By Jodi Walker
August 10, 2020 at 12:31 AM EDT
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The Real Housewives of Potomac

S5 E2
type
  • TV Show

I hope actual elephants get royalties for every time a Real Housewives franchise uses them to justify one of their dinner-table-fights. Have you ever heard the phrase “elephant in the room” used as much or as often as it is on The Real Housewives? RHOA had a whole themed party for it; RHOBH uses it any time they meticulously plot an elephant off-camera, and then carefully lead said elephant into the room on a leash to take down one of their friends. And RHOP just so happens to deploy the phrase tonight to explain when Candiace simply cannot stop being a trifling, tweeting mess.

The elephant in the room this episode is that — in an unprecedented DC/Marvel crossover — Gizelle and Monique have decided to co-host a dinner for Ashley; they also decide to tell Ashley that they’re inviting Candiace to the dinner, but it’s only because she needs to apologize for that time that she tweeted derogatory comments about Ashley’s income and her mother while Ashley was in labor. Gizelle and Monique, however, fail to mention to Candiace that she’s expected to apologize at this dinner, knowing good and well that woman-child has never apologized to anyone for anything in her life, and tends to just dig her itty bitty heels in deeper when confronted with the nastiest things she’s ever done.

Claaaaassic elephant in the room! But before we get to that, it’s the second episode of the season, so you know what that means: time to rank season 5’s taglines using a set of totally subjective and inconsistent criteria that I’ve made up in my head and won’t be explaining…

CANDIACE: “Reading is fundamental, and honey, I own the library.” I will admit that “reading is fundamental” is some pretty cute initial wordplay…but what does Candiace mean she owns the library? Does Candiace…know how libraries work? Non-ownership is kind of…the whole point of libraries? There are one hundred ways she could have brought together the concepts of “reading” and “libraries,” and this has to be the worst possible combo. VERDICT: Extreme “Call me a bad server because I always spill the tea” vibes.

ROBYN: “I live in a house full of ballers, but I never get played.” Her little ol’ basketball pun works just as fine, but listening to Robyn — who is never not on the verge of taking a two-hour nap — talk about how she never gets played is just…inapplicable to her lifestyle! Nobody is worried about Robyn getting played; we’re worried about her staying awake through the dessert course. VERDICT: Something like what a restaurant hostess says might be more appropriate for our girl… y’know, like, “I hope you have a nice time, my name is Robyn if you need anything.”

ASHLEY: “Now that I got my baby, that’s the only crap I take.” Ashley’s tagline features similarly strong pun work and is similarly unbelievable. I will believe Ashley’s not taking crap when I stop having to see Michael’s beady little eyes on my screen each week. VERDICT: I want this tagline to be true for Ashley, I really do.

WENDY: “The professor has arrived, and class is officially in session.” It’s simple, it’s cute... I wish she hadn’t said the exact same thing nearly verbatim later in this episode, but it’ll do for a starter tagline. VERDICT: Wendy really likes being a professor, but not so much that she wouldn’t risk her whole ass career by coming on a Real Housewives show.

GIZELLE: “I’m still the baddest thing walking, and the most anointed one talking. This Housewives tagline has everything: rhyming, references to past seasons, references to past taglines, a loose interpretation of the English language… VERDICT: Solid.

MONIQUE: “Maybe if you tried a little harder, you wouldn’t have to try me.” I can’t really explain why I like this simple tagline so much. Maybe it’s the successful use of both “try” meanings, instead of saying, like, “People try to try me, so I bought the try store,” à la Candiace. Maybe it’s that the tagline is directed out toward others, instead of in toward Monique. Maybe it’s that she actually inflects the right words in her vocal delivery… VERDICT: Monique just has the range.

KAREN: “Honey, the Grand Dame doesn’t repeat history — she makes it.” This strikes the perfect balance between 100 percent self-reverence and zero percent self-awareness. VERDICT: From the Grand Dame, I expect nothing less, but it’s always nice when the queen stays queen.

And I’m especially glad Karen has come into season 5 with a top-notch tagline because her opening scene of this episode is ro-o-o-ough. There’s a fun little bout of audio and camera work that makes it briefly seem like Karen is having sex inside her new house, only to reveal Ray sitting calmly in the kitchen; only to further reveal that it was Karen moaning and groaning with her trainer Georgei all along. After not nearly enough time spent with Georgei’s biceps, Karen and Ray meet up in the kitchen, where she teases him, “I exercise because it helps keep this [body] for you, since you won’t say those three words to me…”

“Okay,” Ray responds.

THREE LITTLE WORDS, LIKE ‘I LOVE YOU’?!?!?!?” I scream at my television. Apparently, Ray has stopped saying “I love you” to Karen, and they are casually talking about it in front of cameras in their kitchen… so I think it is wise of Karen to be as concerned for her marriage as she’s been saying she is.

Gizelle, however, has no need to be as concerned as she is at first about the secret lunch Juan has called her to attend without Robyn. And listen, I always appreciate Juan looking like a whole snack, but I don’t appreciate that he thinks just because he is a whole snack, he can walk into a whole nice restaurant wearing sweatpants and a pullover. Either way, Juan finally puts Gizelle out of her misery and tells her he’s asked her there because he’s going to re-propose to Robyn. Gizelle is so excited to hear it and Juan is so excited to talk about it; it’s really sweet. Gizelle tells Juan that whatever rock he got Robyn the last time, he needs to double it this time: “double for my trouble.” But Juan points out that’s not what Robyn would want, and I’m positive he would be correct. I assume Robyn would be happy with an engagement ring made of a nice set of jersey cotton sheets.

