Ranking The Ten Best ‘Real Housewives’ Housewives

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In honor of The Real Housewives of New York City coming to a close tonight, I decided to do some list-making. That’s right: I’ve ranked the ten best Housewives of all time (to be followed shortly by the ten worst). Deciding how to order this list was a bit tricky. Do I rank the women who seem like the best people? Do I rank the women who are most entertaining? Do I rank the women who I like watching the most? Or do I rank the women who I’d most want to have a conversation with?

I ultimately couldn’t decide. I just went with my gut. The results are probably a mixture of all the preceding questions, and quite honestly, now that I’ve hemmed and hawed, I’m still not sure I’m satisfied with the order. But oh well. These lists are always in flux, and a year from now, the results might be totally different. For now though, check out who I’ve chosen…

10. Gretchen Rossi, Orange County

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Here’s the thing with Gretchen. Some Housewives claim to be “the hot one” (ie. Taaaam-RAAAAAAA), but Gretchen really is the hot one, and she doesn’t go announcing it everywhere. Even better is that she’s smarter than she looks, and her May-December romance with the late Jeff seemed genuine. Gretchen frequently has to stand up for herself in the face of united bitchery, and almost every time, she comes out on top. She does lose major cool points for her association with Slade, which singlehandedly almost bumped her off this list (fellow cast member Lauri Waring would have taken her place). Still, there’s something eminently likable about the girl, even if her career aspirations (ahem, Gretchen Christine Beauté) feel a bit slapdash.

9. Caroline Manzo, New Jersey

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This no nonsense mom earned a spot in my heart after she uttered those famous words during her first season: “Let me tell you a something about my family: we’re as thick as thieves, and we protect each other until the end.” That pretty much sums her up. Mostly Caroline can be seen laughing or doting on her children, but every so often, her Mama Bear claws come out, and damn, you don’t want to mess with her. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders, something she’s clearly passed down to her three amiable kids. Her only detraction: perhaps being a bit too obsessed with hating on Danielle. Time to get over it, Caroline. Maybe throw some ham around the kitchen instead.

8. Jeana Keough, Orange County

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Our favorite sad sack, Jeana, comes in at number eight on this list. Let’s get some things out of the way: Jeana is often depressing, she’s passive-aggressive, she takes unrelenting abuse from her kids, she’s frequently a contrarian, and she seems like someone I would never want to work with. Somehow though, all those traits translate into someone who’s bizarrely lovable. I think it’s because we understand how she got that way, and quite frankly, it’s a rare thing to feel empathy for any of these women; so when it happens, you know there’s something special there. More importantly, Jeana often provides a touch of perspective, especially when the catty girls go at it.

7. Dina Manzo, New Jersey

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Dina rarely has anything to do on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She sort of walks around, showing up here and there to say hi to other women. At home, she has even less going on. Now that her daughter is off the show, she’s just stuck talking to her strange cats. However, don’t let her generally boring story lines give you the wrong impression. Dina is great. She effortlessly makes hilarious quips left and right, and when she’s not cracking a joke, she’s usually crying at something mundane. And then she’s joking about crying. On top of that, she has these crazy neuroses (a favorite being a fear of her daughter catching some deadly disease on a water slide in Cyprus) that just make her more eminently entertaining. I just wish there was more for her to do.

6. Ramona Singer, New York City

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Ramona is certifiably insane. She says mean, awful things. She acts in ridiculous ways. She makes scenes. She often causes me to throw my hands over my face. And many times I don’t know how she functions in her day to day life. Yet, yet there is something just amazing about her. When she enters a scene (usually preceded by her spinning around unsteadily, either in a doorway, on a sidewalk, or on her little title screen), I can’t act like I don’t just light up with anticipation. What will she say? How will she act? The truth is that while Ramona has caused her fair share of utterly insane dramas (ie. the dinner party in season one), there really is something so sweet and endearing about her. I love the way she interacts with her family (particularly her daughter), and you gotta admit, underneath all her nuttiness is actually a fairly smart woman. Bonkers, but smart. I just don’t know where we’d be without her.

