RHOC returns with a rebooted Season 16 tonight and for once, fans can have confidence that one of their favourite Real Housewives franchise is on the right track—at least so far.
The Real Housewives of Orange County returns to Bravo tonight and the cast is almost entirely different from seasons past. Heather Dubrow is back, troublemakers Kelly Dodd and Braunwyn Windham-Burke are nowhere to be seen, and a few messy Housewives are thrown into the mix for what is sure to be a dramatic Season 16. Joining Gina Kirschenheiter and Emily Simpson and rounding out the rest of the cast are new Housewives Dr. Jennifer Armstrong and Noella Bergener, and guest Nicole James.
A few minutes into the RHOC Season 16 premiere and you will probably feel like you are watching a completely different show than seasons past. Bravo is clearly cementing the show around Heather and while she certainly brings the glitz and glam that has been missing in Orange County, only time will tell if she has the gall to handle being a Housewife in 2021.
Gina and Emily are also back and look better than they ever have. While it has been hard to truly get behind this duo in seasons past—Gina has come across like a flip-flopper and Emily has not delivered when it comes to personal storylines—things seem to be changing and I am hopeful that these two could become the power duo we never knew we needed. Their ascent to a winning position amongst the cast may just be due to their turning on fellow RHOC Season 16 returnee Shannon Beador but the glow up is real and I have a funny feeling they will not disappoint as the season continues.
Speaking of Shannon, if the premiere is any indication, it looks like she may be in store for a rough season. While she has always brought the personal drama—she openly fought with her husband on her first season of the show, for heaven’s sake—I am not so sure she will have the same luck this year. While Shannon has a few off moments in the premiere, her biggest misstep may just be a repeat of years past: underestimating Heather Dubrow. The messy, hall of fame-worthy Shannon is no longer present and the closer I look at it, the more it seems like she was never that interesting without Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson in the first place.
The biggest mystery of the RHOC Season 16 premiere is the presence of guest Nicole James. Introduced very early on in the episode as a close friend of Heather, she plays a crucial part in the premiere’s drama. Interestingly enough, Bravo decided not to make her a full-time Housewife but after fans see the last five minutes of tonight’s premiere, that may turn out to have been a mistake.
The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 16 premieres tonight at 9pm E.T. on Bravo.