The Real Housewives of Potomac
Somewhere deep in the Bravo TV headquarters, a harried producer stands in a crumpled suit and tie and stares at a sheet of paper an intern has just handed him. “These numbers can’t be right.”
“They are, sir.”
“What does this mean?”
“I don’t think I’m qualified — er — allowed to tell you, sir,” the intern meekly replies.
“Just say it.”
“JUST SAY IT!”
The intern lifts her head and looks at the producer, scared of the words she knows she has to say. The order has been handed down from on high. There’s no turning back now. She hopes the producer doesn’t kill the messenger.
“The Real Housewives of Potomac reunion special will be two episodes.”
The producer smashes his fist onto his desk as Andy Cohen appears out of nowhere and laughs. Oh, how Andy Cohen laughs.
Welcome, America, to the hell we have made. The hell where we have to sit and watch two hours of these wig stands snap and yap at each other when we’ve had enough of that already this season.
Andy Cohen sits down with the ladies and declares the show a hit. Was it? Was it, Andy? It doesn’t matter. Katie is wearing Bob Mackie and Charrisse is wearing pewter, which according to the Bravo TV blog was a big decision for her. Karen looks amazing. Gizelle and Robyn have a few too many hair pieces in and Ashley’s dress is missing the front.
Andy’s first question is what is it like being a “celebrity.” Is Bravo still using Bravolebrity or whatever hellish portmanteau they were trying to shove down our throats? Robyn still doesn’t believe that she’s a real Bravolebrity. Believe it, Robyn. You’re a damn star. Karen says that everyone was attacking her for her mole; she insists that it’s a beauty mark and not everyone can have one. Katie says that everyone on the internet said she was desperate to get married. I ask the jury: Where is the lie? Unfortunately, Katie has returned the engagement ring. All people on Earth agree with Karen when she says, “I’m not surprised.” But that’s none of my business.
Everyone else is shocked that she gave the ring back. Don’t you know that the engagement ring was a modern version of a dowry given to women in case the engagement broke off, so the woman could sell it and live off the money? Hashtag the patriarchy. Also it’s a gift, and a gift always stays with the recipient. Miss Manners would say so.
First order of business: Karen’s obsession with etiquette and how she told everyone what to do all the time. Gizelle insists that the best show of etiquette is to not constantly talk about etiquette. Karen says the best show of etiquette is to wrangle street urchins and give them the full Pygmalion treatment. (And by street urchins, she means Ashley.) Everyone also hates that Karen calls her husband “the black Bill Gates.” As someone who has given every single man she’s ever dated a nickname so she can talk about him with her friends, I understand you, Karen. She says that she turned down helping Katie because she had other responsibilities, like banging her husband’s beard off.
There’s also some discussion about Andrew calling Karen haggard. Regardless if the words are Katie’s or not, we’re just cool with a random man going off on a woman’s appearance? Yeah, okay, right. Karen gives the right answer — “I don’t know him” — which if you speak old black lady is quite the indictment. I’m just upset Karen wasn’t wearing a big hat that she could adjust after saying that. I believe that she showed up in one and the producers were like, “Girl. No.”
Charrisse gets a good line off when Andy asks Gizelle about her tagline, “Word on the street is, I’m the word on the street,” and she says, “Must be a small street.” Katie tries to jump on that line and repeats the words “street” “small” and “be” in different orders, over and over again, until someone listens to her. She can’t keep up with the shade of the older ladies. It’s like Shakespeare said: Brevity is the soul of shade.
Ashley is up next. The restaurant is NOT doing well. Apparently, it’s hard to run a restaurant. Ashley didn’t know that. Has she never watched Bar Rescue or Kitchen Nightmares or Restaurant Impossible or any show on TV devoted to how hard it is to run a restaurant? One of the viewers asks how she could have let her mom go into bankruptcy when her husband is a multimillionaire. My God, that is savage. Ashley doesn’t view Karen or Charrisse as mother figures, and she’s still mad at Gizelle for calling her hair a bush. Evidently, it’s another sign that Gizelle is a self-hating black woman. Ashley says that maybe there’s some hating that radiates. Gizelle asks, “What are we hating on?” Again, I don’t know if you speak black lady, but that means there is nothing not worthy of hate.
In the din of an argument, Ashley keeps repeating that something is a “moot” point, and Charrisse calmly corrects her that it’s “mute point.” No. No it’s not, Charrisse. It’s not a mute point.
There is somehow more water in the Girls’ Trip well because it comes up again. The issue is finally closed with everyone saying they don’t want to spend time together and wouldn’t accept an invitation to spend time together. Can’t wait for season two!
Charrisse gets grilled about her use of ghetto and hood to refer to Gizelle at her crab boil and her disparaging use of Baltimore. Apparently Baltimore is a D.C. slur, and according to Robyn, everyone throws around Baltimore jokes. I guess Serial didn’t help.
We find out that Karen’s first jobs were at Taco Bell and Burger King. When asked if she had a headset, Robyn snaps, “They didn’t have headsets back then.” Someone came ready to play. Take notes, Katie.
Robyn has the only real emotional moment, when she explains how terrible her money situation was and how her friend took his life after stealing from her and Juan. Robyn continues to be my favorite, and she gets it in about once a week with her faux-boyfriend. I just want her to be happy.
Gizelle, how did you deal with your infidelity? “I’m divorced.” BREVITY.
Robyn goes after Ashley for joyfully spreading news about her money problems, then we launch into a giant discussion about the source of information and if it’s gossip if you spread it. I hope everyone remembers this discussion as we read about the Panama Papers.
Finally, it’s time to talk about race. Ugh, do we have to? Fine. Gizelle says she maybe generalizes about race, but she doesn’t regret doing it. And hey, guess what? Black people talk about the stuff white people do. We all do. Why? Because maybe we’re constantly reminded that we’re not white, so we observe and report and laugh. White people can’t always see white supremacy or how they label whiteness, white culture, and white behavior as the default. So maybe asking “Is that a white guy thing?” is a joke. Maybe it’s truly trying to understand something you wouldn’t do. Either way, just relax, Katie and Ashley. It is time for you to start seeing what Gizelle and Robyn see: Black people and white people can be and act differently and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean being one or the other is better. They’re just different.
Should Gizelle and Robyn stop trying to get Katie to identify as black? Yes. Should Katie be more comfortable with two black women trying to claim her as part of their cultural group? Maybe? I don’t think Robyn or Gizelle want to erase Katie’s biracial identity, but homegirl, you look black. People might think you’re black so maybe you should be chill with that. Be what you want. Identify how you want. Raise your children how you want. Just remember that the Rock was on the cover of Jet magazine and he’s biracial. We live in a society with a one-drop rule when it comes to blackness. You can’t escape it. It’s fun to be black though. You get to be on the cover of Jet magazine.
Katie labels Robyn and Gizelle “Dumb and Dumber,” and Robyn gets so heated she’s about to take those extensions out and fight a bitch.