TV Hot Take
The Real Housewives of Dallas are cordially uninvited back to the party. Bravo has switched off the show after five seasons.
"There are currently no plans to bring The Real Housewives of Dallas back next year, and beyond that, nothing official has been decided," Bravo said in a statement.
That leaves the door slightly cracked for a return, perhaps to stream on NBC's Peacock, as The Real Housewives of Miami is doing after being canceled in 2013.
But as Newsweek points out, even a return in the digitalsphere would likely take a fan campaign, which — with a paltry 337,000 viewers for the Season 5 premiere and 578,000 for the season finale in May, one-quarter of the show's New York and Atlanta franchise viewership — isn’t likely to happen. Especially not in North Texas, which pretty universally face-palmed the show, or flipped it the bird altogether.
CultureMap was all in when RHOD launched in spring 2016 as buzzy bubble-gum TV — turn off your brain, grab your favorite carbs and a bottle of wine, and spend an hour spotting DFW hot spots and laughing as the rich Dallas women dissed Plano. In the first few episodes, we learned the fun new terms “Jesus juice” (white wine) and “charity world” and raised a Botoxed eyebrow or two at the amount of childish “poop and pee” talk we were subjected to. (Pour more Jesus juice! We’re having a good time!)
Despite low ratings, RHOD got another season, then another and another. Cast members came and went. On screen, they fought like cats and accused each other’s husbands of cheating like dogs; threw parties and threw glasses; drank too much and refused to eat weird food; took trips to Austin and trips to Mexico.
There were some beautiful and meaningful moments, like LeeAnne Locken’s State Fair proposal and glittery but heartfelt wedding. Stephanie Hollman shared her gut-wrenching experiences with suicidal ideation. Brandi Redmond let viewers along on her infertility and adoption journeys.
But by the final season — filmed and aired amid the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, racial reckonings, and deeply divided political landscape — the show had gone off the rails in ways it couldn’t really recover from.
In a world experiencing so many harsh realities, this reality TV show didn’t provide the fun, carb-loaded, Jesus juiced-up distraction it could have. Instead it became a laborious exercise in who could out-"racism" and "non-racism" and "anti-racism" who, which carried over from the screen to social media.
In a year when nonprofits in the DFW “charity world” were desperate for funds and local businesses were desperate for shoppers, the show threw one long, indulgent birthday party for one cast member and had the women stupidly spanking each other with charcuterie boards on a shopping expedition in Grapevine.
And in an economy where so many workers lost jobs and struggled to care for their kids at all, viewers were expected to sympathize with a doctor-"housewife," who is married to a kajillionaire, about the guilt she felt for wanting to stay home more so she could take her kids to the family’s hotel for tea parties.
Viewers were practically screaming, "Look, lady. Stay home or don't stay home. Make up your mind. You have a choice, K? BRB, headed to the food bank for pickup."
And then: So. Much. Fighting.
Mother-daughter fighting, tequila-shot fighting, dim-sum fighting, who's-the-bigger-bully fighting, who's-the-better-Christian fighting, secret-crickets-on-pizza fighting, you-insulted-Bigfoot-hunter fighting ... fighting is as much a part of Real Housewives franchises as designer bags, but for the love of Birkin, there'd already been enough fighting on the nearby cable news stations every night since early 2020. During the pandemic-slash-election season, they could have zipped their unmasked lips and done something interesting.
It seemed, more and more, like this once-fun, fancy-people "fantasy" was just fake drama being put forth as throwaway entertainment in a world — and a city and region — that had moved on to more valuable investments. By the last season, RHOD wasn't a feel-good escape; it was a cringey crash-and-burn.
So, raise a glass of Jesus juice to the fun that was the first few episodes, and hope the next DFW-set show treats charcuterie boards with a bit more kindness.