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.