‘The Real Housewives of Dallas’ Has All the Key Players a Great Franchise Needs

It’s the question that’s been keeping me up at night: What makes a great Bravo Real Housewives cast? Why do some cities soar far above (Atlanta, NYC), while others wither away on the Andy Cohen vine of shame (Miami, D.C.)? It’s hard to quantify the ideal conditions—we know we need our Kobes (see: Bethenny Frankel, NeNe Leakes, Lisa Vanderpump). And we definitely need our lovable messes—Luann de Lesseps, Porsha Williams, Shannon Beadors. But that leaves a lot of space in between.

And I couldn’t help but wonder, Carrie-Bradshaw style: How do we go from mediocrity to magic?

Well, my friends, I think The Real Housewives of Dallas has shown us the working blueprint. In its third season, it’s actually good, which is surprising for a newer franchise in the Housewives world. In its infancy—as opposed to having a matriarch like Vicki Gunvalson running the show—we can easily see in real time what’s working, and it’s helped me see that, regardless of the city, there are certain players every Real Housewives franchise needs.

These are the five archetypes every watchable Housewives needs, as seen through the ladies of Dallas.

leeanne locken real housewives of dallas
Peter Larsen/Bravo

Most Dramatic Player: Leeanne Locken

These are the women at the core of the show. You know, the ones who are constantly the center of drama, attention and Andy Cohen’s reunion questions. Take LeeAnne, for example. Since season one, she’s done nothing but prove that she gets crazier by the episode. However, it’s hard to picture the show without her, considering every juicy moment ties back to her unfiltered mouth.

Here’s where it gets tricky: Reality TV comes in all forms, but not everyone can hold their own on a Real Housewives series. LeeAnne is unique in the sense that she’s taking this archetype to an entirely new level. I mean, it’s not every day someone attends a Halloween party, dresses up as a two-faced version of the host (aka Stephanie) and lives to tell the story.

To top it off, she’s a low-key threat to the other women. In season two, LeeAnne went on a raspy rant while at the doctor’s office with Brandi, claiming she’s coming for Cary, saying, “I grew up with a lot of things in my hands, and they’re not knives, they’re just hands.” Like…what?!?!?! That’s MVP Housewives material right there.

Fast-forward to season three, and LeeAnne is proving to be the most unpredictable housewife (yet again). Not only is she planning a wedding (read: bridezilla), but she’s also on the verge of exploding on her supposed best friend, D’Andra. It all started when D’Andra developed a drinking relationship with Brandi, followed by a lame excuse about why she can’t go wedding dress shopping with LeeAnne. Cue the explosive argument.

Is LeeAnne someone I want to be friends with IRL? Not likely. But is she someone I’d waste an hour watching each week? Hell to the yeah.

Other franchise MDPs: NeNe Leakes, Bethenny Frankel, Dorit Kemsley

stephanie brandi real housewives
Tommy Garcia/Bravo

The Bffs Who Could Brawl At Any Moment: Stephanie Hollman & Brandi Redmond

Bravo is no stranger to casting besties whose friendship is hanging by a thread, and Brandi and Stephanie are the perfect example. Sure, they’re on good terms right now (hellooooo, baby Bruin), but who can forget about their snafu in season two? Let’s dive in, shall we?

It all started when Stephanie compared Brandi’s relationship to a “slow-motion car crash” on Bravo’s blog. Fast-forward to the season two premiere, and the BFFs hadn’t spoken in four months. (If you’re unfamiliar, this is a huge stretch from the pair’s normal friendship, which almost dips into familial/lover strange territory.)

Why did they wait so long to hash things out? I have absolutely no idea, but if I had to guess, that issue was probably just the tip of the iceberg of problems. Of course, when they did, they cried and made up faster than Andy Cohen could schedule a What Happens Live segment. But if it happened once, it can happen again.

So, while the BFFs are closer than ever, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them snaps à la Lisa Rinna and hurls a wine glass across the table in the near future.

Other franchise BFFs: Sonja Morgan and Ramona Singer, Kyle Richards and Lisa Vanderpump

cary dandra real housewives of dallas
Peter Larsen/Bravo

The Family Affair: D'andra Simmons

Think of her as the one who tries to be the mom of the group, even when her own life is in shambles. (Thanks a lot, Momma Dee.) D’Andra is a businesswoman, a stepmom and the matriarch figure of the RHOD (even if she has only $200 in her bank account, according to LeeAnne).

Nevertheless, she’s the only cast member who’s turning the show into a family affair. And no, I’m not talking about when she tried (and failed) to make her stepson move in with her and her husband, Jeremy Lock. I’m referring to the fact that everything revolves around her mom and their business.

D’Andra can reformulate and add vanilla flavoring to Green Miracle all she wants, but we all know she’ll never be good enough for Momma Dee. (There, I said it.)

Even better, her mom fights her battles for her. When Momma Dee caught wind of D’Andra and LeeAnne’s “Who’s the queen of the group?” feud, she strategically bought her daughter a “Queen Bee” apron for their cooking lesson, and I can’t help but feel like Momma Dee deserves her own tagline.  

Other franchise family affairs: Karen Huger, Teresa Giudice

kam real housewives of dallas
Peter Larsen/Bravo

The Barely-on Light Switch: Kameron Westcott

OK, I’ve tried really hard to understand this character, but I’m starting to think Kameron is an actual robot.  

Think of her as a light switch. She’s almost always in “off” mode, like when she’s spending thousands of dollars on pink dog food (which turned out red) and condescendingly nodding her head as if she’s too cool for the drama. (News flash: You’re not.)

But don’t be fooled by her all-pink-everything personality, because when Kam is “on,” she takes no prisoners. She will yell, scream and “badger” the ladies until they agree with her. Then, when things are settled in her favor, she’ll resume the “off” position and wait for her next explosion. 

Other franchise light switches: Erika Girardi

cary kam selfie real housewives of dallas
Peter Larsen/Bravo

The Seemingly Normal Pot-stirrer: Cary Deuber

I’m not saying Cary isn’t important to the show, but her storyline almost always revolves around her sticking her nose into someone else’s business. Two words: Beaver Creek.

When Kameron invited the girls to her ski chalet in Colorado (casual), everything was cool until Kam confronted Brandi for not knowing about Bruin before the surprise adoption party. (Um, what?) Yelling ensues, followed by an accusation that the Sparkle Dog owner is “badgering” the baby. *Sigh*

While the altercation is mainly between Kameron and Brandi, Cary butts in (yet again), ultimately solidifying her role as the pot-stirrer. When she pulls Kam aside, Cary calmly explains that Brandi didn’t mean what she said. This is where things get interesting.

Per usual, Kameron won’t let it go. Although someone like D’Andra would have scoffed and walked away, Cary really, really wanted to make sure that Kam knew her place.  

“I would never bash a baby,” Kam says.

“Badger! Badger! Badger!” Cary yells back.

Other franchise pot-stirring cheerleaders: Kyle Richards, Dorinda Medley

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call fantastic reality TV.


Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...