The Real Housewives of New York City is a reality TV show about four (they're adding a fifth for Season 2) wealthy New York City women and their various adventures and catfights. It's a spin-off of Bravo's hit The Real Housewives of Orange County. I must confess, though, that I care nothing for those Orange County hausfraus (or their Atlanta colleagues). As a New Yorker, I predictably am so self-centered that I only watch the New York City version.
I admit that reality television is a somewhat guilty pleasure for me. I have viewed episodes of both Tool Academy and Rock of Love Bus, so you know it's serious. The great thing about The Real Housewives of New York City is that it delivers all of the rubbernecking appeal of your favorite reality TV shows while also allowing you an inside look at how the other half lives here in New York City. If you can stifle your bitter envy, it's fun to check out expensive New York real estate and mock the decorating styles of the rich.
It helps that all of these women are pretty entertaining, especially from a safe distance. Here's a little bit about each of the Real Housewives of New York City, in the order of who I'd most like to gossip with over margaritas.
- Bethenny Frankel is the single "housewife." She's a natural foods chef with her own line of baked goods (which are actually very yummy). But the best thing about Bethenny is her ability to snark on the other housewives. Occasionally, her humor verges on the mean, which endears her to me further. Bethenny also knows how to have a good time and frequently has a margarita in hand on the show. In fact, a Bravo press release reveals that Bethenny is currently working on her own line of low-cal cocktails. Must be tough work, Bethenny, let me know if you need a product tester.
- Jill Zarin is a mom, a regular on the social circuit, and a consummate hostess. She also helps her husband Bobby run the family business, the Lower East Side landmark Zarin Fabrics. Despite her fancy dinner parties and her fashion show flip-outs, Jill is a straight shooter and tends to loosen up when she's hanging with Bethenny.
- Kelly Killoren Bensimon is the brand-new housewife. I don't know much about her, but a Bravo press release describes her as "a model, equestrian, author, editor, and designer," so she is clearly very versatile. Kelly is also a columnist for Page Six Magazine so you know she'd have scoop to share.
- Ramona Singer is the wild and crazy housewife. She was known for making scenes during Season 1, which is always entertaining (though not for her poor daughter Avery). Ramona is also a businesswoman juggling jewelry lines, a fashion company, and a new skin care line. She'd be fun to hang out with -- just don't expect her to show up on time.
- Alex McCord is wife to Simon, mom to Francois and Johan, and a busy career gal and former nude model. She is kind of quirky and fun, despite her sometimes obnoxious social maneuvering. I also admire her audacity to live in (gasp!) Brooklyn, much to the disdain of the other housewives.
- LuAnn de Lesseps is everyone's favorite Countess and etiquette expert. Though I love her style, I don't think I could hang with a Countess. I'd probably screw up and call her by her first name (not advised for her social inferiors).