Like bobble-headed dandelions in the garden of stars, they're cropping up all over the place: down South, out West, in the wilds of New Jersey -- basically, in any place where McMansions rise and plastic surgery thrives.
They, of course, are the women of "The Real Housewives," Bravo's uber-successful franchise of shows documenting what happens when aging wannabe celebrities stop acting polite and start fighting for fame.
Some of the "Housewives" have used their 15 minutes to gain something greater. Bethenny Frankel, part of the original "Real Housewives of New York" cast, parlayed her popularity into a batch of low-calorie cocktails. Last month, she sold the Skinnygirl line to the world's fourth-largest spirits company for a reported $120 million.
Others have not fared as well. This week, after she signed a three-year deal with Scores, a New York City gentleman's club, Danielle Staub, a 48-year-old mother of two and former member of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," decided it would be better to get mental help than take off her clothes.
"I have addictions with love and low self-esteem, and I need help!" Staub told People magazine. "For years, I have had the suicide hotline on my cell phone and would like nothing more than to free myself from this constant pressure."
Such is the dichotomy of "The Real Housewives." Some of them soar, others sink, even if they've received so many collagen injections that their lips could probably serve as life preservers.
Below, a roundup of the winners and losers of "The Real Housewives."
The Losers: Danielle Staub, Teresa Giudice, Michaele Salahi
Sure, the catfighting and crying that are as crucial to "The Real Housewives" franchise as curling irons and concealer bring out the worst in everyone. But the reputations of three women have taken a beating more than the others.
Take Staub. First, there was the season one revelation that she'd been arrested in 1986 on charges of drug possession and extortion, and the rumor that she formerly worked for an escort service. Then, last year, a sex tape starring Staub landed in the hands of Hustler Inc.
Though she was booted from the "The Real Housewives" family, Staub has strived to stay relevant, from pursuing a questionable singing career to banding with fellow fame mongerers Heidi Montag and Ashley Dupre for "Famous Food," a VH1 reality series that will follow the gang as it tries to open a restaurant. Apparently, stripping crossed the line (for now).
Teresa Giudice is best known for verbally beating down her fellow castmates, saying things like "You're a pig. Look at yourself, you're disgusting" (that was directed at Staub), before hurling expletives and shoving everyone in sight. She also has a penchant for flipping over dinner tables.
But more than her temper, Giudice's greed brought her down. Last year, after going on a spending spree to outfit her sprawling six-bedroom house, she and her husband filed for bankruptcy, revealing that they were $11 million in debt. She's attempting to revive her reputation and bank account with a series of cookbooks: first, "Skinny Italian" now, "Fabulicious!: Teresa's Italian Family Cookbook."
Then there's Michaele Salahi. The White House party crasher didn't exactly make friends with her fellow "Housewives. ("There's no level of embarrassment that they will not stoop to," fellow D.C. "Housewife" Stacie Scott Turner told E! news about Salahi and her husband.)
The D.C. edition of the reality series flopped, but if reality TV has taught us anything, it's that it's never too late to start a singing career. Earlier this month, Salahi released her first single, "Bump It," presumably not about bumping the line to get into a party at the White House.
The Winners: Bethenny Frankel, Luann de Lesseps
Not everyone's "Real Housewives" run ends with rivulets of mascara. Case in point: Frankel, who jumped from "The Real Housewives of New York" to two Bravo series of her own, "Bethenny Getting Married?" and "Bethenny Ever After," whose second season averaged more than 1 million viewers each week.
Focusing on dollars rather than drama helped the former "Apprentice" contestant grow her healthy lifestyle empire. In addition to selling her cocktail line for $120 million, she's sold nearly 500,000 copies of her books,"Naturally Thin" and "The Skinnygirl Dish." Last month, she told The Hollywood Reporter that she's so settled in her ventures, she soon wants to bow out of reality TV for good. "I like to leave a party when it's in full swing," she said.
Fellow "Real Housewives of New York" cast member LuAnn de Lesseps could have gone the catty route. The royally connected mother of two and former model could have used her husband's divorce filing as ammo to launch a spinoff "Bachelorette"-esque series, "Countess Wants a Count." But instead, de Lesseps took the high road. In 2009, she released "Class With the Countess: How to Live With Elegance and Flair," a manual that Bravo producers might want to make required reading for future "Housewives" cast members.