staff of Vanderpump Rules. And I do have this weirdly sexual thing about Tom Sandoval and his hair. However, plenty of snubs in this category - from fellow SURvers Tom Schwartz and Katie Maloney to RHOBH's Kyle Richards and Mauricio Umansky - could've easily beaten out the winning couple had they been up for the vote. Plus, you just know Luann de Lesseps is seething from her new penthouse on the Upper East Side that she and fiancé Tom D'Agostino weren't nominated...

Jumpsuit Achievement

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Nominees:

  • Erika Girardi
  • Khloe Kardashian
  • NeNe Leakes
  • Kelly Ripa

It's a well-known fact that there's nothing Andy loves quite as much as a good jumpsuit, and Khloe surely rocked the one she wore while appearing on WWHL this year. However, this category contains what I consider the most glaring oversight in the entire awards show. How was Teresa Guidice not nominated for the iconic orange jumpsuit she wore in her very first appearance on WWHL following her release from prison? How?? Promoting her prison memoir, Turning the Tables, Teresa's jumpsuit was hilariously clever, outrageously chic and a big old middle finger to the powers that be that put her behind bars for a year. Never forget the orange jumpsuit, folks. 

The Queen of Shade

queen-of-shade-phaedra-parks

Nominees:

  • Gizelle Bryant - RHOP
  • Reza Farahan - Shahs of Sunset
  • Jeff Lewis - Flipping Out
  • Phaedra Parks - RHOA

With her endless trove of witty one-liners and cutting reunion jabs, Phaedra certainly has the long track record to justify being bestowed the Queen of Shade title. However, I would not have minded one bit if we'd seen Potomac standout Gizelle sneak in with a major upset. On the other hand, had either Reza or Jeff won, I would have been unreasonably upset. Keep trying, queens, but the Southern Belle known as "Shade-ra" wins.

Susan Lucci Award for Best Performance in a Reality Show

bravo-awards-patricia-altschul

Nominees:

  • Patricia Altschul - Southern Charm
  • Kristen Doute - Vanderpump Rules
  • Vicki Gunvalson - RHOC
  • Dorinda Medley - RHONY

How pumped was Andy to have his daytime soap icon Susan Lucci in the Clubhouse to present the award named in her honor? I wasn't surprised to see Southern Charm's queen of the kaftans take the award home. After all, she's basically the Bravo equivalent to Susan Lucci herself, and the show just came off its best season ever a few weeks ago. Plus, it was an excuse to finally get Patricia to leave her fancy Charleston estate and visit the Clubhouse for the very first time. However, I will argue to the death with anyone who differs that my beloved Dorinda Medley deserved this award more than any of the other nominees. After less than two seasons as a Housewife, it's hard to imagine a RHONY without Dorinda's love of dirty martinis, mafioso attitude and slurry subtitles when she's had one too many. How did we ever survive without her??

Biggest Hustle Moment

bravo-awards-jeff-lewis

Nominees:

  • Luis D. Ortiz - MDLNY
  • Jeff Lewis - Flipping Out
  • Asa Soltan Rahmati - Shahs of Sunset
  • Dr. Jackie Walters - Married to Medicine

Ok, so Jeff Lewis won. But that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. I've never been a fan of Jeff or Flipping Out as a whole, but in the wake of his bashing Heather Dubrow on WWHL last week, he's cemented his place on my list of Bravolebrities I actively dislike. And he wasn't wrong in his condescending acceptance speech: Asa should've been a shoo-in as the hardest-working Persian priestess out there. Girl, bye.

Giving Me Life Achievement Award

bravo-awards-mariah-carey

Special Awardee:

  • Mariah Carey

There's perhaps no one more fitting to be given the honor of the very first Giving Me Life Achievement Award than the Elusive Chanteuse, Miss Mariah Carey herself. Mimi's dual appearances on WWHL have been major pop culture moments, as well as the only instances in which Andy gladly gave up his Clubhouse throne. A diva in the truest sense of the word, Mariah represents all the glamour, drama and over-the-top fabulousness that The Bravos stand for, and her acceptance speech from a clearly green-screened shoe closet was just the cherry on top of the cake that was the first annual awards show for the network. My only question is this: when are this year's Real Housewives Awards??

What did you think of the first-ever Bravos? Do you agree with the winners or did you vote for other nominees? How right am I that Chrissy Teigen was robbed for Biggest Bravoholic? And does anyone out there dislike Jeff Lewis as much as I do? Let me know in the comments section below!

WWHL - One-on-One: Kim Richards

Glenn Rowley

kim-richards-wwhl

In a special WWHL before this week's RHOBH, original Housewife Kim Richards returned to the Bravo clubhouse for the first time since her relapse, multiple stints in rehab and dual arrests following the conclusion of Season 5. In the exclusive interview with Andy Cohen, Kim laid (almost) everything out on the table - from what she thinks about being a topic of discussion this season in Beverly Hills and how she's moving forward with her sister Kyle to what really happened the night of her arrest at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel for public intoxication. For this week's feature, I'm breaking down everything we learned during the OG's one-on-one with Andy. 

Kim is sober and healthy...and still loves turtles!

kim-richards-wwhl-one-on-one

First thing's first, Kim seems really great. She's sober, seems happy and looks absolutely fabulous. Even with the tragic February passing of Monty Brinson, her ex-husband and best friend, Kim says she's coping well and remains committed to maintaining her sobriety. Even more, after an extremely difficult Season 5, where we saw her on a destructive downward spiral, she's taking ownership of her past behavior, mistakes and their consequences, and seems to be looking forward to the future. However, she shares that this time around, she's consciously choosing to keep her recovery private - it's not for the public to know. Also, one thing we specifically won't be getting any information about is Kim's August 2015 arrest for allegedly attempting to shoplift $600 worth of toys from a Van Nuys, Calif. Target since it's a pending legal matter. 

Who's the real "dangerous" 'Wife here?

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After Andy shows a clip package of the many times she's been brought up in conversation this season, Kim explains that she doesn't appreciate being talked about by the other women on camera, even if she feels the concern is genuine from (some of) them. Kim admits that she hasn't seen much of the season, but the one episode she managed to catch was the one where Lisa Rinna referred to her as "vicious," "vile" and a "rabid dog." Lisa Rinna's comments this season have crossed way too many lines, particularly in her confessionals when her people-pleasing switch is turned OFF, and she's consistently hit below the belt when it comes to Kim.  

She's working on her relationship with Kyle. Slowly.

wwhl-kim-kyle-richards

Kim describes her conversation with Kyle at the end of last week's episode as cathartic for them, but also difficult to have. In fact, Kim reveals in her interview that when she first got out of treatment, she wasn't able to take Kyle's calls. There has been so much hurt and resentment on both sides of the relationship that, to some extent, each sister has to be able to let go and move forward. 

What really happened at the Beverly Hills Hotel?

With the Target scandal off-limits, Andy asks about the next-most-pressing issue: Kim's arrest in April 2015 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which coincidentally occurred the same night Part 3 of the Season 5 reunion aired. Simultaneously taking care of Monty, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her son Chad, who was admitted to a psychiatric facility around that time, Kim stopped working a recovery program and relapsed. Coming up on three and a half years of sobriety, she had a glass of wine with a girlfriend towards the end of the season airing. A couple weeks later, she started drinking at her daughter Brooke's house to cope with watching the Season 5 reunion. However, realizing her mistake, Kim left the house to drive home before realizing she probably shouldn't be driving under the influence. Stopping at the Beverly Hills Hotel, a tipsy Kim insisted on sitting in "her booth" when the maître d' informed her the hotel was closing and she needed to leave. When she refused to leave, the maître d' threatened to call the police and things escalated to the point where she was arrested for public intoxication. Kim says that, in a way, she felt relieved that she could go away for another 30 days of treatment upon getting arrested. 

