The true measure of success for any reality show is just how polarising it is, especially when it comes to the yardstick that is public opinion. If social media reaction to the newly launched Real Housewives of Cape Town (RHOCT) is anything to go by, then the ladies down at the Republic of CT are about to serve us the best local franchise to date.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to meet the ladies, worry not, because the season is still in its infancy at only two episodes in. However, despite the early days, one can argue that locally, RHOCT is the closest to giving us what creator Scott Dunlop probably envisioned when he conceptualised the show.
But what makes for a successful franchise? Here’s our rundown:
Housewives are meant to be stay-at-home, pampered ladies who spend their days fleeting about town, air kissing each other, while spending their husbands' money without care. So, it goes without saying that money – lots of it – should be the cornerstone of a show about rich women.
This has not always been the case though in the different instalments, with some cast members merely languishing within the 45% tax bracket. Not in the RHOCT. These women are rich rich!
Camilla, the self-proclaimed Queen of Constantia, has a butler and a vintage Rolls Royce. In last week’s episode, Mrs Leo was nonchalantly discussing a R112,000 birthday party... for her toddler. Thato owns her own wine label, and Bev once bought her daughter a restaurant as a gift. Tick!
2. Personality Potluck
One of the key ingredients for a successful Housewives show is the mixed masala personality spice. The more unhinged the individuals, the better. There’s nothing like sticking a camera in the faces of the pre-eminent vying for the spotlight to exaggerate their quirks. The more different your subjects, the better. RHOCT has ticked this box successfully.
On the one end of the scale, we have tee-totalling Rushda, who looks like a porcelain doll, with a doting husband in tow, and in the other corner, Rooksie, who is a fierce, unmarried, self-described hustler. Camilla, who is the oldest of the Housewives, brings zen and maturity to the mix, the antithesis to flighty Thato who has shown herself to be quite the imbiber.
3. Cat fights
No self-respecting franchise can survive without cat fights. The best franchises are dripping with drama. Of course, the level doesn’t have to be Beverly Hills’ Amsterdam Dinner, but jaw-dropping action is a must.
It’s still early days for our girls in Cape Town, but we have already had hints of potential drama with episode 1 ending on a cliffhanger when Mrs Leo and Rooksie had it out over some historic beef.
Camilla’s penchant to “read” people will likely have her under the wrong wife’s skin in no time, and diary entries are already suggesting that the ladies aren’t buying whatever Rushda seems to be selling. Meow!
Anyone vaguely familiar with the truly rich will know that serious levels of money tend to court an element of danger. Whether by virtue of being a target for opportunistic criminals looking to relieve you of your Rolex, being part of an actual crime syndicate, or just fraternising within powerful circles that might or might not include gangsters, money and danger seem to go hand-in-hand.
Don’t believe us? Look up how many previous cast members and/or their associates have been arrested. Of all the local franchises, CT is the one that has the underlying hint of danger. We have club owners (a notoriously dangerous venture), diamond-dealing dolls (a trade-at-your-own-risk industry) and Rooksie, who looks like she could eff anybody up. So scary is our Rooks, that Thato was not even willing to bad mouth her during a video diary entry for fear she would “f*ck [her] up”.
Given the above, it’s very clear to see that RHOCT is gearing up to be a banger. Coupled with the ticked boxes, the show’s production quality has also proven to be of a high standard with none of those black screens popping up in-between scene changes (yes, we’re talking to you Real Housewives of Durban).
Whatever your initial impressions so far, we think it would be fair to say that it’s still too early to call it, albeit very promising of a great season!
- Catch the Real Housewives of Cape Town every Sunday at 7pm on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161