We are praying Jennifer is going to be a one-and-done Housewife, because THIS WOMAN. Margaret really nailed it when she called Jennifer a "one-upper," and we still can't believe we had to see a woman brag about how her house in Paramus (!!) has the best sunset in the world (!!!) and that she, too, has a piano in her house despite no one in her family knowing how to play. Then there was the audacity to complain that a country music show in Oklahoma didn't cater to their attendance by playing house music and how she trusts her nanny to take care of her children but doesn't trust her enough to not steal from her. She is literally worst. There's also something so hypocritical about a woman whose house has 16 bathrooms and a basketball court gawking at the other women for wanting to buy $500 boots. Like, you flew all the way to China to furnish a room you hope a man will one day ask permission to marry your daughter in. Spend your money how you want, but at least be self-aware enough to understand that buying $500 shoes isn't the weird way to spend money in this situation.
Let's just make this clear: We hope D'Andra never leaves Dallas... but only because that would mean Dee would leave us too. Mama Dee is one of the greatest Housewives of all time, and she's not even a Housewife! But as Dee would say, we don't give a dog's rip about that technicality. D'Andra, on the other hand, did herself no favors this season, feuding with Brandi, LeeAnne and Kameron. And while we love a good feud, not a single fight D'Andra was involved in this year was good, nor were any of them fun. The way D'Andra repeatedly and callously badgered LeeAnne over her extended engagement to Rich wasn't the actions of a concerned friend; all season long it felt like D'Andra was itching to pick a fight with her bestie and bring the old LeeAnne out (which she succeeded in doing, eventually). But in the process, D'Andra showed her own true colors: that of someone who is just as desperate for validation and just as reactive as LeeAnne, but without the self-awareness to realize that these are issues she should work on.
Kenya is typically too much, but this year she gave us far too little. Even though she had a peach, Kenya was probably in Atlanta this year less than Marlo and maybe even less than Shamea! We're very happy that Kenya got what she wanted with a husband and a child, but damn, she just checked out. Kenya barely was around and when she was, it was only to complain about having to take care of her husband like he was a child or to storm into the bathroom and refuse to film with the other women. Maybe once things settle down with Kenya's family life, she'll twirl back into our lives, but there's no room in Atlanta for a half-ass Housewife.
Few Housewives were more grating to watch than Candiace this year. There is something so unappealing about watching an engaged woman in her 30s asking her mother to see her as an adult when said mother still pays all of her bills and pays for the house she and her fiancé live in. And there's something so tragic about a woman who isn't self-aware enough to see that the story in which she briefly ended her engagement to her fiancé when he called her a princess because she made him carry her purse isn't a flattering look on her. Candiace's efforts to seem fancy and important are so forced, we get tired just watching her. Also, there is nothing classy about talking about the color of your husband's penis to anyone who is willing to listen.
Good riddance. When Siggy first joined Jersey, face still wrapped from a facelift and drinking lobster bisque through a straw, we instantly loved her. However, the shine on Siggy quickly faded and by the time we got to her final episodes in the beginning of this year, our love for Siggy truly was soggy. Her feud with Margaret was so tiresome and she took it to unnecessarily low levels, being rude to Margaret's mother and siccing PETA on her over the taxidermy bear in Margaret's foyer all because Margaret made fun of the numerous portraits of Siggy in her own which, for the record, ARE BONKERS. We did find all the scenes with Siggy and her children quite entertaining though, which isn't true for many Housewives, so she does get some points for that.
Shannon used to be one of the all-time greats. Sadly, that time has passed. We thought that after Shannon and David divorced, we'd see a new, lighter Shannon, free from the burden of a husband who doesn't love her and ready to build a better, happier life. What we got was pretty much the opposite. While we won't weigh in on some of the other women's evaluations of Shannon's mental state, we will say that spending the entire season watching Shannon sob over her life only to learn she had a secret boyfriend throughout filming left us feeling cheated. Plus, Shannon was not only cold and cruel to the newcomers, particularly Gina, but she couldn't even be a good friend to Tamra during such a difficult time with Eddie's health. Shannon's lack of self-awareness used to be comical, but now it's just tiring.