Kim is firmly on Team Yolanda.

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Andy points out that since leaving the show, Kim has maintained a close friendship with Yolanda Foster. After watching a clip of the many things the 'Wives have said about the Dutch Martha Stewart this season, Kim explains that she's simply supporting Yo, whom she has watched suffer through Lyme disease for years. She also points out that one particular 'Wife consistently finds herself at the center of the gossip (ahem, Lisa Rinna) by continually bringing up her co-stars issues, whether that be Kim last season or Yo this season. While she doesn't seem overly bothered about it, there's clearly not much love lost between her and Lisa Rinna. However, if she found herself face-to-face with Lisa R., (which she will at the reunion), Kim admits that she's not sure what she would say. Citing that every interaction they have gets "dangerous," Kim says she simply doesn't understand why Lisa Rinna seems to have it out for her. 

She doesn't think Brandi Glanville is a bad friend. 

 Photo Credit: Daily Mail Online

Photo Credit: Daily Mail Online

Andy brings up the backlash targeted at Brandi when she wore one of her shirts while filming with Kim and Yolanda that said "It's Not Fun to Be Sober." However, Kim doesn't really see the big deal, saying that Brandi may like to drink but insists that the notorious bad girl of Beverly Hills doesn't drink around her. Further, Kim calls out what she sees as the very apparent double standard that all the other 'Wives drink when they're out socially or filming with Kim, but it only seems to matter when it comes to Brandi's alcohol consumption. However, as I tweeted during the special, pretty much nothing could change my mind at this point that Brandi isn't the best influence on Kim. 

While she wasn't a full-time Housewife this season, you can catch her every Tuesday with her daughter Kimberly Jackson on The Mother/Daughter Experiment: Celebrity Edition on Lifetime!

 

WWHL - One-on-One: Shannon & David Beador

Glenn Rowley

wwhl-shannon-david-beador-one-on-one

It was a big week on WWHL, and no I'm not talking about Jill's Zarin on last night's show. (For the record, I'm still royally bugged/borderline offended that she would appear on WWHL to promote her movie right after refusing to participate in the RHONY 100th episode special.) Last Monday after RHOC, Shannon and David Beador sat down for a special interview with Andy Cohen about David's affair. For this week's feature, I'm breaking down the biggest revelations from the one-on-one sit-down. 

The affair started the day after filming started for Season 9.

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David's relationship with his mistress began on a trip he took. The couple readily admits they didn't have the best marriage prior to the affair. Shannon even went as far as to say she went on the show hoping it would improve their marriage. (This directly contradicts the track record of putting a strained marriage in front of cameras but OK.) Shannon believes that if it hadn't been this particular woman pursuing him, David wouldn't have strayed. Apparently, it's very rare for him to be around other women, so being thrust into a situation with a woman present made sparks fly. Throughout filming Season 9, Shannon would catch David whispering on the phone and suspected something was going on, but David would make her feel stupid for pointing out the inappropriate relationship with the mistress. 

David was in love with the mistress and ready to leave Shannon.

wwhl-david-beador-affair

Andy asks David if he would've eventually come clean had Shannon not found out about the affair and he says yes. However, not in the way you're probably thinking. At the time, David admits he thought he was in love with the other woman, and he was getting ready to leave Shannon for the fantasy of a new life. When Shannon found out and confronted him, he wasn't exactly apologetic - it was a rather nasty conversation and he moved out for two weeks. 

The mistress really did befriend Shannon.

The woman's daughter was on a basketball team with twins Stella and Adeline, so she would sit with Shannon during the girls' games and press for information about the Beadors' marriage. How sick and twisted is that?? When David found out about the budding relationship, he quickly put a stop to it and the mistress abruptly stopped responding to Shannon's texts/calls. Since then, Shannon's never sought out the mistress, though they did speak over the phone once when the other woman called the house. In the conversation, Shannon only said that she wanted her family back and asked the mistress to back off, which the woman apparently respected. 

Heather Dubrow knew about the affair during filming.

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Orange County is a small place and Heather found out about the affair through mutual friends she had with the mistress. Throughout the filming of Season 9, David suspected Heather knew about his cheating but was obviously too nervous and guilty to try confirming his suspicions. When the scandalous email he sent to Shannon (suggesting he move out for a bit) became part of the season's storyline, Heather already knew about the affair but didn't say anything to a soul - not even Terry. Talk about ultimate girl code, Fancy Pants. 

The Daily Mail revealed the identity of the mistress.

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Shannon confirms that all the magazines and tabloids have known the woman's identity for a long time, but didn't come forward with the information because she's a private citizen with a family. David surprisingly defends the woman a bit, saying he wishes the tabloids hadn't released her identity because he doesn't see the point of dragging everyone through this in the spotlight for any longer when they've both moved on from the relationship.

David gave Shannon his wedding ring back - through one of the kids.

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Though he had moved out of the house, David was still involved in picking the girls up from school and other parenting duties. One day when he picked up the kids from school, he gave Stella his wedding ring, telling her to give it to Shannon because he didn't want it anymore. Immediately after the incident, Shannon spent the afternoon filming confessionals for the show and wore the ring during the interviews, determined not to give up on her marriage. Andy is flabbergasted by this bombshell. I mean, David. In the history of dick moves, that's a pretty huge one.

They credit the show for helping save their marriage.

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Shannon admits that she went back and forth on deciding to come back to the show for Season 10, but decided that the affair would probably come out either way. David says the show has helped their marriage by showing them things they needed to fix and work on, all while he's being held accountable to not only Shannon but everyone who watches the show. Through the whole ordeal, Shannon and David's kids have been able to learn that family is worth fighting for, they're committed to each other and their family is better and stronger than ever. 

WWHL - RHONY 100th Episode Special

Glenn Rowley

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

After nearly eight years and seven seasons, the NY Housewives finally got their 100th episode special! This was something I actively stressed about when Bravo aired the special for RHOA reaching the same milestone but billed one of the Turks and Caicos episodes as RHONY's 100th. The RHONY special was formatted the same way as the Atlanta ladies' but was actually a half hour longer, which I was more than happy about. It turned out to be a fantastic and surprisingly emotional look back on the first 100 episodes in the Big Apple. 

In the Beginning

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The Real Housewives of New York City debuted on Bravo almost eight years ago on March 4, 2008. When it was in development, the show was originally titled Manhattan Moms, and Ramona actually found out about it through her doctor, Sharon Giese, whom we've seen multiple times on the show. Many of the other 'Wives were cast through OG Jill Zarin including Bethenny Frankel, Luann de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan. (Interestingly, Sonja was offered a spot on the show during Season 1, but turned it down, eventually joining two years later.) One of the most fascinating parts of these specials is getting to see clips from the women's original casting tapes and NYC didn't disappoint. The Season 1 casting took place in 2007 and was filled with memorable soundbite - from Alex and Simon calling themselves "label junkies" to Luann referring to herself as "five different women." (Sonja's narcissism was evident from the beginning as she told the camera that glamour was a well-used word in her vocabulary and her lifestyle was incomparable to many plebeians in the U.S.)

