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It’s been 15 years since the screaming, scheming, and hardly redeeming women of the Real Housewives franchise first burst onto our screens in 2006. We’ve been through so much with these women in that time, and so much of the appeal of these shows for fans has been the accumulation. There have been births, deaths, marriages, breakups, and plenty of vow renewals (which are kind of like a birth and a death at the same time). There have been countless reunions, countless cast trips, countless vanity projects, countless wig pulls. If the memory of a Bravoholic were a house, it would look less like Villa Rosa, Lisa Vanderpump’s abode that looks like a duty-free store in the Singapore airport, and more like something out of Hoarders. It’s stuffed with moments and memes. There are catchphrases and clapbacks strewn everywhere. There are funny moments and serious ones, all jumbled together in a messy pile. There is also that time Teresa Giudice almost knocked out Andy Cohen.
Today, Housewives fandom is so much about that pileup, the sharing of an amassed experience with other fans, the sense that we’re all speaking the same secret language. But what exactly are the building blocks of that language, the signifiers that every Housewives stan knows backward and forward? In honor of 15 years of this grand and ongoing display of outrageous behavior, I set out to answer that question, sifting through the hoarder piles of Housewives episodes to excavate the 100 most glittery moments, the most shining examples of the Reality Television Arts and Sciences put into practice. Yes, it’s a lot, but if there is one thing Housewives fans can’t resist, it’s excess.
100. Taylor Armstrong freaks out at Camille Grammer (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season two)
It was a hard second season for Taylor. After being egged on by Camille’s friend Deidre, Taylor went ballistic at a belly dancing party hosted by Brandi Glanville. It was so crazy Brandi asked her to leave her party. Girl, when Brandi thinks you’re unruly, your shit is busted. This will also go down in history as giving us the picture that became the “Woman Yells at Cat Meme.”
99. “You don’t touch the Morgan letters!” (Real Housewives of New York City season 11)
When Sonja Morgan has been hitting the sauce, oftentimes she becomes the self-appointed straw that stirs the drink. This is one time when things went in the other direction. During a trip to Dorinda’s in the Berkshires, she took everyone to one of the houses owned by the Morgan family, which has been turned into a museum of sorts, and Dorinda put her paws on some of the real correspondence that was on one of the desks. At dinner that night, out of nowhere, a very drunk Sonja started screaming and reaching across the table telling everyone not to touch the “fucking Morgan letters!” She then burst into tears. If anyone is having an oversized reaction to something menial, this is the GIF to send them.
98. Eva reads Marlo to filth (Real Housewives of Atlanta season 11)
The highlight of the season 11 cast trip to Japan didn’t happen at a shrine or a sushi restaurant, it happened on a bus. As she had all season, Marlo Hampton came for Eva Pigford about her style. Unlike other instances during the season, Eva did not take this one lying down, sparring with Marlo about her cheap wig, her weight, and her not being a mother. As Marlo tried to strike, Eva struck back twice as hard in a verbal sparring match for the ages, and bested Marlo at every turn. Damn, I wish I was on that bus.
97. Milania Giudice calls her father an “Old Troll” (Real Housewives of New Jersey season five)
Teresa Giudice’s second youngest has always stolen the spotlight, but there was nothing more hilarious than when she demanded pizza from her father using this name. Let’s call it a term of endearment.
96. “Pat the puss” (RHOBH, season six)
The way that Erika Jayne’s choreographer and creative director Mikey Minden explained this dance move where a hand hovers near a rather obvious erogenous zone became a meme for rather obvious reasons.
95. Joanna Krupa gets punched (Real Housewives of Miami season two)
What started as a fight about whether or not Joanna and her sister Marta slept with Girls Gone Wild producer Joe Francis somehow ended with Joanna stalking Adriana de Souza down a hallway, and Adriana turning around and socking her in the jaw. How did we, as Americans, fail by letting this show get cancelled?
94. “CLIP!” (RHONY season nine)
A day-drunk Dorinda Medley tried to shut up her nemesis Sonja Morgan at a Bronx restaurant by inexplicably shouting “Clip!” and closing her hands in the universal gesture for “shut your mouth.” Shockingly, the tactic worked.
93. Brandi Glanville slaps Lisa Vanderpump (RHOBH season five)
If there’s one thing that any Real Housewife should know it’s that bad things happen on boats. Just ask Lisa Vanderpump, whose friend-turned-enemy Brandi gave her what she thought was a playful tap but ended up being a full-on backhand.
92. Leah McSweeney vs. the tiki torches (RHONY season 12)
When she started in season 12, new Housewife Leah told everyone she didn’t drink. The first time she got wasted on the show, we all saw why. She tied one on at Ramona Singer’s house, which led to her getting naked in the pool with Tinsley Mortimer and Sonja Morgan (as if Sonja needs a reason to get naked), and then she started throwing around the tiki torches that dotted Ramona’s backyard while still only wearing a pair of nude-colored briefs. She wrapped up the night by showing Dorinda the tattoo on her vagina and, for some reason, putting her vibrator in the chicken casserole. Yeah, it makes sense why Leah doesn’t drink, but we’re so glad whenever she does.
91. Bolo (RHOA season 13)
When Kandi wanted to give Cynthia a bachelorette party she’d never forget during a cast trip to South Carolina, she had no idea it would turn out like this. That is all thanks to the stripper Bolo, who turned out to not only be memorable but also, ahem, member-able. After giving the ladies an X-rated show, he stayed until the next morning, and may or may not have gotten it on with a couple of women behind closed doors.
