That’s right; the smash hit franchise that somehow equals or surpasses RHONY in viewership. I don’t know who in the cast has dire enough material on Andy to get Bravo to fake those numbers, but here we are regardless. Below, meet the women whom I’ve grudgingly agreed to watch because Tracey and Taylor have already been saddled with enough shitty seasons.
Main Storyline: The ingenue of the group, who seeks entry into Potomac society but is oft-derided for “thottish” indiscretions like, uh…drinking…whiskey…and dancing…?
Pros: Ashley is, by leagues, the wittiest, best-spoken, and most telegenic member of the group, which makes the ridiculous social (*cough* AGE) imbalance of the cast slightly more palatable. She’s also very good at playing the game; watch her rev Karen up into righteous, passionate rage about *sigh* etiquette, then tell her to calm down and enunciate. Truly artful passive-aggression, it is.
Cons: I *deeply* admire everything about the Darby marriage, from the truly dizzying age differential to the bizarre (and bizarrely public) commitment to the pullout method to Michael Darby’s Aussie-meets-aspie buzzsaw approach to social interactions with the other women. However, its very existence occasions some of the stupidest conflict I’ve seen on one of these shows. HEAVENS FORFEND that Michael change into his bathing suit…on a yacht.
Main Storyline: Her husband doesn’t live with her and she might divorce him. That’s it. That’s the story. (What if I told you this is only the second most boringly weird marriage this season? No, I—please come back—)
Pros: *Interrupts Andy in the middle of the reunion-ending toast* to inform him, in the eeriest, most uncanny, blankly smiling manner possible, that her husband has stopped speaking to her.
Cons: Boring. Also I could do without the weird sinusy voice.
Main Storyline: Not so much a storyline as feverishly running a yellow highlighter over passages from Bethenny Confessionals for Dummies.
Pros: I do somewhat appreciate that there was someone thirsty around to get the proceedings going; Housewife kindling, if you will. Gizelle’s first episode antics, scouring through Charrisse’s kitchen drawers, smarming all over Karen’s etiquette bullshit…it perked me up for the program ahead, I admit.
Cons: From there on, though, it was a slow descent into The Tryhard Zone. Even that I could handle, because at least she’s a good sight wittier than your typical obnoxious narrator, but when she proceeded to use her tired, z-snap-style drama girl fakery to support the stiflingly lame Potomac etiquette bullshit…no thank you.
Main Storyline: Karen fell off the turnip truck and married into Potomac society, and damned if she isn’t gonna gatekeep others from doing the same through a rigid and, of course, entirely arbitrary enforcement of inane etiquette. (See featured image of this post…)
Pros: I guess the rose to my many many Karen thorns would be everyone just fucking dunking on her in the reunion, Andy included, and yet she appeared to think she was doing a standout job holding her ground. Enjoy the view from your cloud, Karbear!
Cons: I. do not. FUCKING. care about Potomac etiquette. The “Etiquette Rule No. XX” bullshit was both a terrible gimmick and supported some of the silliest, most protracted microaggressions ever. Now I’m all for micro social terrors on this show, but in truly great Housewives seasons you can roll through sequential faux pas from, oh let’s say, Ramona, Kelly, and Sonja, and before you blink an eye there’s some horrendous horror being dropped about somebody’s parenting skills and everyone moves on. This season is all stupid micro shit about beach house room assignments and party venue selections and nobody ever moves on and Karen is by far the most to blame for the sheer torpor of it all.
Main Storyline: Katie is trying to coerce her boyfriend Andrew into marrying her by any means necessary. (Most of those “means” involve simply demanding that he propose to her, in fairness.)
Pros: Oh man, what isn’t there to like about Katie? Emotionally blackmailing her clearly terrified boyfriend into marriage. Getting hammered (and probably hopped up on a whole bunch of other shit let’s be real) and feeling him up for hours at a friend’s party. Turning his gym into a “Mrs. Room” dedicated to their love while he’s away on business.
Accusing Gizelle of wandering through hotel lobbies wearing lingerie and seeking out public sex. Trying to impress her rabbi before realizing that she never goes to synagogue and forgets the Hebrew alphabet (fun fact, the same thing happened to me when I shopped a Yiddish course in college; bless you, Katie Rost, relatable queen of secular Judaism).
Cons: Uggggh the race shit no please stop. Granted that Robyn’s and Gizelle’s fixation on policing race is reeeeallly deeply neurotic and weird, but…please don’t go there. It’s not fun hun. Not on Bravo.
Main Storyline: Divorcée Robyn and her ex-husband still live together, still sleep together, and have yet to inform their children that they’ve gotten divorced. Yes, it’s bizarre, yet it’s also deeply boring?
Pros: She’s…chiller about etiquette than Gizelle and Karen? (I’ve seriously typed “etiquette” enough in this post that I’ll never again forget how to spell it, but it really is that unbearable a force on this show, and it isn’t even balanced out by someone being told that their etiquette world is going down the toilet what the heck.)
Cons: Join Robyn as she spends an agonizing nine episodes wondering if Juan will move out, and then, he doesn’t. Cool.
Next season: eh you’ve already stopped reading haven’t you.