The Real Housewives of Potomac
This week, we find out that in the wake of the binder read heard around the world, Gizelle had really only been to Atlanta, where Jamal lives, two to three times during this pandemic. Is she including her attendance at Cynthia’s wedding in that count? I just don’t think you continue to refer to something as a partnership when you have the means to spend time together and simply choose not to. Crumbling relationship aside, kudos to her for keeping her presence in one of the most reckless cities in the pandemic to a minimum; it’s not like more frequent flights would have curbed Reverend Bryant’s (alleged) wandering eye, and she would know that better than anyone else.
Speaking of weddings, Robyn — who debuts a cute new confessional look this episode, although she could have dialed the ruffles back a bit — still has no plans to get hers underway. Her rebuttal to Karen about not wanting to create a superspreader event is plausible, except I highly doubt she leveled that same criticism to Gizelle and all her other friends that attended Cynthia Bailey-Hill’s nuptial ceremony of 200-plus guests.
More so than the other franchises, Potomac is uniquely fascinating because most of the main cast has existing, built-in relationships with each other that go back for years. It’s why they’re able to create histrionic tension over minor flare-ups; it’s the spillover of years of on-and-off-camera drama coming to a head in a way that other franchises work to manufacture, and we will never run out of Dynasty-level theatrics from the likes of Karen and Gizelle as a result. It’s peak docu-soap TV and the ratings reflect it, with the ensemble cast holding its own against the Housewife and the Hustler clusterfuck that is RHOBH.
Marital ambivalence aside, Robyn does seem to be trying to get some discipline back in her life, working on getting fit after a year of relentlessly consuming carbs and sugar like the rest of America. But Robyn’s deteriorating presence has been a long time coming, as made evident by a striking flashback: Robyn four seasons ago was killing her calisthenics classes and willing to threaten Monique with fisticuffs; nowadays she’s been sluggish and unmotivated, and that was evident since before the pandemic.
Candiace is apparently still packing up her old townhouse and decides to use her final sale as an excuse to throw the next all-cast event: a “Peace Out House Pajama Jam” (they really need to do better with naming these get-togethers) that she conveniently forgets to invite Ashley to (and her mom, for that matter, considering her name was on the deed). To be fair, (1) Ashley did not need to be wasting her time struggling into sleepwear set, and (2) the last time she stepped foot in the townhouse, sharp utensils were thrown at her. So it probably isn’t advisable for Ashley to attend anyway, but Candiace pretending the oversight was anything other than intentional was ludicrous. The production team would have followed up with her for filming times, at the very least, so she needs to give that excuse up. Nevertheless, the ladies come with their various versions of loungewear, which involves Gizelle’s truly frightful Versace bathrobe that looks like a bad sponsored collaboration with Starburst candies. Never one to leave her best friend behind, Robyn appears sporting a monstrosity of a headband. Does she realize she was going to be on-camera while they play? I refuse to believe that was a deliberate choice.
Mia eventually arrives, kicking the shenanigans into full swing. I would bet my bottom dollar that Mrs. Thornton has either a mug, pillow, or T-shirt that says, “You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation,” because she is by no means intimidated by the level of standoffishness her actions can cause. The girls are wound up over an invitation to drinks in a group text between Gizelle, Robyn, and Mia with the express request that Karen not be invited. Mia does not take kindly to that — if you read between the lines, the real request was Let’s film us getting to know each other, and hopefully we can gradually ice Karen out, and Mia clearly picks this up and wants to stand by Karen, the person who brought her into the cast. Her response is hysterically curt, suggesting they schedule with her assistant. When Askale, who is still desperate to stamp her presence on the show, calls Mia out, she blithely responds that, as a business owner, her schedule is hefty and she will be overly direct at times. The excuse is flimsier than Karen’s cooking, but I respect Mia’s ability to blow off the chaos she created and move on to the next with a breezy apology; it makes it increasingly difficult for drama to stick to her as she carves out her presence on the show.
Next week, Candiace takes the girls on the first all-cast trip of the season, Gizelle prays for Ray to live long enough to pay his outstanding financial debts, and the Eileen Davidson accords will officially be lifted on Mia Thornton. See you all then!
• While I love Gizelle and the way her daughters relentlessly lay into her, the fact that the journey to get a learner’s permit is getting so much airtime really cements that when there is little romantic turmoil in her life, Ms. Word on the Street doesn’t have much to offer in terms of her own story line, which is part of why she inserts herself into so much. That said, it was amusing to watch the two youngest sisters try not to burst into laughter at Grace’s fourth failed attempt at obtaining her permit. I seriously want to know what is tripping li’l mama up because I definitely took the test having never so much as looked at a driving manual and got a passing score.
• The series is trying to do a little too much with the Mia “girlboss” angle. Maybe I am just not a good point of reference because I was a latchkey kid, but is it really that bad that her husband takes Joshua to school and events from time to time? If Mia were a stay-at-home wife, she would have been fully expected to do all of that herself. I don’t really understand the conflict here — Mia seems to spend a good amount of time at home, after all — especially since they are speaking on Joshua’s behalf.
• Poor Ashley finally went into labor, and I honestly can’t believe that she was still going out until her water broke. I feel like if you must have your gecko of a husband bring a to-go bag tableside at dinner, it might be time to stay home.
• Michael, a Monsters, Inc. villain come to life, wants to go into movie production. Does Ashley really want him jet-setting back and forth to Los Angeles while she is dealing with a newborn, especially considering their problems last time peaked around Dean’s early months? Ashley also raised valid financial concerns — she needs to make sure that her alimony money is secure for when she finally leaves, and Michael’s Tinseltown dreams stand to get in the way of that.
• I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I did my Googles, and according to Stanford’s plastics department, vaginal rejuvenation can indeed involve work on the clitoral hood. Mia could have gotten the whole kit and caboodle plumped up for all we know. Why are we still arguing these semantics? It changes absolutely nothing, and these women need to drop it.
• That said, Gizelle’s gay stylist saying that he hasn’t seen a clitoris since the ’90s is why I still pay for good cable.
• As a faithful recapper and former DMV resident, I did some digging on the exotic-dance scene that exists in the area (my knowledge is limited to Stadium and Camelot), and I believe the venue that Mia is referring to where she was, er, discovered, by her husband was Cloakroom. And yes, it is known for more, shall we say, upscale attire.
• Apparently, the endless IG Lives the cast were engaging in last year in the lead-up to season five prompted Gizelle and Robyn to start a podcast. There’s an approximately 15 percent chance I will listen to it, but I wish them the best.
• What are the rules and responsibilities of the ambassador of Surry County? Ever the faithful watcher, I dutifully tried to research this new title that Karen has been appointed with, and by my estimation, it sounds like a position that involves her cutting ribbons at strip-mall openings, but I’m happy she’s happy.
• Wendy’s incessant remarks on her body are really starting to grate, but her screaming that her silicone was going to freeze during that outdoor workout made me snort out my tea.
• Candiace is back in the studio, working on her album, trying to give us her best Brandy impression. She has a nice, albeit thin, tone to her voice, but I am assuming that’s where the autotune (that she critiqued Ashley for using) comes in. Hopefully this takes her where she wants to go, but I just feel like we’re going to end up seeing her perform in one of those lounges off K Street like Barcode or something.