90. Gia Giudice’s sad song for her sister’s birthday (RHONJ season three)
“Waking up in the morning / Thinking about oh so many things,” has become the “Sad Song” that is TikTok’s go-to when sharing an embarrassing story from one’s youth. Ironically, Gia is now 18 and probably feels the exact same way about the clip’s newfound internet ubiquity.
89. Kelly Dodd calls Heather Dubrow a “frickin’ cunt” (Real Housewives of Orange County season 11)
Kelly had a bumpy first season with the other ladies, and it didn’t help when she lit into “Miss Fancy Pants” herself at a Japanese dinner. But what we’ll really remember is when Heather then went and talked shit about Kelly to the producers. Now Heather’s gone and Kelly is several seasons in. How times have changed.
88. Jen Shah smells like hospital (Real Housewives of Salt Lake City season one)
The first season of this shockingly diverse iteration, the franchise’s eighth, was a fan favorite right out of the gate, and the center of the action was a feud between Jen Shah and Mary M. Cosby, a possible cult leader who married her grandmother’s husband after she passed. Yeah, it’s that crazy. But what is even crazier is what started the fight, a comment not even heard on camera where Mary accused Jen of smelling “like hospital” after Jen had gone to visit her ailing aunt. This line is impossible to get lodged out of your head because it is at once so visceral and so petty, like so much of the Real Housewives.
87. The fight with Rey (RHONY season eight)
I’ve never been to a dry-cleaning party in my life, but the one thrown by Dorinda Medley’s boyfriend John, who owns famous dry cleaner Madame Paulette, makes me want to go to one. Rey, Luann de Lesseps’s ex-boyfriend, crashed the party and started talking trash with Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan, which led to them and Rey all getting thrown out of the party. We’ve never heard from Rey again, but someone really needs to get his side of the story.
86. Porsha Williams gets arrested (RHOA season 13)
One of these moments could definitely be when Porsha Williams thought that the Underground Railroad was an actual train. The reason that’s not on the list is we have forgiven Porsha in light of her getting arrested while protesting the murder of Breonna Taylor in the summer of 2020. Her release from jail and continued work in the BLM movement was part of the show’s 13th season. We have never seen, nor been so proud of, a turnaround like this in Housewives history.
85. Michael Darby and the cameraman (Real Housewives of Potomac season four)
There could be an entire article devoted to Michael Darby’s 100 Most Memorable Scandals. There was the time he grabbed Katie Rost’s boyfriend’s butt in season one, the time he said he wanted to get it on with Robyn Dixon’s once-and-future husband Juan, and of course the time he possibly got caught on Grindr. But there was only one instance when charges were actually filed. Apparently during a gathering at Monique Samuels’ house during the show’s fourth season Darby grabbed the rear of a cameraman, something that became a plot point on the show. The charges were later dropped, but it makes all of these other claims about Darby sound that much more right on target.
84. Vicki Gunvalson gets sick in Iceland (RHOC season 12)
It might have been a panic attack, an awful hangover, or maybe just a bad case of jet lag. It wasn’t a heart attack like she feared, but Vicki made the hotel call an ambulance and covered herself in a towel while being carted out to it. At least when she returned, she finally got the casserole she’d been hoping for.
83. Kelly Bensimon runs in traffic (RHONY season two)
When the former model was introduced in the second season of the show, she marked her presence by doing something inexplicable: jogging in the middle of Fifth Avenue. No one does this, but Kelly did it, with a smile plastered on her face, like it was the most normal thing in the world.
82. Kyle Richards calls Camille Grammer a liar (RHOBH season one)
The first indication that this would be a humdinger of a series was when Camille took all the girls to New York to see her husband Kelsey in a Broadway show. At dinner the first night, Camille accused Kyle of saying no one would want to hang out with her without Kelsey. Kyle said, “You’re such a fucking liar, Camille,” and oh, girl, it was officially on.
81. Kenya Moore hair care! (RHOA season 12)
Kenya has proven herself to be the queen of shade during her tenure as a Housewife, but nothing will ever equal when she crashed rival Marlo Hampton’s wig launch with a marching band chanting “Kenya Moore Hair Care!” and wearing sandwich boards for Kenya’s own brand of hair products. There is stealing the spotlight, and then there is totally obliterating it.
80. “It’s about Tom” (RHONY season eight)
Everyone knew when Tom D’Agostino got engaged to Luann de Lesseps (the third Housewife he’d dated) that it wouldn’t end well. The inevitable finally happened when Bethenny Frankel got proof of his cheating while the girls were in Miami. When she asked Luann to talk, Luann said, “Tell me it’s not about Tom,” to which Bethenny said, “It’s about Tom.” Lots of crying, shaking, and vomiting followed — for both women.
79. Camille Grammer dancing (RHOBH season one)
We quickly learned this Real Housewife had a previous career as a Club MTV dancer, and she showed off her dropping-it-low sexy moves during the ladies’ first trip to Las Vegas. She has since busted those moves out almost as often as Kyle Richards busts out the splits.
78. “Who said that?” “Who said that?” “Who said that?” (RHOA season nine)
On a group camping trip, Marlo Hampton asked Kandi Burruss if she’s a lesbian because someone in the group is saying that. Immediately a chorus of “Who said that?” echoed around the table like some kind of hilarious mating call.
77. The OC ladies flip over in a dune buggy (RHOC season 11)
When Tamra Judge took all the girls to Glamis Dunes for some riding around in the sand, she didn’t think everything would go as badly as this. After Tamra’s reckless driving, the vehicle rolled over, injuring Vicki and sending her to the hospital. At least she got to wear a sympathy neck brace for a couple of episodes, but she never got a casserole.