Carole was the ultimate cool girl when she joined Housewives, making fans wonder WTF someone like Carole was even doing there. But oh, have the times changed. Every year since, Carole got a little more in the muck with the other women, but this year she was really rolling in it. Carole was so cold, so cruel and so calculated with Bethenny, it was hard to watch at times (even though it was refreshing to see someone who truly wasn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with Bethenny). But the ego on this woman -- who made us suffer through the world's most boring marathon storyline for what felt like forever -- was truly exposed when she had the gall to come for Andy f---ing Cohen during the reunion, plus the way she insensitively wrote off her friendship with Tinsley rather than appreciate her enduring support. But you know what Carole's real worst behavior was this year? She ordered one hard-boiled egg and two scrambled and insisted that they never touch. What else needs to be said?
We know Teresa is a legend and she has given us so many gifts over the years. That being said, YIKES. What Teresa is going through with her family is devastating and we have nothing but empathy for her in that regard. But the way she treats Melissa like garbage while refusing to take any responsibility in the matters with her brother is deplorable. So many issues -- including Joe and Melissa's vacation on the one-year anniversary of their mother's death -- could have been resolved if Teresa, we don't know, talked to him! Instead, Teresa's insistence that Melissa control her husband is so unfair to Melissa and just feels like an excuse for her to lash out at her sister-in-law. This whole fight feels heavy and the exact opposite of the fun entertainment we turn to Housewives for. There's also the fact that Tre is focusing on her new bodybuilder aspirations, and the only other real amusement we're getting from her recently is watching her pull out bland vegetables and dry chicken from her purse like the world's most boring magician.
Jackie's got some fire in her. After multiple episodes of doing basically nothing, Jackie woke up and inserted herself right in the middle of Teresa and Melissa's fight at Jennifer's house, telling Tre it isn't her place to say what Melissa can and can't talk to her husband about. Jackie then doubled down saying that if wives could control their husbands, then wouldn't Teresa's not be in jail right now? There is no doubt that Jackie crossed a line here, but we absolutely loved it. You need new women to come in with fresh perspectives and strong opinions and challenge the others, particularly Teresa. And while Melissa's desire to reach out to a sister who may not even exist had us rolling our eyes, Jackie's desire to reconcile with her sister on-camera has us intrigued. It's still too early to call whether Jackie will be a good Housewife or a forgettable one, but she's earned some definite goodwill in her brief time with us so far.
Bethenny is verging on becoming the Vicki Gunvalson of New York. She has lost any sense of self-awareness and is rarely sympathetic, even when she may be on the right side of an issue. That being said, she did have her moments this season. Even though neither woman in the fight between her and Carole behaved well, it was obvious to everyone but Carole that Bethenny was truly hurting over the dissolution of their friendship and wanted to try and fix it. Then again, the callous way Bethenny spoke down to Ramona and her fledgling business efforts was repulsive, as was their fight over whether Bethenny's house was in the Hamptons or not (who effing cares). It's always a give-and-take with Bethenny, but lately it's felt like she's been taking too much and not giving us much in return. But we are glad Bethenny used this platform she built to spotlight the crisis in Puerto Rico and launch her incredibly important B Strong relief initiatives.
We're still just getting to know Shamari, so this is definitely a first impression and not a final judgment, but OOF, this woman tries too hard. Shamari seems like a fine human being, but it's like she's performing a version of herself rather than just being herself. If Shamari relaxed a little, we think she might actually be a lot of fun! And we do love how open and confident Shamari is. So many Housewives are extremely cagey or overprotective about their lives, but Shamari seems ready to put it all out there because she knows she's got her sh-- together, no matter what any haters say. You gotta give it up for that (and then maybe give her a makeover too).
