OMG. I'm doing a rewatch through early seasons. I'm ALMOST at the Scary Island episode.
I'm reserving final judgement until after I get through season 4 which is the final season for Jill and Kelly, but for now....I have come to the exact same conclusions.
Kelly actually has it together and she definately had Bethenny's number from Day 1, and I agree that is why Bethenny tore into her. Near as I can tell, Kelly made two mistakes when starting the show. She thought she could be a cool, free-spirited girl-about-town kind of chick but that sort of backfired when she started showing up for things late, etc. In addition, she is a really poor communicator. Her points were spot-on...but she doesn't have the communication skills to articulate them well. She's alot like Ramona in that regard. If you truly listen to what they say and understand where they're coming from, they actually make sense. Given their horrible deliveries, it's just hard to see.
And, Kelly explained the "I'm up here, you're down here" line several episodes later....I think it was when they were planning the Brooklyn fashion show with Alex. She meant it as more of a moral compass kind of thing - not a socioeconomic status thing - which is definately how it came off - unfortunately for Kelly.
I actually really like Kelly on the re-watch. And, she's a very good mother.
I also like Alex and Simon a ton. Alex humbled as seasons went on and we see the real Simon starting to emerge arouns season 2. He is just a playful guy who likes to have fun and doesn't take things too seriously.
I also REALLY like Season 1 and 2 Ramona and Luann. Ramona is the same Ramona we see today. When Sonja comes on the scene, she says in one of her talking heads that if you think Ramona is crazy now, you should have seen her back in the day (when they were in their 20's). And, Luann is also the same. She's played peace maker since the very beginning to large degree. She's got a great spirit which I really like and is constantly telling Ramona to "be nice". I feel Luann has been essential to the show because without her, it would turn into endless cat fights like we see in other cities. The "Luann glue" has been really important, and it's a big part of RHONY's high entertainment value (to my tastes anyway).
As to Jill and Bethenny, both are uber competitive. Bethenny just happened to have won. I feel both used their castmates to advance their stories in very calculated ways. I even think I picked up on a nugget of evil with Bethenny and Jason. I think she sort of "trapped" him with the pregnancy and more. Both Jill and Bethenny are really needy and desperate for the spotlight. It was clear as day from the very beginning. Jill's demise was letting the sore-loser in her get the best of her.
Bethenny was, and continues to be, psychotic. She will do anything to advance herself and she doesn't care who she hurts along the way - including Jason, and by extension, their daughter. It's disturbing to watch, actually.
Ramona nailed it on their walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. "You have no friends. You have Jason, but you'll probably mess that up too."
Seriously....Ramona is spot on with nearly everything she says, although I'm convinced she has some sort of physical/mental condition that makes her not be able to control herself when she speaks. She has energy galore and I think it might be wrapped up in that somehow. Same for Kelly.