In perhaps an even bigger twist, Gizelle also meets Monique for lunch in this episode. The editors, of course, flashback to the “You don’t have a home?” “I have four homes” exchange that has doomed Monique and Gizelle’s relationship for three seasons. But in season 5, Gizelle says she is finally sick of fighting with this girl. I mean, we’ll see, but Monique says it is much easier to get along with Gizelle when she’s getting “steady D,” and now, she’s getting “that anointed D.” So what better time to make amends?

In addition to the power of holy coitus, Gizelle and Monique also currently share a fondness for Ashley, so they decide they should host a “coming out the house” dinner for her since Ashley has been struggling to…come out the house. She's also having some challenges with breastfeeding, but luckily a consultant named Amber comes over and shows Ashley how to improve her nursing methods with a crocheted boob that this woman Amber puts all up in her mouth.

Monique and Gizelle decide they should invite Candiace to Ashely’s dinner because Monique believes that since she and Candiace were able to mend their relationship, perhaps Candiace has indeed changed and grown enough to apologize to Ashley for the many awful things she said surrounding Ashley’s pregnancy. Everyone — including Monique, who just made the statement — surely knows that is incorrect. Gizelle points out to Monique that it was odd that Candiace invited Charisse to her party the other night because 1) when did they become friends, and 2) Monique has major beef with Charisse.

Apparently, Charisse has been spreading “damaging rumors” about Monique’s family, which Monique says Candiace knows about, but the rumors are so disgusting, Monique won’t even say them in her testimonial. Gizelle, however, is happy to oblige us: “Word on the street is, Monique and her trainer were a little too close for comfort, and she and the dude were seen out in public together a lot, and Big Boy found out, and now Charisse has told people.”

Monique calls Ashely before the dinner to make sure she’s still coming, and while her sleep bonnet and sweatpants suggest no, Ashley is able to leave the baby at home and show up to dinner, where she has some expectations for Candiace: “Bitch better make good and apologize.”

At dinner, everyone is dressed like they are going to seven different events in seven different cities during seven different seasons. Gizelle is wearing a sweatshirt with applique lips on top of a pair of shorts and fringed boots; Monique is wearing a sequin skirt with a bodycon top that shows some truly unique angles of her breasts; Karen is wearing a denim jumpsuit; Robyn is wearing jeans and what can only be described as a double-breasted floral blouse. By the time Candiace and Wendy walked in, I couldn’t keep retaining the aesthetics, although they were probably wearing the most appropriate outfits.

Ashley, however, came dressed and ready to party. And by party, I do mean ready to tell everyone about the rip in her anus that she might have to get Botox on. Which sounds fully awful, but I did laugh every single time she said “bootyhole,” so about 30 laughs. “I know Botox is a miracle worker,” Karen says in her testimonial: “But freezing a bootyhole? That’s a whole ‘nother can of whoop-ass.”

And speaking of whoop-ass… Gizelle told Monique right before the dinner that as soon as she had her falling out with Candiace last season, Candiace made every effort to become closer with Monique’s enemy, Charisse. So, when Candiace’s party comes up at the dinner table, Monique is ready to go. She tells Ashley that the party was great other than “dodging a warthog” all evening. Candiace says that she didn’t realize that Monique and Charisse had so much beef, which Monique isn’t buying at all. Now she’s big mad, so she randomly asks Candiace if she and Chris have gone on a honeymoon yet, and when Candiace says no, Monique responds with a smile on her face: “You should’ve taken all that money from the party and gone somewhere…and humped all day with no condoms.”

And when the conversation almost moves on, Monique calls out “NO CONDOMS” one more time, so that Wendy has to ask, “Wait, y’all still use condoms?” To which Candiace responds by pointing around the table at everyone who uses “the pull-out method.” To which I say…

Why don’t any of these women have an IUD? Why are so many of them using the two worst methods of birth control? Can we get a Married to Medicine crossover event going here, please?!

After enough talk of bootyholes and prophylactics, Gizelle says that she and Monique have something to say to the table: “We want to set the tone for sisterhood and friendship, and when we thought about that… there is a big issue.” She points to Candiace, then Ashley: “And that would be particularly with you and you.”

Subtle as always, Gizelle! Candiace says that she’s open to talking to Ashley, but she’d like for them to first get to a place where they can “at least respect each other and agree to disagree.” By that, I assume Candiace means that she likes to tweet that Ashley is a whore, and everybody needs to respect that. Ashley says she thinks they can find some common ground, but she needs to see Candiace’s actions actually align with what she just said. I can understand how Ashley might find it hard to believe that Candiace will suddenly start respecting her just because Gizelle and Monique ordered a round of appetizers and asked her to…

But I also kind of understand Candiace’s eventual reaction to everyone else — except Wendy, who is literally crying out for the location of “the alcohol” — saying she needs to apologize to Ashley over and over. Of course, Candiace does need to apologize for the awful things she’s said and tweeted. But did Gizelle and Monique really think that Candiace was going to change her whole personality right here at this dinner table? Or were they just setting her up for “an attack,” as she Candiace soon accuses them? For the record, Karen really feels for Candiace in this moment because she too “has been a victim of that gang banging when they all gang up on a person to break them and make them submit.” I am extremely grateful that is not the tagline Karen chose to go with in season 5…

Candiace says she won’t be having this conversation with an audience, but Ashley cries out that it’s already the elephant in the room, so they might as well talk about it. “It’s not an elephant,” Candiace says back deadpan, but Gizelle insists that apologies need to happen, to which Candiace tells her to…shut the f--- up. And then delicately sips the champagne they all just toasted to sisterhood with. So, cheers to seeing you back here next week, and cheers to RHOP, which ends with a “f--- all of you” from Candiace, and an ominous TO BE CONTINUED card from the editors.

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The Real Housewives of Potomac

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