I remember a time when Real Housewives of New York City
was the best of the franchise. These ladies, reliably, offered humor and drama, and never made us feel gross about it. Times have changed for the ladies of the Big Apple, and season 9 has revealed some of the uglier aspects of the show. Can the New York installment survive this season's downturn, or is this just a phase?
Here's a rundown of how Real Housewives of New York City has taken a turn for the worse.
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They're Not Even Friends and It's Very Obvious
Part of the original appeal of this show is that the women appeared to legitimately enjoy each other. Although there's always been the fair amount of catty backbiting and gossip, the women seemed to be entertained by each other.
These days, their gatherings feel more like they're fulfilling contractual obligations than spending any real quality time, and their apathy is palpable. Their feuds and battles are merely rehashes of old melodrama that is mostly told in flashbacks, and any fresh drama is so petty, audiences can barely muster up the interest to invest in it. Do we really care about Tinsley asking Sonja's assistant to receive her package? Probably not.
Whereas the drama used to be so juicy you'd need a bib just to consume it, these days, it's petty bull that wouldn't even make it on the air. RHONY is riding the Tom/Luann affair until the wheels come off, and I'm frankly tired of them using it as filler to make the hour seem whole. Nobody from the cast is even invited to Luann's wedding, for heaven's sake.
The appeal of this show was once the chemistry between the women. That has long fizzled and their relationships look more like the kind you have to have with annoying co-workers than you would with actual friends.
Too Many Fart Jokes
It's natural that 9 seasons would breed a sense of familiarity, but I believe we need to maintain some sense of mystery with these women. The women on RHONY are opening up, but not in a good, entertaining way. There's a lot of stuff that I just don't need to hear about.
I don't want to know when Sonja has gas or, for that matter, think about the color of her pubic hair. I don't want to watch these ladies scoop dog poop or plunge a toilet. Call me a purist, but I like my Housewives to be glamorous, classy and with a little bit of poise. Reality TV is all about disclosure and vulnerable moments, but these ladies have really removed the veil from my eyes, and I can't go back.
Too Many Cliches and Stereotypes
Since I'm an optimist, I'd like to think that the Housewives franchise was created in a feminist effort to offer stories about women, and RHONY is no exception. This group bucks the convention of the show and they started out as powerful examples of successful women. None of these women were even married, much less housewives, when the latest season began.
While they might have started as an interesting alternative to the "housewife" archetype, the show has painted them into other gross stereotypes. Of course, all the women are insanely rich, yet they are completely tone-deaf and entitled when it comes to their wealth. Ramona greeted her contractor in a negligee and Bethenny spent $10,000 to remove moths from her closet. Without much self-awareness to how unrelatable this is to viewers, they continue to exist inside an elite New York City bubble. Ramona uses the word "penniless" as a stinging insult, as the worst thing she could have said to her.
The women have devolved farther and farther into the characters they've cultivated, and their actual personalities are lost inside the "personal brand" we see on the screen. Further, their characters have become caricatures of middle-aged, rich, white women, with more money than they have inhibitions or dignity.
Ratings Are Dropping
Folks just aren't watching the Housewives anymore, and it's not just New York that suffers. All the franchise numbers are down, and New York has dropped 26 percent since 2010. This is a result of many factors, but it doesn't bode well for the franchise's future. Once audiences go, a show doesn't have much life left. Maybe it's because of the above reasons, or maybe there's just too much to watch, but the numbers reflect a real decline in the show's popularity.
Do you think RHONY is in decline? Is there any way to fix the show? What are some of the worst moments? Let us know in the comments below.
The Real Housewives of New York City
airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo. Want more news? Like our Real Housewives of New York
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