5. Nene Leakes, Atlanta

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BAM! It’s the fifth best housewife! This title of course goes to Nene, who is almost always hilarious, outspoken, and just [insert three air-snaps] fabulous! Everything about Nene is awesome. Well, almost everything. In the second season of Atlanta, she revealed herself to be something of a diva. All she seemed to do was complain and talk smack about her friends, and by the final episode, it was damn near impossible to listen to her voice. If Nene’s attitude had stayed true to the way it was her first season, she might have been as high as second on this list. But alas, bad behavior has its consequences.

4. Bethenny Frankel, New York City

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I must admit I have some concerns about placing Bethenny so high on the list. A year ago — sure, no problem. She could have even been #1. Now though… it’s tough. On the one hand, Bethenny is the acerbic, barb-throwing, Greek chorus of The Housewives. Her impersonations and observations can be hilarious. For two seasons, in fact, she was by far the best of the best. Season three, however, saw her charm dwindle a touch. Her jokes felt a bit forced and rehearsed at times; almost as if she were self-consciously aware of her role as The Funny One. Plus, her hawking of the Skinny Girl brand got to be a bit much, and all the canoodling with her new man, Jason, was generally boring. Nevertheless, even though Bethenny was a bit off the walls at the start, she still brought the funny, and by the end of the season, she mellowed out enough to be likable again.

3. Alex McCord, New York City

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Remember the first season of RHONYC? Back then, Alex was portrayed as a pretentious, haughty, wannabe socialite who really had no idea what the hell she was doing. As a result, she came off kind of awfully at the time, but over the course of the second season, we began to realize that she’s actually a very lovely and sweet person. By the third go-around, while all the other women were getting nastier and nastier, she somehow became The Nice One — perhaps even The Wallflower. Her ability to stay above the petty arguments and feuds was admirable… until she plunged right into the heart of it like a kamikaze pilot. Alex’s decision to “deliver the message” was not her finest moment, but we understood how she felt driven to that place, and truthfully, her ensuing confrontation with Jill Zarin was somewhat amazing. Go Alex!

2. Shereé Whitfield, Atlanta

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This is kind of a shocker, even for me. Shereé Whitfield as the second BEST housewife of all time? Let me explain. On season one of Atlanta, Shereé was horrific. Everything about her was terrible: from her materialistic attitude to her diva tantrums to her love of Kim to her ridiculous foray into fashion. Then something changed. I don’t know when or where it happened, but I imagine it was sometime around when she fought with that party planner in season two. The way she went at it with him was kind of… amazing. And then, and THEN, after all that insanity, we cut to her calmly asking America “Whatever happened to… customer service?” It was just brilliant. From that moment on, I think I got Sherayay (much in the same way that I used to despise Kelly Cutrone until I realized she was the best thing on planet Earth). Sherayay is ridiculous. She is awful. She is a crazy woman, but I absolutely love every second of it. She is a force unto herself, and as such, I am proud to rank her at #2 on this list.

1. Sonja Morgan, New York City

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Sonja may be the newest housewife, but she’s already proven herself to be a fan favorite. She not only stays above the fray, she does so with a drunken indifference. All she cares about is downing some booze (note her DUI), talking about sex, and maybe feeling up another girl’s boobs if the opportunity were to present itself. No matter what Sonja does, she somehow pulls it off with panache (did you even see her mugshot?). The best are those moments when she simply dismisses a petty drama by brushing the hair out of her face nonchalantly and saying something belittling like “Girls will be girls” or “We do love our drama…” Sonja is truly great in so many ways. I hope we get to see more of her in seasons to come.

What do you think? Also, check out The Ten WORST Real Housewives here.

55 replies on “Ranking The Ten Best ‘Real Housewives’ Housewives”

  1. you had time for a ranking but NOT a photocap of THE CITY?

    i find that highly unprofessional.

  2. Tishamay beat me to it. I give a thumbs down to the inclusion of Sheree. She is entirely artificial, a character created for tv, from her clothing (purchased with bad checks) to her house (foreclosed upon). She has no redeeming characteristics. I’d love to have a long lunch over a bottle of pinot grigio with the rest of the ladies on this list.

