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Real Housewives

RHOP Ssn 1/Ep 7 - Reading is Fundamental

Glenn Rowley

rhop-old-time-saloon-bethany-beach

It's part two of the Potomac 'Wives trip to Bethany Beach, Delaware and we pick up right where we left off last week - right in the middle of the Sister Circle. To refresh your memory, Karen Huger revealed that her mother was recently diagnosed with dementia and Charrisse Jackson Jordan opened up about her struggling marriage before Robyn Dixon dropped a shocking, emotional bombshell: her and Juan's former best friend had stolen money from them for how long they don't even know. According to Robyn, this friend put the Dixons' money into a small Ponzi scheme and by the time they realized what was going on, the money was gone. This heartbreaking deception perpetuated by someone whom Robyn and Juan trusted is what contributed to both Robyn's emotional walls as well as the couple's financial woes. Upon learning this, Ashley Darby admits in her confessional that she feels guilty for spreading the gossip about Robyn's bankruptcy earlier in the season. Guess regret is better late than never.

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Next, Gizelle Bryant points the attention of the Sister Circle squarely at Katie Rost - first by asking about the Rost Foundation charity event, (Katie's found new host committee members thank you very much). Then, by once again questioning her publicly sloppy displays of affection and seemingly strange behavior at Ashley's birthday party, asking flat out if Katie was on any type of drug that night. Visibly (and rightfully) annoyed, Katie informs the women that she only had too much to drink that night as stone-cold daggers shoot from here eyes aimed straight for Gizelle. Feeling judged, Katie icily storms upstairs and shuts herself in her room for the remainder of the evening.

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The next morning, the 'Wives wake to a downpour of rain pounding the beach, which leaves the women cooped up inside the beach house. Katie is still fuming about the night before while the rest of the women pair off to rehash the vulnerable and tense conversation. Over coffee, Katie explains to Charrisse and unofficial Friend of the Housewives Brynee Baylor that she felt attacked by Gizelle, whom she thought was being "bitchy and presumptuous" by leveling such an inappropriate accusation. With perfect timing, Gizelle comes into the room and hears her name, leading Katie to passive-aggressively insinuate that she doesn't go around spreading rumors about Gizelle's scandalous behavior before again storming off and declaring herself "done" and "emotionally spent" the situation. However, Brynee and Karen follow after her and encourage Katie do a little more to put Gizelle in her place. You better read, girl!

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Once the rain finally lets up, Ashley takes the girls to the boardwalk to do some bonding at an old timey saloon-style photo studio. Playing dress-up in corsets, boots and costume jewelry, the ladies finally seem to be getting along - well, besides Katie calling Gizelle a "bottom bitch" under her breath and the women being unable to say "Potomac" in unison on the count of three. After taking pictures, Katie decides to pull Gizelle aside and really give her a piece of her mind - informing Gizelle with no ifs ands or buts that insinuating she was on drugs at the party was disrespectful, inappropriate and an attack on her character. Katie is officially all business, stonily telling her frenemy that any further disparaging remarks will not be tolerated. Clearly taken aback by Katie's directness, Gizelle apologizes and promises it won't happen again. Now, this wasn't exactly a read, but Katie's straight-shooting method definitely seemed to get the job done. 

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After the disastrous private chef from the first night of the trip, Ashley decides taking the girls out to dinner is a safer bet before hitting up the drag show at Blue Moon. Over dinner, the women bond over marriage, relationships and prenups, with Katie in particular opening up about her future with boyfriend Andrew Martin, explaining what she would do differently from her first marriage and even touching on how people in her social circle react to black issues. One thing I particularly enjoy about RHOP is how integral the issue of race is to the show's unique identity within the Housewives franchise. After Gizelle praises her as a hostess, the women finally bestow their elusive seals of approval on Little Miss Ashley, officially accepting her into Potomac's most exclusive social circle. Just in time for the 27-year-old to blow everything up...

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Following dinner, the 'Wives hit up the club, dancing surrounded by gay boys and being read for filth by the queens during the drag show. All the ladies are having a fabulous time...until Ashley's husband Michael seemingly appears out of thin air. Immediately throwing a bucket of ice cold water on the night's festivities, grande dame Karen pulls Ashley aside to question where Michael plans on staying. When the young 'Wife states that he'll obviously be staying at his house, Karen turns into a pearl-clutching bougie biddy, telling Ashley she's simply too uncomfortable with the idea of a man staying in the house. The rest of the girls seem to agree with Karen, but Ashley promptly informs them that, while she hears what they're saying, she simply doesn't care if they have a problem. 

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As the women prepare to leave the club, the conversation escalates into an argument with Ashley in one corner and the rest of the women, led by Gizelle and Karen, in the other. Robyn points out that Michael's sudden arrival forces the end of the girls weekend, but Little Miss Ashley doesn't see any problem with her hubby surprising her. From the van, Gizelle shouts out that Ashley could have told Michael to come the next day, but both sides have dug in their heels and no one is budging. According to her confessional, Karen is rendered speechless by the audacity of Ashley to welcome her husband and feels disrespected by the younger 'Wife's refusal to immediately bow to her wishes. Never mind that Michael owns the very house in which the women are staying, this is a classic Housewives faux pas. Rule of etiquette number one: never bring your husband on the girls trip. Ashley should ask Aviva Drescher or Alex McCord how it worked out for them in seasons past.

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Back at the beach house, the argument isn't over. Karen and Gizelle are still infuriated at Michael's presence and Robyn's stuck in the middle, while Charrisse doesn't see what the big deal is. (Quick thought: is it possible that Michael showed up in Bethany Beach at the behest of production, who wanted to turn up the drama on the trip?) Karen apparently feels like she's been victimized while Gizelle insists that the Darbys have now disrespected every other husband in the group. Ashley continues to defend Michael, incredulous at the idea that the women would expect her to kick him out of his own home. She bluntly opines that Gizelle and Karen are blowing the situation way out of proportion but the grande dame gets the last word. At the end of the day, Karen feels uncomfortable by Michael showing up and disrespected by Ashley dismissal of her feelings, and goes full-on gangster by making a "note to motherf*****g self" about the future of her friendship with "stray dog" Ashley. 

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Bright and early the following morning, all the women (minus Ashley) pack up to head back to Potomac. As it turns out, Robyn, Katie and Charrisse had a great time with Ashley and Michael, playing beer pong into the wee hours of the night. Gizelle, however, is more than ready to get back to her adult-sized bed and air conditioning. Ultimately, the trip ends on a sour note, with all the bonding the ladies did with Ashley blown to smithereens. Queen bee Karen is particularly disappointed in how Little Miss Ashley handled the curveball thrown at her the night before. It looks like the grande dame's efforts to take the teenybopper under her wing and turn her into the Eliza Doolittle of Potomac were all for naught...