The Real Housewives of Potomac
Good evening, fellow heathens! For those of you who don’t know me already, my name is Shamira and I will be your guide to the high-drama world of Real Housewives of Potomac this season, which is already off to the races after trying to recover from the chaos that reigned the season prior. As someone who has lived all around the DMV, I am almost irrationally eager to add my personal knowledge to the comings and goings of our iconic residents of Prince George’s and Howard County during their attempts to establish this franchise as the cream of the Real Housewives crop.
No premiere recap is complete without an assessment of the new taglines, so without further ado:
Gizelle: The secret to this pretty face is staying in the shade.
Gizelle surely couldn’t reuse any “word on the street” tagline iterations after the Grande Dame ground her fictive universe into ashes during last season’s reunion. (Has “Is Jamal Coming” merch gone on sale yet?) That said, it’s a punchy reference to the two of three things she’s known for in this franchise: being both beautiful and a troublemaker. (The last one, in case anyone was wondering, is her unbelievably juvenile sense of style). 8/10
Mia: If you want to pop off, I’ll be happy to get you adjusted
Mia is a newcomer who runs a chiropractor operation. In observance of the Eileen Davidson Accords, I will give her a few episodes to figure herself out in this ensemble before rendering a judgment, but her combative tagline presents an interesting dynamic, considering the bulk of the cast claimed to be afraid to film with Monique last season. 5/10
Robyn: I may keep you waiting — but trust me, I’m worth it.
I’m unsure why Robyn wants to start the season on a lie, but at least she acknowledges that she’s always late. 5/10
Ashley: The only thing messier than two boys is me.
Similar to Gizelle, this is top-tier tagline creation: acknowledgement of her characterization throughout the series with a hint of her role in the season to come. *kisses fingers* Brava, Ashley. 9/10
Candiace: My blessings are many, and my patience is none.
First off, this is just clunky phrasing. Sometimes trying to duplicate a fragment cadence for dramatic effect ends up sounding more like a tongue twister than the intended sharp jab. That said, I guess we’ll have to see what Candiace means by blessings — taking on debt for an MBA does not count, although I would like to assume that she is paying for it outright — and hope that her impatience doesn’t land her in a high-octave conflict for the third season in a row. 6/10
Wendy: This professor doesn’t grade on a curve; she sets the curve.
Cute reference to both her academics and the new shapely additions to her figure; the season two “my paycheck just cleared” glow-up is in full effect at the Osefo household. 7/10
Karen: The Grande Dame can never be duplicated, imitated, or intimidated.
Karen is clearly riding high from her triumphant season five performance, and I fear that she’s getting a bit too high on her own supply. But hey, only one of us has a perfume line at Bloomingdale’s, and it certainly isn’t the one who still uses small-batch aromatic fragrance oils; maybe she’ll live up to the imperial bar she is setting for herself. 7/10
Much of this premiere’s drama peaks around Wendy’s over-the-top event for her new headlights, where all the dynamics between the cast are established as a harbinger of the rest of the season. Candiace and Ashley — who looked like there was an approximately 45 percent chance her water was about to break over dinner — are on the outs yet again. Candiace has also chosen to maintain a distance from Karen, with everyone suspecting that she chose to cancel making her way to Wendy’s house to spare herself the drama. Mia enters the scene as an interesting counterbalance to the rest of the cast: She is as fair as the green-eyed bandits, a successful entrepreneur, married to an older man with a wider age difference than Ashley and Karen’s partnerships, and open about the nips and tucks the rest of the cast (except for Karen) likes to pretend they don’t take. She is about as accurate in telling her age as Phaedra was in disclosing the timeline of her first pregnancy, but what’s a little white lie between co-workers? We’ve been pretending that Robyn offers value to the series for at least two seasons, after all.
Gizelle and Karen, naturally, continue to remain at odds, with last season’s humiliation still burning in Ms. Bryant’s shimmering green eyes. Increasingly on the outs with Jamal — due to the pandemic, allegedly, but it’s not like the pastor found time to be in Maryland with his family prior to it, either — Gizelle has decided that Karen must pay for systematically and consistently pulling the rug out from under the narrative she wants to present to the world, and is aiming to knock the Grand Dame off of the pedestal she created for herself. The problem is that Karen’s fans already know she lies and absolutely do not care; Karen’s been miserable in her marriage since they were hiding out in Falls Church, but she’s not going anywhere, and calling out anything around her finances is laughable when the bandits have been moving from town house to town house for the past five years. That said, Karen striking back with allegations of a “hot box” are beyond childish; since these two will continue to anchor the conflict throughout the season, I am really going to need them to elevate these reads.
Going by the preview, the rest of the season seems to go full steam ahead: Mia and Candiace butt heads, Ashley and Candiace butt heads, Candiace butts heads with her house husband, Karen deals with tensions in her marriage, there is a reckoning over Robyn’s behavior, and the simmering rumors over Wendy’s marriage boil over. And we have still to meet the “Ethi-Oprah”! The future for our ladies along Interstates 95 and 270 looks promising. Until next week.
• Hot Girl Wendy season two is in full effect. Wendy invites the girls to her home by recreating the Tiktok Silhouette Challenge, confirming that it’s a medium best left for the Gen Z’s (and that Bravo is unwilling to pay the surely exorbitant fee to license a Doja Cat hit). Also, the “special surprise” being her new breasts (and not the other tweaks she clearly had done) is cute, but personally, don’t invite me to drive an hour to see something you can share in a WhatsApp group chat, especially if you’re not going to give up the doctor you used to “refresh.”
• Raise your hand if you ever expected to hear about clitoral surgery at a dinner party. Mia, welcome to the cast.
• The Housewives are supposed to be wearing shades of nude to this party, and I am genuinely wondering if the women struggle with colorblindness. Gizelle had to be steered away from wearing pink by her daughter, and Ashley showed up in white. (Although in fairness, she is so pregnant that she couldn’t squeeze into her platform high heel sandals, which in all honesty was probably a sign from God to dispose of them.)
• The cast spends a lot of time carrying on about the location of Wendy’s house, which is absolutely on the other side of Baltimore and damn near Towson. Even Mia throws in a jab, and she lives on the Baltimore Harbor! The hypocrisy lies in the fact that next to none of these women live in Potomac proper; there was a whole year where the Huger clan was in Fairfax County, for goodness sakes, so the African-inspired shade over the distance is tacky and completely unnecessary, especially when they all know she still teaches at Johns Hopkins. Real Housewives of Columbia, Maryland doesn’t quite have the same zing to it as Potomac, however, so the lie continues.
• Candiace’s new million-dollar mansion is as dramatic as she is, down to the chandelier light bulbs that she can’t reach without a hope and a prayer; and try as she might to claim independence from her mother, Dorothy’s shadow is literally looming over the guest room. That said, watching Gizelle’s jaw drop open at her dreams deferred being realized by the artist behind the classic go-go hit “I See You” was absolutely worth it.
• Robyn is still not married to Juan and clearly fighting depression, to her ex-husband’s chagrin. In other news, climate change is real.
• Candiace and Chris have decided to publicly acknowledge his children, which is lovely; I feel like calling them her “bonus” kids is a bit strange, but I am a perennial auntie and not a parent so I will stay in my lane in that regard.
• Michael Darby is still gracing our screen, after multiple allegations of groping and getting combative during last year’s finale. I don’t know what it will take for us to avoid another cheating storyline from this anthropomorphic rendering of a boa constrictor, but I am willing to pay that price.