    I’m totally on board with Sonja and Alex at the top. I’d even put Simon on the list. And, I know you’re trying to spread the selections among the different shows, but if the standard is entertainment value, omitting Jill Zarin and the Countess is just criminal, darling. No, actually, it’s déclassé.

  3. Oh wow… I thought Bethenney was a shoe-in for number one!

    But I have to agree with the choice of Sonja.. she has been on what? 4 episodes? Bitch is owning it.

  4. Sherayray? Really.? I would have gone with Dwight if you wanted an outrageous #2.
    At least he has better fashion sense.

    And I am wondering who will end up on your worst list in the #1 position. I am leaning towards KKB but Danielle is also in the running and let’s not forget Nugget’s Grammy.

    hb

  5. Love this list. Although, I have never seen Atlanta. I guess I should watch, just so I can be well rounded.

    I just wanted to say that I just noticed your “You Might Also Like…” box and for some reason, it made me LOL.

  6. First time poster. Long time reader. I feel the need to defend the choice of Sheree.

    Sheree’s outrageous narcissism is amazing TV. She wanted poets and helicopter rides at her Independence party!

    She had a giant self portrait of herself commissioned. What is not love about that?!

  7. Is this list a joke?? The entire Manzo Clan is sickening in their blatant attempts to make Danielle look bad. I feel they are mean and vicious people who are bent on keeping the entire show about themselves. I wonder how much dirt could be dug up about these people from 24 years ago!?!? Better yet, let’s use it publicly to humiliate them and make them out to be the “GARBAGE” they are!!

      1. The fact that I don’t agree with the way the Manzo family acts does not make me Danielle or a supporter of her behavior. Infact, I’m a male viewer from California!! I’m sorry if you do not agree with my opinion of them, however, it is MY opinion!

        1. Wow – it turns out Danielle is a male viewer from California. Excellent surprise.

          hb

          1. Wow! It turns out people like to poke fun of others for not sharing their view on a television program!! As I stated before, I’m sorry if anyone disagrees with my opinion, however, I am entitled to it.

          2. Here’s the thing, Pcom- you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. I agree with you. It’s just hard for me to understand your defending of Danielle when she is such a stalker. Maybe the Manzo sisters ARE bullies. I mean, there are four of them against the one of her. But the problem is that Danielle keeps thrusting herself into their lives even though they clearly don’t want her there. She seems like the kind of woman who WANTS to create drama… the whole driving around Jersey thing (WITH her kids in the car!); the pulling that stupid book out at the dinner party last year; the showing up to the Brownstone with an army of hooligans for intimidation purposes; etc. If I were one of the Manzo sisters, I would be scared shitless of her. Her need for acceptance is so severe, that I think she is capable of doing some serious damage.

            But I don’t think anyone meant to poke fun at you here, and I apologize if it came off that way. It’s just that you don’t hear many people defending Danielle, so it was an easy assumption that you could be her, considering all the celebs come to the B-Side Blog!

          3. Thanks derder for seeing things from both sides of the issue! As I said before, my disdain for the Manzo faimly does not make me a supporter of Danielle’s behavior at all. I find her behavior to be just as appalling. My issue is that this is a list of the “Best Houswives”. Their behavior in some respects is just as immature and vile as Danielle’s.

  8. I actually enjoyed Sheraray in the previous season, especially when she introduced her friend Pookie from Detroit. Uh huh.

  9. HELLO?! Sheraray had a picture of HERSELF commissioned for HERSELF when she threw HERSELF a party!? She needs to be on the worst of the worst list.

    However, Sonja is fantastic. Alex is a quiet storm…could she and Simon share her spot? You know he likes to party with the ladies.

  10. I tend to agree with the rest of the group- your #2 choice was a bit surprising. I’m guessing she got the position simply on the entertainment factor… you know, the people you love to hate, because Sheree is more arrogant and grandiose than any of the other housewives. She’s actually intolerable.

  11. After the news about Rue McClalahan broke today, I realized that Sonja reminds me up a Blanche of our generation.

  12. Gretchen is my absolute fave. She should be higher. When she first came on, I thought she would be very obnoxious (as I’m sure a lot of people did) but she seems so nice and sweet. And Ben is so right…she IS the hottest housewife and it goes without saying. I also love how she creates so much jealousy and hatred from the other women just from her mere presence. Definitely my #1.