It seems as though Vanderpump's tightly controlled reign of Beverly Hills may finally be coming to an end. Vanderpump has long been the puppet master of the series, producing drama behind the scenes and using her unwitting co-stars to do the dirty work before she throws them under the bus. Now, it seems they've had enough of her games. Vanderpump's feud with Kyle and Dorit was one of the most tedious arguments we've been subjected to, but it exposed Vanderpump's scheming machinations in a way that was hard to ignore -- particularly when Dorit finally found herself on the receiving end of Lisa's "British humor" as punishment for stepping to the self-proclaimed Queen Bee. With rumors that LVP's time on Beverly Hills has come to an end, we find ourselves hoping the reports are true.
Is there anything worse than someone who's messy but refuses to admit it? Monique cares so much about what people think of her character, but maybe she should be worrying more about her own actions than how people perceive her. First, she attempted to use Candiace to stir up sh-- (which backfired when Candiace wound up going after Charisse) but it was Monique's decision to bring Kyndall -- the ex-wife of Gizelle's boyfriend -- around that was truly next level. We aren't shaming Monique over the scheme itself (we love a good scheme), but because Monique refused to take any responsibility for it! Nothing is less flattering than a Housewife who won't own her sh--. Well, nothing except complaining constantly about how hard your life is because you don't have a nanny when you also DO NOT HAVE A JOB. That might actually be worse.
Cary just didn't give us a lot to go on this year. Without LeeAnne accusing her husband of getting his d--- sucked at the Round-Up or her husband seemingly getting jealous of her wanting to spend more time with their daughter, there just wasn't a lot left to dig into. Cary spent the first half of the season snitching on everyone else, which created a lot of drama for the other women. And in the second half, she tried REALLY hard to make the trip to Denmark seem organic and family-oriented and not a producer-mandated group activity. Cary set the board up for a lot of great things this season, but she just didn't play the game very much... until the reunion, that is. The reunion was a great reminder of what Cary brings to this series, and we hope we see more of that next year.
There is something very appealing about Emily. Although she carries herself in a very poised and reserved manner, there's a lot lurking under the surface (something we glimpsed when she threatened to kill Kelly and when she revealed that she married her husband Shane after he proposed via Google Chat). Speaking of Shane, we can't f---ing stand him. There is a coldness, both in the way he treats other people and in the way he treats Emily, that sends chills down our spine. And as of now, Emily hasn't given enough of herself outside of her marriage and family life to properly separate the two, and that relationship is, unfortunately, coloring our opinion of her. But even more than that, Emily committed one of the few Housewives mortal sins: she was kind of forgettable. While Gina came in with a bang (several, in fact) Emily just politely knocked on the door, greeted you with a nice bottle of wine, and then strolled into the party where she kind of got lost in the crowd.
We feel for Melissa, we really do. She has worked so hard over the past few years to build a solid relationship with Teresa and now it seems that was all for naught. Tre has once again turned her wrath on her sister-in-law and Melissa is once again trapped in the middle between Teresa and her husband Joe. At this point, their fights are just repetitive and too dark to even enjoy. And then, as if we didn't have enough family drama with Melissa already, she very tearfully gave the wackadoo reveal that a medium told her that her late father wants Melissa to know that she has a half-sister she didn't know about. The idea of adding a pro-Melissa relative into the mix could be interesting, but watching a woman sob because a medium said something that hasn't been fact-checked in the least was... a lot to take in.
Teddi's biggest flaw is that she seems normal. We could imagine ourselves having a lovely dinner with Teddi, but lovely and normal are not what makes good Housewives. Also, Teddi's insistence on always pointing out that she doesn't care about glamour and doesn't support talking behind people's backs doesn't make her seem cool, it makes her seem in willful denial of the show she signed up to be a part of.
