The Real Housewives of New York City

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Real Housewives of New York City TV Poster Image
Voyeuristic reality series moves to the Big Apple.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Wealth, materialism, physical beauty, and social status are central themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the women claim that "status is everything." Some of the children sometimes act spoiled. The housewives are educated, and most have professional careers.

Violence

Some arguing between the women and their partners, as well as some catty exchanges between the housewives. Some visible pushing and shoving, but it's more playful than violent.

Sex

Some strong sexual innuendo, including mild references to male genitalia. Some of the women wear bikinis (including a thong). A male tennis pro teaches with his shirt off. Also includes discussions about pole dancing, stripping, and promiscuity. Ramona enjoys dressing provocatively. One of the kids makes references to lesbianism.

Language

Audible language includes words like "hell" stronger cursing is bleeped out.

Consumerism

High-end brands like Ralph Lauren, Aston Martin, etc. are prominently featured and discussed at length. The women are very consumer-driven and care a lot about material signs of wealth and status.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent drinking (wine, champagne, mixed drinks).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series focuses on five women who live within the privileged circles of New York City's social elite. Like their TV counterparts in Orange County, they place great importance on wealth and status, and as a result often come across as materialistic and superficial. There's plenty of catty behavior, some strong sexual innuendo, and plenty of drinking, and some of the kids act spoiled. The women must also cope with complicated issues like blended families and dealing with chronically ill children.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymascher April 9, 2008

Well Isn't That Rich?

The people aren't as snot-nosed arrogant as I anticipated. They live in great spaces. Eat at fancy places. Still they don't behave as arrogantly as... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byWise girl April 28, 2009

Absolutely couldn't stop watching

I thought the thing with Kelly vs. Bethenny was ridiculous. Kelly is an idiot and a child! She tells Bethenny how immature she thinks she is and how Bethenny is... Continue reading

What's the story?

A spin-off of The Real Housewives of Orange County, THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY offers an East Coast view of what it means to be a (credit) card-carrying member of society's elite upper crust. Cameras follow the lives of five Big Apple socialites -- Alex McCord, Bethenny Frankel, Jill Zarin, LuAnn de Lesseps, and Ramona Singer -- who live in a world where wealth and status are the ultimate goals and spending loads of money on designer clothes, luxurious homes, and endless parties is the way to get there. But, as in the original series, these women also have to cope with problems that money simply can't fix, such as balancing their careers with their home life, building and strengthening personal relationships, and raising happy, healthy children.

Is it any good?

Unlike some of their Orange County counterparts, these non-traditional housewives aren't just Botox-injecting big spenders; they also wield some real professional and social power in Manhattan. Bethenny, for example, is a celebrity chef and was a runner up in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, while LuAnn uses her position as Countess de Lesseps (thanks to her French aristocrat husband) to benefit multiple charities. And, like any loving partners and/or parents, they want to provide their loved ones with the best. But despite their hard work and good intentions, the greediness and self-important attitude these women often exhibit sometimes makes them difficult to like and usually hard to take seriously.

Though not particularly exciting, the series offers some voyeuristic pleasure -- especially for those who like looking at how "the other half" lives. But the show's emphasis on status and materialism doesn't send a great message to kids. Still, teens might connect with some of the parent-child dynamics and the exploration of other, more personal issues if they can see through the endless flaunting of wealth and the privileges that come with it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the lifestyles featured in this series are appealing (or unappealing). What would be the hardest part about living like these people? The easiest? Families can also discuss why so many reality shows feature rich and famous people. Is it because people really want to be like them? Or could it be because their lives just don't seem real?

TV details

  • Premiere date: January 22, 2008
  • Network: Bravo
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate