Larsa Pippen is one of the best things on television.
I can’t explain the current headlines about her dating Michael Jordan’s son, but I can attest to her talents as a housewife on the recently rebooted and near-perfect “The Real Housewives of Miami.”
Pippen appeared on the original Bravo version of the reality series in 2011. In 2021, the franchise relaunched on Peacock, and she is joined by fellow alums Lisa Hochstein and Alexia Echevarria. Other OGs, Marysol Patton and Adriana de Moura, have returned in friends-of-housewives roles. The new cast members include event planner Guerdy Abraira, Dr. Nicole Martin and Julia Lemigova, the first LGBTQ housewife, along with model Kiki Barth, who’s a friend of the show.
Not everyone’s favorite subgenre of television is watching rich people argue about nonsense and gossip about each other for sport. But for those of us who love it, no show delivers like “RHOM” right now.
When “RHOM” first premiered a decade ago, Pippen looked and sounded like an entirely different person. These days, she talks like a Kardashian, repeatedly denies getting a BBL, and is constantly finding ways to make money — in addition to the apparent sizable divorce settlement she received from ex-husband Scottie Pippen — including selling pictures of her feet on OnlyFans.
She’s not embarrassed by any of it, though, and if you come for her, she is, as one of her cast members described her, an “arsonist” and will retaliate.
On the season premiere, Pippen finds out Hochstein dismissed the new building she moved into as a place known as where “all the hookers and OnlyFans [stars] and drug and pimps live.”
“You know what’s very funny?” Pippen tells Hochstein at her housewarming. “I looked online one day and saw something about how you guys rent your house every weekend to pay the mortgage.”
Then, Hochstein spirals and they bicker about this exchange for multiple episodes. Hochstein can’t bear people thinking that she would have a mortgage. I had no idea being told having a mortgage is like being called a slur to some rich people.
I love when my escapist TV shows call me poor.
I don’t condone all of Pippen’s behavior — notably accusations about Martin that could have threatened her employment as an anesthesiologist — but she’s a lot more interesting now than she was on the show’s first season, where she only lasted seven episodes. At the time, she was reportedly considered “too level-headed,” but now, with an entirely new face, body and speech pattern, she’s blossomed as a Real Housewife and is now a master of the form.
Of course, it’s not all mindless nonsense.
“RHOM is well-balanced in its authentic storylines — resulting in a show that many Bravo fans feel is arguably now the best of the entire Housewives universe.”
I do appreciate the more serious subject matter, like Hochstein’s very nasty and public separation from her husband, Lenny. All of the women — especially Pippen — rallied behind her. Lemigova also tries to adopt a child and has to confront possible complications in light of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Martin attempts to make peace with her father in spite of their past. And Echevarria highlights the de Moya Foundation, a charity that has done amazing work with her son Frankie. He has cognitive difficulties related to a brain injury he suffered in a childhood accident.
But the show is also very silly down to de Moura, who after attacking Pippen about her alleged BBL, got the nonsurgical version of that procedure on the show. I can’t fault her for getting a freebie, but it is hilarious hypocrisy.
“RHOM” is well-balanced in its authentic storylines — resulting in a show that many Bravo fans feel is arguably now the best of the entire Housewives universe. That is not to say the other franchises are now flops by comparison. I love all of my Real Housewives, but love is also being honest about the product.
As far as the Bravo franchises, “Potomac” remains the best of the bunch. But the current season, which airs its season finale on Sunday, has fallen off thanks to all of the fakery.
This week, “Potomac” star Robyn Dixon acknowledged on her ”Reasonably Shady” podcast that she had known about her husband Juan’s alleged infidelity during the pandemic prior to filming Season 7.
“Juan was an idiot and communicated with this woman on Instagram because, you know, whatever, he’s bored. He needs attention. It’s the pandemic. Blah, blah, blah,” she explained. “They did not date. He did not fly her anywhere.”
Dixon was undoubtedly only responding now because a viral TikTok video shared allegations of Juan’s cheating that included a hotel receipt.
While one can understand why Robyn might not have wanted to volunteer that information on national television, she is on a reality show and is expected to talk about her life. As viewers, I shouldn’t have to wait for that kind of intel from a podcast, especially when it teases more details about the incident via Patreon, a subscription-based content platform.
Is my cable bill not enough?
Moreover, if I ever get married, go on a reality show, and tease selling the details on Patreon — take my internet access away from me.
What makes it all the more frustrating is while Dixon and some of her co-stars kept that information off the show, we were treated to unsubstantiated rumors about other husbands throughout the season.
As Robyn’s castmate, and my personal highlight of the season, Candiace Dillard, tweeted: “It tarnishes the integrity of the premise of our show. It tap dances on the intelligence of the viewership that champion our stories and discover their own parallels in our lives. And when it’s not that deep, it simply occludes amusement.”
This lack of honesty is also a problem on “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” and the story of Heather Gay’s black eye. On the reunion, audiences learned a cast member had not punched her as teased, but she potentially blacked out. As Gay has since learned, physical assault — notably by a cast member — is not the type of thing one should throw out there unless true.
Then there is the matter of Jen Shah, who was just sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for wire fraud. I don’t know what will come of the franchise in light of Shah’s absence, but I encourage producers to invest in deeper background checks of its cast members.
I hope the producers of the other franchises like “Potomac” and “Beverly Hills” encourage cast members to be their authentic selves and tell their real stories.
Until then, if you want to see the best of the Real Housewives, turn to Peacock and see why “Miami” excels where a lot of the other franchises are failing.