Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Real-est Thing About the Housewives of Potomac

noun: housewife; plural noun: housewives
  1. a married woman who stays at home, does cleaning, cooking, etc., and does not have another job outside the home
  2. a pocket-size container for small articles (as thread)

Yes, I did it. I had to, how could I not? I mean – it’s right in my backyard. Well, not right in my backyard, its down the street, around the Beltway a few exits. Sunday was the premiere of Real Housewives of Potomac and after checking to make sure the couple Black ladies I know who do live in Potomac were not on it, even as a special guest, I had to watch.  It’s like when you pass an accident on the highway – it’s terrible, but we’re nosy, we gotta look and see.  What a mess.

Here’s the cast. For the most part, they are not housewives. (See definition above.) And this is true not just of Potomac, but of this whole franchise.  We’ll agree that none of them is a pocket-size container (raise your hand if you knew that was what those little Altoid mints-sized boxes were called, for the record – I did not, but will try to work that into conversation.)  Of Potomac (I have not committed their names to memory, but it doesn’t really matter. If you watched, you know who I’m talking about; if you didn’t, you can still follow along):

  • 1 is a married mother, but I don’t think they showed her kids this first episode
  • 1 is a mother married, her husband lives in another state
  • 1 is a divorced mother of 3 babies who wants to marry any White guy (we don’t know yet who her ex is)
  • 1 is a mother, divorced but lives with and shares a bed with her husband (I think this adds a new definition to dysfunctional relationship)
  • 1 is a mother, divorced from her cheating ex-husband preacher

In episode one, none did any cleaning and the only cooking that happened was messing up a pot of crabs. Which by the way, when did a “crab boil” become a thing in Maryland?  This didn’t occur to me at first, because I have been known to do a shrimp boil or two, but I definitely always steam my crabs. Or usually, go buy steamed crabs.

So we’re down to 2/5 who at least meet some minimum criteria to be labeled as a “housewife.”  I can’t think back through all the messiness, but I’m pretty sure the statistics were pretty much the same for Atlanta, New York, and the short-term DC. Those are the only ones I’ve watched. I think they all killed each other off in the New Jersey one or went to jail or something.

Now, some random thoughts on Episode 1.
The episode opened with the ladies taking tennis and golf lessons. It looked like they were in lesson number 1. Now, maybe this is my own stereotype, but I don’t know one person who lives in or near Potomac who does not know how to play one of those two sports, if not both. I don’t know when they learned it, but it seems like a prerequisite to moving to the neighborhood. I’m not understanding how they have lived there and don’t belong to one of the country clubs and own a tennis racquet or golf clubs.

All the drama on the Housewives is fake, manufactured drama – I acknowledge that.  But can they at least make it believable, age-appropriate, fake, manufactured drama? I mean – “you sat in my seat at my birthday dinner?” A real, self-assured 50-year old woman, who really cared about where she sat, would’ve said, “it’s my birthday, get up let me sit there,” not sat there in a quiet huff. Now maybe that would’ve caused a little kerfuffle, but hey, at least it would’ve been more believable.

Who did she think was going to boil those crabs?  Girlfriend had a bushel of crabs in her garage and plans to get her make-up done (because the make-up artist was waiting upstairs), but then had an attitude when her friend came, with a friend/hairdresser/crab boiler in tow, and was messing around in her kitchen cooking the crabs for her crab boil party.  More fake, manufactured drama.

Preacher’s ex-wife being in a pretty nice house in Potomac raises some questions about the finances of the Reverend. He’s pulling in enough tithes and offering to pay for wherever he lives and for her house, too?  Okay, this is not actually show-related. I’ll have to wait for the preacher to move to LA and get on that show for those answers.

I guess the condescending attitude is just par for the course, but that’s probably what bothered me most about the show. If you are trying to act like you have money and need to make sure everyone does not treat you like you don’t have money, you have to keep reminding folks of where you live and that you are a different kind of Black person and go out of your way to be condescending to those other Black people. How many times did the women make snide comments about going back to the ghetto, unhappy poor people, and going back to Baltimore?  It just hurts my heart when folks act like that. If you’ve got class, you don’t have to tell people you’ve got class.

While the rest of the show is all made-up rich people problems, the snide comments, the condescending attitude, the looking down on other people who didn’t climb up the social ladder, the belief that you really are better because of your zip code - that’s about the real-est thing about the Housewives.

Did you watch it? What'd you think? Will you continue to watch?

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