76. Danielle Staub grabs Margaret Joseph’s weave (RHONJ season ten)
She was the victim of the original Weavegate, but Danielle Staub is not above some hair-pulling of her own. After Teresa got her friend together with the rest of the women — who were over the psychopath and her duplicitous ways — for a day of shopping, things went off the rails when Margaret poured a bottle of water on Danielle’s head. She took revenge by emptying Margaret’s purse out onto a table and destroying a $500 Fornasetti candle. But even after things had calmed down she came back to grab Margaret’s fake ponytail and drag her around the room. After this the rest of the women refused to film with Danielle and she “retired” from the show. Hair-pulling is never classy, but it’s always exciting.
75. “She’s startin’” (RHONY season ten)
Obviously the thing everyone remembers from the women’s season-ten trip to Cartagena is the Boat Ride from Hell, but there was a fight the episode before that is almost as memorable. While at a restaurant, Bethenny and Carole are fighting about the dissolution of their friendship on one end of the table. At the other end of the table, a newly sober Luann asks Dorinda, “How are the margaritas?” When Dorinda slurs her answer, Luann says, “She’s startin’,” leading Dorinda to launch just the sort of drunken rant that Luann was referencing. The action then toggles between two different but equally consuming fights unraveling in real time. Yes, it’s no Boat Ride from hell, but when talking about Cartegena, a lot of people will think first of this. Or Luann shitting the bed. Or Ramona pooping on the floor. Or Scott sending Tinsley funeral roses. Damn, a lot happened on that trip!
74. Sheree Whitfield and Marlo Hampton’s fight in South Africa (RHOA season four)
I can’t remember what this fight was even about, but I will never forget that it ended with Sheree and Marlo just making strange noises at each other rather than using their words to communicate.
73. Kelsey Grammer takes Camille Grammer to the Tonys (RHOBH season one)
Even though he already asked for a divorce because he was sleeping with a much younger stewardess, Kelsey still asked Camille to accompany him to the Tony Awards, where he was nominated. She hoped they could fix their marriage, but over the course of a very awkward limo ride, it was clear he had no intention of doing that. And just like that Camille, the villain of the first season, started to gain some sympathy.
72. Kelly Bensimon says, “This is you, this is me” (RHONY season two)
Kelly and Bethenny Frankel did not see eye to eye in the second season. Kelly invited Bethenny to the Brass Monkey (and arrived 30 minutes late) to tell her that they are not and will never be friends. She illustrated this by saying, “This is you,” and putting her hand out, “And this is me,” raising her hand far above the first one. Yeah, look at how that turned out, Kelly.
71. Shannon Beador’s tombstone (RHOC season ten)
Shannon and her husband, David, tried a lot to save their marriage, including this stunt at a couples therapy retreat where they each had to read a eulogy for the other. That seems like a good exercise, but forcing their partner to lie under a tombstone with their name on it seems a little bit macabre. And, you know, it still didn’t save their marriage.
70. Camille Grammer sees a crazy mermaid (RHOBH season two)
When the women attended Pandora Todd’s engagement party, they were greeted by a woman dressed as a mermaid splashing by the pool, gyrating erratically, and spouting off all sorts of nonsense. We all remember Camille’s deadpan “wow, she’s really flopping around” way more than Pandora’s wedding.
69. NeNe Grabs the cameraman (RHOA season 11)
There’s been lots of drama concerning people coming out of the closet, but never has there been so much fuss about people going into a closet. During a “Bye Wig” party (at which no one could wear fake hair) at NeNe Leakes’s house, Shamari DeVoe puked on Eva Pigford’s shoe, which drove the action up to NeNe’s bedroom. While up there, Kandi Burruss and a very pregnant Porsha Williams decided they were going to go check out NeNe’s closet, which she’s always bragging about. NeNe told them no because it was a mess and when a cameraman tried to follow the pair into the closet, NeNe grabbed him by his T-shirt and ripped it clear off of him, and he reportedly ended up in the hospital. Also there was some speculation that she might have pushed Porsche. What could have been in that closet? The mummified body of DeShawn Snow?
68. The Ireland van ride from hell (RHOC season 11)
The season 11 cast trip to Ireland was fraught with tension, but the cast snapped on a 3 a.m. ride to the airport where an attack by Shannon Beador and Heather Dubrow against Kelly Dodd turned into Kelly turning on Vicki Gunvalson. Kelly told the whole crew that Vicki said that Shannon’s husband beat her and that Tamra Judge’s husband was gay. There are multiple highlights to this fight, including Kelly telling Shannon to shave her beard, Heather calling Kelly “trash,” and Tamra shouting “Fuck you!” directly into Vicki’s face.
67. Dorit Kemsley gives Erika Jayne a pair of panties (RHOBH season seven)
Dorit bestowed a pair of lacy underthings to Ms. Jayne as a reminder to wear panties because at a previous event Dorit’s husband PK, a thumb masquerading as a human, caught a glimpse of Erika’s nether regions (and then bragged about staring at them). In the moment, Erika said, “The more you talk about things, the worse it gets,” which turned out to be true, because they had to talk about “Pantygate” for the rest of the season.
66. Bethenny Frankel crying on the sidewalk (RHONY season three)
Sure, the ostensible attention-grabber here is the fight on the phone with Jill Zarin about the dismantling of their friendship, but the haunting image of Bethenny in her red coat crying on the pavement because she just lost a friend is what really sticks with you.
