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Real Housewives

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RHOP Ssn 1/Ep 11 - Reunion Part 1

Glenn Rowley


After a debut season that feels as if it went by in the blink of an eye, it's reunion time for The Real Housewives of Potomac! In the first hour of the two-part reunion, Andy Cohen pressed the ladies of Potomac on everything from humping and THOT-ish behavior to Googling gossip and being biracial. Oh, and I unexpectedly became part of the reunion myself! Read on to find out what I mean...

On the Couches


Seating arrangements for any first-time reunion are always interesting to me, because it's our first glimpse at what Bravo and Andy Cohen himself think of the ladies' pecking order. I'm happy with this arrangement - Gizelle Bryant, Robyn Dixon and Ashley Darby occupy the right couch, while Karen Huger, Katie Rost and Charrisse Jackson Jordan are on the left. In fact, when I tweeted my prediction for where the ladies would be sitting before the reunion was filmed last month, I was almost spot-on and only swapped Katie and Charrisse. Naturally, Karen the grande dame occupies the hot seat next to Andy. However, it's logical that Charrisse would be relegated to the end of the couch - she started the season memorably but had faded into the background by the finale, while Katie made a strong showing for herself in the season's final episodes. 


On the opposite side, Gizelle - who was arguably Potomac's breakout star - graces the seat of honor, with her bestie Robyn next to her and Little Miss Ashley down at the end. Sticking Ashley on the same couch as the dynamic duo who accused her husband of grabbing another man's butt may seem like an odd choice. However, when you consider her season-long feud with Karen it was really the only viable option. Karen and Gizelle were locks for the center seats on the couches and there's no way Ashley would've been placed on the same side as the self-proclaimed grande dame of Potomac. 

Ranking the Housewives' Looks


The dress code for this reunion was clearly "Shiny Sequin Realness" and some of the 'Wives shine brighter than others. My vote for best dressed, surprisingly, goes to Charrisse. I say surprisingly because I didn't get a good first impression of her this season, but I'm loving the liquid metal of her pewter gown and she is slaying the new dark hair. Katie comes in a close second though. While I'm not in love with the vertical sequins on her vintage Bob Mackie gown, her hair and makeup is simply flawless. Rock that high pony, girl! As for the others, I love Gizelle in gold, but the gaudy turquoise earrings ruin the look for me. The silhouette of Robyn's gown is lovely (and bonus points for the long hair), but as my friend said, the fabric looks like it came from a 90's prom dress. Out of the whole bunch, Ashley's look is the most basic and forgettable, while Karen's is a total fail. The golden zebra stripes make her boobs look like a giant, misshapen blob. Not cute. 

Taking Down the Grande Dame


After a few thoughts about how the show has turned them into overnight TV stars, the importance of etiquette in Potomac, and the revelation that Katie called off her engagement on the way to film the reunion, the first package is all about Karen. This was the highlight of the reunion for me because. You guys. ANDY COHEN USED MY QUESTION AT THE REUNION! I repeat: ANDY USED MY QUESTION AT THE REUNION. I've officially made it. The question was, and I quote, "Glenn from Utah said 'Karen, who pronounced you the grande dame of Potomac? Shouldn't you remember that before you were sitting up on that pedestal you came from a farm in Virginia?'" Andy Cohen has said my name and now I can die a happy man. 


While I'm reeling from this greatest accomplishment of my life, discussion turns to the shade Katie threw at Karen's O Gala "Podunk cocktail party."  Expecting a full-blown gala, Katie claims she could've thrown Karen's party together in about four days, while Gizelle reminds her that she didn't actually throw anything together this season. Weirdly, Karen claims that the real O Gala won't happen for two more years, which seems an absurdly long amount of time to put together a charity event. Maybe we'll see it in Season 3? The women each take turns throwing darts at Karen, taking her to task for her haughty arrogance as the self-proclaimed queen bee of Potomac, and Katie eventually calls out Karen and Gizelle's sense of entitlement over "absolutely nothing." According to Katie, there was no ticker tape parade when Gizelle triumphantly returned to Potomac and Karen certainly isn't the grande dame. All I have to say to that is amen, Katie, amen. 

The Humping THOT of Potomac


Next in the hot seat is Little Miss Ashley, as we are treated to a package featuring the antics of our favorite humping poodle of Potomac. Ashely is quick to defend everything from her use of the infamous pull-out method to her relationship with her mom, but I was happy to see that other viewers were as uncomfortable as I have been with her bringing her mom's financial issues up on national TV all season long. Even at the reunion, the 27-year-old manages to mention that she paid off her mom's car and gives her money every month, which continues to rub me the wrong way.


Ashley also stands by humping Robyn upon meeting her at the Sip with Socialites event, saying that no one should be allowed to dictate how she should behave. Robyn, however, maintains that it was a highly inappropriate introduction and suggests that Ashley learn proper social decorum. Naturally, the younger 'Wife dismisses Robyn's argument as a moot point (note to Charrisse, it's "moot" not "mute"), and conversation moves on to Gizelle calling Ashley a THOT during the event. Gizelle differentiates between THOT and THOT-ish, and points out that she specifically called Ashley's behavior the latter. However, Ashley doesn't take kindly to either option, and claims that using that terminology in any context is the "most divisive" thing you can do as a woman. Katie chimes in that the other woman are probably just threatened by Ashley being young and pretty. After all, Robyn did say in her interview that Gizelle gets jealous when there's a younger, prettier woman in the mix...

Three Crabby Divas and "the Help"


Putting a pin in that argument, Andy moves on to the drama at Charrisse's crab boil in the show's very first episode. Charrisse insists that she never actually said Kal could do her hair, she was just deflecting and it got misinterpreted. However, she insists that Gizelle and her hairdresser barging up to her bedroom is a whole other matter. Gizelle is still confused where Charrisse's aggression came from, since everything was happy and copacetic when she left to get ready. However, to Gizelle, the real offense came when Karen referred to her hairstylist as "the help." I mean, is this the segregated South in the 1950s?


Karen tries feebly to defend her use of the term, but the argument that she could've called him much worse than "the help" doesn't fly with me or any of the other ladies. Robyn jumps in to point out that the term would be offensive to anyone, regardless of their station in life. Karen maintains that she knows what "the help" means, but refuses to give Robyn a straight answer, saying she doesn't need a lesson from her fellow 'Wife. Besides, her first job was as a cashier at Taco Bell and Burger King, OK? Like Katie, I would pay money to see Karen Huger in a fast food chain uniform. (Quick aside: kudos to Andy for calling out Karen's classic Housewives "non-apology apology" to Charrisse for causing a scene at her party.)

Robyn & Juan 4Ever?


Next up for discussion is the complicated relationship between Robyn and her ex-husband Juan. Andy presses for details about Robyn's feelings, and she surprisingly admits that she loves Juan but isn't in love with him...yet. However, there's still a chance that they could get remarried. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little bit obsessed with these two and would be over the moon if they officially got back together. The pair got divorced because of lots of infidelity on Juan's part and Robyn chalks it up, in part, to his being a professional athlete. However, she also admits that they're having sex weekly, so there's still hope for the former lovebirds.

Google, Gossip & That Russell Simmons Blog


Robyn also addresses the Dixons' financial scandal, explaining that their former best friend stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from them before committing suicide by jumping off a bridge. This was a man who was in the couple's wedding and whom their kids called "uncle." It's just heartbreaking. However, Robyn has a bone to pick with Ashley for Googling and spreading gossip about her financial situation, saying the younger 'Wife had some sort of sick satisfaction in relaying the scandal to Katie. Ashley shoots back that, up to that point, Robyn had been rude and standoffish to her and deflects by pointing out her past financial hardships including being evicted and relying on the food back for groceries. Katie and Gizelle jump in and the conversation devolves into an argument over gossip and finding things online (i.e. Katie's Russell Simmons blog), but none of this excuses Ashley digging for dirt in the first place. 

The Great Racial Divide


Finally, Andy brings up the feud between Gizelle, Robyn and Katie over racial identity that dominated the tail end of the season. Gizelle admits that she may have generalized the stereotypes of black people, but refuses to apologize for it. Katie says she's continually surprised by how obsessed Robyn and Gizelle are about skin color and accuse them of constantly trying to make her feel like she's "not black enough" as a biracial woman. Gizelle explains that she cares about race because, with her father working in the civil rights movement, she had the KKK burning signs in her yard on a weekly basis growing up. She also throws out that Katie made demeaning references to her black heritage at her twins' Jewish naming ceremony, and accuses the model of not being proud of her ancestry. Katie shoots back that Gizelle doesn't know anything about her family heritage and slams her and Robyn for questioning what box her kids will check when they're older. Now officially worked up, Katie calls Gizelle and Robyn "dumb and dumber, " which sets the latter off, eventually calling for Bravo to get security if she gets any angrier.

And with that, the reunion ends until next week! What did you think of Part 1? Are you on Team Katie or Team Gizelle/Robyn in the great race debate? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

RHOP Ssn 1/Ep 4 - Desperately Seeking Marriage

Glenn Rowley


We're only on episode 4 and one 'Wife is already declaring bankruptcy and another's marriage is crumbling. These Potomac women sure went from 0 to 60 in about .2 seconds, didn't they? This week's recap will be pretty short and sweet though, since there are only a couple of hot-button issues that need discussing.


The episode starts with something completely out of left field: grande dame Karen Huger has decided to go to flight school. Yes, she wants to learn to fly a plane. Now, to me, this comes across as one of two things: Karen is having some sort of midlife crisis because her youngest child is graduating from high school or there's a little bit of self-producing happening for the cameras. I've gotten a bit of the latter vibe from her over the past few weeks and this now makes me question whether Karen would really be learning to fly if the cameras weren't rolling. Self-production always comes across as slightly inauthentic and never looks good - ask Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino how the strategy worked out for them...I will admit though, it was pretty humorous seeing Karen pray over the plane with her homemade holy water. Jesus, take the wheel...or joystick as the case may be. 


Meanwhile, Ashley Darby meets up with Katie Rost at the park for two express purposes: to get her biological clock ticking by playing with Katie's kids and to invite the former model to her upcoming kitty cat themed 27th birthday party. However, Little Miss Ashley has far juicier gossip to spill than an invite to her party. Once the kids have been wrangled by May, Katie's lesbian nanny, Ashley starts dishing the dirt. After meeting Gizelle, Robyn and Katie at the Sip with Socialites event, the millenial 'Wife took it upon herself to Google each of her potential new friends and the search results came up with some very interesting information - like the fact that Katie used to date business mogul Russell Simmons. The dirt Ashley found on Robyn, on the other hand, isn't quite so pretty. According to the internet, Robyn and her ex-husband Juan are filing for bankruptcy. Apparently the situation is so dire that they have roughly $25 in their bank account. Yikes. Naturally, Katie is stunned by this revelation as Ashley surmises that maybe this is why Robyn's been so standoffish to her so far. 


At her home, Charrisse Jackson Jordan is shooting hoops with her kids, Jackson and Skylar, when she gets a visit from non-Friend of the Housewives Brynee Baylor, a disbarred lawyer from whom Bravo presumably wanted to distance itself. Brynee asks where Charrisse's absentee husband is, and she admits that he went back to New Jersey after an awkward-sounding less-than-24-hours visit. Charrisse tearfully explains that her marriage isn't the perfect-picture relationship she always pictured. After 18 years of marriage, Charrisse and Eddie barely spend four minutes communicating every day. Brynee asks if Charrisse wants to keep fighting for her marriage and the emotional 'Wife doesn't have an answer. Brynee reminds Charrisse's happiness is just as important as everyone else's, which is something she may have forgotten in the intervening years.


After a couple of quick scenes of Gizelle Bryant and her girls meeting up with her ex-husband for lunch and Katie deciding to renovate a room in Andrew's townhouse while he's gone, Karen, Katie, Gizelle and Charrisse meet at the latter's house for an impromptu girls night. As soon as the wine is poor, the tea starts being spilled with Katie coyly admitting that she maybe possibly swung both ways back in her wild days as a model in NYC. When you're dancing on tables and booking photoshoots left and right, what's a little girl-on-girl action? Katie also fills the girls in on Ashley's illicit Google activities, including the allegations against Robyn. Naturally, none of the ladies take kindly to this information and now Little Miss Ashley is officially in hot water. 


Charrisse and her paisley silk pajamas play devil's advocate by pointing out that oftentimes people in communities like Potomac tend to put up a facade to hide what's really going on - just like she's been doing with her marriage for the past three years. She finally breaks down to the other 'Wives and tells them she has no idea where her marriage is headed, but either way it's definitely on shaky ground. Katie, Gizelle and Karen rally around their friend and express support for her, particularly Gizelle, who went through an all-too-similar situation in her marriage with Jamal before their divorce. It's a nice moment of solidarity between the women before the inevitable roller coaster of drama continues within the group. 


After Katie awkwardly reveals her renovated "Mrs. room" to a baffled Andrew (who calls the move "aggressive"), it's time for Ashley's kitty bash. While they put together their decidedly non-animal print outfits, Gizelle informs Robyn over the phone about Ashley's search history about her financial problems. Robyn can't believe what Little Miss Ashley was thinking by digging up dirt on her, but Gizelle encourages her to come to the party and confront the birthday girl herself. The rest of the women arrive at L2, the club in Georgetown serving as the party's venue, and are immediately turned off by the cash bar and Katie and Andrew's incessantly sloppy PDA. We're talking horizontal tongue-licking going on in front of the rest of the guests. It's not pretty to watch. 


Robyn's the last guest to arrive (still before Ashley's grand entrance)and immediately bolts to the bar with Gizelle. Ashley finally shows up wearing a leopard-print corset and a cat-ear headband straight out of Ariana Grande's "Love Me Harder" video. After making the rounds to greet her guests, Little Miss Ashley makes her way over to the bar and walks straight into a confrontation with a very angry Robyn. The PR maven demands to know why Ashley felt the need to spread gossip she found on Google around town, and wants an explanation as to why the now-27-year-old felt it was any of her business in the first place. Ashley insists she didn't talk about Robyn's bankruptcy with any malicious intent but balks at Robyn's insistence that it's a thing of the past. If the Dixons filed bankruptcy last summer, does it really go away that quickly? Even so, I'm still 100% team Robyn on this one. It was none of Ashley's business in the first place, nor should she have spread the gossip. Ultimately, Ashley apologizes for initiating the Google drama and Robyn agrees to give her a second chance. The party is capped with Michael presenting his 27-year-old bride with a brand new Porsche and they ride off into the night. Over the course of the party, one thing has become clear: Little Miss Ashley certainly knows how to stir up conversation...and drama.