Unfortunately, two original Housewives are missing from the special. Bravo reached out to Jill, who apparently declined the invitation to be interviewed, while Alex and Simon moved to Australia last year which provided obvious logistical challenges. Jill did offer a short written statement in which she said she was "proud to be a founding member of such an exclusive group of talented women" - which certainly did nothing to carry on the rumors of bad blood between her and Bravo ever since her last one-on-one with Andy (where she secretly recorded the interview to 'protect' herself from bad editing). 

First Impressions

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The ladies first impressions of each other were as different as their personalities. Ramona thought Bethenny was a "tough a**" while B understandably thought all the women were cuckoo. The most polarizing cast members for viewers and Housewives alike that first season were obviously Alex and Simon. Ramona admits she wasn't welcoming to them because she resented their codependent relationship and found them "very awkward and strange." Bethenny didn't understand them - cut to her iconic line about Simon being in the midst of a deep homosexual panic, while Sonja says that Alex took her a while to understand, but that she loved her "bohemian ways and Brooklyn style." The Countess is by far the most diplomatic, saying that certain parts of Alex were very sophisticated, the couple's relationship was a special kind that seemed to work for them and she hopes they're happy in Australia. Love them or hate them, and I'm an unapologetic Alex fan, I've always thought Alex and Simon made for great TV. 

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The other Housewife who got quite a bit of backlash in the show's early days was Luann, whose haughty Countess persona didn't go over too well with some of the women. Luann refuses to make excuses for it, because she was simply used to a different life. However, Bethenny is quick to point out that Luann was very non-Countess-y in her off-camera life, but came on the show to let all the women know how aristocratic she was. One of the most ingratiating moments during Season 1 was when Luann corrected Bethenny for introducing her to a driver using her first name. It's, like, Mrs. de Lesseps, darling. Luann claims she wasn't used to being addressed by her first name; that's not the way they roll in Europe, but Bethenny thought she was just being a "pretentious bi***." Ugh, I'm with you B.

New 'Wives

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The first new cast member to join the show was Kelly Killoren Bensimon in Season 2. Jelly Bean Kelly tells Andy that she actually didn't watch the show before joining because she wanted the world to see the real her. She also surprisingly says that the first cast member she clicked with was Ramona, who was the only one to ask her about herself or her kids. The Ramonacoaster, however, sees it much differently - if the only thing you can talk about are kids, makeup and clothes, it's not going to be a deep connection. 

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Then there's Kelly's Season 2 clash with Bethenny. The model claims she didn't even notice the Skinnygirl until Bethenny made the infamous "Madonna" dig at the meeting for the charity event the Housewives were throwing together. The tiff ultimately led to the "I'm up here, you're down here" sit-down at the Brass Monkey, which Bethenny describes as watching this person in front of her saying something she had no idea would be hurtful to every put-down nerd who wasn't cool in Kelly's high school cafeteria. However, Kelly claims she was merely trying to say she was an adult who wouldn't put up with any of Bethenny's "childish" behavior. I don't think that's how it came across, Kells.

Much like Vicki in the OC, Ramona admits that she has a hard time when new cast members join the show. Surprisingly, out of all the women over the years, she had the hardest time connecting with Season 4 addition Cindy Barshop, whom she was friendly with off-camera but became her arch-enemy once she joined the show. And that, ladies and gents, is the first and last time Cindy will be mentioned during this special. As for the Season 5 shakeup, Ramona found Heather to be less than genuine while describing Carole as "quiet and surreal" and Aviva as a "fun, sophisticated Uptown chick."

The Season 5 Reboot & Beyond

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Interestingly, Andy was the one who personally cast Carole on the show after discovering she was a real-life princess at a dinner party thrown by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. I love that in her 2012 casting tape, Carole describes NYC as being her lover because the Big Apple has everything she could want in a lover: glamour and elegance mixed with a naughty, seedy side. Kristen may have the style aspect on lock, but Radzi is the living, breathing embodiment of a real-life Carrie Bradshaw. Heather actually got a cold call from producers at her desk at work. In her casting tape from 2011, she looks very serious and intense while talking about how tough you have to be to get to the top.

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I for one was surprised to learn that Aviva had originally auditioned for the show back in 2010, which would've been for either Season 3 or 4, but didn't get cast the first time around. (Also, her insensitive Sonja/Anna Nicole Smith comparison originally came from that casting tape as well.) It was actually Bethenny who got Aviva on the show by convincing Andy that a woman with one leg and an ex-husband who'd slept with two other Housewives would be a good fit. Beverly Hills lightning rod Brandi Glanville was responsible for getting her friend Kristen cast for Season 6, while Ramona tirelessly recruited Dorinda for Season 7. 

Jill vs. Bethenny

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Next, Andy asks which argument was most shocking in the history of the show and the collective answer is Jill and Bethenny's friendship-destroying feud during Season 3. Bethenny explains that the fight went deeper and wider than anyone could've expected, and points out that even Andy and the network were worried about its implications. However, the show went with what really happened. If it was scripted, fans would've gotten the happily ever after where the two became BFFs again. Bethenny explains that the turning point in their friendship occurred when she was asked to guest host the Today show, which at the time was the biggest deal in the world for a reality star. When she arrived at the studio, she was told by producers that Jill had called and angrily demanded to know why she hadn't been offered the gig, saying she would've been much better than Bethenny. Then, the show started filming Season 3 and Jill immediately went for the jugular, attacking Bethenny for not visiting her husband Bobby when he was in the hospital. 

jill-ambush

At this point, a lightbulb went on in Bethenny's head: this was "one cunning bi***." Jill had waited until cameras had started rolling to deliberately go after her and try to take her down. Bethenny posits that it was Jill's plan to get America to hate her, and it completely backfired in her face - Jill became the villain everyone hated and Bethenny came out on top in the feud. The Skinnygirl points out that it must be hard for Jill to know that she was the one responsible for getting Bethenny cast on the show and now B's become unequivocally the most successful Housewife in the history of the franchise. Jill could've been along for the ride, but as Bethenny says, pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered and that's just the way it goes. Andy asks if there was a chance for reconciliation between the two at the emotional Season 3 reunion, but Bethenny says she knew all of Jill's tears were just theatrics. Today, Bethenny doesn't hold any animosity (could the same be said for Jill?) but Jill still isn't someone she would want in her life. That chapter is officially closed. 

Aviva's Leg Throw

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The next topic of discussion is Aviva's infamous leg throw in the Season 6 finale. Carole says she wasn't surprised and sees the dramatic moment as Aviva's attempt to get the spotlight back on her after being absent for so much of the season. Radzi thinks she had been wanting to throw that leg for two whole seasons. Andy once again asks Aviva if she walked into the party planning to throw her prosthesis and she finally cops to the moment being contrived. Apparently, she even told a producer beforehand that she was thinking of doing it, depending on how she was received by the other women after their trip to Montana. Her cast mates don't see the leg throw in quite the same light as Aviva. Heather calls it the most cringeworthy moment of the series for being so obviously set up, while Luann remembers thinking at the time that it would be Aviva's swan song as a Housewife. If you take it that far, you're on your way out the door. After leaving the party, Aviva remembers wondering if she overdid it. Andy asks her as such, to which Aviva responds, "I think I made great TV. You're welcome."