65. Kim Richards’s chicken-salad recipe (RHOBH)
Everything about the preparations for Kim’s daughter’s prom date was nuts, from the fact that she was making such a huge deal of it to her staring out the blinds after her daughter left the house. But the thing we’ll never forget is Kim mixing up an enormous bowl of chicken salad with her hands.
64. Karen Huger’s wig (RHOP season three)
We’ve seen Karen flip her wig plenty of times, but nothing like the time her hairpiece was literally slipping off of her head. What made it better was that every time she tried to fix it, she only made it worse. If NeNe Leakes is the glue for her wig and her family, as her tagline states, maybe Karen needs to schedule a visit.
63. “Fix that body”, “Fix that face” (RHOA season four)
NeNe Leakes and Sheree Whitfield have had some killer fights over the years, but there is nothing as wonderful, succinct, and crushing as this reunion exchange where NeNe tells Sheree to “fix that body” and Sheree immediately retorts “fix that face.” You really just have to watch it, because the hand motions are such a part of what makes this legendary.
62. Tamra Judge throws wine on Jeana Keough (RHOC season six)
During the acrimonious divorce between Tamra and her ex Simon, former Housewife Jeana took Simon’s side. At the finale party at Vicki Gunvalson’s house, when Jeana tried to serve Tamra a letter from her attorney, Tamra responded by serving her glass of wine right into Jeana’s face. Housewives are always characterized as throwing wine, but this is one of the few times it actually happened.
61. Joe Giudice versus Joe Gorga (RHONJ season five)
At a family summit between the Gorga, Giudice, Pierri, and Wakile clans, things erupted when Joe Gorga called his sister Teresa Giudice “scum” and her husband Joe Giudice wrestled with him. If there’s a funny part of this moment, it’s that Joe Gorga got his spray-on hair all over everyone he rubbed up against.
60. Marlo Hampton fixes NeNe Leakes’s bun (RHOA season ten)
During a trip to San Francisco, things came to a head between Porsha Williams and NeNe. While they were shouting at each other, NeNe’s pile of hair on top of her head came loose, so Marlo stepped in to help and pinned the hair right back into place, and NeNe and Porsha didn’t stop cussing each other out the entire time. That’s what friends are for.
59. Taylor Armstrong eating cotton candy (RHOBH season one)
Just watch the GIF.
58. Karen Huger and Gizelle Bryant flee a mime (RHOP season three)
While getting into a heated exchange on the patio of a restaurant, this pair of frenemies were interrupted by a mime. Yes, an actual mime. He didn’t say a word, of course, but neither of these lippy ladies were a match for him.
57. Denise Richards’s smirk (RHOBH season ten)
Beverly Hills’ tenth season would be dominated by the rumors that Denise Richards had an affair with former castmate Brandi Glanville, rumors that were public before the premiere. But the first episode kicked off in spectacular fashion, giving us a preview of Denise leaving filming multiple times and delivering her famous “Bravo, Bravo, fucking Bravo” line to get them to cut some footage. Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna talk about how we’ll probably never hear from Denise again, but then she sits down in front of a green screen ready to talk about it and gives the camera a smirk that says she is not here to play. A truly remarkable start to a fourth-wall-shattering season.
56. “Jovani!” (RHONY season ten)
When Luann de Lesseps premiered her cabaret show, all the women were excited for her — except Dorinda Medley, who was peeved her boyfriend, John, didn’t get an invite. During Luann’s set, Dorinda heckled every costume change by screaming the name of this designer, who Dorinda arranged to outfit Luann for the big show. And just like that, a catchphrase was born.
55. The fight at the Quiet Woman (RHOC season 12)
When Shannon Beador, Tamra Judge, Peggy Sulahian, and Lydia MacLaughlin went to dinner at this bistro down the street from Kelly Dodd’s house, they had no idea she’d be there getting drinks. What resulted was a huge altercation between Shannon and Kelly. But what makes this really memorable was Kelly doing a “blowfish” on the front door as the other women tried to flee the premises.
54.The butter knife incident (RHOP season four)
If beauty queens Ashley Darby and Candiace Dillard were in a beauty pageant together, neither of them would win Miss Congeniality, but things got especially fraught during this fight at Candiance’s (mother’s) house. After Candiance brought up allegations that Ashley’s husband Michael was into other dudes, Ashley retorted by bringing up the fact that Candiace’s mother pays her mortgage. Candiace took the butter knife she was holding and started brandishing it in Ashley’s face. Sure, it’s a butter knife, it wasn’t going to do much damage, but, damn lady, don’t let the situation get out of control.
53. The launch of She By Sheree (RHOA season two)
When the samples for Sheree Whitfield’s fashion line She by Sheree arrived from China they were bizarre, ill-fitting, and cheap. So instead of an actual fashion show, she decided just to show her sketches of what the line should look like. In the words of Dwight Eubanks, “A fashion show with no fashions? How dreadful.” But the name of the line would live on in infamy, even if it took the clothes almost a decade to finally materialize. You know. Joggers.
52. “Your husband’s in the pool” (RHONJ season nine)
The most memorable part about this fight between Danielle Staub’s husband Marty Caffrey and Margaret Joseph’s husband Joe Benigno isn’t that Margaret and Joe pushed Marty into the pool. I mean, we’ve all seen Melrose Place. What makes this a moment for the ages is that as Margaret and Joe were walking back into the party and Danielle was walking outside to see what the ruckus was about, Margert looked at Danielle and dismissively, matter-of-factly, said, “Your husband’s in the pool,” and just kept on walking. Let’s just hope for Marty’s sake that the water wasn’t nearly as cold as Margaret’s delivery.
