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Is Bethenny Back? Is Sheree? Who Cares!

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by Bravo

Hello everyone and welcome to the beach volleyball finals! Oh, just kidding, this is an Olympics-free zone, but mostly because I live in London and, get this, when they show the Olympics they only show the British people and the sports that they’re good at. I mean, congrats on your silver, but how much taekwondo can a nation possibly watch? And what about the Americans? Hmm? What about the sports we’re good at? U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! Instead we will be discussing our favorite sport: Real Housewives. This newsletter has all the classic highlights of a sporting event: a new restaurant for Lisa Vanderpump, Drake, a bee attack! Okay, fine. This is nothing like sports. But that’s why we love it.

Dame Brian Moyan

Mention It All

Not all the news, but all the news you actually care about.

THE BEE’S KNEES: Our girl Kyle Richards is scared of many things: flying, surgery, not being able to do the splits at parties. But there is one that we didn’t even know about: bees. Not only is she afraid, but she’s also incredibly allergic. She posted on her Instagram Story that she walked into a hive of bees and was stung multiple times. When she tried to use her EpiPen, she couldn’t get it to function and had to call an ambulance.

It doesn’t seem so dramatic until you watch the security-camera footage of her freaking out, thinking that her hair is full of bees (what, was she on ketamine?), and jumping in the pool multiple times to get the insects off of her. The video is so wild, it made CNN!

In her Instagram post she thanked the firefighters who answered her 911 call and those at the hospital “for responding so fast and taking such good care of me. Including helping me through my panic attack. And for repeatedly having to convince me there were no more bees in my hair.”

This might sting a little less (girl, you thought I could resist myself?) if Kyle manages to sell her old house, the one we see Sutton Stracke living in on this season of RHOBH. Her daughters Farrah and Alexia just listed the house with, of course, The Agency for $6.75 million. Richards-Umanskys listed the house last June for $5.95 million before pulling it from the market. Maybe it’s worth more now because Sutton lived there. Or because it’s bee free.

TIER A PERSONALITY: Things aren’t looking great for our resident grifter Jen Shah. TMZ reported that federal prosecutors named Shah as a “Tier A” suspect who is “responsible for orchestrating the broader scheme.” Shah is accused of being one of the people in charge of a telemarketing scheme that targeted senior citizens with fraudulent products. Two of the other “senior participants” in the case, who were on the same tier as Shah, have been sentenced to 78 months and 60 months in prison for their crimes. That’s even more months than Joe Giudice served, which means that, while things aren’t looking good for Jen, at least she’s in the running for the title of longest prison sentence for a Bravo cast member.

A GAY OLD TIME: If you weren’t already excited about the next season of RHOSLC, there’s even more non-Jen related drama. Hospital sniffer Mary Cosby recently took to Instagram to say she blocked castmate Heather Gay on Instagram because she is a racist. She offered no evidence to support this claim, but did add, “She’s a #karen if [you’re] not African American then you will not know!” I don’t care what it takes — more money, an extra supply of Adderall — please get those editors working overtime and get this season on the air STAT.

THE END OF ‘DAYS’: Peacock is going hard after the Housewives demographic. Not only is the streaming service giving us Real Housewives All-Stars, the reboot of Real Housewives of Miami, and the Kyle Richards Christmas movie, now they’re doing a five-episode limited series that is a continuation of Days of Our Lives with Lisa Rinna and soap legend Deidre Hall reprising their iconic roles with iconic hair. Don’t worry, the Institute has a (fancy, commercial-free) subscription and will be sharing the log-in with all enrollees.

MIAMI HEAT: It looks like Real Housewives of Miami might be worth the price of that Peacock membership on its own. “Page Six” reports exclusively that the cast is filming in Montauk — which is Summer House territory — and staying at an $8 million mansion, “which they found through Nest Seekers International’s Sara Burack.” Hmm. I wonder who told “Page Six” this exclusively? Hmm. Any ideas, SARA?!

During the trip, the EMTs were called to treat rumored cast member Julia Lemigova. Apparently she got too much sun and had to have an IV but didn’t go to the hospital. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Julia is already your new favorite Housewife. Not only is she the last Miss USSR, which is fucking badass on its own, she is also married to tennis great Martina Navratilova, which is even more badass. Now she’s forcing people to call an ambulance because she got overheated? That is Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr. level foolishness, and I am here for every second of it.

RIDING INTO THE SUNSET: I know it’s not strictly Real Housewives related, but I feel like the fandoms of Housewives and Selling Sunset overlap enough that we can talk about Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim, her boss and the shortest living man on television. The two acknowledged their relationship on Instagram this week. I know what your next question is and, yes, that is the same one who dated officemate and co-star Mary Fitzgerald. So, yes, even if you don’t watch this show, I know you’re a fan of reality TV dramz, so enjoy!

