The Real Housewives of Potomac
There was one moment in this episode that was the visual and auditory opposite of everything the Real Housewives franchise stands for. Watching the seven ladies of Potomac sit around Monique’s kitchen counter (possibly in a basement?) and silently eat pizza was shocking. I’m sorry, I thought this was the Real Housewives, not day four of a weeklong work retreat. What on earth are we doing here? I’m going to need Monique to get some exotic animals for them to ride on a beach or a themed workout led by a hot guy poolside and TURN THIS WEEKEND AROUND. Because this is a group of women whose friendships are all hanging by a thread and they need a yacht or a pitcher of margaritas to distract them. So the fact that Monique is spending more time making sure her bird has activities rather than making sure there is a classier food option than personal pan pizzas is egregious.
The other egregious development is that Michael continues to be an actual piece of shit. The reason he was trying to get Ashley to take the baby to the lake house is clearly because he wanted to get the baby out of the house so he could ask anyone within arm’s reach at the strip club to come home with him. Can we just deposit him directly into a dumpster and get Ashley and baby Dean into a safe house? And how dare the show tease us with that incredible bit of information from Candiace’s friend-of-a-friend who works as a bartender at a strip club and not give us the reveal during the episode? How dare you make us watch two full minutes of women silently eating pizza like they’re at a college orientation event that’s not going well instead of Candiace having to tell Ashley the information she got! Let’s get to it.
As the episode begins we’re still resolving the last “TO BE CONTINUED” and Wendy is still shouting at Ashley about how many degrees she has and how broke Ashley is. This is exhausting. Why is Wendy mad at Ashley? Be mad at Monique. If anyone is responsible for Ashley’s baby being there and Wendy’s baby being at home, it’s Monique, because Ashley didn’t make Wendy leave her baby at home. Ashley can barely get out of bed; she’s not engaging in maternal subterfuge. Wendy decides to take the argument to another level and start calling Ashley “broke.” She also starts screaming “I have four degrees. I’m not stupid.” Ma’am. A degree does not equal intelligence or sense. It just means you’re slightly better with deadlines than the average person. And if you’re so smart, you could find a way to demonstrate your intelligence without mentioning your many degrees, okay?
For some reason, Wendy calling Ashley a bitch is just TOO MUCH for these women, especially Karen. Everyone is very invested in the idea that they’ve all come so far as friends, so calling each other bitches will not stand. Wendy is suddenly putting everyone (including us in the audience) on Ashley’s side and that’s quite the feat. Wendy absolutely refuses to apologize so the chef comes out and they all do shots.
Everyone heads to bed and Candiace and Wendy sit up in their bonnets and don’t hold each other accountable. Candiace suggests her style of conflict resolution, which is apologizing so you don’t get completely socially ostracized whether you mean it or not. Monique ends the evening by chatting with T’Challa and her husband on the phone. Even Chris is sick of that damn bird.
The next morning, they all get up for breakfast and Gizelle and Monique have a pancake cook-off. OKAY. We’ve all been on this weekend trip with our friends where making breakfast has become an entire production but no one really minds because you’re having so much fun. Later, everyone is going to rank each other’s swimsuits but it’s all in good fun. Here’s the great thing about Potomac: these women feel like real people who have actually had to take care of themselves and other people. They feel like they’ve lived a life and are still somewhat connected to reality. They also seem to like spending time with each other deep down, even if they are in some sort of vague feud. In some of the other franchises, when it comes to the women having fun, there’s such a high barrier to entry; they could not get through a pancake competition without breaking a few glasses.
There’s also the dramatic editing that we can always count on with Potomac. Candiace receives an ominous text message and instead of just showing us that, the show decides to throw her into black-and-white and show us what’s about to happen 12 hours in the future. But we’re not going to hang out in that chaos for too long.
Instead, we’re gonna catch up with Gizelle trying to tell Wendy that she should just apologize. Gizelle is just trying to understand what the hell happened when Wendy unhinged her jaw and attempted to swallow Ashley whole to absorb her essence. Wendy keeps saying that it’s all about her baby but… c’mon, Wendy. That wasn’t just baby stuff; that feels like just how Wendy reacts to any criticism. Gizelle also tells her that Karen called Wendy a “floozy freelancer.” I’m not here to shame freelancers, especially as someone who has been a freelancer in various fields for about a decade, but it is not something to brag about. What are freelancers supposed to brag about? The fact that we don’t have health insurance? But Wendy isn’t just a freelance po-lit-i-cal commentator, she’s also a professor at THE Johns Hopkins University.
Monique pulls out the canoes and paddleboats for the ladies to go fishing. Monique is that sleepover host in seventh grade that spends the entire time trying to convince you that whatever weird thing their family does is totally fun and you’ll like it if you try it. Instead of just sucking it up and pulling out Dream Phone, everyone is up at midnight trying to learn some weird variation of charades that only Monique’s family plays. “Wait, we have to move the other person on our team to act out the clue? How is that fun? Also, your family doesn’t eat cheese? Or bread? Or sugar? What are we supposed to eat for breakfast? Why are we here? JUST LET ME GO TO BED!” All the other women are barely hiding their displeasure at the weekend festivities while Monique just couldn’t be happier. She’s in her own paddleboat just floating around the lake, wishing T’Challa was on her shoulder.
Meanwhile, Wendy and Ashley are attempting to come to some sort of resolution. Wendy says she feels bad about her delivery (but not necessarily the sentiment) and the word “bitch” had no place in her tirade. Ashley says “is that an apology?” and Wendy says “that’s Wendy owning her shit.” That’s Wendy saying “Yes, I did it, but I don’t feel bad.” Ashley leads by example and apologizes and Wendy mimics this alien behavior to fit in.
There’s not really an activity between the fishing and dinner at the crab shack, so we get little snippets of everyone’s afternoon. Ashley facetimes with a very hungover Michael and a producer asks if Michael likes being second to their baby. He does not. Karen tries to get Ray to acknowledge her feelings. Candiace sees Ashley with her baby and says that she’s relieved to see that you don’t have to be perfect to be a mom. One, is that the subtlest of reads on Ashley and the other moms? Two, Candiace, it’s a human child. Of course things are going to go wrong. The only things babies can do for, like, the first year of their lives is poop and burp. Do I predict we’ll be getting a Candiace pregnancy soon? She’s too freaked out.
They’ve all been in captivity for 22 hours so the only solution to the boredom is a pageant-off between Candiace and Ashley. Gizelle is TRYING to find something fun, and this barely qualifies as fun. For her talent, Candiace sings “Happy Birthday” with way too many vocal runs while Ashley does a struggle twerk with a busted bootyhole.
It’s between twerk time and dinner time that Candiace gets this ominous text. She doesn’t know what to do because the text has a picture of Michael. She remembers to ask the crew if they’ll blur the name of her friend who sent her the text. She runs over to the guest house to grab Gizelle. Gizelle can barely process the information and has Candiace read the text out loud multiple times to parse out each terrible detail. Someone has to tell her and unfortunately, it’s got to be Candiace.
And I know they head to dinner and everyone talks about their husbands. Blah blah blah Monique’s Chris doesn’t help her or take advantage of their household help. Blah blah blah Juan kept the kids home from school because he couldn’t dress them?! Blah blah blah Ray is asleep somewhere in a rocking chair. But that’s all just a pretense to set up Candiace having to tell Ashley that Michael is out at strip clubs and asking people to come back to his hotel room.
TO BE CONTINUED…