51. Ramona Singer walking the runway (RHONY season three)
No one wanted to go to Brooklyn Fashion Weekend, the off-brand show Alex McCord was sponsoring in her home borough. But it’s something Ramona Singer will never forget, thanks to the bug-eyed waddle and weird side ponytail that made her appearance on the catwalk instantly legendary.
50. Vicki Gunvalson has never been with multiple partners in her life (RHOC season eight)
When Lauri Peterson tried to make a comeback to the show, she used allegations that Vicki had a threeway at an insurance conference to give her some screen time. The plan backfired because all we remember is an enraged Vicki, in full ski kit on the slopes, shouting this unforgettable line.
49. Luann de Lesseps versus a camel (RHONY season four)
The ladies’ season-four trip to Morocco had a lot of drama — see: Jill crying on her bed; Alex’s Herman Munster shoes — but the small moment that will stay with us forever was Luann almost getting bucked off her camel. Between her crazy posture and whooping noises, it’s a comedy for the ages, even if it did scare the crap out of her.
48. The Bunco party (RHOC season seven)
The problem with Housewives having costume parties is that when a fight erupts they look totally ridiculous screaming at each other. Take this ’80s-themed altercation between Vicki Gunvalson, Gretchen Rossi, and Slade Smiley, which ends with Vicki and Gretchen shouting at each other dressed like Flashdance rejects.
47. Lisa Rinna almost attacks Kim Richards (RHOBH season five)
At a dinner in Amsterdam, Kim spewed venom at nearly every woman at the table, but especially Lisa, Eileen Davidson, and her sister Kyle. But when she insinuated there was something going on with Lisa’s husband, Harry Hamlin, Lisa literally lunged for Kim’s throat and then broke a glass on the table. Why doesn’t this ever happen at my dinner parties?
46. “Don’t Be Tardy for the Party” (RHOA season two)
In season one, Kim Zolciak wanted to be a country singer and had someone write this song for her. In season two, “No Scrubs” songwriter Kandi Burruss showed up on the scene and turned that song into a total club bop. We’ll never forget Kim trying to sing off-key or the fights this song spurred between Kim, Kandi, and Nene Leakes. But what is most memorable about this song is that it launched a 1,000 imitations, from “Money Can’t Buy You Class” to “On Display.”
45. Dana Wilkey’s $25,000 sunglasses (RHOBH season two)
This wannabe housewife thought she would impress the women with a pair of very expensive shades. Problem is, she had to brag about the price and they weren’t even all that impressive. She’s since been found guilty of fraud, so … yeah.
44. Mama Elsa (RHOM season two)
The thing no one will ever forget from the Miami branch of the franchise is Housewife Marysol Patton’s mother, Elsa (RIP). A Cuban immigrant, possible psychic, and font of abundant wisdom, Mama Elsa was visited often, so often she even got a spin off on Bravo’s website.
43. Ramona Singer tells Aviva Drescher to take a Xanax (RHONY season five)
Aviva Drescher has such anxiety about flying she had to bring her husband, Reid, with her on a girls trip to St. Barts. Ramona didn’t want his presence to change the dynamic and things got heated between her and Aviva, which led to this classic rejoinder by Ramona, which she bellowed repeatedly while Aviva continued to sputter.
42. Porsha Williams attacks Kenya Moore (RHOA season six)
The ladies of Atlanta are known for their explosive reunions, but none was more explosive than the one where Porsha, tired of Kenya yelling in her face with a bullhorn, grabbed her co-star by the hair and dragged her to the ground. Not only was Porsha ejected from the reunion, Kenya actually filed charges against her.
41. Caroline Manzo tells Danielle Staub “You’re a clown” (RHONJ season two)
The second season of New Jersey was mostly about all of the women teaming up against Danielle. When matriarch Caroline tried to meet her to set things straight, they instead devolved to a point where Caroline gave this classic speech about Danielle being a clown and then dismissing her.
40. Kenya Moore is “Gone With the Wind fabulous” (RHOA)
When Kenya wanted everyone (especially her arch nemesis Porsha Williams) to know just how good she was she said she was “Gone with the Wind fabulous.” At the time, it made no sense, but it sure resonated. When someone asked Beyoncé how she felt after her Super Bowl performance she said, of course, “Gone With the Wind fabulous.”
39. “Good-bye, Kyle” (RHOBH season nine)
If anything can sum up all of Beverly Hills’ ninth season — the dissolution of Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards’s friendship, Lisa refusing to film with the rest of the group, the whole drama surrounding Dorit’s dog Lucy Lucy Apple Juice and whether or not she adequately returned it — it’s this two-word bellow issued by Ken Todd as he and his wife Lisa kicked Kyle out of their house Villa Rosa, a perfume counter that grew into an entire domicile. It is also a perfect joke among fans anytime someone leaves a room.
38. “Be cool, don’t be all … uncool” (RHONY season seven)
On a group trip, Heather Thomas and Carole Radziwill were none too pleased when they woke up to find a naked man in their bathroom. When they confronted Luann de Lesseps, who brought the guy home the night before, about it, an obviously hungover-and-totally-over-it Luann said what might be her most famous catchphrase of all.