    Also love Sonja. I hope she brings Jill and the Countess down a few pegs next season.

    I’m not really digging the Manzo sisters. Caroline doesn’t seem easy going and she scares me a little, to be honest. Dina’s just bleh.

    And I definitely agree with Sheree. She’s also my #2. Who doesn’t love the moment when she told the party planner “Who goin’ check me, BOO!!!” She’s definitely pretentious (as almost all these women are), but it’s funny, entertaining, and non-threatening.

    And Ben, if you can indulge me…I actually have a story of when I met Lisa and Sheree. I was at a store in Beverly Center here in LA with a friend. Next thing I know, I hear some lady enter the store and talking on the phone VERY loudly and obnoxiously. So I was like “Who the fuck is that…it’s so rude!” I look up and it’s Lisa. I was like “WTF!” lol. I am usually shy and would never be so outgoing, but for some reason, without hesitation, I went up to her and asked for a pic. And next thing I know, Sheree was on my other side saying “SUUUURE” as they both sandwiched me and we took a pic. They seemed really nice, but of course, I was complimenting them saying they look even more beautiful in real life. Hehe. They were eating it up. Sheree is gorgeous in person.

  13. Sheree, Really? I can’t agree with that one. Although I have to admit when she said “What ever happened to customer service” I died!

    I Love Sonja! Hopefully we get to see more of her. She seems to be the only one who can shut up LuAnn too.

    I’m also a big fan of Ramona. I know she is crazy, but she doesn’t go around having crazy grudges she just deals with it and moves on.

  14. There is NO WAY in the world Sheree should be on this list. I also have some questions about Nene being on it. But I love Sonja being #1. She is truly a wonderful person and has such class. I would have liked to see Jacqueline included. She is so sweet and genuine. Too bad ATL got rid of DeShawn, she was a sweetie as well.

  15. Oh, dear. Your Worst list was much better. Bethenny is totally number one for me, closely followed by Dina at number 2. Sonja pulls up a number three, then Caroline, Alex, Jacqueline, Ramona and Teresa. I just don’t like any of the OC wives or the Atlanta wives. Maybe Jeana, and, OK, Nene. That’s my ten.

  16. Gretchen Rossi? Seriously.. you put her on the wrong list. Caroline, Dina, and Jeana should of ranked higher.

  17. Sheree and Nene?!? No, no! Nene and her camera balls are too much, but Sheree is no lady. After her cringe-worthy behavior on Ellen I can’t stand the sight of her.

  18. What? No way! Where is Tammy Knickerbocker and Lori Waring? It’s like the first 2 seasons of Real Housewives of OC never existed. Also, I liked Quinn Frye, she was hilarious!

  19. Again, I mostly agree with your list but mine looks slightly different:

    10. Caroline Manzo
    9. Dina Manzo
    8. DeShawne Snow – she was far too normal and grounded to ever survive RHOA, still she was totally endearing and an all-around sweetheart
    7. Kandi Burress – I LOVE Kandi! She is so laid back and real, you always see her laughing but you piss her off she’ll flip bitchmode on you REAL quick! Her mom and the issues with AJ made her even more real
    6. Bethenny Frankel
    5. Ramona Singer
    4. Jeana Keough
    3. Alex McCord
    2. Nene Leakes
    1. Sonja Morgan

    1. That is not true! I have read they are all paid a flat fee. There is no way after I have read all the fomments online in the past year to Bravo’s Blogs that Kelly and Danielle are the most popular, either!! Did you just make all of that up?

  20. I love hearing everyone’s thoughts (even though the majority of you disagree about Sherayay!). The whole point of these lists is to get people talking, and it’s great to hear people’s views on the women.

    1. I totally agree with you on Sherayay if that’s any consolation. I hated her guts until the “who gon’ check me boo?” line, and immediately fell in love with her. That was all kinds of awesome.

  21. I agree with the inclusion of Sherayay. I laugh at her comments so much because different than Bethany she doesn’t think she is funny nor is she playing a role. But she just comes up as hilarious.