There is a great Housewife lurking inside Gina; we just don't know if she's in the right city. Gina's straight-talking, no bullsh-- energy would fit right in with New Jersey, but the O.C. women don't seem to know how to handle her. Did Gina stir up a lot of sh-- this season? Yes. Would this season have been completely dull without her? God yes. We also have to give Gina credit for standing up for herself this first season, particularly when it came to Shannon and Vicki. Gina often took things too far, but the way her co-stars bullied and shamed Gina for her life choices wasn't acceptable. (Remember how horrified the women were when Gina revealed she doesn't believe in God?) Do we understand why Gina is divorcing someone she is purportedly attracted to and still loves? No. But we want her to stick around so that we can maybe find out.
We've been fans of Eva the Diva since America's Next Top Model, so we were ecstatic when she showed up as a "Friend of" in Season 10. Eva brought it right away with the scoop about Cynthia's boo, Will, and that rightfully earned her a peach for Season 11. What we've quickly learned this season, though, is that the Will drama wasn't a fluke, nor was her little dustup with Shamea. Eva is messy as hell. She's just as shady now as she was when she conspired to carve "CLEAN YOUR SH-- UP" in Cassie's brownies, but that's exactly what this show needs (although we would prefer she pick on someone other than sweet Cynthia). Atlanta is not a franchise for low-key personalities. Bigger tends to be better around here when it comes to looks and drama, and Eva is serving us both so far. Could her messiness soon become too sweaty and wear on us? Most definitely. But for now, we're happy to have her around.
Kyle found herself caught up in several of the most tedious Housewives fights of all time this year. Although the drama over whether or not Kyle thought it was "weird" that Erika left Teddi's beach house to deal with her crippling period was squashed fairly quickly, the friendship triangle between herself, Dorit and Vanderpump was endless. Kyle was 100-percent right to call Vanderpump out on the double standard between how Lisa treats Kyle and how Lisa treats Dorit, but after a certain point you just need to understand who Vanderpump is and either accept it and go along or accept it and move on. Instead, all Kyle did this season was let Lisa get under her skin. That and remodel her house, only to decide to buy a brand-new one at the last minute.
We were shocked when Tinsley was asked to return for Season 10 since she was such a snoozer in her debut, but Tins really stepped it up this year. The woman gave us sobbing with her mother over a photo of Tinsley's frozen embryos while she was wearing a wedding dress! That is the kind of stuff we come here for. We also feel for Tinsley since it became so clear that although she believed she had found a real friend in Carole, Carole clearly was just using Tinsley as an on-camera ally once her friendship with Bethenny fell apart. We can't believe we're saying this, but Team Tinsley all the way!
Robyn finally woke up. After sleeping her way through her first two years on the series, Robyn Dixon came to play in 2018. While Robyn's feuds with Karen and Monique weren't the things of legends (although that umbrella encounter came close) they did show a new, edgier side to the Potomac Housewife. Robyn was done taking anyone's crap this year and her way of handling issues -- like confronting Karen at her event about being a liar but claiming it wasn't an ambush, it was a "message" -- was refreshingly transparent in its messiness.
While we hate to agree with Vanderpump, Rinna really didn't seem as engaged this year as we're used to. This is probably because she was busy as hell with her non-Housewives obligations, or maybe it's because she really was tired of playing Vanderpump's game. Either way, while her behavior didn't do much to raise Rinna's standing this year, it didn't do much to tarnish it. What Rinna did give us this year was an amazing cameo from her charming mother Lois, dusters on top of dusters and her truly enviable friendship with Erika, who opens up around Rinna in a way we wish the other women could see.
Dolores is a great supporting player. She really hasn't been front and center this year, but not every Housewife needs to be all the time. Instead, Dolores has found a nice niche as Teresa's sidekick without getting dragged into that family drama too much -- probably because she has own her family issues to work through. Dolores and Frank's relationship has always been puzzling, but we've really rooted for them... until this year. The revelation that he kept his secret of getting disbarred from her and lied to Dolores about who knew about this fact have us ready to pull the plug on their platonic partnership. We love Dolores and we're ready to see her really get out and about, free from the past and forging her own future.
