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MEGHAN MCCAIN: Dorinda Medley welcomed us back to Blue Stone Manor and messy escapism

Everyone knows I’ve been the ultimate Real Housewives fan for far too many years.

I can quote the one-liners, I have my favorite women that I stand for, and then there are the women that I like to hate.

Regardless of the housewife, I love it all.

Still, lately the shows just haven’t worked for me the way they used to.

Over the years, women have come and gone from the Housewives as Bravo and Andy Cohen aren’t afraid to show a cast member the door no matter their popularity.

The final straw came when Dorinda Medley was put on hiatus from The Real Housewives of New York City.

I tried to watch the show without her and soon realized it wasn’t what it used to be.

The fans of the show felt the same way and the ratings dropped, because we just couldn’t go on without Dorinda.

A piece was missing.

So when I saw my favorite housewife open the doors of her beloved home, Blue Stone Manor in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, to a group of fan favorites for “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club,” I decided to do something no some other show has let me do. † †

I signed up for Peacock!

Regardless of the housewife, I love it all.  Still, lately the shows just haven't worked for me the way they used to.  (Left to right) Jill Zarin, Taylor Armstrong, Tamra Judge, Vicki Gunvalson, Phaedra Parks, Brandi Glanville and Dorinda Medley

Regardless of the housewife, I love it all. Still, lately the shows just haven’t worked for me the way they used to. (Left to right) Jill Zarin, Taylor Armstrong, Tamra Judge, Vicki Gunvalson, Phaedra Parks, Brandi Glanville and Dorinda Medley

I watched my favorite housewife open the doors of her beloved home, Blue Stone Manor in the Berkshires, Massachusetts (above) to a group of fan favorites for

I watched my favorite housewife open the doors of her beloved home, Blue Stone Manor in the Berkshires, Massachusetts (above) to a group of fan favorites for “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club”

Not just the regular Peacock, but I’m now paying $9.99 a month for Peacock Premium Plus. No commercials, just my favorite Housewives.

So, with my in-and-out Wi-Fi service in rural Arizona (where I’m currently home visiting my family), I typed in my credit card information hoping for the best.

To give a little context to the non-reality television viewers, the Bravo universe and all things Real Housewives is a pop culture phenomenon that has engulfed American culture for nearly two decades.

No one can deny the insane influence that both Bravo and their creator and maestro Andy Cohen have had on the way we consume reality entertainment.

We are entertained by a plethora of problematic, rich, messy, nuanced, sincere, exaggerated and — more often than not — wonderful women who choose to share their lives with us on this medium.

But like all things that have been around for over a decade, they run their course and lose their shock and entertainment value.

I’m far from the first person to take a healthy critique of some of the older series in the franchise.

The Real Housewives of Orange County is the perfect example of this.

The final straw came when Dorinda Medley (above) was 'on hiatus' from The Real Housewives of New York City

The final straw came when Dorinda Medley (above) was ‘on hiatus’ from The Real Housewives of New York City

A scene in last week's episode saw the women eating lasagna over dinner in their pajamas.  (From left to right)) Brandi Glanville, Vicki Gunvalson, Phaedra Parks, Taylor Armstrong

A scene in last week’s episode saw the women eating lasagna over dinner in their pajamas. (From left to right)) Brandi Glanville, Vicki Gunvalson, Phaedra Parks, Taylor Armstrong

Bringing back former actress Heather Dubrow seemed like a great idea at the time.

But when the show aired, it just didn’t work.

The whole season was like QVC-on steroids to whatever product Heather was promoting.

She was always keenly aware of the cameras and used them to her utmost advantage.

It was exhausting and not the authentic, messy escapism I’m looking for.

I don’t blame Heather – she’s just a symptom of a bigger problem that has plagued many great Housewives franchises.

Everything on television is about being real, especially on the Housewives shows.

We want our housewives to show up, be themselves, open their homes, share their lifestyle and problems and of course cause some drama.

Give us – the viewer – the highs and lows and we’re here for you week after week.

What we don’t want is endless product promotion, wakeful readings, fake storylines or too much glamour.

Each of these women are legends in the Bravo universe and their antics drive Bravoholics (the ultimate Bravo fans) like me completely wild.  (Left to right) Brandi Glanville, Vicki Gunvalson, Jill Zarin, Phaedra Parks, Dorinda Medley, Tamra Judge, Eva Marcille, Taylor Armstrong

Each of these women are legends in the Bravo universe and their antics drive Bravoholics (the ultimate Bravo fans) like me completely wild. (Left to right) Brandi Glanville, Vicki Gunvalson, Jill Zarin, Phaedra Parks, Dorinda Medley, Tamra Judge, Eva Marcille, Taylor Armstrong

Dorinda Medley, alum of Real Housewives of New York City, opened the doors of her Berkshires estate, Blue Stone Manor

Dorinda Medley, alum of Real Housewives of New York City, opened the doors of her Berkshires estate, Blue Stone Manor

Be real and be messy.

Which brings me back to why I love ‘The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club’. It’s so amazing and wonderful to see the “ex-wives” fired by Bravo are back.

Each of these women are legends in the Bravo universe and their antics drive Bravoholics (the ultimate Bravo fans) like me completely wild.

The cast led by the legendary Dorinda is real, funny, irreverent and flawed like good reality TV stars are.

In fact, this show gives me everything that the Real Housewives of Dubai failed to deliver.

I had really high hopes for Dubai, but after a few episodes there is both a lack of chemistry between the women and confusion about why we should care about their stories.

Of course I’ll keep watching, but so far it’s not what I’d hoped for as a housewife connoisseur.

On the other hand, ‘The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club’ will give you everything, and I mean everything you look for in quality reality TV entertainment.

The ex-housewives who join Dorinda at her home in The Berkshires, Massachusetts.

They are raw and ready for a fight.

When they’re not yelling, they’re crying or laughing. † † while I go outside at Dorinda’s pool for pedicures.

Frankly, I wish I had been invited to join.

A scene in last week’s episode saw the women eating lasagna over dinner in their pajamas.

Perfection.

These women are classic reality legends for a reason, and as the kids say, they understood the brief.  (From left to right) Eva Marcille, Taylor Armstrong, Jill Zarin, Brandi Glanville and Dorinda Medley

These women are classic reality legends for a reason, and as the kids say, they understood the brief. (From left to right) Eva Marcille, Taylor Armstrong, Jill Zarin, Brandi Glanville and Dorinda Medley

As a result, I miss these women on my television much more than I expected.

These women are classic reality legends for a reason, and as the kids say, they understood the brief.

There is so much going on in each scene that makes you laugh and cringe, I couldn’t even begin to sum up each episode as far as there is just so much fun and drama to consume.

The ex-wives are legends for a reason.

They just know how to convey the drama and emotions while still letting you root for them as humans.

Phaedra Parks in particular is a highlight of The Atlanta Housewives.

A lawyer and mother of two, Phaedra is truly one of the funniest women ever on a reality show in television history.

Bravo and Andy Cohen would be crazy not to bring her back to the Atlanta franchise, where she is sorely missed.

However, she has to apologize profusely and make amends with Kandi first (Atlanta super fans know what I’m talking about!)

Finally, while I’m more than happy to pay for Peacock and stream at my leisure, “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club” deserves a timeslot on Bravo’s cable channel ASAP.

And to Dorinda Medley, thank you so much for making television fun again.

When can I visit Blue Stone Manor?

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