The Real Housewives of Potomac
Before we get into today’s recap, I need to get something off of my chest: What is going on with Candiace’s confessional look? As a woefully underskilled makeup artist who relies on GRWM videos on YouTube to figure out how in the world I am supposed to do a proper cut crease, I respect a tasteful use of graphic liner — but as someone who also just watched Tina Burner abuse my optic senses on Drag Race, the harsh red-and-yellow combo is deeply triggering. She is entirely too beautiful to look this hectic and I want more for her!
Speaking of Candiace, Mrs. Bassett is gunning to be the multi-hyphenate of her dreams. She’s chasing her MBA, filming pilots — did anyone watch her appearance on Family Reunion? — working on her music, and dropping music videos on BET. Chris has sold the restaurant (to be fair, commuting from Old Town Alexandria to Upper Marlboro is a bit more inconvenient than when he was previously hopping over the Potomac from Oxon Hill) and is now serving as her “husband-ger,” which is maybe the worst attempt at a portmanteau I’ve heard this year, and I’ve watched stan Twitter fight over couple names. His new role involves keeping a rein on her volatility, handling her bookings, and … golfing and IG cooking classes, so it’s safe to say that Kris Jenner he is not. Not to go all Wendy vs. Tabitha Brown on the matter, but that level of career disparity in a household more often than not leads to problems and resentment down the road. For what it’s worth, Candiace’s new song sounds like something K. Michelle would have dropped in 2012; do with that info what you will.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Episode two drops us right where we left off, with Gizelle and Karen going back and forth on what a hot box is, which eventually becomes an ongoing source of confusion throughout the group. I feel like you could have gleaned what it meant within the context of “broken whore from Hampton University,” but apparently implied accusations aren’t their forte. What really sent me over the moon, however, was Karen blithely admitting later that she was just riffing on the Sing Sing part and had no idea it was a prison (although it should be noted that on WWHL, she stated that she thought it was a psychiatric institute, which apparently alludes to some old local gossip around an alleged breakdown after Gizelle and Jamal split the first time around). That’s the rub with Karen: Who can drag someone who will gleefully own her chaos without remorse? She will claim that Gizelle wished death on her husband and die on that hill, which is a Stretch Armstrong-level reach — especially when she could have gone with the time she paraded her friend Erika Liles around Ray, tore down her perfume brand, or strolled in with a #FreeUncleBen T-shirt over the Hugers’ tax issues. The theatrical commitment is what I’m here for, and the Grand Dame delivers every time.
Surprisingly, Wendy decides to stand by Karen in that moment, going so far as to tell Robyn to take her head out of Gizelle’s posterior and butt out of the conversation. Mia, in a wild card move, chooses to offer Gizelle some grace, priming the stage for tension with Wendy, in what is clearly going to become an ongoing arc this season. It is painfully obvious that Mia manages to get under Wendy’s skin in a way that no other cast member has yet to do, and my suspicion is that it may be because Wendy can’t figure out an angle to establish superiority to her. She runs a successful franchise, is certified in her field of work, and doesn’t really feel the need to prove herself to Wendy and her degrees. Her penthouse on the Baltimore Harbor is legitimately impressive. Is she a little phony? Sure, but I would expect nothing less from someone who moves in her circles. Mia is 100 percent right, however, in alleging that she makes Wendy insecure. There can only be one girlboss in this cast, and Wendy is dead set on making sure that woman is her.
This all comes to head at Karen’s “love lunch,” which she bizarrely invites everyone to using boxes of Ferrero Rocher, a chocolate that I used to get for $10 after middle school as a treat. Robyn and Gizelle predictably forego the event, but the rest of the cast obliges her contrivances, including Candiace, which bodes well for Karen’s filming potential for the rest of the season despite the green-eyed bandits wanting to ice her out. What follows can only be described as the Newlywed Game from hell: uncomfortable details revealed, constant side-eyes, and Wendy taking every moment possible to make a jab at Mia. Call me old-fashioned but some secrets — like, say, people’s favorite sexual positions — can just stay between a couple. Nevertheless, it was all worth it to watch Wendy spin out at the mere suggestion that her husband could be perceived as writing down Mia’s name, to the point of making him change N/A to “Not Applicable.” Wendy is wholly unprepared to go toe-to-toe with someone who is proudly admitting to bumping uglies in a Waffle House bathroom, raised hands in her face and all, but it will certainly be amusing to see her try.
Next week, we will finally be introduced to Askale Davis, who apparently coins herself the “Ethi-Oprah.” Let the games begin!
• Is it just me, or does Chris’s daughter despise being on camera? If so, please free that child from the responsibility of softening Candiace’s image, for everyone’s sake.
• On my momma, I could have gone a million lifetimes without ever hearing about Ashley and Michael’s mutual masturbation routine or Karen’s pillow activities. Where are the Men in Black with a mind-eraser when you need one??
• Try as she might, Gizelle cannot wow us with her real estate efforts. I audibly sighed when I saw the attachment to that single-level ranch home that she is calling the West Wing. The siding alone gave me angina, and the interior is half-Barbie dream house and half-Drake’s faux Tony Montana aesthetic. Perhaps she should forgo making jabs at Karen’s finances while her estate looks like a roadside property in a Lehigh Valley wine tour.
• What is it with all of these Bravolebrities trying to peddle lifestyle/wellness and candle lines? Wendy should take her mother and Eddie’s distaste as a sign: not only is the market oversaturated, but nothing about her screams relaxation and serenity. Somewhere in Los Angeles, Jackie Aina is incensed that her Naija sister is now trying to cut in on her target market.
• Has anybody truly ever just worked the front of house in a strip club or is it just an urban myth that Mia is choosing to run with? Please offer your testimonials in the comments.
• Mia: “I’m a good judge of character and [Gizelle] has a beautiful heart.” Karen: “I used to think that too.”
• Robyn and Gizelle commiserating over their miserable attempts at reconciling with their ex-husbands was giving Waiting to Exhale: The High Yellow Redux. At one point Gizelle admitted that Jamal was actually living in her phone and I had to clutch my chest in distress. I don’t have any guidance for Robyn except to let her know that she is only continuing to validate what Karen says about her relationship.
• Few things make me fall out faster than watching Gizelle’s daughters cut her to the white meat. The level to which they express disdain for their parents is nothing less than a marvel to watch. Grace’s Thanos-level commitment to letting her mom know that they are not going to make the same awful mistakes as Mrs. Hot Box did kills me softly.
• As someone with an African mother, watching Wendy’s mom carry on with her children was deeply familiar. She does a bit too much on the Nigerian pride bit, but her demanding her progeny finance her mommy makeover because her “breasts are like flapjacks” is more than enough for me to want to see her around more often. (Wendy needs to quit it with the Nigerian food vs. American palate, though. There was a whole TikTok trend of non-West Africans swarming Nigerian spots for fufu!)
• I really need the girls to stop pretending that they don’t all get work done or injectables of some sort when they remark on other women’s bodies. And yes, that includes Gizelle.
• Candiace and Chris’s team name for the not-Newlywed Game was “We Came From Jesus.” Someone help me understand.