Reality Roundup: Relationships, Ranked

It’s the month of the Bachelorette premiere, and across the reality sphere, romance is heating up.  While some pairings are shaping up to be tomorrow’s tabloid fodder, others are the real deal.  Below are this week’s standout unscripted couplings – ranked in order of where these trainwrecks relationships seem to be heading.

Ramona and ?, The Real Housewives of New York

Even the most casual observer of the past few seasons of The Real Housewives of New York City knows that Ramona Singer is single.  Kicking off the current season by sexually harassing her contractor (points for equality?), Ramona’s shown no signs of stopping now.  In her latest escapade, she invited a date (whose first name she never fully learned) to her surprise sixtieth birthday party – then promptly (and quite literally) turned her back on him.  “Either she’s dating too many guys, or she’s having a senior moment,” one of her fellow Housewives cast members helpfully observed.

Love score: -20.  I give her date some credit for showing up to a party with cameras where he knew nobody except for Ramona. But since she declares during the episode that she dismissed him outright because she didn’t like his shoes (if he wasn’t previously aware, I guess he got to find out with the rest of the country), it doesn’t seem like another date is in the cards for these two.  On to the next!

New episodes of The Real Housewives of New York air 9:00pm ET Wednesday on Bravo   and are available the next day on-demand.

Karen Huger and her house, The Real Housewives of Potomac

God bless the Potomac producers for this week’s mashup of Karen preening about her home, juxtaposed with some potential buyers’ reactions during a private viewing.  “I love the house the way it is…it fits me quite well,” she sneers, delivering a monologue of what she sees as the house’s finest features…while the potential buyers ultimately conclude “it’s a little dated.”

Love Score: 0.  Karen’s steadfast devotion to her home is proof that love is truly blind – but her sentiment is as strong as the certainty that the two are headed to splitsville.  Given that the season preview already revealed that Karen’s on the move, it’s too emotionally taxing to get invested in a relationship we all know is going nowhere.

New episodes of The Real Housewives of Potomac air 8:00pm ET Sunday on Bravo and are available the next day on-demand.

Thomas and Landon, Southern Charm

Thomas and Landon have been circling each other since last season, but were thrown together in the latest episode of Southern Charm at a not-so-subtly orchestrated dinner party.  Explains host Patricia, “I think that introducing people has kind of fallen out of favor because of the online dating situation.  Which frankly, I don’t understand.  I mean you could end up with Jack the Ripper.  Who would know?”

Unfortunately for Landon, Jack the Ripper may actually be a step up from Thomas (he of the drug-fueled rumors, womanizing ways, and children-living-in-the-guest-home lifestyle).

Love Score: 3.  It’s a match made in symbiotic heaven (he has the money and the name, she has…well…Landon parts).  But if Thomas’ track record is any indication (he’s already had two children with one cast member, and we’ve seen how that turned out), this fledgling relationship is, as cast member Cameran rightly put it, “a terrible, horrible, no good very bad idea.”

New episodes of Southern Charm air 9:00pm ET Monday on Bravo and are available the next day on-demand.

Robyn and Juan, The Real Housewives of Potomac

They have children together, they live together, they’re not married…but they were (until he cheated).   Robyn’s (non) relationship with Juan continues to keep the cast’s mind spinning, whipping cast member Gizelle into a nonsensical state in the latest episode. “But you can’t ask him if he has a side piece?  Does he have a chicken wing? Does he have a breast? Does he have a something?” she implored, trying desperately to make sense of the rumors of Juan’s extracurricular activities.

Love score: who cares??  Yes, Robyn deserves better.  No, Juan isn’t being shown in a very favorable light.  But whatever the two of them are doing is not something that anyone can decide for Robyn – we’ll just have to wait and see where she lands on this one.

Sonja and Mr Napkin, The Real Housewives of New York

I have never believed in love more than when I saw Sonja Morgan on a date with the one man in the world who cares about pillowcase-sized napkins.

We first met napkin-aficionado Rocco at Sonja’s dinner party (the one served by her brother-in-law’s butler) last season.  She wanted to make sure that everyone knew that their oversized napkins were an old family heirloom (I’m not quite sure how that works, but I’m guessing the Morgans must have industrial-strength washing machines).  And naturally, nobody cared – except for cuddly elitist Rocco, who couldn’t shut up about the damn things.

The two appeared to be a match made in heaven.  She loves to make off-handed comments about how fabulous she believes her life to be (or, at the very least, wants others to believe it is) and he’s as flattering to Sonja’s self esteem as cast member Bethenny’s many brown-nosing adoring assistants are to Bethenny’s.

But scratch the surface and you learn that their romance is not as rosy as it may initially appear.  Hearing Sonja describe her feelings for him, it’s clear he’s just one in a crowd of wealthy men she has her eye on.  “There’s guys you sleep with and guys you marry,” she explains, justifying Rocco’s classification.  “There’s two different piles.”

Love score: 4 1/3.  Sadly, the women of RHONY have not been hitting it big in the love department lately.  In the case of these two, although the couple’s shared affinity for household objections gave them an initial boost, Rocco’s connection seems much stronger with Sonja’s Instagram than with Ms. Morgan herself.  And given that even LuAnn and Rey had more sexual tension than these two, I’m holding out hope that Rocco might once again find the woman whose housewares set his heart ablaze.

Katie and her forever-fiancé Walter, Second Wives Club

The first half of the Second Wives Club premiere involved a lot of necessary exposition (complete with family tree diagrams) to outline the past and current relationships of the men and women involved in the show.  While wading through introductions like this can at times be tedious, no couple stood out like these two:

From the second that Katie proclaimed, “Walter has three kids.  And I have no kids, ‘cause I feel like I’m smart,” I knew I had struck gold.  Her cheerful willingness to bulldoze conversations is guaranteed to be fodder for the juicy season to come – and seems just as fundamental to her six-year (and counting) engagement.

Love Score: 15.5.  The extra half point goes to Walter for his unqualified willingness to get on camera, keep his mouth shut until needed, and then gush about his fiancée on cue.  Honestly, if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

New episodes of Second Wives Club air 9:00pm ET Thursday on E!   Recent episodes are available on-demand.

Katie and Taco Bell, Second Wives Club

If The Bachelorette has taught us nothing else, it is that perseverance and sacrifice (i.e., to stick around until she stops dating her twenty plus other boyfriends and decides that you’re her one and only special someone) are at the heart of any totally healthy and obviously stable relationship.  Katie and Veronika demonstrated the same ‘stick to-it’ spirit on Second Wives Club this week, as they risked their lives (or, more accurately, the rims of Veronika’s Rolls Royce) for their off-menu fast food orders.

Learning the hard way that the treacherous twists and turns of their local drive through lane were no friend of the expensive car, the two narrowly dodged disaster time and again until Katie, steadfast in her goal, left the passenger seat and walked up to the drive-through window to complete their mission.  “She proceeded to order like $50 worth of tacos and burritos.  I knew she was serious at that point, ” Veronika observed.

Love score: ALL OF THE POINTS.  Reality tv shows are frequently criticized for the extent to which producer ‘suggestions’ turn into scripting.  Second Wives Club is far from immune from this phenomenon (Neither Shiva’s dead-pan conversations with her fiancé about setting a wedding date nor the over-the-top kerfuffle over who did or did not receive an invite to Tania’s wedding feel completely natural).  But the lengths to which one woman’s love of tacos is nothing short of the real deal – and not even forever-fiancé Walter could top that.


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