Introducing the Maryland socialites who are the newest Real Housewives
Credit: Bravo

Greetings from Maryland!

Bravo’s latest installment in the Real Housewives franchise, The Real Housewives of Potomac, debuted on Sunday, and like its predecessors, it brought the catfights, divas, and full-on silliness.

For those of you wondering where Potomac is, you’re not alone: When Bravo announced its newest crew of housewives, fans took to Twitter with the hashtag #WheresPotomac.

We’ve got you covered: It’s an affluent Maryland suburb just outside D.C., an exclusive community where the fast pace of northern cities meets the old-school social graces of the South. In Potomac, which a Bravo press release describes as “a town where entry is granted only through class, pedigree, and lineage,” the socialite ladies of RHOP are divided by those who follow the rules of “etiquette” and those who don’t, and that divide leads to some MAJOR drama (by Real Housewives standards, at least).

Here, we take a deep dive into the premiere episode, giving first impressions of the new housewives, breaking down the big events, looking ahead to the upcoming season, and more.

First impressions of the new housewives…

C. MOLLY SMITH: Let’s start with Gizelle Bryant. I like her, but I wonder if she’s going to be a troublemaker… then again, isn’t that what we want and/or expect out of a Real Housewives show?

MARY SOLLOSI: Oh, I like her too. I feel like they pick on her, though, and they all like to seize on every little wrong thing she does because she’s young and edgy.

MOLLY: The diss that I loved was when — what did Gizelle say? Something about how she’s legacy and Karen grew up on a farm…

MARY: I think that could be a really interesting element to Potomac — this fixation with having legacy and having a pedigree, especially when queen bee Karen doesn’t have those things. If this were a 19th-century novel, obviously Karen would have, like, true nobility of spirit more than the rest of them and rise above her humble upbringing. But… I don’t think that’s going to happen.

MOLLY: Okay now, Karen Huger. She seems so, so vain, THE diva of the group for sure, so personality is definitely not an issue here.

MARY: What a snake. I love her.

MOLLY: She seems maternal — let me look over my little Potomac hens, and find my successor sort of thing — but she’s also got a ton of bite, and I expect her to stir the pot over and over and over again.

MARY: A bunch of things she says, I thought, would have been perfect Housewife taglines. “It’s just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man” — Marilyn Monroe says exactly that in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, I am telling you.

MOLLY: Does Karen think she’s Marilyn Monroe?

MARY: Probably.

MOLLY: I’m kind of meh about Katie Rost, but I feel like that’s because her story was pretty much “I want to get married,” and not much beyond that. I need more personality!

MARY: I could not believe when she said about her boyfriend, “He’s so great with my kids. I love that about him,” and then she says, “but what I love most about him is that he’s so great with money.”

MOLLY: Oh, Katie…

MARY: Katie, why?

MOLLY: I LOVE Robyn Dixon. She seems down to earth and fun — cut to her ex-husband walking in on her wearing her wedding dress because why not?! She’s my favorite so far.

MARY: I love when she said her husband cheated on her and that’s what she gets for marrying someone in the NBA instead of someone with an MBA. How long have you been sitting on that zinger, Robyn?

MOLLY: Oh, she’s been waiting.

MOLLY: I can’t get a read on Charrisse Jackson Jordan. Right now, I’m not too fond because she also seems pretty full of herself, especially about her party planning. And she’s up on a high horse with her talk of rules and manners and what’s proper and what isn’t. But the preview shows her being upset about her husband, so I wonder if she’s putting up a tough front?

MARY: I don’t know. I liked her at first, but then there was all the drama at the crab boil — but we’ll get to that later.

MOLLY: Last we have Ashley Darby.

MARY: Wait, how many housewives are there?

MOLLY: She wasn’t in the premiere episode, but she’s in the preview. From what I can tell, she’s an outsider who’s pretty confrontational.

MARY: Oh, she had that line about the “cougar den” in the preview. I can’t wait to meet her.

MOLLY: I think that the cast is pretty strong.

