For months, Bravo fans have oscillated between hype and dread at the prospect of this soft reboot of a classic.
Sunday night, we met the new cast of The Real Housewives of New York City. That’s right — RHONY 14 has begun.
So far, reactions are all over the place. It could be weeks or even months before longtime viewers adapt to the change or reach consensus.
What was the premiere really like? Well, fans will have to decide if their debut feuds were boring — or eerily relatable.
On Sunday, July 16, RHONY premiered its 14th season with an all new cast.
And while learning a slew of new faces and names can be a bit of a headache, Bravo implemented some fancy new graphics to help. It’s a worthy update.
The question on viewers’ minds is simply whether the rest of the season will be as good of a decision as those shiny golden letters.
There is definitely a lot to enjoy about the new cast. A diverse cast of larger-than-life personalities who represent the diversity of RHONY‘s upper crust is a breath of fresh air.
We “met” Brynn Whitfield, a brand marketing consultant.
Then there was Jenna Lyons, an interior designer and a consultant who is happy to embrace the “boss” role.
Jessel Taank is a fashion publicist. She is also, we should note, Bravo’s very first South Asian Housewife. That’s great … but it’s weird that it took until now.
Sai De Silva is a wholehearted Brooklyn native as well as a digital creator and an influencer.
And you’ll certainly notice Ubah Hassan, who is both a gorgeous model and a hot sauce entrepreneur.
Erin Lichy is a realtor and an interior designer. She also became embroiled in some low-stakes drama on the premiere.
So, Erin had picked out a restaurant, but Sai and Brynn had bowed out. Why? Possibly because of the restaurant itself.
Bravo is very careful to exclude the restaurant’s name, using bleeps and blurs. The Housewives say that it’s a place for teens or for out-of-town guests “from Florida.” The Daily Beast speculates that it’s Italian fusion restaurant, Hearth.
“The restaurant used to be the hottest place in New York. It’s easy to get to and it’s convenient,” Erin explained to the camera.
“But Sai and Brynn ditched the group dinner,” she shared. “Then they posted on Instagram that they were at Casa Cipriani.”
Erin expressed: “And it’s hurtful. I think it’s just a very obnoxious thing to do.”
“I mean, I would go with anyone to a local bar and be happy, I don’t need to go to a chic place all the time, I don’t care,” Erin told Ubah.
“[And] we were with our husbands, me and Jessel,” she went on. “I get it. They could’ve just been like, ‘Listen, you guys, go with your husbands, we’re going to go to Casa.’ No big deal.”
Erin lamented: “But they didn’t. They were like, ‘I’m so tired.’ Jessel thought they went home, but they went to dinner. That’s what bothered me.”
“I’m sorry that I kinda bailed on dinner. I didn’t know how to say I wouldn’t be caught dead at [that restaurant],” Brynn quipped.
She shaded: “It’s not 2005 and I’m not a D-list model.”
Brynn grew even harsher: “Like, Olive Garden to me is chicer. The ones with the carpets? They have good breadsticks. The breadsticks, they slap! I’ll go there.” Those of us who have not been in an Olive Garden since the ’90s know how insulting that truly is.
This all leads us to what we here at THG will refer to as the Cheese Crimes Discourse.
Brynn shared that she had heard that Erin was “distancing herself from Sai.” Why? Because of Cheese Crimes.
It started when Erin put cheese on a charcuterie board. “Supposedly Sai goes, ‘Oh, you eat cheese?’ And Erin’s like, ‘Is that not cool or chic or something?’ And supposedly Sai goes, ‘That’s weird.'” Brynn shared.
“For the record, I did not say, ‘Cheese, that’s weird,'” Sai told the confessional camera.
“I know I didn’t because I ate it!” she explained. “I remember eating the cheese more than anybody else!” So, what happened?
“Erin and I have similar friends. We have run in the same circle for a few years now. But Erin is always arguing with someone or is mad at someone,” Sai suggested. “So now it’s starting to seem like Erin is the common denominator here.”
The next person to share her version of events? Erin herself.
This time, she announced (in front of an enviable horde of cheese, no less, while at Jenna’s house) that she had never said that about Sai.
Instead, Erin declared that Brynn “was lying” about the whole thing.
“None of this is true. I would never say that I distanced myself because I served her a cheese platter,” Erin said.
“It is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” she went on. But Brynn insisted that she had said it.
“That’s your embellishment,” Erin accused Brynn. “And I don’t like when people say s–t I didn’t say.”
“That is so obnoxious of Brynn. … She literally makes s–t up,” Erin complained. “I was telling her that in passing as a joke.”
In dismay, she added: “To go back and be like, ‘Oh, she said your cheese platter is bad.’ Like, what the f–k?”
She shared that she felt “turned off” by Brynn had had “no interest in her” as a friend after the Cheese Crimes drama. But that attitude would not last.
“I am offended, not by the cheese, I don’t give a s–t … I don’t like the wishy-washy thing,” Erin confronted Brynn one-on-one.
“I felt like you decide who you were going to align yourself with and then you got weird with me,” she expressed.
“In all actuality, I don’t think there’s any issue with us,” Brynn assured Erin, seeming to agree with her. “Just don’t take it personally.”
“It’s hard to stay mad at Brynn,” Erin admitted. “She’s fun, she’s sweet, she’s bubbly. She makes it light enough that you kind of forget.”
Additionally, Brynn and Sai both owned not having wanted to attend the Unidentified Florida Restaurant That May Have Been Hearth. Erin decided to let that go.
“I’m realizing it’s not about the restaurant, it’s not about the reservation, it’s about wanting to spend quality time together and not caring about these other things,” Brynn reflected. “And that, I understand.”