Pirate Booty in St. Barth's

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The conversation then turns to cast vacations, and while the women are split on which was their favorite trip (Morocco! Montana! Turks and Caicos!), what really needs to be discussed is the Season 5 trip to St. Barth's, a.k.a. Slutty Island. Specifically Luann and the pirate. This horse has already been beaten to death but the story goes that Luann knocked on Heather's door at 3:30 in the morning with a Pirate of the Caribbean in tow. The next morning, the Countess raced back to Heather's room before the cameras got there, asking her to perpetuate this story about Luann being with her "Italian friends." Heather promised she wouldn't say anything, but if Luann wanted to lie, that was on her. Lie she did, and like any untruth, the story snowballed and ended up being carried on for way too long.

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One of the other 'Wives found out how Luann really got home that night from the driver and then invited the pirate to dinner the next night in an effort to throw her under the bus. It was then that she truly dug her own grave - getting busted on camera asking another friend in French to lie for her. In hindsight, Luann admits that she panicked, forgot she had a mic on and says the call was what really made her look guilty. Heather sees this as a "DUH!" moment. After all, Luann had been on the show for half a decade at this point. How do you forget you have a mic on? Heather also points out that French isn't that hard of a language to translate; maybe Swahili would've been better! Once she found out she'd been busted, Luann had to call her then-boyfriend Jacques off-camera to explain the story - a call she says was the pinnacle of embarrassment. When asked, Luann denies that the pirate incident was what led to the end of her relationship with Jacques the following season, but it certainly didn't help matters.

Scary Island

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Next under the microscope is Scary Island, the Season 3 trip to St. John's that to this day goes down as possibly the most infamous trip in Housewives history. Originally, the trip was supposed to serve as a kind of bachelorette party for Ramona before she renewed her vows, but got hijacked by Kelly having a jellybean-fueled, Al Sharpton-misquoting, complete emotional breakdown. Even now, Kelly maintains that she was a victim of "systematic bullying" on the trip and Luann agrees, saying that the other girls bullied the model until she snapped. The incident was so serious that Ramona even called Jill, asking her to come meet Kelly at the airport because something was seriously wrong. Ever paranoid, Jill thought it was some type of set up for the show, which prompted Bethenny - who wasn't even speaking to Jill at the time - to grab the phone and get the gravity of the situation through Jill's head. The next day, Kelly boarded a plane with a producer and the girls were all sure she would be checking into a psych ward somewhere. 

 Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

Naturally, Kelly sees the whole situation differently. While the other 'Wives say she had a breakdown, Kelly says she was just crying. She also purports that the entire situation basically ruined her reputation. It's hard to come back from crazy - it doesn't exactly brand well. Once the episode aired, Kelly found that she was suddenly toxic. No one wanted to be associated with the crazy girl from the Real Housewives of New York. Bethenny thinks that Kelly is an extremely fragile, sensitive person who wasn't cut out for the rigors of reality television. From her perspective, Kelly couldn't take the heat in the kitchen and tried to excuse her behavior by claiming that the other women ruined her reputation. I think it's safe to say that we'll never fully understand what happened on that island.

Reunions

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After Ramona and Luann spend a segment mourning their respective divorces (don't ask me why Luann turned her chair around to cry...), it's time to talk about our favorite thing: reunions. Carole accurately describes the reunions as a "sh**show," with Andy asking a question and everyone trying to answer at once. Sonja hits the nail on the head by saying that reunions are the time when each Housewife wants to show all the other women up and get justification that the way everything happened during the season was the way SHE thought. For Carole, the toughest reunion moment was Season 6's BookGate, with Aviva's relentless, nasty attacks on her writing career. Heather claims the Season 5 reunion was her most memorable, while Dorinda says her first reunion experience during the just-completed Season 7 went better than she expected it to. Bethenny proclaims Ramona as the queen of the reunion - she was the first to walk off a reunion in Season 1 and the first to fall asleep in the middle of one six seasons later. Bethenny points out that the issue that caused Ramona to walk off in Season 1  - discussion of Alex's nude photos surfacing on the internet - seems like small change now that Housewives have broken into the White House, gone to jail and f***ed their friends' husbands. Ah, the rosy days when the biggest issue to deal with was a naked picture on the internet...

All About the Benjamins

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Bethenny credits RHONY with starting the "I am woman, hear me roar" movement of the Housewives franchise. More than any other city, the New York ladies have always been the most ambitious, driven and business-minded. Andy points out that the NY Housewives promotion is often times out of control. Never before had the franchise seen fights over branding and logo placement on a step-and-repeat. More than anyone, the show has documented Bethenny's meteoric rise in the business world. A few years ago, she was driving around Montauk in a shrink-wrapped Skinnygirl car and trying to give out muffin samples in the supermarket. What a difference seven years makes. Talking about the gift Bravo has given her, the Skinnygirl breaks down in tears, grateful she's been able to inspire so many viewers around the country to believe they can accomplish anything. That's what fans talk about when she meets them: not the fight she got in with Ramona last week, but how she inspires them and is a good role model for their daughters. There's no question that Bethenny has used the Housewives platform wisely. She went for her dreams and got them, and now she's rich, bi***.

Regrets

 Photo Credit: Bravo

Photo Credit: Bravo

Many of the 'Wives say they don't have a single moment they regret on camera. However, Carole's biggest regret is the comment she made in her Season 5 interview about Sonja and the pirate. She won't repeat it, but Andy reminds us that she said they went up the butt in St. Barth's. Thank you Andy. Sonja is glad to hear it from Carole, and says that she even got a three-page handwritten apology note from Writer Girl after it aired. Aviva claims her biggest regret was calling Ramona and Sonja "white trash" on Slutty Island, but mostly because it gave her her first taste of the fans' wrath on social media. Poor Aviva, people were soooo mean to her. On a side note, that trip to St. Barth's was just full of regrets, wasn't it? Ramona's biggest regret was her conversation with Bethenny on the Brooklyn Bridge during Season 3. She now recognizes that Bethenny was reaching out to her for help, but she reacted in a way that didn't embrace or help her cast mate. Crazy eyes now knows that when someone is asking you for help, it's not the time to kick them when they're down. It's a good lesson to learn, Ramona.

RHONY's Impact

To wrap the special up, Andy asks each of the women how they feel about the show reaching 100 episodes. Bethenny's proud to be part of something that is part of popular culture, while Ramona claims she knew the show would be a success, she just didn't realize it would go on for such a long time. Heather points out her gratitude at being part of the modern-day soap opera and Luann explains that the show works so well because it shows a "good group of very different women with different philosophies about life. Kristen thinks the show will be remembered for the genuine friendships and for having so many OGs seven seasons in, while Sonja posits that what they'll really go down for in the history books are their fighting words, depth and ability to get ahead. At the show's heart, the women really are a sisterhood, and several of them point that fact out. The show will be timeless because of those bonds and that camaraderie and because they really are all friends at the end of the day. As Ramona points out in the show's closing moments, even though they may go at each other's throats sometimes, the common thread is that the women all genuinely care about each other. To RHONY girl power!

