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During a party at Barney’s house, she gets caught telling Gunvalson that they’re going to get Rossi “naked wasted,” presumably to embarrass her.This “dinner party from hell” — as Cohen called it— and Rossi’s relationship became fodder for the reunion special at the end of the season.In some ways, that aspect of the format has become most representative of the franchise’s sensationalism as well as its self-referentiality.But the Housewives franchise wasn’t always defined by catfights and reunions.In the show’s introductory vignettes, the women look like casual moms in jeans and blouses.
Other families were added and a Bravo executive came up with the kitschy “Real Housewives” title as an allusion to ABC’s then-popular scripted dramedy Desperate Housewives.
Even Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen noted that last year’s Trump-dominated presidential debates had turned into a Real Housewives reunion, implying that they had devolved into petty accusations and a reality TV spectacle.
It’s telling that Cohen invoked the reunion, specifically — in which the castmates sit down in a talk-show setting after the final episode to revisit the season’s major storylines — to draw the comparison.
Most of the drama, in the beginning, was intra-family, not inter-Housewife.
And the reunions, originally titled Real Housewives Confess: A Watch What Happens Special, weren’t the spectacle of cross-talking and counteraccusations that have become a trademark of the show.