The Real Housewives of Potomac
Webster’s Dictionary defines accountability as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions,” but The Real Housewives of Potomac defines accountability as “an obligation or willingness to give a public apology at a lunch or baby event in front of a bunch of people who hate your ass for something you did anywhere from one to four years ago.” In this essay, I will …
What’s happening so far (which isn’t very far) on this season of Potomac is that there isn’t much story happening, so before we get to any other story line, the ladies have to “wrap up” any outstanding feuds from the seasons before. So this search for an apology becomes a story line. That’s fine, but when you have someone that just won’t play along, things get difficult. Candiace either doesn’t want to apologize, doesn’t think she has anything to apologize for, or refuses to be the only one to apologize. But most likely, it’s all three. So we have Candiace and her three wigs stacked on top of each other on one side of the divide with Wendy, who is just trying to get her foot in the door, and everyone else on the other side. Thankfully, the women of Potomac are just that good that watching them shout over each other at various lunches about things that happened on social media eight to ten months ago is still entertaining. Let’s get to it.
We’re still at this restaurant, where Candiace is being forced to repent in front of the tribunal. Her main argument is “Fuck this. Stop talking about it. Fuck all of you.” Okay then, ma’am. Wendy is backing up Candiace to try to get some sort of apology out of Ashley. Listen, I don’t think anybody is getting an apology out of Ashley. We can barely get Ashley out of the house. Let’s not ask too much.
Candiace says that having an audience creates an environment ripe for “mayhem, foolishness, and contention,” so she’s trying to be a more peaceful Candiace. The ladies are bringing up every slight that Candiace has ever committed, including throwing a knife at Ashley. Okay, well, according to Candiace, that is because Ashley returned to a home she was asked to leave, and Candiace lives by 1830s prospector rules, apparently. The more recent Candiace issue is that she invited Charrisse to her anniversary party and didn’t give Monique the heads-up. According to Candiace, the beef is at least two years old, so she doesn’t have to warn Monique. I am on Team Monique for this one. I got feuds with bitches I haven’t seen since middle school, but if they show up at a party, it’s on sight, okay? You know what the fuck you did, Amanda, and I need everyone I know currently to get onboard and protect me.
Candiace finally says that she’d rather do the grand apology in private (but does not specify a time or place), and Ashley accepts. The tribunal approves the sentiment and toasts! To vague, nondescript apologies!
After the dinner ended, the cameras were off but the mics weren’t. Monique tries to get close to Candiace, and Candiace is fucking PISSED. Monique insists that they have to talk about it off-camera. This is a portent of the fight to come. How many weeks away are we?
In between Ashley’s Coming Out Dinner and Ashley’s Sip & See, we get little snippets of the other ladies’ home lives. Ashley is shopping with Michael, trying to decide if Candiace should be allowed to cross the threshold of their home without a metal detector. In addition to the awkwardness with Candiace, Michael asks, “Can we finish up and I go back to fucking work, please?” THIS MOTHERFUCKING HUSBAND. YIKES. SIR. YIKES. Men should not be legally allowed to ask about going back to work while holding their infant child. Apparently the stress of Ashley and Michael not having sex because, y’know, Ashley pushed an entire child out of her body is too much, and Michael thought he hurt her during sex and started to cry. These people just need to take a goddamn minute and snuggle.
Gizelle is monitoring the construction on her house when Robyn comes over to sit on the porch and gab about Jamal and his pink waistcoats. Gizelle says seeing him work to get his new job in Atlanta made him sexy again to her. What a diplomatic way to say “He got a new, better job, and I was attracted to him again.” Gizelle’s kids are still not onboard for Jamal’s charm offensive with their mother, but he’s planning Gizelle’s birthday party, so he’s got the chance to impress them.
Wendy is with her kids, Kruz, Karter, and Kamrynn. Woof. That’s a lot. She’s also got her very sexy dark-skinned husband, Eddie, and they’re making sure their kids learn Ibo from their grandma. This is very cute and, so far, I like Wendy at home with her kids. Wendy takes about 14 minutes to list all her degrees, qualifications, and occupations. Has she put any thought into the fact that her credibility as a political commentator might be diminished the second she throws a Champagne glass in someone’s face?
Candiace takes Chris shopping for her “bonus daughter.” As a person with no children and no stepchildren, I have to ask: Is “bonus daughter” something that people say? Because it definitely sounds like a Candiace-style reframing to make having a stepdaughter more glamorous. If it is a thing people say, then we can move on.
Meanwhile, Monique has this goddamn bird pooping on a piece of paper, and she thinks she’s potty-trained the bird. Monique. Most birds don’t have sphincters! He’s not holding it until you give him his pee pad. She puts the bird on her shoulder and has Karen over for afternoon Champagne. We get a classic side-by-side convo during which Candiace insists that Monique is a bad friend and flip-flopper, and Monique says that Charrisse has been facilitating rumors.
Gizelle heads out for her birthday dinner with Jamal, and her kids are NOT PLEASED. Gizelle believes that every kid just wants their parents to get back together because she saw The Parent Trap. These kids can smell Jamal’s hustle so hard, and Gizelle cannot imagine that they aren’t happy. Apparently, Jamal surprised their oldest daughter at school, and she screamed, ran at him, and told him to get out. I stan a teen with boundaries. Jamal also bought his daughters a stake in a restaurant in Atlanta and expected them to be excited. Buy them a Kånken backpack and some satin scrunchies and call it a day, instead of potentially ruining their credit when that restaurant inevitably fails.
It’s time for the Sip & See, and Ashley is worried that someone will give Dean herpes of the eye, so she’s adjusting well to motherhood. The other ladies start to arrive, and Ashley feels a little encouraged by her conversation with Candiace for no real discernible reason. When Candiace finally arrives, everyone is debating the merits of icing her out of their circle.
Oh shit, then Charrisse arrives. She mainly sits there looking incredibly smug in a very cute outfit while the chaos erupts around her. Bravo must have hired her as a friend of the show but told her it’s going to reduce her episode pay for every word she speaks.
Ashley tells Candiace that they were all talking about her before she arrived. Candiace says that was an ambush and immediately starts getting into it with Monique. She mocks Monique with a little laugh, and when Monique calls her “aggressive, hostile,” she says, “That’s rich coming from an aggressive, hostile person.”
At this point in any Potomac argument, Candiace and Monique just start talking in concert, and you have to lie back and let the emotion of the argument wash over you like white noise. There’s no use in trying to figure out the content, or even specific words, because you know basically what’s happening. It’s like watching a soap opera in a different language at the laundromat. If you just focus on the vibe long enough, you can figure out what’s happening, and suddenly you’re not folding your clothes anymore. You’re crying because Yusef just won’t admit his feelings for Imelda, even though her twin sister, Sakura, impersonated her and snuck into his bed on their five-month dating anniversary. Just say you love her in whatever your native language is, Yusef!
Ultimately, Candiace storms out, and Karen stops Wendy from going after her, and once the topic of Charrisse comes up, Monique also storms out. Ashley manages to catch Candiace outside, and Candiace starts weeping over her friendship with Monique falling apart. Candiace still says that they all have things to apologize for, and Ashley says she’s going to be watching Candiace’s behavior for progress. Ashley has really matured since she started believing that all of her friends and family are going to give her baby eyeball herpes.
Charrisse uses her five words per episode to say about Monique, “She doesn’t have any friends.” Good use of your allotment, Charrisse.