We're still not over the fact that Sheree left us (again), but also that now we'll never know what happens with her and Tyrone (who is still in jail for stealing $5 million through wire fraud). Of course, it wasn't cute how staunchly Sheree stood by Kim's side throughout the roach debacle (likely in part because Nene was talking sh-- about Tyrone). But now we will literally never get the chance to see how all these simmering tensions boil over OR what's going on with those joggers! While we haven't really missed Sheree too much since she left, we still would like to see her return one day to answer all our burning questions and show off that basement some more.
Tamra got naked, jumped in a hot tub and broke her ankle. Now that we've gotten THAT out of the way, Tamra did a lot of other things this season too. Watching her deal with Eddie's heart troubles was a sobering ordeal, bringing a lot of the season's pettier drama into perspective -- particularly when it came to Shannon. Tamra is no saint herself, but she does have a habit of playing the enabler in some truly twisted friendships. First it was Vicki, and now it's Shannon. These dynamics always boil over occasionally, but while it was fun to watch Vicki and Tamra's old blowouts, there is nothing fun about watching Shannon and Tamra fight. We're as exhausted by Shannon's antics as Eddie appears to be, so it's frustrating to see such a great Housewife like Tamra get bogged down in storylines that we no longer want any part of.
We feel bad for Kandi's placement in this list because we have so much respect for her, but respecting someone doesn't necessarily mean they deliver great TV. Kandi, to be honest, doesn't give us a lot -- or at least she doesn't give us things that are very interesting. She will often respond to situations in amusing ways or low-key instigate drama while pretending to be neutral (as she does with Porsha quite a bit), but she rarely has a storyline of her own that isn't just about how she works too much or how her daughter doesn't feel like she gets enough attention, which is INCREDIBLY dark and not in a fun way. It seems like Kandi is an amazing person that would be really fun to kick it with, but at this point we just need her to do something a little different on the show. Also, let's not forget how nonchalant Kandi was when Nene told the audience member to get raped by an Uber driver. Her lack of offense at that comment was shocking, particularly after everything she had gone through with Porsha and Phaedra last year.
We don't know how Vicki does it, but she wormed her way back into her co-stars' good graces -- and ours. We were ready to put Vicki out to pasture, but the OG of the O.C. is never one to go down without a fight (a fight in which she will never admit any modicum of wrongdoing, but a fight nonetheless). All this being said, though, Vicki's relationship with Steve Lodge is as boring on TV as it likely is in real life and we really felt Brianna's absence this season. Vicki's daughter is as much a part of this show as she is, and Brianna's calming, rational energy always helped balance out Vicki's more outlandish behavior. But at least this season, Vicki's bad behavior wasn't on the level of faking cancer, which isn't exactly a high bar. Plus, the way she attacked Kelly -- accusing her of doing cocaine and being an absent mother -- in part because Kelly called Vicki "a fart" reminded us that Vicki should remain, as Kameron would say, on friendship and Housewives probation for the foreseeable future.
Cynthia has become a necessity to Atlanta. She isn't the flashiest or the most dramatic, but we need her stable, simple energy. There is an aspirational charm to seeing Cynthia pour herself a glass of chilled white wine and pop some frozen grapes in it, and an endearing quality to her announcing that the theme of her Fourth of July party is... wait for it... red, white and blue. And let's not forget how she traumatized the other women by forcing them to stay in that low-budget AirBnb in Spain! What was not endearing, however, was her defending the scammer Will despite all her other her cast mates saying they heard rumors about him. Fortunately, she wound up ditching Will and is now completely in lust with that L.A. sportscaster. Good for you, Cynthia! Live your best life. You deserve it.