Bravo's 2nd Annual #RHAwards: THG Picks the Winners

Glenn Rowley

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

It's awards season in the Bravo universe! That's right, the 2nd annual Real Housewives Awards are upon us. I loved when Bravo did this last year and am super excited to see it become an annual event. Let's face it, so much happens across the franchise and it's a fun way to look back on the year and vote for our favorite ladies. This year, they've added a number of new categories including Best Housewife Comeback, Realest Reconciliation and Miss Congeniality along with returning categories like Rookie of the Year, Biggest Reunion Shocker and OMG Moment. To analyze all the nominees, I rounded up my fellow Housewives fanatics Tanya from So Cute and Curvy and my cousin Adrienne for their input, and we're giving you our picks for who should walk away with the coveted glass heel!

BEST COMEBACK

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

That Housewives Guy: I love my Beverly Hills girls and I was over the moon about Dina coming back to RHONJ, but I'm going to have to say Bethenny. Her return reinvigorated RHONY and helped give us the best season New York has ever had. Yes I said it. 

Tanya: I vote B [too]. I have this love/hate relationship with her because she's so harsh and...how she executes her honesty isn't always the kindest, but I respect her hustle and how genuine she always is.

Adrienne: Dina! While her comeback I fear is short-lived, it was great to see her back on such a pivotal season of RHONJ. Not only was she Teresa's main support system, she's hilarious, witty, honest, gorgeous, and has the uncanny ability to see right through the crap and fake peeps that are her counterparts.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

THG: This category is incredibly crowded and I have a few questions about it. 1. Why do Nicole and Teresa have to share their nomination? First their tagline, now this? 2. Why is Shannon nominated but Lizzie isn't? And 3. Shannon and Kristen's rookie years weren't even in the current seasons of RHOC and RHONY, so that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I feel like I can't vote for either of them simply out of principle. 

A: I say Teresa and Nicole. While I didn't always love Teresa, Nicole's priorities of Duncan Donuts and Oral sex are clearly on point. I could see the twins being around for a while - they bring not only comedy but quite a bit of drama to the show.

T: I wish I had more than one vote for this category because Bravo did so good on all the newbies this year! I voted for the twins too because I feel if I had an alter ego I’d have a lot of their personality in there. The runner-ups I call for are Dorinda, Kristen, Shannon & Lisa. They bring so much to the show and live up to the brand…definitely unforgettable, so they have my vote as well!

THG: Honestly, there isn't a single bad 'Wife in the bunch, but for me it comes down to the twins, Dorinda, Lisa and Eileen. Eileen Davidson is my spirit animal. I know, I know that didn't really narrow anything down. I'm tempted to lean towards Dorinda because of how much I've loved this season of RHONY, but I think I'm going to go with Lisa R. She and Eileen both added so much to Beverly Hills this season, but she definitely brought more drama between the two. 

BEST SUPPORTING AGITATOR

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

A: Jim Marchese. Do I really need to elaborate? He's scum, his need to over compensate for his ugly mug, bad hair plugs and small penis is obvious. Shut your face Jim.

THG: I agree, there's no way anyone but Jim Marchese walks away with this award - if you can really call spreading rumors about someone's mom, selling your best friend of more than a decade down the river for reality TV fame and coming across as a complete and utter a--hole an "award."

T: Um no. CoCo all the way. Duh….I could barely remember what part the other nominees had. Who doesn’t love the beautiful Coco?

THG: By the way, why isn't Brooks on this list? His cancer is just starting to stir up the OC and from what we've seen in previews and the press, everything is going to explode around it for the rest of the season. Then again, if he was nominated, Vicki would probably have Andy's head...

OMG MOMENT

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

T: I think these were all worthy of a nomination, however I can’t believe this character called JIM! I seriously don’t know who I would strangle more….him or Kenya. These types of people make their seasons addicting, but he is a horrible person and I won’t say more on that…..ugh!

A: Yes, definitely. While the rumor may or may not be true, you just can't talk about mamas.

THG: I think the most OMG moment was Lisa vs. Kim in Amsterdam. It was the moment we waited all season for, and it most definitely did not disappoint - shattered wine glass and all. Also, am I the only one who finds it telling that Kim isn't included in the nomination? Seems like Bravo is trying to distance itself as far as possible from her downward spiral...

MOST LOL-WORTHY

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

A: Milania. While I'm not sure if it's more LOL or WTF, it was worth some kind of mention. Good thing she's not my kid, she looks cute with her teeth in her mouth.

T: None of this was LOL to me…no vote.

THG: Yeah, I kind of agree with you. If I had to choose one, I'd pick Sonja with the tooth and the cufflink at the Boy Meets Skinnygirl party (which is weird because I'm never a Sonja fan). But where is Vicki swimming with the sharks in Tahiti or Dorinda mistaking that guy for a waiter?? Or even Yolanda's confusion over cunnilingus in the next category? I could go on and on. So many hilarious moments they left out.

BEST QUOTE

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

T: Dunkin' Donuts and oral sex…sounds about right to me. That is so true! My vote goes to Nicole.

A: Tamra. Let's face it, the woman is not only freaking funny, she is abrasive and brutally honest. Girl is a fire cracker who doesn't mind screaming to get her point across....My kind of girl. Quite frankly, her and my opinion on religion and others butting in with their two cents is right on point, ya'll can suck it.

THG: Ok, we seriously all have different opinions about this one because I have to go with Luann, if only because of how iconic it was. "Don't be all, like, uncool" instantly became part of the classic Housewives lexicon the second it came out of her mouth.

REALEST RECONCILIATION

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

THG: If we're talking about which was the realest, this one goes to Kyle and Lisa, easy. After watching their friendship fall apart over the course of two seasons thanks to a certain fired pot-stirrer (ahem, Brandi), it was so nice to see them really make up and become friends again this year. I'm excited to see them in Season 6 without other people trying to get between them. And for the record I will be on Team Kyle until the end of my days. 

A: I agree, I do think Lisa and Kyle have truly moved forward and cherish each other's friendship. I would have chosen Tamra and Vicki for this, but I know they're going to fight and make up and fight and make up probably 20 more times in seasons to come. 

T: Well, I'm still voting for Tamra & Vicki...I don’t have much to say about that, but I appreciate how easy it is for them to get past their issues and their past. I like that they can just move forward because they make good TV!

BIGGEST REUNION SHOCKER

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

T: Lisa and those lips…how can you not feel how authentic her apology is? She took responsibility for her behavior in Amsterdam. Kim’s reaction is so funny and just makes this whole scene.

THG: I loved watching Andy get sassy with Ramona a.k.a. Stonewall Jackson. She got so defensive and was trying so hard to deflect. The Ramonacoaster is always in top form come reunion time, but you would think after six years she would know not to mess with her boss. 

A: That was a proud Andy moment for me. You go baby boy. Ramona is a loud mouth. While she can be funny, she was out of line here. Andy's response was flawless.

STUNNING INTERVIEW LOOK

 Image Credit: Bravo

Image Credit: Bravo

THG: There is not a single Housewife on Kristin Taekman's level when it comes to fashion. Did you see her homage to the Sex and the City tutu this week on her blog? I feel the need to point out that I was calling her the Carrie Bradshaw of RHONY months ago in the very first Feature Friday on this site. For the record, I love a lot of Cynthia's style on RHOA too, but she's more miss than hit when it comes to her interview looks. Hands down, Kristen for the win. There's not even any competition.

T: Kristen has my vote as well. She and Nene are my Bravo fashion icons!

