Alex the first season. I thought she and Simon came across as pretentious social climbers who were simple wannabes. I really did not want Alex returning for Season 2. Obviously she did and amazingly she grew on me and I began to like Alex. As the seasons have gone by Alex has increasingly found her voice. Many think that was to her detriment in Season 4 and that she acted crazy. As Kelly threatened she would be "iced out" and some would say she has been. (However, the firing of Kelly and Jill implies that whatever they think clearly does not carry much weight with Bravo.) I also don't think Alex was crazy in Season 4, I think she was fed up with the other wives' drama and simply acted to hold a mirror up with their behavior. The problem? 1. Alex did not always have a strong enough voice and got easily frazzled as the other wives railroaded over her. 2. The other wives refuse to recognize or see their own faults and instead turn it on everyone else. Just once I would love for a housewife to have some self relection and say "You know what? I was out of line and really shouldn't have said/done that, it was wrong." Instead, they constantly turn the table and tell whomever is trying to call them out on their ridiculousness (often Alex) and call her rude, inappopriate or crazy. I personally am disappointed that Alex will not be returning as I've grown to respect her and believe she is actually quite fair, reasonable and mature. She still creates drama but I can respect her actions and intentions. Apparently Bravo did not want to bring Alex back because Simon causes too much trouble. Whatever your opinion of Simon may be, he is still her husband and I respect Alex's choice to stand by her husband and present a unified front with him.
Season 3 and her feud with Bethenny changed all this. I will readily admit I am a huge Bethenny fan so many may think this colors my opinion of Jill. Maybe it does, but I don't believe that a feud between two housewives makes it impossible for a fan to be a fan of both housewives. (For example, Tamra and Gretchen from the OC have had a feud that has spanned seasons and I am a fan of them both.) That being said, the way Jill handled her fight with Bethenny and seemingly blew up a small fight between friends into a huge feud for tv did effect my perception of her. Season 4 was supposed to be Jill's opportunity for redemption. She was going to show that she was the same person she was in Seasons 1 and 2, but she failed to do that. Instead, she was even worse. Jill was increasingly catty and petty. She continued to make snarky comments and helped to create the strong divide in the cast (brunettes v. blondes). No one was ever 100% right in those fights but Jill would completely support anything a brunette did even if she was clearly being rude, mean, or inappropriate. It is also discouraging that Jill appears to increasingly modify her behavior for tv. Whether it is causing drama to get more screen time or trying to hurt the other housewives by conspiring with other wives to not film with certain castmates, it is clear that Jill is only out for Jill. Her inauthenticity continues with certain deceptive practices she allegedly engages in on Twitter, blogs, and Amazon reviews. Despite my distaste for Jill's behavior the past two seasons, I am not happy to see her go. At one point, Jill was the "queen bee" and she has always been an integral part of the show. It also cannot be denied that she makes good tv. I wish Jill was brought back for at least one more season. Ideally, I would love to see Jill recognize some of her own flaws and admit when she's wrong. She seems to think she will have more fans if she convinces the world she is perfect and not mean. We are a society that loves redemption and apologies. All Jill needs to do is apologize for her bad behavior, admit she was trying to rile up drama for the show/get more screen tiime, and make an effort to go back to being the person she once was--the woman who brought people together. She'll get far more fans with honey than vinegar. Even with that the occasional fight and drama will come up and grant screentime. Jill just didn't get that.
Season 2, I just wanted her gone. The show was interesting enough without introducing Kelly and her psycho behavior. However, Bravo must have decided she added much needed drama (her clashing with Bethenny) and kept her on. In Season 3, Kelly showed just how out of touch with reality she really is--Scary Island anyone? After Season 3, I was convinced that both for her own sanity and the sanity of the viewers (I know watching Kelly always made me just a bit crazy as it drove me nuts that she was so out of touch with reality) Bravo would not bring her back. I clearly was wrong and Bravo decided Kelly made good tv and who cares about anything else? (After the suicide of Russel Armstrong, I think Bravo is a lot more concerned regarding the sanity and mental health of its castmembers.) I am happy that Kelly will not be returning for Season 5 and think that the show will be better without her.
Season 4. She aligned herself with "Team Brunette" and tried to manufacture ridiculous drama. (Hangergate, the fight re: saving LuAnn's seat, etc...) I never cared for Cindy and do not think she added anything to the show. Clearly Bravo agreed and didn't ask her to return. Don't think anyone out there (with the exception of maybe Cindy) will care.