BRAVO TV’s “Real Housewives” franchise is one of BRAVO’s most successful

Millions of viewers enjoy the shenanigans of these women each week. Part of the show’s success comes from presenting the so-called housewives (many aren’t actually married, and few could be labeled stay-at-home-moms) as aspirational and deplorable all at the same time. The typical BRAVO housewife is wealthy and beautiful, living a fabulous lifestyle that many would envy. At the same time, most are presented as unhappy, dishonest, conniving, or just plain stupid. But who are our very favorite housewives?

Vicki Gunvalson from the “Real Housewives of Orange County” has to top the list. The OG from the OC has been with the franchise since its inception. In spite of her beautiful home, designer clothes and professional success, Vicki seems to struggle with interpersonal relationships and comes off as lonely and just sad. And let’s not forget that she was in complicit in her boyfriend Brooks’ faking cancer. Yes, cancer. She also sided with Brooks over her own daughter Brianna, when Brianna claimed that Brooks had made inappropriate comments to and about Brianna. Vicki gets first prize.

Porsha Williams, a staple on the” Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is best known for what we might call ignorance. Some might say it’s plain stupidity. When visiting a historical site associated with the Underground Railroad, she asks, “So where’s the train?” This is especially ironic given that her claim to fame is being the granddaughter of Hosea Williams, famed civil rights advocate, and friend of Martin Luther King Jr.

Luann de Lesseps, the Countess, gets our vote for her obvious lack of self-awareness. After multiple seasons on “The Real Housewives of New York,” the Countess has recorded a pop single—“elegance is learned,” she croaks—become an “Eskimo sister” with one of her costars, ultimately marrying the man involved, regardless of seemingly definitive proof that he had been unfaithful. Through it all, the Countess never seems to register that there may be a problem.

Kim Richards exhibits a similar lack of self-awareness, but hers seems to stem from substance abuse. Once a regular on the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Kim has been demoted to the dreaded “friend of” status. Her alcoholism has consistently been her defining characteristic on the show. Many speculate that her substance abuse problems go beyond alcohol. Kim says she’s clean and sober now, but some of her antics make viewers wonder if it’s true.

HONORABLE MENTION: Slade Smiley from the “Real House Wives of Orange County.” Slade is not a housewife, but he’s been engaged to two of them: Jo de la Rosa and Gretchen Rossi. He maintains that he’s loved both women and that it’s somehow merely an odd coincidence that they both appeared on the same show. Both Jo and Gretchen are no longer cast members, and that means Slade is gone too. But when he was a regular, his hijinks certainly rivaled any of the women.