ERIKA UPDATES: Not a ton on the Girardi lawsuit front these past two weeks, but Variety’s resident Bravoholic Kate Aurthur talked to some legal experts about how the case might impact Erika Jayne’s performance on the show and how the show might impact the legal proceedings. Definitely worth a read, if only because it mentions my recaps. Things aren’t looking great for Tom, though. The price of his house just got slashed from $13 million to $9.98 million. Also there are $6 million in liens against the property so, yeah.

TAXED TO THE MAX: Shocking absolutely no one, Dorit Kemsley and her husband PK, a fanny pack filled with toenail clippings, owe $1.3 million in unpaid taxes, the Sun discovered. This all tracks. Rumored RHOC cast member and former friend of Braunwyn Windham-Burke, Noella Bergener, and her personal injury lawyer husband also owe $5.8 million in back taxes. She isn’t even on the show yet and she already fits in.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING (AGAIN): Vanderpump Rules star and vowel depository Scheana Shay (née Marie née Jancan) is officially engaged to Brock Davies, her hot slab of Australian rugby player and baby daddy. Oh, how funny. The engagement comes right as the show’s ninth season is wrapping up filming. What a coinkydinky Apple Juicy. To celebrate, here is a picture of her fiancé in a Speedo.

OOH LA LA: Lisa Vanderpump is expanding her restaurant empire. The Paris hotel in Las Vegas sent out a press release yesterday announcing the creation of Vanderpump à Paris bar and lounge in its hotel. It will be her second Vegas property, after the Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Ceasar’s Palace. The press release says, “Vanderpump à Paris will be located adjacent to the Paris Las Vegas front desk.” Sounds … classy.

BEST OF BRAVO: According to Reddit, these are the ten best episodes of the Real Housewives franchise. Since all these lists are made for people to argue about, let the arguing begin!

The Case Against Returning Housewives

Photo: Vulture; Photo by Bravo

There is no debate that this season of The Real Housewives of New York City is an absolute disaster, but there is a ton of debate about how to fix the show. Well, I have found the solution and it is my husband’s cousin Cameron. She lives in Brooklyn, owns her own fashion-adjacent business, and has a very sexy younger husband who also has a cool job. She also has two kids, one a moody but stylish teen and the other a 6-year-old who is so wonderfully performative that she would put Melania Giudice to shame.

Cameron is thin, pretty, chic, and loves to party. I wouldn’t be surprised if she and Leah McSweeney already know each other because they’re of a similar age and run in similar circles. Oh, also, I have seen her get into more than one fight with a stranger in public. (Naturally, I loved it.) If she’s like that with strangers, just imagine how she’ll be when she’s forced to share a bus with the women to go to the Hamptons. This woman could single-handedly save RHONY, but the thing is, I’m the only one who knows this. Well, so does my husband. Also, so does Cameron because we have both told her several times.

The people who don’t know this are the fans. When a season gets boring or ratings start slipping, they immediately take to social media to give the only solution they can think of: bringing fired women back into the fold. Right now, they are all clamoring to bring back Dorinda Medley. The most recent wish that fans have turned into a rumor is that Bethenny Frankel will be back to single-handedly save the show. A “source close to Bethenny” told Radar that she would come back to the show as a producer but not a cast member. On another troubled production, RHOA, TMZ reports that Sheree Whitfield, one of the all-time greatest Housewives, is in talks to reprise her role. However, she’s holding out for a peach, not just being a “friend of.”

Sorry, ladies and gentlegays, but I wouldn’t hold your breath for any of these returns. While doing research for my New York Times–best-selling masterpiece and key to all mythologies, The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives Story Real Story Real Housewives Housewives Real, I learned that Bravo is trying to get the women’s salaries down. That’s part of the reason we’ve seen some of the OGs get the chop in recent years. Why should they pay Tamra Judge or Vicki Gunvalson $1 million a season for diminishing returns, when they can get someone hungry in the door for $60,000, which is what a freshman Housewife makes? Bethenny was making close to $1 million a season when she left and would probably want more to come back. I would be surprised if Bravo would make that concession.

Caroline Manzo, another all-time great, said on her son Albie’s podcast that RHONJ wanted her to come back as a “friend of,” a position that pays significantly less than full time and has a different pay structure entirely. Like with Eva Marcille a few years back on RHOA or Sutton Stracke on RHOBH, that would be to test the waters before possibly promoting her to full time. When Caroline countered that she would only come back if she was full time, Bravo balked.

The news of Heather Dubrow’s return to RHOC has fans emboldened that their once and future favorites might have a way back. However, resurrections from being gone from the show to full time once again are pretty rare. Dubrow is only the eighth to do it out of 120-ish women who have been on the show full time. When Bethenny and NeNe came back, it was because their bigger ventures failed, not really leaving them in the strongest negotiating positions. Kenya Moore’s reprise and Sheree’s initial return were a bit better, but all of the rest have been something of a dud. Did we really need to bring back Jacqueline Laurita, Dina Manzo, or, I can’t believe I have to say this, Lydia McLaughlin?

