Real Housewives of Orange County - Gretchen Rossi

There have been screaming matches in New York City, table-flipping in New Jersey and wig-pulling in Atlanta. Now it's time for Bravo's Real Housewives franchise to get back to its roots for the fifth season of the Real Housewives of Orange County (premiering Thursday at 10/9c).

Cast member Gretchen Rossi tells TVGuide.com why the first ladies of Orange County will always hold their own among the many new faces of the Housewives universe. "We are the original housewives, and ultimately people's hearts are within the story lines of the people they've seen forever," Gretchen says. "Each of us women on the show has a little bit more sophistication and class than maybe some of the other [cities] project."

Real Housewives of Orange County adds a "spicy blonde"

If the ladies are taking the sophisticated approach, does that mean viewers won't see the back-stabbing and arguing we've come to expect from the show? Not from what Gretchen tell us, especially after the death of her partner Jeff last season and her ongoing tension with castmate Tamra Barney. "There might be some resolution but ultimately, I just say what needs to be said and I finally stand up for what's right," she says. "I'm back and better this season and I'm not taking any more punches."

Rossi is also back with a new man in her life, one that is a familiar face to fans of the show: Slade Smiley. "Slade is a part of my life right now and I'm so grateful to have him in my life," Rossi says. "I truly feel like Jeff sent me Slade."

So how much of Gretchen's love life will viewers see on camera this time around? What's next in her battle with Tamra? Watch the video below to get the scoop from Gretchen herself on all that and more: