The Real Housewives of Potomac
Is there any human being left on planet Earth who doesn’t know how many degrees Dr. Wendy has? At this point, I believe you could find someone without a television or internet access who’s been living under a rock Patrick Star style for the past decade and ask them, “How many degrees does Dr. Wendy have?” and they’d confidently reply, “Hmm … I’d say less than five but more than three.” Honestly, If I took a shot every time Wendy said the word “degree” I would end up in the hospital, which happened to me twice in college while I was pursuing my one (1) degree in English Literature. But we’ve got a lot of ground to cover before we get to Wendy’s incessant need to weaponize her education against the other women. We’ve got flyers to hand out! We’ve got babies to feed! And, most importantly, we’ve got songs to sing.
Candiace’s voice lesson … where do I begin? First and foremost: whoever edited the ferris wheel, ducks, and house literally shaking due to Candiace’s vocalizing deserves a raise immediately. Now on to Candiace’s singing voice. You cannot deny that the sounds coming out of her mouth would fall under the category of “good singing” in that it’s more or less on key. However, in my opinion her voice is not good. I do not like the sound of it. It’s upsetting me and my homegirls. To me, Candiace’s voice is shrill and thin and always slightly sharp and there is absolutely no tone or warmth to be found in it. In many ways, Candiace’s singing voice is a metaphor for Candiace and her fight with Monique. Yes, Candiace can “sing,” but her voice is bad. Yes, Candiace is technically the “victim” in the Great Barn Brawl of 2019, but I do feel she’s partially responsible for what happened. You can’t say Candiace can’t sing but you can say you don’t like the sound of her voice, just like you can’t say Candiace didn’t get unfairly attacked but you can say she may not be totally blameless for what went down.
We leave Candiace and her scales and settle in for a spot of tea with La Grande Dame and the “Green Eyed Bandits,” Gizelle and Robyn. La Grande Dame and the Green Eyed Bandits would be an incredible name for a soul/funk band from the ’70s, but I digress. Gizelle, who’s never seen a sleeveless fur vest that she didn’t have to own immediately, organized this tea because she is worried about Karen after she got drunk and spilled her own tea that she bailed out Ray when he had tax problems. It definitely feels like Gizelle is reaching to create some drama here, but she can’t help it because Gizzy is messy like that. Gizelle further displays her innate messiness when she calls Sleepy Robyn’s hat company “Embezzled” and not “Embellished.” I see what you did there and I applaud you for it, Gizzy.
Karen, wise beyond her years, knows that a lunch with Gizelle and Robyn is a setup for something, and reveals that she’s proud that she “soldiered up” for her man and helped him when was in a tight spot. Speaking of tight spots, Robyn opens up about her tax issues after Gizelle delicately asks about the situation in a tactful and thoughtful way. JK, Gizzy simply blurts out “Is it true?” and Sleepy Robyn is basically forced to say yes. Karen and Gizelle show their support for Robyn by unenthusiastically accepting her invitation to model for “
Embezzled” “Embellished” hats. The trio then gets into the real beef of the episode: Karen vs. Wendy. Karen breaks into a legitimately funny impersonation of Wendy slithering down the steps and then accurately points out that Wendy is not a medical doctor. Karen fundamentally understands how this show works in a way Wendy does not. Wendy could have 87 degrees but in the Real Housewives Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wendy is a freshman and Karen is rising junior. Karen’s got the seniority.
Meanwhile, Wendy is at home with her family, fuming about Karen calling her “ignorant.” She’s clearly hurt by Karen’s comment, but her justification for why she isn’t ignorant was, well, pretty ignorant to me. For starters, Karen didn’t flat out call her ignorant, she said she sounded ignorant in that moment, which is technically not the same thing. Also, defending your dissertation proposal while eight months pregnant and pursuing your doctoral degree after losing your father is super difficult, but I don’t think that means that you are incapable of ever being wrong again for the rest of your life? Wendy opening up about the immigrant struggle with perfectionism and achievement was real and appreciated, but at this point I’ve gotta say, my favorite thing about Wendy so far has got to be Eddie and the kids. Less ‘W(h)ine with Wendy’ and more Karter, Kruz, and Kamryn content!
We then touch down with Ashley Darby riding solo at therapy. For whatever reason, I refuse to refer to Ashley Darby as just “Ashley.” As long as she is married to that slippery eel of a man, I will be referring to her by her full married name, Ashley Darby, as a reminder to everyone reading this that the choices we make have lasting consequences. That being said, Ashley Darby seems to be making serious progress in therapy, opening up about her struggles with Michael and her battle with postpartum depression. It was legitimately tough to see Ashley Darby blame herself for the problems in her marriage, when a cursory glance at the recent offensives of both parties (one gave birth to an adorable baby, while the other was photographed in a hotel room with another woman with his pants off) would point to Michael as being slightly more responsible for their marital woes. Whether this was a real therapy session, or a way for the producers to “organically” introduce the idea of Ashley “hosting” this season’s contractually obligated trip, the scene achieved what it set out to do: I deeply empathized with Ashley Darby and got excited for her to go on a girls trip with no kids. Mrs. Darby deserves to let her hair down and live a little!
You know who’s randomly kind of living her best life right now, despite allegedly suffering from PTSD? Candiace. Our bargain barrel Brandy rolled up to the studio to listen to the remix (?) of her song “I See You” and, as luck would have it, get signed to a record label. The snippet of “I See You” was much better than I expected (you can fix anything in post these days), but still, my initial reaction when Candiace got signed was NO NO NO NO NO. Look, Candiace is technically one of the better Housewives singers (probably coming in at four behind Shamari, Kandi, and Eryka Jane), but I’d rather listen to Countess Luann gargle her way through “Feelin’ Jovani” then Candiace’s single, and that’s my cross to bear.
Someone else who probably feels the same way is Monique, who gets approximately 39 seconds of screen time this week, 80 percent of which she spends nagging her husband, Black Chris. Thankfully, in our short time with Monique we do get a brief glimpse of our beloved feathered friend T’Challa, who seems to be doing just fine amidst the chaos. We then pop on over to The House with the Purple Wall, where Ashley Darby gently floats the idea of inviting Monique along on the girls trip and gets promptly shot down by Auntie G, aka Gizelle. Well, it was worth a shot.
Up next: Robyn’s hat modeling party! While I personally think the “Embellished” hats are an abomination to both man and God, I appreciate the opportunity to take a moment and marvel at glamour shots of the housewives (sans Monique, who was not invited to this event, of course), because the Potomac cast is objectively gorgeous across the board. I mean, look at their skin? Flawless. Not a wrinkle in sight. Melanin poppin’. Just Black Girl Magic vibes. Messy Gizzy decides to stir the pot and tell Wendy that Karen was making fun of her for absolutely no reason. Like the 7th grade class clown who keeps making the same fart joke because it got a few laughs, Giselle breaks out her impersonation of Karen impersonating Wendy (Inception vibes) and then literally embellishes what Karen said about Wendy while rocking an “Embellished” hat, which is actually poetic. “She said you haven’t performed no surgeries. You haven’t cured cancer. You don’t have a cure for AIDS,” Gizelle says to Wendy, impersonating Karen. Maybe I missed something or, more likely, the footage got left on the cutting room floor, but I don’t remember Karen invoking cancer or AIDS in her tea time takedown of Wendy?
Post-photoshoot Ashley Darby reveals to the ladies that they’re going to Portugal in the shadiest way possible by unfurling a flag and making them shout out what it is. It’s both cruel and hilarious. Just when you think her degrees finally proved useful, Wendy reveals that she knew the flag from watching soccer. Before their trip, the air must be cleared between Karen and Wendy, who is now even more pissed about Karen’s “ignorant” comment after watching Messy Gizzy’s one-woman-show “What Karen Said.” Wendy fully comes for Karen, talking down to her about her lack of education. “You don’t even have one degree and I have four,” says Dr. Wendy in a particularly nasty retort. Okay. Sure. That may be true. But you both have the same job on the same show, so why does it matter? Hate to break it to you, Wendy, but in Housewives land, degrees have little to no currency. They’re like monopoly money, pretty to look at, but ultimately worthless. As a professor at Johns Hopkins, having multiple degrees definitely matters, but you’re not in a classroom, Wendy, you’re modeling hats on reality television. Not sure you need a Ph.D. for that, sis.
I was really going to go off on Wendy for saying, “I’m not one to brag about my degrees” during her sparring match with Karen, but thankfully the (brilliant) editors did the work for me, splicing together the dozens of times Wendy has talked about her degrees. Look, no one is trying to disparage Wendy for being a well-educated Black woman. It is extremely impressive and no one can take that away from her. But so far this season, and especially at the end of this episode, Wendy’s been acting like her degrees make her better than the other women and that doesn’t sit right with my spirit. Also, adding up the amount of degrees her and Eddie have was really tacky. Great, Juris Doctor Eddie has four degrees as well so together they have eight. Good to know Wendy learned simple addition at some point over the course of her many, many years in school.
For her part, Karen takes Wendy’s jabs with aplomb and seems absolutely fine with having no degrees to speak of. When Wendy makes it clear that Karen has “not n’ere one degree” (by the way who actually says n’ere? Wendy, darling, your elitism is showing), Karen says she doesn’t need one because she has been “blessed with the spirit of an entrepreneur,” which you can’t argue with (cc: La’Dame Fragrance). She then leads the ladies in a Wendy walking impersonation that proves that she’s unbothered by the jabs, as Wendy sits there smarting, probably counting the number of degrees she earned in her head to avoid a rage blackout. In conclusion, higher education is a scam.
In the very last few seconds of the episode, Candiace returns and positively loses her mind when she finds out that Monique counter-sued her for assault. While I have to imagine Candiace had to see this coming from a legal perspective, she does seem very upset and very angry, saying that Monique has “no scruples,” and calling her former friend “arrogant and evil and sociopathic” even though, as Monique says in her confessional, “two people are the reason this fight happened.” Unfortunately for Candiace but fortunately for the rest of us, she’ll have to table her feelings about all of her legal drama, because the ladies are headed to
China Portugal next week.