Image Credit: CBS; NBCListen, I have nothing against any housewives, real or otherwise. It’s a free country, and people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and we’re all just co-astronauts on the big blue starship called Planet Earth. When people are famous in America, they get a lot of opportunities. When people are infamous in America, they usually get even more opportunities, because America is broken. I can’t begrudge people for making silly mistakes. But I can send out a message from the bottom of my heart to all Real Housewives far and wide, from Atlanta to New York, from Orange County to New Jersey, from the new one to the one we’ll never speak of again: Please, ladies, stop trying to act. I bring this up only because, in the last week, we’ve seen two Housewives stars pop up in non-Housewives roles. Tonight, Countess Luann de Lesseps of New York will appear on Law & Order: SVU; last week, Camille Grammer played a loudly exaggerated version of herself on S#*! My Dad Says. (Grammer will also be front and center at the Oscars as CNN’s fashion and celebrity commentator.) Throw in the fact that Atlanta star Sheree Whitfield had a brief cameo on The Game last month, and you’ve got a legitimate trend. And it’s a trend that must be stopped, people. Stopped, I say!

The key to enjoying the housewives on Housewives, I think, is that the franchise slyly makes fun of them while also doing them a profound service: By elevating their oft-ridiculous personalities into the stratosphere, the shows make their various interactions begin to feel simultaneously melodramatic and actually worthy of a good sitcom. That magic — which I’m guessing comes mainly from some especially savvy people in the editing room — gets completely lost whenever the Housewives start trying to actively perform. (I suspect that the “performing” instinct is also a big reason why the later seasons of Housewives franchises tend to decline in quality — the stars have all had a chance to see themselves onscreen, and they start to adjust themselves to fit the camera. Werner Heisenberg literally talked all about this.)

So please, wonderful Housewives: When you get the offer to play a boozy middle-aged flirt on Rules of Engagement, or a wealthy murder suspect on CSI: Miami, or the one millionth sexy doctor on Grey’s Anatomy: Don’t do it. Leave acting to the actors. After all, you’ve already found your greatest role: Yourself.