37. Phaedra Parks is caught lying about Kandi Burruss (RHOA season nine)
At the season-nine reunion, it finally came out who told Porsha Williams that Kandi and her husband, Todd, tried to drug and rape her: Phaedra Parks had started the rumor that was flying around all season. This reveal resulted in all of the women clearing off their couches in tears and Phaedra’s subsequent firing from the show.
36. The Christening brawl (RHONJ season three)
Things hadn’t been going well between Teresa Giudice and her brother Joe Gorga for some time, but things really took a turn at the Christening for Joe’s son, when Joe Giudice started a massive melee that had the family at odds for years.
35. LeeAnne Locken’s monologue (Real Housewives of Dallas season two)
When LeeAnne was at the doctor’s office talking to Brandi Redmond, she might have forgotten that her microphone was still on when she launched into a diatribe about Cary Deuber and her husband Mark and how he “gets his dick sucked at the Round Up.” It ended with her making a veiled threat about how “they’re not knives, they’re just hands … but they work very well.” It’s the kind of thing Tennessee Williams couldn’t have written, but really wished he could have.
34. Teresa Giudice buys furniture with cash (RHONJ season one)
In the very first episode, Teresa pulls out a wad of hundreds in order to pay $120,360 for some furniture for her enormous house. This moment told us immediately that this was a different kind of Housewives show, and that something really wild was going on with Teresa’s finances. Oh, if she only knew then how it would all end.
33. Aviva Drescher throws her leg (RHONY season six)
Aviva arrived at Cipriani that day to prove to the women that she couldn’t go on a vacation because her doctor wouldn’t let her. She also threw her prosthetic leg across the room. She wanted it to seem wild and in the heat of passion, but it was more premeditated than anything ever shown on Dexter. But, hey, it was pretty great television.
32. Nene Leakes and Kim Zolciak fight on the bus (RHOA season three)
At the tail end of the “Don’t Be Tardy for the Party” tour in season three, Nene and Kim’s tumultuous friendship finally came to an end on the road to Miami beach. The reason for the fight (whether or not Kim and Kandi’s assistants were allowed to hang out with the girls) is ancillary to how vicious these two became in an enclosed space.
31. Tamra Judge calls Alexis Bellino “Jesus Jugs” (RHOC season seven)
It was your standard reunion fight about whether everyone thinks that the uber-Christian Alexis Bellino is a bad person. But it really took a turn when Tamra called the buxom Housewife “Jesus Jugs,” a name she’ll never be able to get rid of.
30. Erika Jayne freaks out at Eileen Davidson (RHOBH season seven)
After a long day of confrontations with Dorit Kemsley in Hong Kong, Erika finally lost her temper, but at the wrong person. When Eileen made a stray comment about people’s kids dying, Erika erupted into tears, telling the women they don’t know what she deals with at night worrying about her son, who is an L.A. police officer. She later apologized to Eileen for the misplaced anger, but it was Lisa Rinna who really took things in another direction when she immediately accused Dorit of doing cocaine at a party. Way to change the subject!
29. Tamra Judge plots to get Gretchen Rossi “naked wasted” (RHOC season four)
Tamra hated Gretchen as soon as she started on the show, so one night, at a dinner party near the beginning of her tenure, Tamra hatched this plan to get Gretchen so drunk she would make a fool out of herself. She told Vicki she was going to get Gretchen “naked wasted,” and seemingly even pimped her adult son Ryan out to get him to hook up with Gretchen. All Tamra really achieved with this plan, however, was making herself look bad.
28. “Bye, Ashy!” (RHOA season five)
Kenya Moore and Porsha Williams both started on the show in season five and took an almost immediate dislike to each other. But none of their epic feuding was as entertaining as this lunch, where they both left the restaurant mid-meal and shouted at each other on the walk to their cars. But Porsha got the last word when she yelled, repeatedly, “Bye, Ashy!” as Kenya stomped away.
27. The boat ride from hell (RHONY season ten)
It was hyped in the press and it was hyped in the season-ten trailer, and when the episode arrived, for once, it really lived up to the hype. On a trip to Colombia, the cast was quickly escorted off a private island when the weather took a turn. However, the boat ride home was so bumpy that the boat’s anchor got stuck, the boat nearly capsized, the engine caught on fire, several of the women got seasick, and the cameramen even had to put their equipment down. We’ll never know the full extent of the carnage, but Luann de Lesseps literally shit her bed that night, so it had to have been pretty bad.
26. Kim Richards returns Lisa Rinna’s bunny (RHOBH season seven)
As a peace offering to end their longstanding feud, Lisa Rinna bought a stuffed bunny for Kim Richards to give to her new grandson. Then we found out at the reunion that Kim never gave him the gift. In fact, she brought it back to Lisa because it had “bad vibes.” Holding that cellophane-wrapped stuffed animal in her lap, Lisa used her soap opera skills to coax one solitary tear down her cheek.
25. It’s Turtle time (RHONY season three)
While the women were in the Virgin Islands, they all wanted to party, but none of them more than Ramona Singer. She wanted them all to go to a bar called The Turtle, but they were instead hanging out on a boat belonging to the owner of Hooters. Then Ramona declared it “Turtle time” and did a slurry dance, like a sorceress stirring a cauldron. Of all of the moments the infamous Scary Island trip gave to us, this is one of the most innocent.
24. Tamra Judge divorces Simon in the limo (RHOC season five)
There have been plenty of failed marriages on Housewives, but rarely do we get to see the exact moment that one ends. Tamra Judge (then Barney) was finally fed up with her controlling ex, Simon, and told him she wanted a divorce in an expletive-laden screed. It doesn’t get any more real than this.
