This is Why The Real Housewives Are a Trainwreck You Can’t Stop Watching

Real Housewives of New Jersey

Real Housewives of New Jersey | Tommy Garcia/Bravo

It is no coincidence that drama follows the ladies involved in The Real Housewives franchise. From weave ripping and wrestling to drink throwing, the women seem to find drama and clash at every turn.

It’s also no secret fans tune in to see which lady is in the middle of a full-on smackdown. Alliances shift and tempers flare, which, of course, makes for great television. So how does Bravo make sure they are going to capture these crazy moments? While casting women they know who are tittering on the edge is part of the secret sauce so do these (unfortunate) strategies.

The more you spill, the more airtime you’ll get

If you don’t bring the drama, your television moment may be cut, award-winning reality show producer, Seth Grossman wrote in Gawker. “Get him to tell you something interesting,” Grossman wrote. “If he asks, “Am I boring you?” you can nod and say, ‘Yes, you’re boring me. Give me the dirt.’ This usually results in a heavy sigh, and the beginning of a good soundbite.”

Reality television is extremely cut-throat. Cast members know they are in competition with someone who may have something juicier to share.

Have a drink, honey

Allison DuBois on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Allison DuBois on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills | Giphy

A few Real Housewives have come forward about how free-flowing booze is on set. Aviva Drescher, former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City said she felt pressured to drink when a producer told her to do a shot with another cast member on camera. “I told the head producer, ‘I don’t want to do a shot. Can you just fill it with water?’ ” she told Page Six. “And they said no.” She ended up doing the shot because she said she felt intimidated by the production team.

Cindy Barshop, who appeared in one RHONYC season said, “Everything is free, so the women drink in excess.” Plus, RHONYC cast member, Heather Thompson added,  “You request the kind of alcohol you want and it’s there when you arrive to your villa. And if you run out, they get you more.”

And once the cast is drunk, let the chips fall where they may

Gretchen Rossi got hammered on camera during an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County and wondered how she got so drunk. “I woke up and thought, ‘Gosh, I never specifically went up and asked for another drink.’ My drink always seemed to be magically filled up,” she told Page Six. “So I realized that, possibly, producers were in the background going to the server, ‘It looks like Gretchen needs more alcohol.’ ”

In another instance, Sonja Morgan from RHONYC was falling down drunk, Thompson recounts to Page Six. “When we were in Saratoga at the horse race, Sonja had been drinking and the producers wanted us to go outside because she was leaving . . . and she was falling down with her suitcase. I refused. I’m not going to put her vulnerabilities on camera . . . I felt like it was irresponsible. And the producer was unhappy that we wouldn’t go outside.”

You forget the cameras are rolling

Kim Richards on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Kim Richards on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills | Giphy

Even if you aren’t drinking, it is easy to forget you are being filmed. In the heat of the moment, you can say or do things you regret. Kelly Bensimon hardly drank while RHONYC was filming but ended up getting into altercations with some of the women. As a result, she earned a reputation as being unhinged and unstable.

“If someone is in a bad situation, I don’t care if the cameras are rolling or not. I’m not going to let someone look bad because they are getting crazy. I know what’s going to happen once the footage airs, so let me help them out,” she said to Page Six.  However, “It almost ruined my life. When I got off the show, people said I was crazy and unhirable.”

Get reactions through prompts

Grossman says reality producers may use prompts to get cast members to open up (sometimes more than they’d prefer). He admits to taking acting lessons so he could cry on command.  “Sometimes, during interviews, I discovered that by letting my eyes get a little watery, I gave my subjects implicit permission to do so as well.”

Also, there’s nothing like getting a cast member to share unpopular views. So, Grossman would pretend to align with the person’s views to get the goods.

“For example, on a dating show I once produced, I knew the guy getting ready for the date was an awful misogynist, but he was careful not to reveal it on camera,” Grossman wrote in Gawker. “I didn’t want him to get away with it, so at a certain point during an interview I sent a female colleague out of the room, and when it was “just us guys,” I let loose with some casual sexism, and he picked up right where I left off and dug himself a nice little grave.”

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