This brings me back to Cameron, the would-be savior of RHONY. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of women like her in New York (or New Jersey or Atlanta or …) and casting directors just haven’t found them yet. But they will! We didn’t even know we wanted Dorinda back until casting directors found her in the first place. The same goes for Bethenny. Well, Jill Zarin found Bethenny, so maybe casting should just call Jill to reopen her Rolodex. But you get my point.

As Housewives fans, we love the shows and want them to succeed even when they suck. We love to speculate about how to fix it and play amateur Bravo exec and say how we would do it. The problem is, we don’t know what we don’t know. Bravo and the production companies that make these shows are the experts and have decades of experience. We trust them season after season to deliver and, more often than not, they do. I think we’re right to tell them when the shows are getting lackluster, but we should have the faith that they can fix them and it might not be something we’ve even seen yet. Ideologically, I am opposed to bringing back cast members (though I might suspend that ideology for Sheree), because if I have faith in anything, it is the Real Housewives, and I know that the future of our favorite franchise is certainly not in its past.

Why Does Drake Follow Lisa Rinna? A Housewives Institute Investigation

It was revealed in a recent episode of RHOBH that Instagram dancer and iconic hair mannequin Lisa Rinna is followed by the Instagram account @ChampagnePapi but had no idea that it was ultrafamous rapper Drake, until someone else (probably her daughters) told her. This led to Kyle Richards and Crystal Kung Minkoff vying to be among the select 2,500-ish people that Drizzy (can I call you Drizzy?) follows on the app. But why does Drake follow Rinna? Is he a Housewives fan? Wait? Can we get stoned with Drake and noted Housewives fan Rihanna and watch Potomac and talk about our shared love for Karen Huger?

Well, not so fast. After a thorough investigation (looking at all the people Drake follows on the app) I have ascertained that the former Dee Grassi’s Public High School star is not a Bravo fan. Most of his follows are fellow musicians or sports-type figures (snore emoji). He doesn’t follow anyone else who appears on the network, or even Andy Cohen, who has for sure flirted with Drake on a yacht somewhere. But this leads to further mysteries. How did Drake discover Rinna? He doesn’t follow either of her model daughters, Amelia or The Other One, though he does follow Amelia’s boyfriend Scott Disick.

He also follows several members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan: model Kendall, professional ex-wife Khloé, Kim’s ex Ye, and momager Kris. He is apparently so infatuated with Kris that he still follows the account for her short-lived daytime talk show. Kris is friends with both Rinna and Kyle Richards, so maybe that is a connection? Was there a fateful dinner party at Kris’s and they followed each other? Or there is one other RHOBH connection: Drake follows both Yolanda Hadid’s supermodel daughter Gigi (but not Bella), as well as Yolanda’s ex-husband, deflated dollar-sign-shaped pool toy David Foster. Awkward!

Even after this thorough investigation, we still don’t know why Drake follows the artist formerly known as Lisar. The Real Housewives Institute has reached out to Drake’s rep (for real, I take this investigation very seriously), but they had no comment at this time.

Recap Highlights

Photo: Vulture; Photo by Bravo

Real Housewives of Potomac, Season 6, Episode 2: Try as she might, Gizelle cannot wow us with her real estate efforts … Perhaps she should forgo making jabs at Karen’s finances while her estate looks like a roadside property in a Lehigh Valley wine tour.

Real Housewives of New York City, Season 13, Episode 11: Next, the psychic at the seance asks if Luann has an uncle figure in her life. She says no. “Can I give you his message anyway?” No, dude, you cannot. I don’t want to talk to strangers who are alive and now you want me to listen to the message from some dead dude I’ve never even met?

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 11, Episode 10: I don’t understand why L.A. people are always clamoring to get to Palm Springs. It’s just leaving the desert next to the ocean to travel to the desert that is far from the ocean. I guess in a land where the weather, landscape, and faces never change, you just want to be able to stare up at some brown mountains, but this time from a larger pool.

Real Housewives of Potomac, Season 6, Episode 3: Of all the people to comment on Michael’s infidelities and corresponding marital issues, Gizelle should be last in line. Like, it goes: marriage counselor, mom, Uncle Lump … [scrolls down] … a high-school Facebook friend who can only contact Ashley through DMs, then Gizelle.

Real Housewives of New York City, Season 13, Episode 12: The inevitability of time marches on, which means that Luann has another middling single to record and Ramona has yet another birthday to celebrate with a cast of her friends who look like barrister’s wigs come to life.

Fashion Highlight of the Week

Photo: Bravo

The Countess always looks amazing, but this sparkly, low-cut, big-shoulder leopard number is absolutely stunning.

Dean’s List for Reader Comment of the Week

Highlighting the best comment of the week for our lovely Institute members. This one is from last week’s RHOP:

ashleydc: When Ashley said, “Thank God, Michael isn’t here” about the “What friend would you bang” question I died 10,000 deaths. And Ray saying Katie … Wow!

I SaidWhat I Said

“It was flaccid, but it was still chubby and nice. I almost forgot I saw his dick.” — Eboni K. Williams

Is Bethenny Back? Is Sheree? Who Cares!