Picks and Pans Review: The Real Housewives of New York City Take on the Haters

updated 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

From blogs to cocktail parties, The Real Housewives of New York City, ending its season on Bravo April 15, has real New Yorkers talking—and some aren't so complimentary. The show documents five women with lots of dough and a knack for spending it ostentatiously. At least one calls herself a "socialite," though there are those in the elite who shudder at the thought. "No real socialite would want to be called a socialite, [let alone] perform as one on a reality show," says society writer Debbie Bancroft, who ticks off other signs of crassness: Living in condos (not co-ops) on the wrong East Side avenues, not to mention cavorting "in matching thongs on the beach." The ladies shrug it off. The producers "are sort of making fun of the word socialite," says Jill Zarin, who runs a fabric business. "I don't care what you call me." And there's one real title-bearer, LuAnn de Lesseps, married to a French count. "I did this for fun," she says. "I'm happy I did it." As for Bancroft: "Let's put it this way—she's not a countess."

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