  22. Whatever with the list, I just realized I need to incorporate more jewel-toned satin into my wardrobe.

  23. Here’s my 50 cent:
    1. Alex McCord: Now that she has a voice, she’s using it. I still have to laugh, however, at her comment to JIll: “And while you are in High School, I am in Brooklyn…”. I wish she could have thought of a better metaphor, but she is really REAL and very kind. No more bullying with her around.
    2. Sonja Morgan: I have her at #2 only because she hasn’t been around long enough to dislike her. She is the cat’s meow. Protective, fun and funny (“OOPS…my dress just came undone!”)…I still laugh when I think of her saying that, and provocative. Plus, she really does have CLASS and a depth to her soul, like Alex.
    3.Dina Manzo: She tries to be better than the rest. And she has that eccentric, independent side to her: Just look at her two funny looking cats and obviously was raised Catholic but is open to all religions. Although I might be wrong on this, I do think her lips are real.
    4.Kandi Burress: Really talented. Don’t think she belongs on the show, but I can’t help but love her. I wish, however, she was a better judge of character: between her now deceased shady fiance and helping Kim Z. to make a smash single, she’s got to be careful. Very very good hearted and yet, won’t take any shite from NeNe. I wonder if she will catch onto Kim Z. in the next season.
    5.Ramona Singer: She tells it like it is and isn’t. If she’s wrong, she’s the first to apologize and I can’t help but loving that wacky,wonderfully hyper woman. When she dances, it reminds me of Elaine on Seinfeld.
    6. Jeanna K.: Too nice and takes too much from her kids. But, I think that for the most part, her heart is in the right place. She’s a real mama bear, yet a hard worker.
    7.Caroline Manzo: Says what she means and doesn’t back down. A great mother and her 3 kids are proof of it. Very very loyal. Sometimes a bit of a bully, but let it slide. For the most part, she’s on the side of RIGHT. I hope she makes enough from Bravo to stop shaving her face and go and have it done right.
    8.Gretchen Rossi: Okay…she lies a little bit. No more than the others, though. And her choice in men (ie: Slade) leaves something to be desired. However, she does seem to have the best attitude of all the O.C. women and likes to laugh alot. She has charisma to her and a really good heart. Plus, she is the hottest housewife of all time and could probably make a career elsewhere than on RHoOC. Too bad she chose cosmetics, as that field has been saturated for years and years. Perhaps some of Vicki’s business sense (if she were kind enough to share it rather than GLOAT about it) might help her. I don’t think there is really a mean bone in her beautiful body.
    9.Jennifer Gilbert: I’m stretching here. She hasn’t really been around long enough for me to like or dislike her. However, there is no one else I can add to the list.
    10. Bethenny F.: This is by default. I still think in my heart of hearts she is a nasty person. Her sarcastic “wit” is sometimes not so funny and she is quite the media whore. Perhaps having a baby, a man and a couple of best sellers will change the ugliness that I saw underneath her skinny-girl, pretty exterior. Plus, her chipmunk cheeks tell a story of Restalyn: I don’t believe that she is NATURALLY anything.
    Please, I am not Danielle or Kelly or Jill. If you read my worst lists, you will see it so. This is merely my opinion and I stand by it. Peace to all.

    1. Bonbon Jennifer Gilbert? oh plu eezzze. the woman is so boring and was trying so hard it looked desperate. At the end with her negative comment about the event planner Ramona was using gave away that she would probably be another monster in the works just like Jill. I am happy Bravo let her tape cut in the floor.

    2. I am revising my list already. I am humbled, but after watching Bethenny Getting Married?, I am growing to like her..understand her. She really IS funny/witty, albeit with sarcasm.
      What I most admire about her, though, is the courage of her to really put herself out there for everyone to see…her foibles, frustrations, insecurities and allowing us into her interior world.
      Her show is a smash. I love it and love her. So, let’s remove Jennifer Gilbert and replace her with Alex M. Bring Bethenny up to position number 1 and leave position 10 empty.As hard as I try, I cannot think of another housewife that I really admire and/or like.
      I warned you that this list of mine would be subject to change. Little did I know how fast that change would evolve. It only took 2 episodes of “BGM?” for me to understand why she not only got her own show, but why so many people love her. I laughed out loud alot when I watched it On Demand, refusing to watch it in its timespot, out of spite.
      So darlings, I am recommending BGM? to one and all. She really is a star, in my book. And has worked really hard to get there.

