The Real Housewives of New Jersey is so “eager to exploit a Cosa Nostra caricature” of the Garden State, said Troy Patterson in Slate, that its title sequence is “modeled on that of The Sopranos,” complete with “shots capturing the signage along the New Jersey Turnpike.” And the “drama queening” on the Bravo show, which premiered Tuesday night, is also “much too blatantly contrived.” (watch a clip from The Real Housewives of New Jersey)

Actually, “the New Jersey housewives are more real and more riveting" than the women from the show's past locales, such as New York City and Orange County, Calif., said Alessandra Stanley in The New York Times, and it’s “because they so closely mirror the make-believe characters in The Sopranos.” All five women on the new show “are buffed and polished to resemble real-life versions of Carmela Soprano,” proving that the “best reality shows look like fiction.”

These New Jersey housewives do “suggest that Carmela Soprano was absolutely no exaggeration,” said Tom Shales in The Washington Post. In fact, they “actually make Mrs. Tony Soprano look demure and conservative by comparison.” And the show itself is “by turns outrageous, hilarious, and mortifying,” but certainly “never dull.”