Who Should Be on Our Fantasy Season of 'Real Housewives: All Stars'
If RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars taught us anything, it's that there's something exciting about bringing together the audience's favorite reality TV personalities for one explosive, high-stakes season. For over a decade, the Real Housewives franchise has captivated gays as powerfully as any season of Drag Race, and one could perhaps argue that the housewives are pretty damn close to being drag queens themselves -- they certainly wear enough makeup, usually have themed outfits for their main events, and every dinner party could be an episode of Untucked. So why shouldn't Bravo take a cue from Ru and unite our favorite ladies who lunch for Real Housewives: All Stars?
The ladies wouldn't compete for a title or $100,000 (because being a housewife is about wealth, honey), they'd do what they do best: drink, fight, and look fabulous. To make things easier on the very busy new dad Andy Cohen, we thought we'd provide a rough outline for the first installment of RHAS:
The Real Housewives: All Stars season covers three vacations, because the high points of any Housewives are always their vacations (hello, Scary Island!). The first trip is usually business-oriented, as these girls are all about their gigs -- so why not send them to Coachella? They can stop by a Skinny Girl pool party before watching a certain Countess perform on one of the smaller stages. After that, they'll head to a small island near the US for a beach vacation, only to find out at customs that the whole thing is owned by Bethenny Frankel (she didn't make the list but we need at least two appearances). For the final trip, the girls head to Africa for a safari and have a major blowout about poaching -- unsurprisingly, most of them are in favor of the practice.
But who should earn a spot on All Stars? We have some thoughts...
If Trinity Taylor was the body of All Stars 4, Lisa Rinna will be the lips of Real Housewives: All Stars. Few housewives have Mrs. Harry Hamlin's talent for saying something impossibly nasty, immediately forgetting it, and then righteously defending herself -- we all remember her claiming that Kim Richards was close to death, even if she doesn't. With her legendary Ziploc bag of bills in hand, Rinna is always ready to get the party started, usually by asking someone if people were doing coke in their bathroom. And with Luann de Lesseps also scoring a spot on the All Stars cast, Rinna will have another chance to tell someone she wants to talk about their arrest.
How do you solve a problem like Ramona? Trick question: you don't! Instead, you let her be as problematic as possible, which is pretty fucking problematic. RHONY is arguably the crown jewel of the Housewives Cinematic Universe, and Ramona is its MVP. Singer's boundless confidence, complete inability to understand that her actions have consequences, and borderline sociopathic lack of empathy have led to serious beef with every New York housewife, so can you imagine that kind of power unleashed cross-franchise? The international implications should have the UN quaking.
Let's be real: there is no Housewives moment that has permeated the popular consciousness as deeply as Teresa flipping the table in season one of RHONJ -- it was a moment of outrageousness so iconic that Giudice is still clocking coin off of it today. No matter how centered our Jersey queen is now becoming thanks to yoga or the rage she channels into bodybuilding -- yes, Teresa is swole now -- she could still snap and call you a "prostitution whore" at the drop of a hat. And maybe All Stars could finally solve the eternal mystery of Teresa's hairline! I would like to see it.
There's a reason why, after playing second-tier housewife to fellow Atlanta castmate Nene Leakes for so many years, Burruss is now the franchise's anchor. Burruss is a versatile housewife who can play the voice of reason who rolls her eyes at all the nonsense happening around her, but is also more than willing to jump into the fray and defend herself. Given how over-the-top some of the other housewives in this All Stars installment will be, Burruss is a good roux to this otherwise baseless recipe.
In a franchise full of shit-stirrers, Gizelle is best at stirring the pot. I'm sure she would come into an All Stars season underestimated and unknown alongside some of these women who have been on our TV for a decade or more, but if there's anyone who can represent Potomac's unique brand of etiquette and don't-give-a-fuck, it's Gizelle Bryant. Gizelle works because she's really good at manipulation and getting others onto her side when she needs allies. She's all about the strategy of the game. In a season where the ladies don't have as deep connections with one another, we need Gizelle the Chess Player to make sure the fights are even-handed -- or, you know, in her favor.
The bone collector cometh. One of the inherent issues with a housewives All Stars season is that most of the ladies don't have inherent drama with each other, meaning you need someone who is willing to be the shit-stirrer. Enter Atlanta's Sheree Whitfield, who is known as "the bone collector," AKA someone who knows everyone's secrets. The great thing about Sheree and secrets is that she's really terrible at keeping them and is often more interested in making sure gossip gets shared instead of stored. If you're looking for someone to make sure housewives from separate franchises get into a fight, Sheree can make it happen.
The best thing about Luann de Lesseps is that her character is malleable. Do I know what she would be like on an All Stars season? No! And that's the point, Yolanda. Luann as a character has a few discernible traits -- headstrong, self-involved, delusional, and diabolical (as Jennifer Lawrence has said) come to mind -- but her tenure on the franchise has seen her grow a lot. She used to be "the Countess" and was a bit too arrogant for most people's tastes. That side of her has died down a bit and now she's mostly a guaranteed brick wall for the women to fight against. No one sticks to their guns as much as de Lesseps, and we know she'll come to All Stars packing.
Vicki Gunvalson is the true, reigning Queen Bee of the Orange County cast -- which is not an easy feat, considering the competition sneaking up on her from fellow castmates Kelly Dodd and Tamra Judge. This particular ensemble of white, wealthy, bored, definitely conservative women enjoys nothing more than one-upping each other in terms of moral superiority, from who loves Jesus the most to defending the sanctity of marriage. The most delicious thing Vicki brings to the table is her particular brand of hypocritical self-righteousness: condemning others with vicious words and pointed fingers, all while apparently defending an invented cancer scare and lining up more ex husbands than Elizabeth Taylor. If anybody knows how to start a character assassination, it's Vicki Gunvalson, so the other All Stars better beware. God Loves Trump!!!
Brandi is too much of a shit-stirrer to secure a regular cast spot, but All Stars wouldn't be quite as juicy without her. Brandi doesn't get ready to start drama, she stays ready, whether that means accusing Kim Richards of using meth, revealing that Adrianne Maloof used a surrogate, or tossing wine in Eileen Davidson's face. Brandi needs to be used sparingly, popping up long enough to drop a bomb at a dinner party but swanning out before she gets too bombed and starts crying.
Danielle Staub is the OG villain of the entire Real Housewives franchise. The first season of Real Housewives of New Jersey, at only six episodes, made the series what it is today -- so of course she earns a spot. But, with only two seasons under her belt and a return-slash-demotion on RHONJ, she doesn't earn a top spot here. Danielle is great because in her second RHONJ coming, she really does seem like a genuine friend. But where she has everybody else beat is passion. A friend of the housewife should be there to step in when the first housewife is feeling attacked, like a great backup character in Marvel vs. Capcom. Staub would make sure Teresa has someone in her corner while also guaranteeing at least one glass-throwing outburst, usually incited by her but then blamed on everyone else.