23. Monique Samuels attacks Candiace Dillard (RHOP season five)
Fights have long been a part of the Real Housewives, but there is only one instance that I can think of that qualifies as a beatdown. At a wine tasting during the fifth season, the long-simmering tension between former friends Monique and Candiace came to a boil. After Candiace told Monique to “drag her” and Monique flicked Candiace’s hair, things quickly escalated, with Monique grabbing a hunk of Candiace’s hair and banging her head into the table. Later Monique would say she thought Candiace threw a glass at her, but the attack seemed somewhat unprovoked. When the pair filed charges against each other, both of their cases were dropped, but not before the aftermath took up a whole season’s worth of drama. Personally, my favorite part of the drawn-out battle is when Ashley Darby, who was in the bathroom for the entire fight, comes back and says, “What did I miss?”
22. Luann de Lesseps and the pirate (RHONY season five)
When the ladies were in St. Barts they met up with a guy named Thomas who was dressed like a pirate and looked “just like” Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean. Luann brought him home to their villa that night (even though she had a boyfriend at the time) and got caught calling her friend Cat and telling her in French not to let the ladies know about her liaison. She might have wanted to inform Sonja Morgan, who ended up hooking up with the guy the next night.
21. Game night (RHOBH season two)
What a curious thing to happen in such an empty, echoing house. Dana Wilkey tried to have the ladies over for some board-game fun, but Kim Richards stole new Housewife Brandi Glanville’s crutches so she couldn’t get around and all of the women ostracized her. When Brandi accused Kim of “doing crystal meth in the bathroom,” both Richards sisters hopped off the couch and pointed their fingers in Brandi’s face and Kim called her a “slut pig.” And to think, the only former castmate that Brandi still regularly talks to … is Kim.
20. Luann de Lesseps falls into the bushes (RHONY season nine)
They say truth is stranger than fiction, but often reality is funnier than comedy. See: when a very drunk Luann got so inebriated on a trip to Mexico she fell into the bushes, not once but twice. There were tears, make-ups, and a fully naked Sonja Morgan on this trip, but this moment is twigs and branches above the rest.
19. “Close your legs to married men, trash box” (RHOA season one)
This was a refrain that NeNe Leakes used against her enemy Kim Zolciak during the show’s first reunion special. But the best iteration of it is in this Watch What Happens Live aftershow where Kim called Andy Cohen’s talk show while NeNe was a guest to set some things straight. What happened is nearly 10 minutes of the women screaming various and sundried insults at each other. Never has Andy’s show been more electric.
18. Tamra Judge’s psychic says Brooks Ayers doesn’t have cancer (RHOC season ten)
There is a list of Housewives no-nos: never renew your vows, never get on a boat, and never get a psychic. But this one time, a psychic turned out to be a good idea. Tamra invited Heather Dubrow and Meghan King Edmonds to lunch with her psychic, who told them Vicki Gunvalson’s boyfriend Brooks might not have cancer like he claims. Brooks had been wreaking havoc in the OC for several seasons, but it was the digging that resulted from this claim (mostly by Meghan) that eventually sent him packing.
17. Luann de Lesseps’s arrest (RHONY season ten)
Hot on the heels of her controversial divorce, Luann wound up in the clink for threatening a police officer on Christmas Eve in Palm Beach, Florida, the very town where she was married less than a year earlier. Bravo’s cameras weren’t there for the event, but they were sure there for the aftermath and the rehab stint that followed. Even those who barely regard the Housewives heard about this, but for Bravoholics, this news was earth-shattering.
16. Teresa Giudice’s arrest (RHONJ season six and seven)
The New Jersey star is the first Housewife ever to go to prison, and the story of her and her husband’s conviction for bank and bankruptcy fraud has been an ongoing thread over the years. Even while she was in the slammer, there was a series of specials about how her husband Joe, who was deported back to Italy after serving his sentence, dealt with life at home without her.
15. Camille Grammer exposes Taylor Armstrong’s abuse (RHOBH season two)
After the show’s second season filmed but before it aired, Taylor’s husband, Russell, died by suicide, an event fans knew about as they watched a story of Taylor being abused by Russell unfold onscreen. She had talked to her castmates about Russell hitting her off-camera, but it was Camille who finally exposed it during filming at a tense afternoon tea. Suddenly so much about what went down made that much more sense. And now we said it.
14. NeNe Leakes cashes a Trump check (RHOA season four)
The fourth season of the show got off to a bang when Sheree confronted NeNe about supposedly going behind Sheree’s back to make more money. NeNe answered by saying she was off “cashing a check, a Trump check,” because she had just appeared on a season of The Celebrity Apprentice, but she really put the nail in Sheree’s coffin when she shouted, “I am very rich, bitch.” Little did we know that every government employee would be cashing Trump checks for four years. NeNe is always ahead of the curve …
13. Dorinda Medley makes it nice (RHONY season eight)
After Bethenny Frankel and Luann de Lesseps shouted at each other, Ramona Singer’s dog crapped on her carpet, and Sonja Morgan cursed her out for not being invited, Dorinda had finally had enough of these ladies’ antics in her Berkshires home and shouted for all of them to leave. “I cooked. I decorated. I made it nice!” she excoriated them, as all the women wilted guiltily around her. This lives rent-free in the mind of every Housewives fan.
12. Vicki Gunvalson gets a family van (RHOC season one)
In one of the first blow-ups ever in the franchise, Vicki called up the transport company that was supposed to send her and her family a limo to take them to their cruise ship, but instead sent a minivan, or a “family van” as Vicki shouts into the phone. Of course, they just made it work, but this showed everyone else how to have an on-camera freak out. They don’t call her the OG of the OC for nothing.
