Mon. Sep 28th, 2020

Real Housewives of Potomac S5 E1 Recap: “Diapers, Diamonds and Denim”

The first ladies of Potomac are back, honey! We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and I don’t think we’ve ever needed the services of Maryland’s finest more than we do right now. Let’s get into it.

We open things with a flash forward, which is Housewives language for “shit is about to get good.” It’s common knowledge for fans of the franchise that things get wild between Monique and Candiace at some point during filming, with both women filing second-degree assault charges against the other. I hate to condone violence but, you know, times are tough. We are graced with a shot of broken wine glasses, food strewn on the floor and a first aid kit on a wood table, which means there are Housewives in the vicinity. 

Before we get to that, though, we go back seven weeks prior and find our ladies with big, new developments in their lives.

Monique has a new bird and a new baby, both of whom like to poop. It is immediately evident that Monique cares more about her bird T’Challa than she does her son Chase. In fact, she says they “compete for her attention” and I cannot stress how quickly I looked up the number for Child Protective Services.

Equally as unfortunate is the image we have of Monique putting a leash on her bird and taking him for a visit to Karen’s new house. A 36-year-old woman should not have a bird and she should not have a leash for that bird. These are indisputable facts.

Karen has the correct response to a grown woman showing up at her new house with a bird on her shoulder and that reaction is “put that damn thing in a cage you severely troubled woman.” I’m paraphrasing. The grand dame shows off her new digs which, in true Karen fashion, are messy and unfinished.

Due to her apparently blossoming perfume business, Karen says she’s just too busy to be at home much. Her husband Ray is uncomfortable being married to one of the foremost fragrance moguls in the metropolitan Potomac area, according to Karen, and the two are having issues.

Karen, who is already serving looks in these pre-COVID testimonials, confides in Monique that she’s worried about the future of her relationship. I would hesitate from spilling my guts out to a woman who, just minutes ago, arrived at my home with a bird on her shoulder, but who am I to judge?

Not to be outdone, Gizelle has a new house to show off, too. It looks like a Super Sweet Sixteen birthday party vomited all over the place. She seems to understand that it looks like gaudy shit, though, which is admirable. 

Gizelle is back together with her ex-husband Jamal, who is a megachurch pastor or something. Gizelle’s daughters, who continue to be the smartest women on the show and perhaps in all of Housewives history, complain that their mom is getting played by Jamal, whom Gizelle has referred to as “cheater cheater pumpkin eater” in the past. There is nothing about this that inspires any sense of optimism. If the pumpkin eater returns to his ways, at least Gizelle will have some cheap chandeliers to throw at his head.

Candiace and Chris are throwing themselves a one-year wedding anniversary party, which is something that only happens on Housewives and God bless them for it. Candiace, who claims to be totally financially independent from her mother, wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a “Denim & Diamonds” party, which should be illegal and punishable by law. 

Ashley is pumping her boobs for new baby Dean and bragging that her two-month-old son hasn’t had diaper rash. Being a parent seems awful and terrible. Dean is a dead ringer for his father Michael which, and there’s no easy way to say this, sucks for that baby. Ashley says she’s terrified about having Dean out in the world because of squirrels or kangaroos or something and, oh girl, have I got some bad news about what’s around the corner!

Robyn and ex-husband Juan, who is difficult to look at because he’s so sexy, are still together but their future remains uncertain. They’re sharing a townhouse with their two sons that’s apparently too small to hold all of them. Robyn refuses to buy a new house with Juan until he proposes, which Juan calls something he’s “looking forward to doing.” Juan seems like a genuinely good guy, but Robyn and Gizelle are both following these similar paths of trusting men who have done them wrong in the past and it just makes me nervous. Trust me! I’m a man! We suck!

Candiace and Gizelle meet at a place called Classic Bakery (a money laundering establishment if I’ve ever heard one) to taste test desserts for Candiace’s anniversary party. Candiace is that girl whose wedding was the only thing she’s ever looked forward to, so she’s trying to recreate it as many times as humanly possible. Gizelle pulled up in Jamal’s Gucci Mini Cooper, which is exactly as horrible as it sounds and what I assume every megachurch pastor drives. The two squabble over inane house stuff while pretending to eat red velvet cake. It’s at this juncture that Candiace informs Gizelle that she will not be inviting Ashley to her weird anniversary party which, honestly, feels like a favor. 

Ashley, whose storyline this season appears to be “breast milk,” meets up with fellow new mom Monique who has somehow managed to peel herself away from her bird for the afternoon. Monique immediately erects a portable toilet in Ashley’s living room and her son starts relieving himself. These women love to preach about being holistic and living organically, but have absolutely no problem with a baby taking a piss in the middle of the floor. 

When Ashley and Monique aren’t dealing with the bodily fluids of their infants, they spend most of their time talking about Candiace, which is exactly what every reality TV villain wants. Candiace is so good at playing this game. She has her hooks in all of them. It’s masterful. 

The afternoon meeting of the motherly minds ends with a shot of Ashley’s son pooping through his diaper and pants. I cannot stress this enough: I DO NOT WATCH THE HOUSEWIVES TO SEE BABY FECES. Lock these children away in another room and start fighting! 

We make it to the Denim and Diamonds party, which is immediately impacted by the dark cloud that is Candiace’s mother. Rarely does a human being command the energy of a room in such a way. Also commanding the energy of the room? The fact that you’re having a cash bar at your one-year anniversary party. Absolutely not, girl. If you’re asking me to celebrate a year of marital bliss to a man wearing fur-lined sandals, the drinks better be good and they better be free. 

At the party, we meet new Housewife Wendy. She and Monique immediately bond over having young kids. Wendy seems fine, but I’m checked out until she brings something else to the table. 

Meanwhile, Candiace and Karen pull Gizelle aside for a very confusing, meandering conversation in the shadow of the White House. Gizelle, ever the queen, utters the phrase “if you want to talk, we can talk…but that means you have to stop talking.” This should be put on every pillow in every HomeGoods in America. Gizelle criticizes Candiace’s Twitter fingers for being more vicious than her tongue, which is fair but I also cannot begrudge Candiace for continuing the drama while cameras weren’t rolling. The sign of a true reality ingenue. What can I say? She gets it!

We’re forced to reckon with the mystery of Charrisse, a cast member on season 1 who is clearly trying to weasel her way back on the show. She’s at Candiace’s party and Monique hates her, refusing to even discuss the rumors that Charrisse has been pushing. The seeds? They have been planted.

For whatever reason, Candiace thinks it’s a good idea to hand over a live microphone to Karen at the party. Doing her best Helen from “Bridesmaids” cosplay, Karen makes the entire thing about herself. Karen, at the party without her husband, has been asked to speak about her successful marriage. She says something about persistence and children and entrepreneurship. I’m not really sure, I fell asleep.

Never one to avoid the spotlight, Candiace’s mother also wants to say a few words. I wouldn’t let this woman speak at the ribbon cutting of a grocery store, let alone an anniversary party in front of all my friends, but she’s Candiace’s puppet master and it’s time for her to pull some strings. Ultimately, though, it’s a very tame speech. Just as her daughter has grown in her marriage, perhaps Candiace’s mom has grown a little bit herself. If these two join forces, it’s over for the rest of these bitches. 

The season premiere ends on a celebratory high note, but by all accounts that’s not going to last long. Bring on the broken glass, girls. And leave them babies at home.

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