      1. I might fill position number 10 with LuAnn. Yep. She’s got alota chutzpah and more often than not, class. She can dish it and also take it! One of the few on any of the series that can do both.

  24. Jeez…I like Caroline. Alot. Editing does highlight these women at their most entertaining. I would DIE if my most entertaining moments were on TV. You have to see between their lines to find balance in their personalities, just like in real life. I did find my stomach turning this year thanks to Danielle, dangerous sociopath, and Kelly, mentally challenged. But with Caroline I found some spirit, kindred spirit even. I can be very passive when it comes to dealing with people and their interactions with me, the more aggressive or out of line, the more chinese water torture I apply. Howevah, mess with my family, children or friends, or even abuse of a stranger in public, then I become a silverback on crack. And btw, shaving the face is an ancient exfoliation that WORKS! I’m just sayin….Caroline deserves to be on the list!

  25. The first season of The Real Housewives of Orange County that I saw was the first season that Gretchen was on. That means I completely missed Slade’s performance in past seasons. Since I don’t know much about his past, I have to be honest and say that I actually kind of LIKE the guy. Sure, he and Gretchen may be using each other for the drama their relationship caused, but he seems pretty down to earth when it comes to the other Housewives and he seems to have their number, effortlessly calling them out when he feels like it. In that respect, I think that he and Gretchen make the perfect TV couple for the show.

    I have no idea if they are still together, but I enjoyed watching them on the show so I hope so.

  26. I agree with all except Sherayray. She is just TOO self absorbed for my taste. Nene would definitely make the #1 spot on my list, followed by Caroline, Alex, Bethenny, and Dina. My favorite line of Dina’s was “Did you try kicking her ass?” Sounds like something my mother would say if she were a cursing woman 🙂 I have always loved Nene and her no nonsense attitude. Bethenny’s wit can be kind of mean but always makes me laugh. Will you be reviewing “Bethenny Getting Married?” on your blog? Please say yes!!

  27. I too adore Sonja she has indeed come onto this show like a breath of fresh air
    I most likely would have put her in second place if only to put Bethenny in first
    as for Ramona yes she does all the things you say BUT she has also grown the most as a person
    now when she says something that comes out mean she takes the time to think about it and apologizes to the person she may have hurt Like bethenny on the bridge you could tell that moments after she regretted saying it
    LOVED her talk with her daughter at the rest about how having her taught her how to love seriously who didnt tear up at that and her reaction to Bethenny being engaged was the most genuine moment of real happiness for another person i have ever seen on a reality show only to be matched With Alexs reaction to bethenny being pregnant
    those were my two all time fave moments on the show
    i do agree with the entire list

  28. I agree with the first poster who said you had her until Sheree. I would not have her on the list at all. And Sonja is a bit of a problem too. I don’t think she deserves the #1 spot on the strength of one season. But I would put her on the list.

    The criteria I use in deciding on who the “best” are is would I like this woman to be my friend. I agree with all your picks except Sheree but I don’t know who I would add. Probably Dwayne or Simon.

  29. SO. I’m not asking for a lot of things this Christmas. Mostly because (a) it’s still technically November and I haven’t thought that far ahead yet and (b) I also didn’t think far enough ahead for a point (b) so see (a). But what I’m am just dying for is an updated Top Ten Best and Worst Housewives of All Time post. By my (rudimentary Australian Metric System-based) calculations, it’s been a year and a half since the last one. I mean – so much has happened! Beverley Hills! DC! Whatever that Miami ‘thing’ was! Plus, Sonja became diva, Nene spiralled into awfulness, Lisa Vanderpump became THE BEST THING IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. Heck, Camille Grammar has run the whole gamut of Danielle Staub to Bethenny Frankel in a season and a half. I’m dying to see an updated piece.

    Anyway, thought it wouldn’t hurt to throw it out there. Excuse the excessive use of random capital letters.

    G

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