Now that Siggy's out of the picture, we can get some more non-Soggy Flicker related storylines for the princess of pigtails. Of course, it's hard for anyone to really get much screen time with Theresa and Melissa's blood feud back in full swing, but Margaret is doing a good job these days of getting her moments in. She really has become the audience stand-in when it comes to calling out Jennifer's exhausting behavior, and her idea for her Hospital Heroes charity and children's hospital gowns is very, very sweet. However, Margaret being trapped between Dolores and Danielle isn't going anywhere good, and we wonder if she'll be able to survive that feud unscathed.
Dorit is insufferable. There's no denying that. However, Dorit does make for good television, even if it's often at the expense of her own credibility and reputation. And while it's fun to mock Dorit for being an obnoxious person who gets wasted at dinner and calls acquaintances c--ts, or for spending tens of thousands on Hermes china or even for complaining about having to drink champagne out of a wine glass, there is literally nothing fun about watching Dorit always being late and not admitting it or watching Dorit drudge up months old drama for no understandable purpose. Dorit is incapable of self-reflection or owning anything she does, but at least she's giving us SOMETHING to watch on Beverly Hills.
Ramona is a schemer. Sometimes this works out for her, but other times... not so much. And this year, Ramona's self-interest was terribly transparent. Her trying to go to Tom's New Year's Eve party and inviting his ex, Missy, to that Bendel event were not flattering looks on Ramona, and let's not forget when she made those poor men schlub things around her house. But none of these moments compare to Ramona breaking the news to the press that Luann was out of rehab by Instagramming a photo, nor the moment when SHE LITERALLY SH-- ON THE FLOOR. Ramona is an OG Housewife and always will be in our hearts, but goddamn, sometimes she really tests our limits with her bullsh-- (and again, literal sh--).
Erika has been flawless on Housewives... until this year. While her looks remained on point and very on brand, Erika seemed far less engaged, particularly during the reunion. It definitely seemed like something was up with the "XXpen$ive" star, but that Erika didn't want to let us in on it, which would also be very on brand for Erika. But what really hurt Erika this year is that her most memorable moment wasn't a very flattering one. Although Teddi was wrong to accuse Erika of having "pretend amnesia," Erika's reaction was unnecessarily aggressive and her refusal to meet Teddi halfway during her apology wasn't the effortlessly cool, composed and clever Erika we fell for.
Dorinda can be hard to love sometimes, but boy do we love her. She pretty much went after each of the women this year at various points, and often for pretty stupid reasons. There was the Bethenny fight over the appropriate level of nutcracker gratitude, the blow-up with Sonja over putting a deer on shoes, heckling Luann during her cabaret ("JOVANI!" has already been etched in its rightful place in catchphrase heaven) and so many more. When Dorinda was wrong, she was spectacularly wrong. When she was right, she was so spectacularly aggressive that it was hard to even see her point. And the fun we typically get from watching the women go at each other in dramatic fashion was dampened by the dark cloud of Dorinda's drunken dinner ahead of Puerto Rico and Bethenny's accusation that followed. Plus, while we respect Dorinda wanting to protect her relationship, the decision to reduce John's involvement this year definitely didn't sit well with us. Don't be on a reality show unless you're ready to show us your reality.
It's pretty much impossible for us to ever get mad at Sonja. Even when she was absurdly attacking Tinsley early in the season, we couldn't hold that bad behavior against her. Same when she compared her divorce to Dorinda's husband DYING. Sonja's perception of reality is so different and her priorities are so off -- don't forget that she went off her antidepressants to lose weight -- that all we want to do is take care of Sonja. We're glad Bethenny stepped up a bit and became Sonja's new batting partner this year, giving us some wacky friendship antics. We're also glad that Sonja wasn't ashamed of the fact that she wears a diaper when she rides a bus to visit her friends in the Hamptons where she keeps a car but doesn't have any property. Sonja is shameless and guileless and will always be one of the all-time great Housewives (who got full asking price for her townhouse, mind you).
