By Emily Yahr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 15, 2010; C05
How can the D.C. housewives possibly measure up? The ladies from Orange County, New York City, Atlanta and New Jersey have gone from reality television punch lines to tabloid staples since the franchise premiered in March 2006 -- and while we won't go so far as to call them "highlights," here are some of the most memorable moments from the past few seasons.
Table flipping (2009)
During the "New Jersey" Season 1 finale, an argument that involved who was to blame for nasty rumors about Danielle Staub's shady past climaxed with a frustrated Teresa Giudice losing control and flipping over the dinner table. The mortifying moment went viral almost instantaneously.
The most recent jaw-dropping example occurred just three weeks ago on a "New York" episode, in which the women traveled to the Virgin Islands. Kelly Bensimon seemed to have a nervous breakdown, accusing one cast mate of trying to kill her and another of being a vampire. The bizarre exchange led to discussions on and off camera questioning her mental stability.
Mother-daughter plastic surgery (2009)
During Season 5 of "Orange County," Lynne Curtin and 19-year-old Raquel decided to go under the knife together for some mother-daughter bonding. So sweet! While at a consultation (facelift for mom, nose job for daughter), Lynne explained, "I think my obsession with trying to stay fit and young . . . is a positive goal for the girls. So that when they get to be 80, they're going to look as good as me."
"Singing" careers (2009, 2010)
During "Atlanta's" Season 2, vocally challenged cast memberKim Zolciak decided to launch a singing career with a dance tune, "Tardy for the Party," which was just as great as you would have expected. The looks on the other housewives' faces were worth the price of admission during her live performance on a reunion special. This past spring, "New York's" Countess LuAnn de Lesseps tried her luck with a similar train wreck, "Money Can't Buy You Class."
"Real" life (Ongoing)
Many "Housewives" have an uncanny ability to market their ridiculous TV personas outside the shows -- for example, "Orange County's" Jo De La Rosa's dating show ("Date My Ex: Jo & Slade") and "New York City's" Bethenny Frankel's new series, "Bethenny Getting Married?," which premiered to ginormous ratings last week.