Sept. 2, 2010 -- Like bobble-headed dandelions in the garden of stars, they're cropping up all over the place: in the nation's capital, in Beverly Hills, 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 middle-aged wannabe celebrities stop acting polite and start fighting for fame.
This week, Bravo unveiled footage of the upcoming "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," featuring Camille Grammer, the soon-to-be ex-wife of actor Kelsey Grammer. The 90210 edition also features a British restaurateur who can't be without her live-in, gay, personal trainer, a tiny dog named Giggy and so much collagen that the casts' lips could probably serve as life preservers.
It's fitting, because as past seasons of "The Real Housewives" have shown, it's not hard to go under when the drama heats up. A few of the "Real Housewives" have emerged from the show stronger and with more star power; most haven't been so lucky.
Below, a round up of the winners and losers of "The Real Housewives." Beverly Hills newbies, take note:
THE LOSERS: Teresa Giudice, Danielle Staub, 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 Teresa Giudice -- during this week's "Real Housewives of New Jersey" reunion, she let a bad attitude get the best of her, telling castmate Danielle Staub, "You're a pig. Look at yourself, you're disgusting," before hurling expletives at Staub and shoving everyone in sight. Her season one dinner table-flipping freak out was bad -- this was worse. But more than her temper, Giudice's greed brought her down. Earlier this year, after going on a spending spree to outfit her sprawling 6-bedroom house, she and her husband filed for bankruptcy, revealing they were $11 million in debt.
Staub has suffered plenty during her "Real Housewives" reign too, though much of her pain was self-inflicted. First there was the season one revelation that she was arrested in 1986 on charges of drug possession and extortion and the rumor that she formerly worked for an escort service. This year, a sex tape starring Staub landed in the hands of Hustler, Inc. -- while Staub claims it was stolen, fellow Jersey "Housewife" Jacqueline Laurita tweeted in June, "Heard from a VERY reliable source that D released her OWN sex tape. Heard it's disgusting." None of this has stopped Staub from pursuing a questionable singing career and proclaiming that her lovers and haters haven't seen the last of her, whether or not she returns for a third "Real Housewives" run.
Michaele Salahi hasn't graced TV screens for a full season, but already, she has the caliber of critics most fame-mongers spend years trying to amass. The alleged White House party crasher got on Whoppi Goldberg's bad side during a backstage squabble on ABC's "The View" earlier this month after claiming Goldberg hit her and berated her with curses. (Goldberg maintained she never got physical with Salahi but refused to apologize for her use of "choice words.")
Salahi can't count on her castmates for backup. "There's no level of embarrassment that they will not stoop to," fellow DC "Housewife" Stacie Scott Turner told E! news last week about Salahi and her husband, who allegedly also crashed the Congressional Black Caucus dinner. "I just don't get it. ... I didn't know them at all before we started filming, and then over time, progressively in each episode, more and more stuff is not adding up. More and more stuff sounds crazy…Everything is just bananas."
THE WINNERS: Bethenny Frankel, Luann de Lesseps
While some flop, others fly. Case in point: Bethenny Frankel, who parlayed her role on "The Real Housewives of New York" into her own Bravo series, "Bethenny Getting Married?" The premiere of the spinoff scored more than two million viewers, making it the highest rated debut for a new Bravo show.
Keeping it classy on "The Real Housewives" also helped Frankel's healthy lifestyle empire grow. In addition to two best-selling books, "Naturally Thin" and "The Skinnygirl Dish," in May, she released a fitness DVD, "Body by Bethenny." The new wife and mother is so comfortable in her own skin, she told Us Weekly magazine that she doesn't plan on returning to the "Real Housewives" realm.
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.