Kameron is definitely an acquired taste, but she's like the Dorit of Dallas and we can't imagine the show without her. That being said, we hope to NEVER find ourselves in an argument with Kameron. While Kameron's ditziness and unique style of enunciation can be quite charming, the second she finds herself in a fight she becomes the most insufferable person in the world, escalating situations immediately and repeating phrases and names like she's Ashley on Southern Charm. But these moments aren't common and as quickly as Kameron heats up, she cools down (for the most part), letting us get back to watching her work hard to ensure her pink diarrhea dog food company flourishes.
Karen Huger fashions herself the Grand Dame of Potomac (despite no longer living in Potomac, but, semantics), however this season she was the Grand Dame of Bullsh--. And we don't even feel bad about how lazy that wordplay is because Karen couldn't have been any lazier when it came to her lies. Whether it was regarding her husband's tax evasion, her alleged affair with Blue Eyes, Ray asking her for a divorce, not wearing her wedding ring, (*deep breath*) why her charity doesn't have a nonprofit status, her perfume company, where she actually lives or WTF the deal with her "assistant" Matt is, we didn't trust a word out of Karen's mouth all season. Karen has one of the most interesting lives of all the Housewives but she refuses to talk about it! She even held a press conference to talk about it during which she refused to talk about it! She did, however, give us a moment for the ages when her wig slipped off her head and right into our hearts and the history books.
Nene is one of the all-time greatest Housewives. Period. Nene reminds us of this constantly, as best evidenced this year when she and Gregg dressed up as an exterminator and a roach in a move of petty brilliance. That being said, some of the origins of her many fights this year -- fighting with Kim in part because Kim took a pic of Nene's car? Fighting with Porsha because.... why? -- were a bit convoluted, and we cannot and will not defend her telling a heckler to get raped by an Uber driver. But watching her stand by Gregg and step up as a caregiver during his fight with cancer has been an incredibly emotional and powerful experience. While many wouldn't want to open up their lives to the public during such a trying time, we commend Nene and Gregg for telling their story because it is something Real Housewives rarely is: inspiring.
Ashley is one of the more tragic Housewives but also one of the more entertaining ones, which is a tricky balance to sustain. It was hard watching Ashley struggling to rebuild her marriage with Michael this year (re-signing a prenup as a show of good faith should be a tell-tale sign that romance is NOT in the air), but our hearts truly broke for her when she found herself pitted between her husband and her mother. When Michael told Ashley that he didn't want to have kids with her because he was worried that she'd raise his children the way her mother raised her, we only wish we could have jumped into the TV to rush to Ashley's defense. Instead, we had to sit back and watch her forgive him for this unforgivable remark. But when Ashley wasn't dealing with her own tragic drama, she was trying to expose everyone else's. And what makes Ashley so great is that she will confront everyone about their sh-- to their faces, and this is a level of shameless that we can't help but respect.
First off, mazel tov to Brandi, Brian and baby Bruin. We're very happy to see their family expanding and wish nothing but good things upon them. But now that that's out of the way, Brandi, darling, if you're so concerned about LeeAnne calling you an alcoholic and the potential risk that may put Bruin's adoption in, why would you ever, EVER think the best way to respond would be to get blackout drunk to prove you aren't an alcoholic? This kind of backwards thinking is exactly why we love Brandi, though. You just never know what you're going to get with her. Sometimes that can be a bad thing (like saying LeeAnne was only friends with Stephanie to get back at Brandi) and other times that's a great thing (like when a wasted Brandi tried to break up a fight between D'Andra and LeeAnne in an elevator). Brandi definitely got the villain edit this year, but she's the kind of villain you can't help but love.
Kelly has achieved something few Housewives are able to do: she has matured beyond the terrifyingly temperamental, vindictive persona she embodied in her first season but she hasn't lost what made us love her to begin with. There is still some of the old Kelly that peeks out every now and then (that reunion fight with Vicki!), but we also got to know the other sides of Kelly more this year, including her tender, mothering side with Jolie, who is low-key the best part of O.C. these days. Single Kelly is also a fascinating thing to behold, as she clearly doesn't really know what she wants or what she's doing other than having a no-strings-attached good time. And Kelly deserves to have a little fun! She also deserves a completely different cast. Kelly is so much better than the O.C. crew now, and it's really holding her back from reaching her full Housewives potential.
