The Real Housewives of Potomac
On the odd chance you are a normal person who doesn’t have Google alerts set for all things Bravo related, spoiler alert: Robyn and Juan jumped the broom again. Considering the news of the nuptials — recent affair allegations notwithstanding — tonight’s episode, which is largely centered on Robyn picking out a dress and having a raucous night of debauchery to celebrate the wedding she didn’t invite anyone to, should feel like a triumphant affair. The Dixons are finally putting to bed years of rumor-mongering about when they would make the trip down the aisle! Unfortunately, I couldn’t possibly care less about the fate of the Dixons’ relationship, which makes about 60 percent of this episode dead on arrival.
Here’s the problem: For all the claims that Robyn has (correctly) made about Karen deflecting significant questions around her partnership, Robyn has done the same. It has been clear for some time that Juan barely tolerates being on-camera and finds it to be little more than a nuisance, a position I would understand if income from the show weren’t responsible for helping the couple climb out of debt, and more than likely responsible for helping Juan get back on the radar for his coaching career. As a result, we haven’t really seen any progression of their relationship outside of some very stark lowlights — Robyn speaking to his previous infidelity, Juan’s hot-mic moment of frustration, Juan being an unsupportive partner while Robyn was clearly struggling with depression — and have very little evidence of their romantic dynamic developing from “reluctant cohabitants in a UPN sitcom” to “lovers and friends up in the bathtub rub-a-dubbing.” No furtive erotic glances, no grand romantic gestures outside of the proposal (and him claiming he “loved her unconditionally” at the season-two reunion while saying they were comfortable where they were). They repeatedly asked their castmates, and the viewers in turn, to let them figure out their feelings on their own, then punted anytime fans or Andy asked for any details about their engagement. Instead, we got Robyn the serial entrepreneur: She flipped houses, she lined hats with satin, she started podcasts and threw family days. That reticence is their right, but it also means I am more excited about my recent dental cleaning than I am about Robyn finally getting her happy ending with the high-school sweetheart she has been to hell and back with.
Instead of being thrilled at Robyn’s matrimonial glow while she parades around in a montage of bridal gowns — each of them entirely too heavy for a wedding in Jamaica, if you ask me; I would have gone for more of a scalloped beachside feel — I am wondering what in the world could be so time consuming about planning a wedding with zero guests in attendance. Is it the alterations for the suits and dress? Is she having a flower arrangement shipped? Is she combing through Trip Advisor to find a restaurant for a nice dinner afterward? You have a guest list of zero, I feel like that eliminates approximately 90 percent of the planning. But, hey, I’ve been only a bridesmaid, so maybe I don’t have a clue what the hell I’m talking about.
Thankfully, Ashley comes along for some drive-by rumormongering, filling Gizelle in on what happened the last night of the trip. Apparently, Mia resumed her hobby of cosplaying as Inspector Gadget, and both Mia and Wendy got to taking a gander at each other’s coin purses. Gizelle later goes over to Mia’s house under the guise of planning Robyn’s bachelorette party, but Mia readily admits the two did “go fishing” — as did Wendy to Karen right after ordering a fish taco. Each of them claim one has lingering sexual energy toward the other. I genuinely do not care about this, but Gizelle, whose life is about as exciting as her wardrobe, is utterly tantalized by this news and can’t stop salivating.
The girls go full steam ahead into prepping for the bachelorette party, and this is when the show starts to devolve into high school. Karen is predictably excluded, but Wendy is also excluded because Robyn felt she laughed too much at the situation she heard for the first time at the table — even though others were reacting just as chaotically — and won’t bother to reach out to Wendy to clear it up. Robyn thought her own friend Gizelle was being crazy with her accusation against Chris and was publicly laughing about it and Candiace’s reactions, but somehow Wendy is at fault for Karen’s actions? Candiace, seeing that Karen and Wendy are officially the pariahs, doesn’t make pains to include Wendy this go-around, valuing her camera time more than consistency in this argument. Of course Charisse is there; somehow much ado is not made about the fact that Robyn is making the choice not to interact with people she dislikes, which she is more than welcome to do but somehow conveniently forgets when it involves someone else.
But whatever — they all pile into the party bus. Charrisse graciously attends while in her feelings for not throwing the event (even though she isn’t main cast) but apparently “not showing it.” Lord knows what her actually looking upset would be like. She proceeds to knock back shots and spray from the money gun while Mia shows off her career skills. They eventually make it to the infamous steak-and-lobster strip club, and the women commit to having a good time, eating surf and turf, getting all of the lap dances, throwing ones in the air. They choose this as an opportune moment to get into all of their dirty laundry because when is a better time to air out your feelings than when an exotic dancer is making it clap right in front of your lobster tail?
First up is Ashley, who is drunkenly trying to explain the turmoil of navigating a constant emotional roller coaster with her hobgoblin of an ex. She tried to start dating, but he made her feel bad for doing so by claiming that he wasn’t dating anybody, so she stopped. Candiace quickly disabuses her of that by informing her that the wraith known as Michael Darby has been seen at Vue with a lady companion. You can see her struggle to process the information in real time as her vision is blurring; her husband has clearly had control over every part of this split, and she needs to cut the cord and make the leap while she still can. As we already know, Ashley eventually starts to move on, so all’s well that ends well.
The conversation then pivots to Charrisse’s continued insistence that Karen assassinated her character over a fight that barely even registers in the pantheon of Housewives squabbles. For someone who claims not to think about Karen, she proceeds to go on an awfully lengthy rant about how she went to a club with Karen some years ago and she ended up doing the do with an employee in the bathroom. The group goes back and relitigates Blue Eyes, exposing that Karen couldn’t drive for a while, strongly alluding to a DUI. Mia escalates to asking if Karen is a prostitute; the group rebuffs, but Gizelle calls her a “drunken whore from nowhere university” — a particularly nasty remark considering that Karen revealed on the show that she dropped out of college because of her sexual assault at University of Virginia.
I am curious how the cast thinks this scene will read. We get it: Karen is a woman in a marriage with an older man who is not being completely forthcoming about her personal life. Gizelle hasn’t showcased a meaningful relationship since Sherman and actually allowed Jamal to publicly humiliate her again just for the show; Robyn responded to every relationship question with “Thanks for asking” for four straight years. Charrisse left the show and wasn’t interested in discussing her separation in depth when she was on the show; Gordon is absolutely a creep, philanderer, and sugar daddy, and Mia relegated him to the background when she saw he didn’t read well last season. Her curating a narrative that best suits her isn’t any different from what they have done, and it’s peculiar that this level of vindictiveness is coming out in defense of Charrisse, a person with the onscreen charisma of a damp towel. This sort of takedown works only when people have been particularly villainous or scheming. People may not like Karen or not care for her grande-dame theatrics — which is understandable, as the delusional bit only goes so far — but she does not hold the villain role in the series and never has. The only person who has grounds to really resent her at this moment is Robyn.
Next week, they continue to play an antagonistic game of disliking Karen but demanding she cooperate with people who make a point of expressing their distaste for her. I am so relieved we are at the season finale.
• Charrisse drunkenly stealing Mia’s lobster tails might be the most I’ve related to her all season.
• When Gizelle was wearing that tiara at the bridal boutique, you couldn’t tell her she wasn’t Vanessa Williams. Shout out to production for the Ms. Messy-verse edit.
• Chris is trying his best to punch in his hours on the camera, but he is over all things Potomac, and I don’t blame him.
• Ashley and Mia showing up to the bachelorette party in the same outfit and Ashley saying “Hos see hos” made me laugh out loud. If only the season had more light moments like this.