11. The White House party crashers (Real Housewives of D.C.)
The only memorable moment of this otherwise dreadful entry into the franchise is one of the biggest Housewives moments of all time. Michaele and Tareq Salahi told the producers of the show they were invited to President Obama’s first state dinner. However, as the nation soon learned, the two actually showed up without an invitation and snuck their way into the White House. What ensued was a conversation about how reality TV was ruining America and a literal congressional inquiry. What they really should have been talking about is how something so momentous could be on a show so boring.
10. The Posche fashion show rumble (RHONJ season two)
Nearly everyone on the series was involved in this melee at one of New Jersey’s signature events. Teresa Giudice sparked it with an insincere greeting for Danielle Staub, Kim Grantelle fanned the flames, and Jacqueline Laurita’s daughter Ashlee Holmes made it explosive by grabbing Danielle’s weave and then wishing her “love and light.” Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier than the infamous season-one table flip, it almost did.
9. The dinner party from hell (RHOBH season one)
No true Housewives fan could forget the classic moments during this first-season marvel. We get Camille Grammer bringing up the “morally corrupt” Faye Resnick’s Playboy spread, Kim Richards starting a fight with Taylor Armstrong, and, most memorably, Allison DuBois vaping (before it was even cool!) and telling Kyle Richards, “Your husband will never emotionally fulfill you. Know that!” Not even a séance featuring the ghost of Mussolini would be as creepy.
8. Teresa Giudice manhandles Andy Cohen (RHONJ season two)
It always seemed like Andy Cohen should get hazard pay for dealing with all of the verbal grenades these women throw at the reunions, but this time he needed actual hazard pay. When Danielle Staub brought up some of Teresa’s family drama, Teresa got off the couch and charged Danielle. Andy tried to stop her and got summarily pushed right back into his chair like a rag doll. He’s a good host, but he could never be Jerry Springer.
7. Sheree Whitfield tugs Kim Zolciak’s wig (RHOA season two)
A confrontation between Kim and Sheree at a restaurant (mediated by NeNe Leakes) really took a turn when all the women went outside and Sheree came for Kim. She didn’t snatch her wig right off, she just gave it a pretty firm tug, or, as she would explain, “shifted” it. This is one of the all-time great fights — and the first canonical instance of Housewife hair-pulling — but will someone please explain to me what Michael Lohan was doing there?
6. Kim and Kyle Richards’s limo fight (RHOBH season one)
Real Housewives is always great when it goes dark, and nothing is darker than this confrontation that came in the first season finale. When Kyle Richards climbs into the back of a limo with her sister Kim and Adrienne Maloof (and weird Martin, Lisa Vanderpump’s friend) we find out that Kim thinks Kyle stole her house, that Kyle and her husband help Kim out “every month,” and that Kim is an alcoholic. Suddenly the strained dynamic between the two all season suddenly made sense and we got one of the franchise’s most dramatic moments.
3-5. The Scary Island trifecta (RHONY season three)
Kelly Bensimon has a breakdown: No one could understand a thing Kelly was talking about on Scary Island. She was calling Alex McCord a vampire, saying Bethenny Frankel wanted to kill her, referencing Al Sharpton, and chowing on gummi bears like her life depended on it. I don’t think we’ll ever understand it, but watching someone unravel has never been so fascinating.
Bethenny Frankel tells Kelly Bensimon to go to sleep: This outburst had been building for days. Kelly was telling Bethenny she is a “cook not a chef” and trying to start arguments with her for most of the cast’s trip to the Virgin Islands. After Kelly became untethered at dinner, Bethenny finally snapped and shouted for Kelly to, essentially, leave all the sane people alone. Kelly not only went to sleep, she snuck out in the middle of the night without telling anyone.
Jill Zarin surprises everyone: The day after Kelly’s breakdown, everyone was relaxing in their villa in the Virgin Islands. The silence was shaken, however, by Jill Zarin’s surprise visit. She had to skip the trip to go on a pre-planned vacation with her husband, Bobby, but thought she’d stop by to the girl’s delight. Instead, Ramona Singer, who was hosting the trip, asked her to leave and Jill pulled away crying in her Suburban.
2. “Who gon’ check me, boo?” (RHOA season two)
Sheree Whitfield is possibly the best fighter in Real Housewives history, and she gives a master class here when talking to her party planner, Anthony, about what she expects for her divorce party. He’s entirely off the rails, and when he tells her she needs to “check” herself, she drops her shoulder, looks him right in the eye and says, “Who gonna check me, boo?” It’s no wonder she has this slogan on T-shirts, but for me the kicker has always been her quiet line after the argument: “What ever happened to customer service?” Indeed.
1. The table flip (RHONJ season one)
This didn’t just put RHONJ on the map, it turned the Real Housewives into a phenomenon. Though it actually happened in the season-one finale, we got a preview in the show’s very first episode, so viewers spent the whole season wondering how we would get to this point. It happened after everyone in the cast fell out with Danielle Staub over her checkered past. While discussing Cop Without a Badge, a book about Danielle’s ex-fiancé in which she features prominently, Danielle got short with Teresa, who responded not just by shouting “prostitution whore,” but also with unbridled rage that made her nearly tip over a table full of food, wine, and glassware. Even people who have never seen the show know this moment, and it will be etched into the collective consciousness long after these shows are off the air.