The Real Housewives of Potomac
Well, America, we did it. We’ve come to the end of the first season of Real Housewives of Potomac, a thrilling experiment in reality TV that dared to ask the question, “What if the Real Housewives of Atlanta had less money and less wit?” Yes, America. What if? I’ll tell you what if. No one did anything remotely interesting or shocking this season. Maybe watching a bunch of black women in their 30s and 40s meet for meals and organize arbitrary occasions is interesting to some people, but I spent pretty much my entire childhood hanging out while my mom and the planning committee of our Jack and Jill chapter planned the teen lock-in in St. Louis. I already got my fill of innuendos about husbands and veiled references to disappointing children. But let’s see what the ladies got into today.
As Charrisse drags herself out of bed, she takes a call from another woman, Loriell, who is not part of the cast but clearly wanted to be. They talk about how her next chapter of her life is going to be filled with adventures — like learning to swim and throwing herself more parties because Eddie doesn’t appear to be coming back any time soon. The two little dogs aren’t much help at all.
Gizelle and Robyn take their children horseback riding, and Robyn’s little ones are less than impressed with the day’s offerings: “Are you guys excited?” “No. I don’t like horses.” Well then. While Gizelle’s daughter and Robyn’s son ride horses and another child ambles behind, Gizelle and Robyn gab about the importance of raising their children around other black children, which is actually important and awesome. Again, Robyn proves to be the one with the most normal opinions. Oh! And speaking of black children, Gizelle thinks it’s important to give Katie a Black History Month lesson to explain how someone can be black but have light eyes. They’re breaking out the Rosa Parks picture books and the Punnett squares! Gizelle is going to have a Come to Jesus lunch, which is apparently a type of event. Buckle up, everyone.
In the meantime, Karen is helping Rayvin pack for college. Ray bought his daughter four sets of sheets. Have they been to college? Do they remember sleeping on the same sheets for months at a time just to avoid doing laundry? No? Just me? Karen can’t let anything go — neither a topic of conversation nor her children, so she asks if she can live in Rayvin’s closet to keep boys away. Karen also offers her some advice for her first independent sexual experiences: Boys are the devil, and no kissing for the first year of college. I went to a women’s college, and on the first night a father asked our dorm resident director if we were required to stay on campus the first week of school. My resident director simply responded, “Sir, your daughter is already gone.”
Karen, Rayvin is already gone.
Somewhere in the country, Katie is wearing a ridiculous cowboy hat that looks like something Britney Spears wore on the VMA red carpet in 2004. She’s driving to her farm with Andrew. Yeah, Katie owns a farm. I know she hates it when people say things like this, but Katie? Black people don’t tend to own farms.
Anyway, Gizelle invites Katie to the C2J lunch, and Andrew and Katie mock her like a couple of eighth-graders. Andrew has big plans for the day, and he’s not going to let Gizelle get in the way. While they’re checking out the energy vortex on the property and the cows, Andrew leads Katie to a clearing and some Home Depot plants. Katie takes a second to realize what’s going on, but Andrew drops to his knees because his jeans are too tight and finally pops the question. After inspecting the ring, Katie says yes. My friend Erin just got engaged and now Katie, a reality TV “star.” I swear to God, if one more person I know gets engaged, I’m moving into a convent.
Ashley and Michael agree to start trying for kids when the restaurant breaks even. If Kitchen Nightmares and Bar Rescue have taught me anything, we’re going to be waiting for a long time for that baby.
Gizelle is getting ready for a visit from her father with her children. Again, seeing these women spend time with their children makes them appear human. Gizelle’s father was involved in the civil-rights movement and is being honored in D.C. soon. He tells a story in which Martin Luther King turned water into wine … no, wait, that was someone else.
It’s time for the C2J lunch. Gizelle comes ready with a plan: “We’re not getting up from this table until everybody has aired their little differences.” Don’t do that! There won’t be a season two!
Karen’s main beef is that Ashley has “shown her pure ass,” and she’s got a lot to learn. Robyn, acting as a reasonable human, reminds Karen that Ashley is young and she’s just a puppy dog wildly humping Michael’s leg. Ashley arrives and she knows Karen can’t run from her now. No one knows if Katie is coming.
Gizelle institutes the Reserved Sign Speaking Rule set out during the peace talks at Versailles and the ladies get to work.
Karen brings up that Ashley needs to do what she can’t do and back off her daughter. Then Karen launches in a perfectly perverse read: “You talk about Michael pulling out. Why don’t you let him stay in, ejaculate, and have your own baby, and don’t even put my child’s name in your mouth again.” WIGS. SNATCHED. EDGES. RAW. Karen might have a point. Why does Ashley want to hang out with a teenager? Ashley fires back that Karen is judgmental.
Katie rolls up to the luncheon ready to show off her ring from inside her happy, protective bubble of love. Robyn still thinks there’s something to address and tells Katie that she needs a Black History lesson. All Robyn wanted to do was ask if it was normal for white men to grab each other’s asses, and Katie flips out again, going off about how there’s no difference between black and white people. Help! My eyes got stuck when I rolled them so hard. Robyn gently corrects, “There’s a difference between black people’s and white people’s experiences.” Ugh, Robyn. Bless you. Robyn maintains she just asked a simple (albeit uncouth) question. She’s not wrong.
Gizelle brings up that Katie called Robyn and Gizelle biracial even when they said they weren’t. Katie claims she was just trying to get a rise out of them. Uh-huh, Katie. Sure. Gizelle says that Katie obviously acts like there’s some problem with being black.
I’m not saying Gizelle is right. I’m not saying Katie is right. I’m just saying that any time anyone makes Katie remotely uncomfortable during a discussion about race — not even her race — Katie reacts by going, “Yeah, well, you’re not even black either!” I’m just saying that denying or erasing other people’s racial identity when they bring up race to mock them or invalidate their point is really wrong. Katie needs to look into her own house, but instead she calls Gizelle a stupid woman who says stupid things. Fix it, Jesus.
Karen suggests they all agree to respect each other’s boundaries and do a better job of being respectful. But what about season two?
They wrap up the lunch with a Champagne toast for Katie, since she is about to become a wife. Oh Lord, another identity for that woman to navigate.
As they toast, we visit where each woman is now. Charrisse can doggy-paddle without help, and her husband is still living in New Jersey. Katie is still engaged … after a couple of breakups and reconciliations. Karen waited one entire month before visiting her daughter at college. Robyn’s house has been foreclosed, but Juan knows his way back from the mailbox. Gizelle launched her makeup line, and Herman is still waiting for a date. Ashley’s restaurant opened in October and has not yet hit the break-even point. There is no baby currently on the way.
See you at the reunion!