MARY: I’m excited about them. On the one hand, I recognize all of them, having watched the various shows for all these years; it’s the same Real Housewives types. But they’ve got a new set of rules — literally. They have this code of conduct that they use to hide behind, and they manipulate it and throw it in each other’s faces and use it as a weapon — and it’s so completely arbitrary! That’s Bravo gold.

NEXT: Breaking down the drama…

MARY: The first of the premiere events was Gizelle’s tea. Karen was so dressed up! I mean, I get it when, like, the RHOBH overdress to drink rosé at Villa Rosa surrounded by exotic animals, but this was just afternoon tea. I think maybe she’s grooming Gizelle but it’s also, “you’re the younger, prettier version of me,” and she’s threatened by that.

MARY: I think she’s definitely threatened by Gizelle. I think that’s why she’s so mean to her.

MOLLY: Katie is young too, but I wonder if Karen’s being harder on Gizelle because she thinks that she could assume that “authority figure.”

MARY: So much authority.

MOLLY: I also didn’t like how Karen was shaming Gizelle. She’s like, what about getting back with your husband? He cheated on her and that’s a legitimate reason to leave.

MARY: I know, “that doesn’t fly in Potomac,” yikes. I think their dynamic is going to be so great to watch. Even when it was just the two of them having tea, there was constant tension between them — even about sharing cookie recipes. Or “pound cake” recipes, clearly.

MOLLY: And when she was like, ‘I don’t want to cut the umbilical cord, I just want to extend it’ — that’s the last thing your kid wants.

MARY: Oh my god, the one-upping. I’m so excited to see their children. I love Real Housewives’ children. Shoutout to Milania Giudice!

MOLLY: Now, Karen’s birthday. It was insane.

MARY: Ridiculous.

MOLLY: I thought Gizelle had a good point: Karen, it doesn’t matter where you sit, you’ll be the center of attention.

MARY: I loved whenever someone was toasting her, and she was listening and nodding to, like, confirm every compliment in her birthday toast.

MOLLY: When Gizelle was talking, you could tell that Karen was getting ready to go, “nuh-uh.”

MARY: “Don’t say ‘older!’”

MARY: Of course they have crab in the first episode. This is Maryland. For their opening credits shot — you know how the OC women all hold oranges and Atlanta all hold peaches? — they should each just brandish a crab at the camera.

MOLLY: I didn’t think what Gizelle did at Charrisse’s crab boil was that bad, bringing her friend who was there to help her get ready. She should have asked, but she was helping Charrisse with her crab boil and then Charrisse was threatening to kick her out and Karen, who is like, “Let me tell you about the rules of etiquette,” is starting drama at someone else’s party. Get it together, Karen.

MARY: That’s what I just can’t get over about their etiquette; it’s so hypocritical the way they throw that word around. That picture frame thing — what I think is so awful about that is, okay, Gizelle broke an etiquette rule, but Karen is being so tacky and so mean about it! How is that permissible, and sitting in the middle of the table at someone else’s birthday is so reprehensible?

MOLLY: I can’t decide who is worse, Karen or Charrisse, because Charrisse asked for Gizelle’s help.

MARY: And then she just left her downstairs like, “Okay, great, you’re doing that, bye.” But the framed etiquette rules — that just blows my mind.

Thoughts on the season ahead…

MOLLY: The thing I kept thinking about was how this cast seems pretty normal. Like, again, with Robyn putting on her wedding dress. Halfway through I was like, they haven’t had some crazy, petty fight yet, but then there was a “To Be Continued.” Are we really going to have a huge fight over this? Maybe… but I liked Potomac so far! It’s fun to go into a completely new series.

MARY: Oh, yeah, there’s nothing quite so exciting as a brand new Housewives. I really liked the premiere and can’t wait for the rest. I also grew up in the D.C. area, and I love seeing something on Bravo that reminds me of home. Just, please, not The Real Housewives of D.C. — anything but them.

We wrote a react for the premiere, which means we’ll just be checking in occasionally on RHOP, but if this is a show you’d like to read about each week, please let us know! You can email with your feedback and suggestions.