A: Nene. One word to describe this look....yikes. She looked like a penis head with that choppy bowl cut bob. Bye Felecia.

THG: Umm I don't think that's what they meant by stunning, Ade...

MISS CONGENIALITY

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THG: Ok this category is just not fair because it has so many of my favorite Housewives from across the franchise...plus Kandi. I honestly can't choose. Yolanda is so patient and caring and manages to play the peacemaker with the Beverly Hills ladies even while she's battling Lyme disease. Carole is so down-to-earth, which I love, and Fancy Pants is so giving and such a true friend. Out of all of them though, I want Dina to be my best friend in real life. So I guess I'll go with her? I hope you know I'm going to agonize over this choice for days.

T: This category was made for Yolanda Foster. She is probably the most positive person on the Real Housewives franchise. Love how she has raised beautiful and kind kids. Loved that she was a successful model.  Love that she only promotes positivity on her IG. Love that she married a man she adores. Love that she is an example of getting what you ask and expect in life and then being humble and gracious about it!

A: Yolanda is so kind, a true class act. She treats everyone with respect and her husband, kiddos, and family are her life. Housewives could learn a lot from Mrs. Foster.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

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THG: Ok, so we don't get to vote on this one, but I still thinks it's fun to predict who's going to get it. Last year, Vicki got the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award, and I have to say it's probably one of my favorite Vicki moments ever. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now.

T: Two words…NENE LEAKES! She is a legend and probably the most memorable person out of ALL the housewives! Bloop!

THG: I agree, with her leaving RHOA behind, it's NeNe's year for sure. The one other possibility could be Ramona, but I think Bethenny's return overshadowed her too much to get it this year. 

Well, there you have it. We didn't agree on much, but it was sure fun to see who we all thought should win. Special thanks to Tanya and Adrienne for helping me out! To cast YOUR votes, go to bravotv.com/rhawards and tune in to a special WWHL on Sept. 14 to find out the winners!

WWHL - RHOA 100th Episode Special

Glenn Rowley

RHOA 100

I have a confession. Out of all the cities in the franchise, Atlanta is the one I watch the least. If you've noticed, I haven't even covered anything RHOA-related, despite some friends' insistence that I was missing out. In fact, this is the first time I've written a recap solely dedicated to the lives of the Atlanta ladies. Season 5 was the first year I watched the majority of the season. Before then, I'd only seen bits and pieces. I watched Season 6 off and on as well, but I felt the recently-completed seventh season kind of imploded on itself and just wasn't that engaging. So, for me, the 100th episode special was equal parts walk down memory lane and education in all things ATL.

Unlike the 100th episode special for Orange County, which consisted of confessionals by the first ladies of Bravo and Andy himself (sans tie and looking fly), the Atlanta ladies all sat down for one-on-one interviews with Andy in the WWHL Clubhouse. The format was fun, and generally worked well, but I missed getting Andy's perspective on the ATL like we did in the OC. The special was divided into ten different segments, so for the sake of convenience, I'll break my recap up the same way. So, without further adieu, let's get to it, peaches.

In the Beginning

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Andy kicks things off by asking NeNe, the OG of the ATL, if she expected to be making TV history when the show debuted back in 2008. As she explains that it would've been impossible to predict the phenomenon the show and franchise have become, we're treated to snippets of her and DeShawn Snow's casting tapes. These little peeks behind the curtain were some of my favorite moments of the night, like watching a long-haired NeNe describe herself as a 40-and-fabulous star yet to be discovered. Kim, rocking some bright pink lipstick and a cream-colored bandage dress, explains that she originally met NeNe at the gym when she was running around, smoking a cigarette with a trainer - as hilarious a mental image as I've ever had. NeNe convinced her to come film the pilot with her, even though the producers weren't looking for any Caucasian women at that point. NeNe describes the pilot - where we saw DeShawn moving into her 15,000 sq. ft. mansion - as "scary" to watch. Kim sees it differently however, saying that back in Season 1, everyone was simply who they were and their reality was captured before the show evolved into what it is now. The big drama in the pilot revolved around a party thrown by Shereè Whitfield in which NeNe's name was purposely left off the guest list. NeNe says now that she would never call her rival a friend, despite knowing her for more than a decade. Interestingly Shereè and fellow original 'Wife Lisa Wu both failed to appear in the special, (reports in the media claimed the two couldn't reach agreements on salary), but having never been a fan of Shereè, I personally didn't miss her. 

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Future Housewives also weighed in on the first season. Cynthia Bailey thought one thing that was especially great when the show premiered was seeing the lives of real, successful African-American women on TV. Kandi Burruss cited Atlanta as the black Hollywood, where everyone is trying to be something and make something happen for themselves. Phaedra Parks reflected on the debut season saying she didn't know that she'd ever seen reality TV so raw. Apparently, the first time Andy met NeNe was when she called him up and asked him to do a reunion show for the first season. The OC and NYC 'Wives had filmed reunions for their respective seasons, but the post-season specials weren't yet a given part of the Housewives formula. According to Andy, NeNe felt that Kim had been talking about her on the show and wanted to confront her. Kim, meanwhile, looks back on the first reunion - which featured NeNe's epic "close your legs to married men" line - as a horrible experience. So I guess we have NeNe Leakes to thank for keeping the much-beloved tradition of Housewives reunions alive, because a pop culture phenomenon had been born. 

The Show Grows

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Next, the cast's subsequent new additions were highlighted. Kandi was the first new Housewife to join the show in Season 2. In fact, the first scene the Grammy-winner shot was in Momma Joyce's house, when her mom sent her into tears about her fiancé AJ. On Kandi's very first day of shooting, she was already crying! Phaedra, who joined the show in Season 3, wanted to become a Housewife because she felt the show didn't truly reflect what Atlanta was really about. According to the Southern Belle, there were no educated or class women on the show at the time besides Kandi. Shade! Cynthia, the other third season addition and my personal favorite Atlanta Housewife, didn't really know what she would be getting herself into, and worried about how she would fit into the group of women. Her first scene was with all of the 'Wives at her house for lunch, when Phaedra claimed she didn't know when her baby was due. (Of course, the truth later came out that boughetto Phae-Phae was lying). Cynthia describes her entire first season on the show as one giant hazing ritual, from the infamous Friendship Contract to her wedding in the season finale. This, naturally, led to the question of whether NeNe, as the OG, hazes the new girls. As clips of her calling Phaedra "Fakedra" and shaking her head about Porsha thinking a year had 265 days, Miss Linnethia simply claimed she had a big personality that other women could find intimidating. 

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Her first impression of Kenya Moore, who would join the cast in Season 5 and arguably become the show's biggest villain and NeNe's rival, was one word: crazy. The delusion was evident in Kenya's casting tape from 2010, when she introduced herself as "Kenya Moore, you may have heard of me" and compared herself to "Michael Jackson reincarnated." Gone with the Wind fabulous indeed, Kenyoncé. The ego on this woman is unparalleled. Even down-to-earth Kandi thought she was cuckoo. Claudia Jordan, the show's most recent addition from Season 7, said she knew it would be hard joining the group of women as Kenya's friend. To this day, she feels that she would get along with most of the other ladies if they would get over their prejudgement based on her association with the show's villain. 

