The Real Housewives of Orange County started season 15 without the “OG of the OC” Vicki Gunvalson and self-proclaimed “hottest housewife” Tamra Judge. Fans wondered whether the show would be able to maintain its ratings and if it would be worth tuning in to.
The premiere episode aired with a 25 percent drop in viewers. According to Showbuzz Daily, the premiere had only 1.051 million viewers as compared to 1.416 million during the Season 14 premiere last year.
It looks like episode 8, which aired last week, finally started to turn things around. @BravoRatings confirmed on Twitter that 1.123 million viewers tuned in, making it a season-high for total viewers.
What’s been happening on the show lately that’s roped people in?
Fights between the women and sexless relationships
Prior to episode 8, much of the season has focused on Braunwyn Windham-Burke as she’s battled alcoholism. She’s had drama with a few different housewives so far.
Shannon Beador and Braunwyn got into an argument when Braunwyn accused Shannon of calling Gina Kirschenheiter’s new condo “sad”. Shannon denied the claims and was upset that Braunwyn would spread false information to the other women.
During Shannon Beador’s housewarming party, Braunwyn confronted Gina and the two had a heated exchange in which Gina referred to her as a “sloppy chihuahua”. Things only escalated once Braunwyn’s husband Sean Burke jumped in to defend his wife which made the other women uncomfortable.
After eventually reconciling with the women, Braunwyn invited them to her vow renewal ceremony. During their weekend away, newcomer Elizabeth Vargas got emotional about her divorce and faced criticism from the women for being so hung up on her former marriage and for her asexual relationship with her boyfriend Jimmy.
A pandemic and a revelation
It’s quite possible that fans have become more intrigued with watching how the housewives handled the pandemic than by the usual RHOC drama. News of the Coronavirus started to affect the women’s lives during episode 8 and started to show their anxieties as COVID-19 began to take over.
Shannon was shocked that she couldn’t find any meat at the store and worried about having enough toilet paper since stores had started to run out. Gina laughed about buying too much pasta from the Italian shop instead of worrying about the staples her family really needed.
It was clear the women weren’t sure what to make of the pandemic and what was to come during lockdown.
Braunwyn admitted to Sean and her daughter, Rowan, that she was afraid to be locked down in the house and that her boredom would cause her to turn to alcohol.
In regards to the pandemic, Kelly Dodd recently took a lot of heat from fans for her insensitive comments toward the pandemic but apologized after her mother landed in the ICU with COVID-19. Some fans wanted to boycott the show because of Kelly’s crass comments but may have tuned in to see what other outlandish things the housewife had to say.
Aside from the pandemic, Braunwyn recently went public to reveal she was a lesbian. Despite still being married to Sean, Braunwyn admitted she has a girlfriend and shared a picture of her on social media.
Braunwyn’s announcement garnered a lot of support from RHOC fans and many praised her for being the first openly gay housewife in all of the franchises.
It’s unclear whether the escalating drama between the women over the last few episodes has drawn more viewers in, or if fans are intrigued by how the women handled the pandemic. Fans could very well be eager to see if Braunwyn’s new relationship is shown on the new season and how it could impact her marriage and family.
One thing is for certain, things are just starting to heat up in the OC and more fans are tuning in to watch the drama unfold.
Real Housewives of Orange County airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.