"It is the rare debut that benefits from being judged primarily by its early episodes, which are jammed with bitchery, excess, and surprise," says Doreen St. Félix of the Bravo reality show, adding: "Being tasteless requires good taste. Reality-television fans have high standards for artifice, which needs to seem both believable and intricately produced, bloody and plastic. This was the initial appeal of the Housewives franchise, which will swan to its fifteenth anniversary in March. When the inaugural series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, premiered, in 2006, audiences were titillated by this monster picture of female arrogance, wounded glamour, and social betrayal, and, moreover, by the participants’ evident awareness of the bit. In the years that followed, the franchise expanded to encompass nine more cities, and to spawn several spinoffs. Housewives has become an institution of network reality television; it is still beloved—though that love is mainly expressed, by devotees, through biting critique—but its trusted formula, with rare exceptions, lulls."