Knowing How to Work It and Be Seen

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Kandi's casting tape, where she talked about being part of the "music movement" in Atlanta and showed off her Grammy Award for Best R&B Song (for "No Scrubs" by TLC) kicked off the segment showing how the Atlanta 'Wives had used the show as a platform for their business ventures. From "Don't Be Tardy for the Party" and Bedroom Kandi to Donkey Booty vs. Stallion Booty, the way the ladies have managed to leverage their success on the show has been nothing short of incredible. As a Grammy-winning music producer, Kandi has worked an eye-popping list of A-list talent: Mariah Carey, TLC, Destiny's Child, Whitney Houston and...Kim Zolciak. In discussing "Tardy for the Party," Kandi said that she's always rooted for the underdog and decided she wanted to help Kim as a friend. Kim, whose other musical attempts include "Google Me" and "Love Me First," still marks hearing "Tardy..." for the first time as one of the best memories of her life, and said it just goes to show what you can do with the Housewives platform. Of course, fans know that controversy over the song's royalties, which Kim's lawyer talked her into not paying Kandi, ultimately ended the duo's friendship. Kim admits that a contract should've been set in stone from the beginning between the two. Let this be a lesson about why you never mix with friendship, kids.

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Viewers initially met Phaedra as a lawyer to the stars, but the Southern Belle has used the show to branch out into several other areas, including dog funerals, a Donkey Booty workout video and a mortuary career. Phaedra describes herself as a jack-of-all-trades who masters most, and with a resume like that, it's hard to disagree. Cynthia, meanwhile, is grateful to the show for giving her the platform to inspire other young talent with the Bailey Agency. However, as an entrepreneur there are ups and downs, and the one regret she has is publicizing her and Peter's financial situation on the show. As a result, no matter how successful the couple becomes, people's perceptions in the world are that the Thomases are broke. Meanwhile, Kandi's line of adult toys, Bedroom Kandi, continues to thrive - Kandi remains possibly the only person to win both a Grammy Award and an AVN Award...

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

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Bedroom Kandi serves as the perfect segue into one of the Atlanta ladies' favorite topics: sex. The show's seven seasons have been full of crazy sex moments, from the Bedroom Kandi launch party to the infamous ReDICKulous performance. However, Kandi's favorite sex-related moment was the ladies' Season 7 game of hot potato on the beach in Puerto Rico using a dildo. Phaedra claims she doesn't like sex talk, only nudity as art. Coming from the Southern belle who hired ReDICKulous for Kandi's birthday party, that excuse is hard to swallow, but she claims that wasn't sex talk, just "a man with a penis." Always one to shy away from sex talk, NeNe points out that it's funny how often some of the other women talk a big game about sex, but they never seem to be able to land a man. Shade yet again! The OG also says that she's always been open about her past as an exotic dancer, and that some of these other girls should be open about their "past as a whore." Cut to Kenya. Ha!

Dresses and Tresses

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When it came to the awards for best dressed and best hair, the women obviously couldn't agree. Best dressed alternated between Kenya (who nominated herself), Cynthia, Phaedra and Kim, who apparently always wore the best labels. Kim was also quick to nominate supporting queens Derek J, Lawrence and Dwight for their "off-the-chain", gender-bending looks. As NeNe agrees, Dwight brought fabulosity to the show ("a fashion show with no fashion? How dreadful!"). The award for best hair was a toss-up between Kenya, Cynthia and Porsha. Worst hair, on the other hand, went to NeNe, according to Kandi. Like Cynthia says, when NeNe gets it bad, it's really bad. For both best dressed and best hair, I would hands-down give it to Cynthia. There's a reason she was a supermodel, people, and she's a fashion risk-taker who can pull off nearly any hairstyle imaginable. After all, beauty is her business and she's the boss. 

All in the Family

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In Phaedra's casting tape prior to Season 3, she's asked by a producer whether she's worried about her relationship with Apollo, seeing as there had been a few divorces documented on the show. The question is sad foreshadowing for anyone with hindsight. As Andy points out to NeNe, nearly every woman on the show has been through the ringer when it comes to relationships - from NeNe's rollercoaster relationship with Gregg and Todd and Kandi's Momma Joyce drama to Porsha being blindsided by Kordell's divorce filing and of course, Kim and Big Poppa. For those who need a refresher, Big Poppa was Kim's mystery boyfriend during the first three seasons of the show who never appeared on camera. According to Kim, he lived in Atlanta, worked in real estate and chased her for a year before they started dating. At the time a legally married man, Big Poppa produced quite a bit of controversy during his relationship with Kim as he showered her with cars, jewelry, furniture and other expensive gifts. As for what made Kim break things off with her mysterious sugar daddy? NFL player and her now-husband Kroy Biermann, of course. In fact, Big Poppa dropped Kim off at the Dancing Stars of Atlanta charity event where she met Kroy, who was Shereè's dance partner. As for what happened pre-Kroy (and Kroy's perfect butt)? Kim got shy talking about her bi-curious fling with DJ Tracy Young, whom she met while remixing "Tardy for the Party." She eventually turned the question around on Andy, who remains a gold-star gay, having never swam in the lady pond, unlike Mrs. Zolciak-Biermann.

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Meanwhile, NeNe and Gregg have had a tumultuous few years in their relationship, which thankfully had a happy ending following their remarriage on I Dream of NeNe. When asked, NeNe doesn't blame the show for their divorce following Season 3, but acknowledges that the cameras certainly didn't help. As one of the breakout Housewives, NeNe's star was on the rise, which was hard on Gregg. Andy comments that it was odd to see NeNe without Gregg for the duration of the fourth season, as she was showered with gifts by her business partner John Kolaj. Ultimately, NeNe said she regrets divorcing her husband and putting their whole relationship out there on the show, and wishes they would've handled the situation differently. Thankfully, love eventually brought them back together. 

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In other Housewives' relationship problems, Andy asks Phaedra whether she regrets Apollo's involvement on the show, seeing as the two are now separated with Apollo serving eight years in prison for fraud and identity theft. Phaedra says she doesn't live her life with regrets, so she doesn't have any about her relationship with Apollo being part of the show. However, as clips of the tense spiral of their relationship's implosion play, Phaedra admits that the show can tend to bring out the worst in people, like the time during Season 7 that Apollo went crazy in their garage before reporting to prison. Porsha also talked about her divorce from Kordell, which she found out about on Twitter, saying it was "just the worst thing ever." At the time, the two were already going through a rough patch because of the show and other ladies' opinions that Kordell was controlling. However, Porsha claims that it was a good thing in the end, as the show highlighted some things she needed to work on about herself. 

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Perhaps the most heartbreaking relationship saga documented on the show is Kandi's. Engaged during Season 2 to businessman AJ Jewell, the two called off their wedding shortly after filming wrapped and he was tragically killed in a drive-by shooting in October 2009. At the time, two of Kandi's ex-fiancé's daughters were still living with her, and she said there were times that going through such a tragedy in the public eye made her regret joining the show. Kandi's other regrets include her mother's smackdown with her best friend Carmon while she was shopping for a dress for her wedding (to now-husband Todd Tucker) in Season 6. Andy pointed out that Momma Joyce seems to have a history of being very threatened by people getting between their mother-daughter relationship, and Kandi admitted that her mom could be a "little" territorial, which may be the understatement of the century. However, Momma Joyce apparently treats Todd much better now, which is good considering that Kandi has vowed to never let her mom dictate who she can be with. 

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NeNe's biggest regret from the show is documenting her search for her biological father, after discovering that Curtis, who she thought was her dad, actually wasn't in Season 1. NeNe explained that she still considered Curtis her father, but that he might not consider her his daughter after seeing the show air. Apparently, her biological father was Curtis' friend, who admitted to sleeping with NeNe's mother. The revelation hurt Curtis deeply, for obvious reasons, and his relationship with NeNe was never the same afterwards. 

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In Cynthia's five years on the show, one of the most dramatic moments in her story remains her wedding to Peter during the Season 3 finale. After a season full of building tension and financial distress, Cynthia's mother and sister took it upon themselves to hide the marriage certificate so that Peter and Cynthia couldn't sign it. The former model admitted that the situation haunted the couple for a long time, as it took years for Cynthia to convince Peter that she didn't know anything about her sister and mother's actions at the time. Sometimes on a reality show, the reality bleeds into your real life, and Peter was rightfully hurt by the situation a great deal. The family meddling and marriage certificate scandal coupled with Peter's financial dire straits certainly wasn't the most positive way for the couple to start their life together.

Shade & Showdowns

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Of course, the biggest reason any of us watch the Housewives is for the fights and the feuds, and the ladies of Atlanta have given us many. From NeNe vs. Kandi to Kenya vs. Porsha to Shereè vs. Marlo, the Southern smackdowns are among Bravo's most memorable. However, few compare to the wig pull heard round the world when Kim, Shereè and NeNe faced off in an epic brawl during Season 2. Giving the clash some context, Kim admitted that prior to Housewives, the dynamic between the three ladies always had a competitive undertone that was then magnified under the lens of the camera. In fact, Kim and NeNe - the dueling queens of the Atlanta 'Wives are known to have had some of the most legendary fights in Housewives history. From Season 2's "is your wig squeezing your head too tight, heifer?" to Season 3's tour bus brawl, the two centerpieces of RHOA have clashed time and again. In fact, no one can get Kim as angry as NeNe can, according to Wig herself. The constant fighting back and forth took its toll on the blonde bombshell, eventually leading to her leaving the show in the middle of Season 5, after an explosive lunch-time confrontation over the upcoming cast trip to Anguilla. As Kim put it, "of course [she] didn't want to hang out or go on vacation with any of the other ladies, they were all full of s***!" With that, Kim exited the series and never looked back. I subsequently fell in love with her on her spinoff, "Don't Be Tardy", which I started watching for Kroy's butt and quickly became converted to the antics of the Zolciak-Biermann crew. 

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The other major fallout for NeNe was the demise of her friendship with BFF Cynthia during the sixth and seventh seasons. According to Cynthia, theirs was a true friendship, one in which she was completely committed. However, the friendship took a turn for the worse after NeNe accused Cynthia's husband of acting like a bitch during Kenya's charity event in Season 6. Cynthia explained that she tried to get past the slight, but Peter never really got over it and she couldn't blame him. Cynthia commented that she loves her friends, but no one should ever expect her to choose a friend over her husband, which is a completely valid point. For her part, NeNe admits that she probably shouldn't have used the b-word, but subsequently threw shade by following that up by saying that Peter shouldn't have been acting like one. The BFF's spent much of Season 7 trying to mend their relationship to no avail. From her perspective, NeNe was a good friend to Cynthia, so there was nothing she would have changed between the two.

One relationship that has always been murky is NeNe and Kandi's. Out of all the new girls who have ever come on the show, the one person Miss Linnethia's never connected with is Kandi. Kandi agreed, saying that she never knows where the two stand half the time either, sometimes NeNe can be friendly and sometimes all you get is a cold shoulder. According to NeNe, Kandi isn't the type of girl she would ever hang out with in real life, due to her lack of fabulousness.

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To Kandi, Andy brings up the disastrous Pillow Talk fight during Season 6, citing Kenya as the one who initiated the chaos. (For those who can't remember, Kenya got up and charged Friend of the Housewives Natalie Macklin, setting off a series of explosions and physical altercations.) Cynthia points out that amidst the mayhem, she and Kandi ended up having words with each other, which was unfortunate because the two had always been friendly. Kandi herself points to the fight as one of the lowest moments in the show's history and a horrible representation of herself.

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For troublemaker Kenya's part, she chooses her fallout with Phaedra, which encompassed the majority of Seasons 5, 6 and 7, as the feud that hurt her the most. From Kenya's perspective, the two connected right away when they met, but their budding friendship went downhill over their soured business dealings regarding Phaedra's Donkey Booty workout video and Kenya's inappropriate flirting with Apollo, which started in Anguilla. Of course, the drama between her and Phaedra's husband culminated in further inappropriate text conversations and allegations of sexual offers in LA, which turned out to be a lie on Apollo's part. The two 'Wives sparred on opposite couches for two reunions, throwing barbs about sperm donors, fighting dirty and Pha-Phae's classic "you can't be a Housewife because you can't get a husband" line. Phaedra claims she was ready to "beat the devil out of" Kenya, and that it's somewhat of a miracle she didn't commit a crime. In the end, she chalks up her feud with the villain as "a plethora of foolishness".

Reunions

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Fans may look forward to reunion time all season long, but Phaedra calls the yearly sit-down the bane of her existence. Many other 'Wives probably feel similarly about the grueling, confrontational shoots. The darkest moment of possibly any reunion in the franchise was the physical altercation between Kenya and Porsha during Season 6. When asked by Andy, Kandi proclaims Kenya started the whole thing by waving her scepter in Porsha's face and then pulling out a bullhorn once Porsha snatched the toy and threw it on the ground. From Kenya's innocent perspective, one should never respond to a verbal attack by getting physical, which is true in principle but hard to argue in this particular situation. NeNe, naturally, feels the entire thing was Kenya's fault, because you can't taunt someone like that and not expect a reaction. Porsha, for her part, calls the experience a learning lesson, having confronted a situation where she felt she was being bullied and provoked. However, she's quick to point out that if a similar confrontation happened in the future, she would react differently. Thank goodness. The ladies can't afford to leave every reunion with assault charges. 

Housewives on Holiday

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Kenya tells Andy her favorite cast trip was to Anguilla during Season 5, (probably because she got to spend so much time with shirtless Apollo), but the rest of the women all agree that their Season 4 trip to South Africa was the most special, with NeNe calling it a "really good moment." Phaedra points out that the women all did things that were true to themselves while in Africa. Among the most memorable experiences, the ladies danced with African kids, went on safari and visited an orphanage, where they brought hygiene and school supplies. As Kandi said, the entire trip was a touching experience, one that bonded the women beyond any feuds and catfights that were going on at the time. 

RHOA's Impact

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Andy closed out the milestone special by asking the women what the show had meant to them and what they hoped people would take away from it. True to form, Phaedra said she hopes she's played a part in showing viewers that Southern belles still exist. Cynthia credits the show as one of the best things to happen in her life, and says she's become a stronger person because of it. Kenya gives the answer that she's learned more about herself and the show has helped her grow as a person. In the best answer to the question, DeShawn credits the show with being groundbreaking in that it showed viewers that African-Americans were prosperous. According to Kim, Atlanta women are funny, honest and real, while NeNe predicts the show will keep going for another 100 episodes (although we know now that those episodes will go on without her at the top of the peach tree). All I know is...I'm ready for NeNe and Kim: The Road to Riches. BLOOP!