Previously only known as being the woman with the pool in her foyer, Stephanie showed us new sides of herself this year. And you know what? We really liked them all! Not only did Stephanie open up about her struggles with her mental health and a previous suicide attempt, but she also took steps forward in becoming comfortable with her own autonomy. Sure, she was still terrified at the idea of having to make decisions when Travis was gone for a month, but she asserted her agency when she forged an unexpected friendship with LeeAnne despite her BFF Brandi's feud with her. Stephanie was caught in the middle this year, but she handled it well, refusing to be forced into choosing sides and for that we are proud of her. In a year filled with cruel jabs and broken friendships, Stephanie brought a real light to Dallas and we don't know if we could have gotten through everything without her. Stephanie was proof that you can be sweet and still make for great TV, which really is a major accomplishment.
Gizelle may not be the most flashy or dramatic of the Potomac Housewives, but she is the steadying force the series needs. Gizelle can go off, as she did on Monique (several times, in fact) and she can definitely get wacky (#FreeUncleBen), but Gizelle is also the much-needed voice of reason. As we saw in Cannes and during the reunion, Gizelle can turn on her First Lady persona at the drop of a very large hat and it's this ability to cover the full spectrum, from yelling at your close friend while a mime watches to comforting them over their parents' deaths, that makes her an all-star Housewife. Plus, anyone who can say this -- " You tried to take a shot and you missed. I don't miss. I'm a ninja waiting in the cut to blow your face off" -- without laughing deserves nothing but our utmost respect.
Even a meditation bowl and a shrunken amygdala can't keep a great Housewife down. Whenever a Housewife vows to turn over a new leaf and stay out of the drama, we get nervous because for some of these women their charm lies in the drama. But LeeAnne is so much more than violent threats and throwing glasses; everything LeeAnne does is endlessly watchable. And while the old LeeAnne ultimately did show up, accusing D'Andra and Brandi of having drinking problems (which, to be clear, are comments that we are not condoning in any way), it seems like that had been both D'Andra and Brandi's real goal all along: to expose the fact that the malicious, reactive LeeAnne was still there. But LeeAnne never pretended otherwise, and we'll always root for the person actively trying to better herself than trying to prove someone else's betterment is a sham. LeeAnne is not only the queen of the friend group, she's the queen of Dallas.
Porsha, where have you been all our lives?! After spending the first half of the year in Housewives purgatory after accusing Kandi of rape, Porsha charmed her way back into everyone's good graces, even getting Kandi to be cordial toward her. As if that wasn't radical enough, Porsha kicked off the second half of the year by stealing literally every scene she's been in. Being in love with a hot dog mogul sure is a good look on Porsha. While there are some things about Porsha's new man that raise eyebrows, we can't really complain as long as she's happy, delivering hilarious one-liners and fighting over sharing toothbrushes like she's been doing. If Nene is the comedy queen of Atlanta, there's no doubt in our minds now that Porsha is the princess.
No Housewife was more talked about in 2018 than the former Countess, Luann de Lesseps D'Agostino de Lesseps. Between getting arrested, checking into rehab twice, getting sued by her children and leaving her own sh-- in a hotel bed, Luann hit some truly low lows this year. But the fandom rallied around her (a lot more than some of her so-called friends did at certain points) and Lu actually came out of it all rather unscathed. Despite the issues she was dealing with, Luann noted the extra attention placed on her this year and managed to capitalize on this by creating a successful series of cabaret shows that is still running well into 2019! Although some of what the other ladies had to say about Lu's ego during the reunion make us fear for how Lu will fare next season, we rooted for Lu to succeed all year, and seeing her sell out her cabaret is a well-deserved happy ending to a very tumultuous year.