The Real Housewives of Potomac
When I was a child, I once pulled a tried-and-true tantrum of threatening to run away from home, defiantly packing my backpack with puzzle pieces and Welch’s grape-juice cans to abscond to the hinterlands of my upstairs neighbor’s living room. An hour and several cans of juice later, I had calmed down enough to realize that I was not prepared for life beyond the front steps of the Harlem row house we lived in at the time, tucked my tail between my legs, and returned to my mom’s floor, where the chores and dinner I had abandoned were ready and waiting for me.
That is the closest memory that I feel approximates the range of emotions that must be coursing through Gizelle and Robyn this episode as they are forced into a cast trip after it is more than likely made quite clear to them — either via Ashley or production — that their paychecks would somehow be hit for this. I have seen warmer-looking expressions at a funeral than the faces Robyn Dixon makes during this episode; she shows up to dinner in a getup that screams “soccer mom running errands on wash day.” Gizelle is aghast she has to sleep in the attic with Judy Winslow from Family Matters, but seeing as nobody knew that she and Robyn were coming besides Wendy, I don’t understand what she expects Wendy to do to make the place an accessible accommodation on short notice. Wendy takes the huffing and puffing in stride, but I am sure this will all come to a head next week.
This week, however, we return where we left off the last episode: sparring with greenery, with third parties working to break off the rapidly escalating conflict between Candiace and Mia. Candiace’s sticking point with Mia — and other contentious incidents, such as Ashley — is that she feels that Mia gets away with taking a lot of jabs and she has every right to punch back, and the hyper reaction to her jabs is rooted in colorism (this also is supposedly discussed in the reunion, which just taped this last week).
Here’s the thing: I don’t think Candiace is entirely wrong. For example, Candiace would have a hard time getting away with saying the things that Karen has said so far — I mean, we literally watched Karen sit at a table and imply that Gizelle has STDs to start the season — without much harsher pushback. I think we can note that discrepancy while still observing that what is particularly jarring about Candiace’s insults is that they reveal how she regards people and their worthiness in general. If you speak to a woman as “someone who was picked up off a corner” simply because you know she is a former stripper, that speaks to your views on sex work in general, not just a dig at Mia. This comes up again when Ashley calls her out for referring to Michael as a “slaveholder” (the actual language was overseer, but the context is the same). Her frustrations seem to overwhelm her for reasons besides Mia is antagonizing her; it’s the fact that Mia dares to antagonize her, period. While Candiace may call Mia a classist for flaunting her income status, it’s also Candiace who feels that Mia doesn’t belong in such a circle.
Regarding the irritation with Mia flaunting her “boss” status: Is it a bit tacky and nouveau riche? Sure (although if Mia would like to know, there’s a whole segment of Twitter who would tell her that $450,000 a year isn’t rich). But so was Wendy flexing her three degrees in our faces last season. And so are the three home-reno/dream-home projects that we are constantly exposed to from these women who need to find arbitrary ways to show us that they have achieved or are in pursuit of a “lifestyle.” The woman can find it classless, but classist? This can’t be coming from the same woman who has been doing a part-time HGTV special of designing her million-dollar dream home-away-from-Mom as a story line.
That said, I would caution Mia on how she navigates discussing her mother moving forward in the show. There is clearly still a bit of a tense dynamic between the two of them and having the ensemble cast factor into that in any way is a recipe for disaster. From what we’ve seen so far, Mia is still working through her own hurts and resentments, which is natural, and I wouldn’t want that weaponized against her.
It is striking that most people agree that Candiace could have handled that better — including her husband Chris, who takes her outside and explains that these pissing contests are completely unproductive and serve no purpose — yet Candiace continues to feel victimized in the situation. Of course, none of this is helped by the light-skinned Tasmanian devil known as Ashley, who quickly got to work at dinner, getting to the tension between her and Candiace.
As I suspected earlier in the season, Candiace still hasn’t let go of the fact that Ashley inserted herself into the legal proceedings between her and Monique last season, while Ashley still believes that Candiace still holds some accountability for those events and will never come to terms with that, with the events between Candiace and Mia earlier in the day reinforcing that conviction. My personal feelings on Michael Darby and Bravo’s willingness to place him on our TV screens are quite clear, but Candiace’s choice of language to describe their relationship is very telling. It should not be so reflexive to engage perspectives that uphold white-supremacist thinking, yet she does it consistently while decrying the one prong, colorism, that affects her. I would hope that she could come to a place where she would understand that it all matters; she’s intelligent enough to grasp it, if not yet emotionally mature enough.
Next week, G continues to stir up trouble, we see Chris’s penis, and Robyn and Wendy escalate. See you all then!
• If you haven’t seen the big news, Nicki Minaj will be making a guest appearance at the RHOP reunion. Making a note of it here since I won’t be recapping those.
• G continues his lecherous travails with a wayward tongue in Karen’s direction, to which she does not take kindly. I am wondering just how much longer we are going to do this.
• Karen, Ashley, and Gizelle discussing salad tossing and tea bagging was legitimately hilarious. Karen and Gizelle are at their best when they aren’t trying to ruin each other’s lives, and they’re fun frenemies.
• I know Ashley is committed to the swirl agenda, but I know that she could not have been seriously trying to line that table of shabby white men for Gizelle Bryant. Hampton’s finest cannot be found dead out here with people who look like they get drunk on tallboys at the bleachers of Nationals games.
• Did Askale’s husband make a vow of silence before coming on this trip? What’s going on here? I have a better sense of what Lori Harvey sounds like than I do him.