Change can be good but it's not always easy and it often takes time to adjust. That's just what the folks at the Bravo Network learned when they decided to make a major change to the season 5 cast of their hit reality show The Real Housewives of New York City. After the conclusion of the fourth season reunion show the producers made a decision that not only shocked the fans but also the cast, they decided not to renew the contracts of four of the seven women stars of the show. After the women were fired, the news hit many loyal viewers hard as they were still adjusting to the departure of one of the most popular NYC housewives, Bethany, who left the docudrama after season 3 to pursue other projects.
As the premiere of the fifth season approached, Bravo introduced the audience to three new cast members through numerous commercials, however, longtime fans were not quick to embrace them and the first episode was met with lukewarm reviews and low ratings. As the series continued, however, the ratings slowly increased week after week. The viewers returned and found the new women were just as interesting and entertaining . . . if not more than the old cast. Bravo took a chance and it paid off. It also didn’t hurt that among the new women was an American Princess, a successful business woman, and a fierce advocate for amputees, who was not afraid to spar with the original cast members even calling two of them "white trash."
The entire cast was very entertaining and the season was fascinating. It also didn’t hurt that the gals met a Johnny Depp lookalike while on vacation and rumors were ramped that a couple of them participated in some extracurricular activity with Mr. Depp lookalike. One of the women rumored to have brought him back to the vacation house after a night of partying has a boyfriend whom she is trying to have a baby with.
It took a little time for the viewers to "get to know" the new women, however, the good news for Bravo was that the new cast was interesting and entertaining enough to capture and keep the audience. The dynamics of the relationships between the three new women and the three remaining cast-members was dynamic and together they produced two important reality show ingredients, conflict and controversy.
Aviva: Described on the Bravo website as a "part-time socialite and full-time mother," this statuesque blond is beautiful, smart, articulate, and tough. After showing up with her husband to what some of the women thought was a “girl’s vacation,” Aviva gave two of them a tongue lashing after hearing they wanted her husband to stay at a hotel. She even called the two women “white trash” because she felt their behavior towards her husband was despicable.
Aviva was born and raised in Manhattan; when she was six-years-old she had a catastrophic accident on a farm causing the amputation of her left leg just under her knee. Because of this she has many phobias. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College and a Master’s degree in French from New York University. She also holds a JD from The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Aviva performs philanthropic work as the National Spokesperson for "One Step Ahead," an organization for amputees. She is also an advisory board member of Cancer Schmancer/Trash Cancer, and works with the Live4Life Foundation. She is married with four children.
Her opening line is; "Never underestimate a woman born and raised in New York City," and boy, did the other housewives learn that lesson. Aviva gave some of the women more than a piece of her mind. Aviva is not a woman you want to get into a verbal altercation with for two reasons, one: she’s smart and is able to articulate her thoughts clearly, and two: she will not back down!
Carole: Literally the "Princess" of the group, in 1994 Carole married Anthony Radziwill, son of Prince Stanislas Radziwill and his wife Lee Bouvier (younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis). Unfortunately, Carole and her husband did not live "happily ever after" because he died of cancer a few years after they were wed.
Carole is a journalist in her late 40s. She’s intelligent, eloquent and was seemingly the peacemaker in the group. Although she was not involved in any verbal altercations during the season, the women chastised her at the reunion for all the things she said about them during her private interviews. Carole was a positive addition to the cast as her humor gave the audience something to chuckle at even though some of the other women didn't appreciate it.
Carole is the "cool" friend and appears to be a "free spirit" plucked out of the 60s "love and peace" generation. She's on the liberal side, wearing a T-shirt displaying the words "Occupy Me," and after meeting a gentleman at a bar and speaking with him for a few moments, she said; "you're not a Republican are you?" She was quite pleased to discover he wasn’t because she could not date one. Her opening line on the show is "I may be a Princess but I'm definitely not a drama queen." Well, maybe a little.
Heather: The third and final addition to the NYC cast is Heather, a successful businesswoman and creator of "Yummie by Heather Thomson," a popular shapewear line. She is a married mother of two young children.
Heather bickered with longtime cast member, Ramona, early on in the season. They both accused each other of talking too much and not allowing the other to speak. Ramona said “This woman does not shut-up!” The bickering reached an all-time high when Heather invited everyone but Ramona to a London trip. The two women were able to make-up later in the season, after Ramona began having problems with Aviva.
Heather seemed a bit reserved at times but she did bring some drama to the show. Her opening line was; "My success is built on making women look and feel their best. Holler!"
The "old" cast members consisted of Ramona, Luann, and Sojna. The first two women have been with the show since it premiered, and while Ramona continued with the same type of antics, Luann showed the viewers a new side. In the past the "Countess" always acted proper and often came across as arrogant and judgmental. This season she let loose to the point that she brought home a Johnny Depp lookalike while on vacation, after a night of partying. The next day she denied bringing him home, but her story didn't hold up. She also seemed aggravated with Carole's title of a Princess and appeared to try to always one-up her in several conversations.
Ramona and Sojna had quite the surprise this season after an argument with Aviva when she called them both “white trash.” The argument, as most arguments are, was a silly misunderstanding. It began when Aviva felt betrayed by Ramona after she heard that she and Sojna didn’t want her husband to stay at the vacation home the women were sharing. The accusations and words escalated to the point that the three women were screaming at each other and finally Aviva got fed-up and said “you’re both white trash, frankly.” Although Aviva apologized, the two women were not anxious to forgive her. At the reunion Ramona told Aviva; "I have no ill will towards you, I only wish you the best. I just think you need a different therapist."
Change is Good
The producers took a chance by changing over half the cast of The Real Housewives of NYC and dared to fire four women whom the audience had come to know and felt comfortable with, and then added three new women that almost no one had ever heard of. But in this case, the change was good. Season 5 was a roller-coaster of a ride and fun to watch. I’m looking forward to Season 6!
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