It’s been a long road for me and The Real Housewives of Potomac. As someone with an aversion to both bougie black folks and color-struck Negroes, I found the inaugural season of this show exhausting, with its cast members’ collective habits of clinging too much to pretension, as well as being high yellow with green eyes. But while some of the ladies may still be a wee too uptight, this season was a vast improvement.
I’m not sure if someone from production slipped Hennessy into their Champagne flutes, but this season was dramatic, messy and highly entertaining without feeling torturous. And to their credit, while some of the ladies may be fake as hell, they had real problems chronicled throughout the season. No fake boyfriends or make-believe career switches; it was a lot like The Real Housewives of New Jersey, sans government indictments.
As a result, part 1 of their reunion was a genuine lituation.
It began exactly where viewers anticipated it would: Karen Huger’s very sudden move from Potomac, Md., to Somewhere Else, Va. According to Karen, she moved to Virginia to be closer to her aging parents and to provide a space for them to move in with her. In response, everyone—including host Andy Cohen—asked what made Virginia so important, given that it’s not that far from Maryland. Her response was that her parents did not like Maryland. What’s not to like about waterfronts, fresh crab and Old Bay wings?
No one on the stage believed her, but they still pressed Karen on why she didn’t tell the girls that she was moving while on vacation in Jamaica. For Gizelle it was a particular problem, given that the two have known each other the longest. At one point, Gizelle claimed that Karen had previously told her, “I ain’t got time for you bitches when we’re not filming.”
Karen may call herself “the Grande Dame of Potomac,” but she continues to speak like the country farm girl who will curse your ass smooth out over the last portion of scrapple if you rile her up. So yeah, Gizelle didn’t like that Karen didn’t tell her about her sudden move to Virginia; nor did she care for Karen skipping out on a recent birthday party. According to Gizelle, Karen told her that she couldn’t attend because of health concerns with her mama, but in reality, she was in New York getting some work done. That’s when Karen called Gizelle a “fucking liar.”
I don’t know if Karen’s Tina Knowles Lawson’s second-cousin-looking self got on Amtrak to get her face cosmetically chopped and screwed, but if she did, it’s very tasteful work. Meanwhile, days before the reunion aired (and weeks after it filmed), the Washington Post reported that Karen’s husband and his company owed millions in back taxes. Well, that would explain a sudden sale of their family home in Potomac to renting some big-ass house in Great Falls, Va.
As for said husband, we are no longer calling him “the Black Bill Gates,” and Karen did not appreciate Charrisse Jackson Jordan calling him “the Broke Bill Gates,” given that the hubby has never been cruel to Charrisse. That’s fair.
Look, I am not Karen, but if I were, I would have handled the situation differently. As in, when pressed about the move, I might’ve gone into a monologue beginning with, “You know, I am very much a progressive, but that Ted Cruz gives you something to think about when he says we should abolish the IRS.” But hey, you got it, Karen.
Another person who found herself dragged back, back, forth and forth was Gizelle Bryant. So my issue with Gizelle is that she can be cold, if not flat-out cruel, to new people. Maybe it’s editing, but she comes across as a mean girl who never grew up. The newest cast member—and, thus, latest target for Gizelle—Monique Samuels, was ready to get Gizelle all the way together at the reunion.
I forgot that Gizelle had a makeup line on the way, which is a way for her to declare financial independence from men and have something to show for her daughters. That’s awesome because if nothing else, Gizelle is always beat. That said, why does she feel so compelled to keep dismissing Monique for not working and relying on her husband’s wealth?
Gizelle never answered that directly, but fret not, Monique had a response anyway. For those unaware, Gizelle used to be married to homophobic pastor Jamal Bryant. They broke up after that whole baby-mama thing. Gizelle seems bitter about the fallout from her marriage and projects her issues onto Monique. If it were done out of concern, that’s one thing, but she is condescending and nasty toward Monique over her choices.
In response, Monique said of Gizelle: “I would much rather be associated with my husband and his wealth than 10 percent of the tithes offerings from church going to whatever supports you.”
You can’t see me, but I’m jogging around my desk, still chuckling at this read. In another segment of these two clashing, this is what Gizelle, a former first lady, had to say about going to Monique’s house and talking shit about her: “People go in people’s houses and talk trash.”
Girl, that’s not a thing. I want to like Gizelle more, but c’mon, nah. I imagine Monique’s mother-in-law, who called Monique a heifer and hasn’t spoken to her in a year, could become BFFs with Gizelle.
Later, we learned that Charrisse once texted Gizelle that she was a “fucking trifling bitch” while the two revisited their past beef over Gizelle going on Watch What Happens Live and accusing the separated Charissee of dating some fireman while making it seem as if she and her estranged husband had an arrangement. Charissee clapped back with the “No, baby, girl, that’s you and your preaching ex” when she said, “You’re reliving your marriage when you and your husband were stepping out on each other.”
Gizelle denied this.
For the record, Gizelle has a new boo named Sherman (turns out that old Sherman is former NBA player Sherman Douglas), who kind of looks like her former husband. Naturally, Charissee is great friends with the ex-wife of Gizelle’s new boo, Sherman. I only know the name “Sherman” from Amen, a dude who used to catch fish with my pops and The Nutty Professor, so it’s nice to see the name re-enter pop culture.
Now we must discuss the saddest part of the reunion and the show itself: Robyn Dixon’s weird arrangement with the ex-husband she lives with, Juan Dixon. When Andy Cohen asked about the status of their relationship, which ended on the show as the two giving each other six months to figure out whether to move forward together as a couple, Robyn answered in a way that prompted this response from Cohen: “I don’t know what that means.”
Plus one, beloved. Cohen then asked if the two had relations. “Occasionally, yeah,” she answered as her fellow cast members all looked around at the weirdness before them. Now, I will agree with Robyn that Ashley Darby is a little too intrusive with their relationship. I like Ashley because she’s like Scrappy-Doo in that she’s ready to go to war whenever, despite being the tiniest lil’ thing. On the other hand, she keeps poking Robyn, and it obviously makes her uncomfortable.
A counterpoint would be that Robyn is on a reality show, so it’s fair game. That’s why when Robyn damn near shouted, “Why does everyone think I need to be in a relationship? America, I’m fine!” it came across as confusing.
Robyn, your hair and makeup were lovely, but overall you don’t seem that OK. You have a big, beautiful wall built up, but you don’t seem fine. What you appear to be is traumatized by the infidelity of your ex-husband, yet the two of you have this co-dependency that is partially rooted in financial issues, but also in an unwillingness to either break up and move on, or repair the relationship in a substantive way. It’s exhausting to watch because you want to send her to a therapist, praying grandmother or maybe even Iyanla Vanzant.
For the record, when Monique was called upon to offer a rap during the reunion, she did so by summarizing what happened during the season and ending with a quip that in the end, Robyn is still talking about Juan. Robyn said that she was not amused, but neither are we. I hope she exhales, shoop-shoops and finally picks a side on that mess of a situation. Meanwhile, Monique deserves a best female rap nomination at the next BET Awards.
Until part 2, y’all.