I really liked the Jon & Kate + 8 show in the early days. The older girls (twins) are the same age as sozlet and there was a lot of standard stay-at-home parent issues that were writ large. Jon reminded me a lot of a friend of mine who is a stay-at-home dad. And the little kids were cute! They were so little that they were completely natural.
Then Kate started to really get on my nerves. Then Jon started to snap out of his passivity and realize that Kate was not always right. Then I started to really worry about the older girls, especially one of them (Maddy?). The parents and the little kids didn't seem to notice/ mind the cameras much, but Maddy really did, and I got the first whiffs of Kate trying to milk this cash cow for all it was worth, even at the expense of her family.
Then the trainwreck started. Jon moved past the not-passive stage to outright brattiness. The little kids started to become more camera-aware and less natural. The older kids got more worrisome. And Kate... holy crap.
I stopped watching at some point before the end, not sure where exactly.
I started watching this mostly 'cause I'd turn on the TV at noon and watch whatever was on while I ate lunch. (Husband at work, kid at school.) Housewives were frequently what was on (I'd be looking for Top Chef or Project Runway on Bravo, and...) I do love all the reality shows I watch (and though I know two on the list, those plus TC and PR are about all I ever watch) because of the "overhearing" aspect. I LOVE seeing people jabbering at each other with captions.
OK, I'm behind on all the housewives, so this may be out of date. But I find Nene (Atlanta) fascinating. I know these are "reality" in name only but she has a way with words that I don't think is scripted and I find quite entertaining.
The Orange County ones are too excruciating. They started out with standard-issue rich ladies who were way too open and not-savvy about how they'd be presented. The woo-hoo lady for example was just eviscerated and she didn't seem to get it. (Vicki.) Then she got all prim and closed and boring but still awful. Everyone's trying to make a buck. The one who got divorced -- ugh. I have some sympathy for her but she's also just so spoiled and entitled. I haven't watched that show in a while (as in, turn it off if it comes on while I'm flipping channels).