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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: shade

RHOP Ssn 1/Ep 11 - Reunion Part 1

Glenn Rowley

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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

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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. 

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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

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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

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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"

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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?

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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?

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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

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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

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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 Season 1 Finale - Rules of Enragement

Glenn Rowley

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After just 10 weeks, we've reached the end of our first season with the 'Wives of Potomac. Make that the end of the narrative portion of the season - we still have multiple parts of the reunion to look forward to. In this final hour, the season's multiple storylines come to a head as the ladies sit down for a final summit meeting to air their grievances with each other and one 'Wife's dreams finally come true with a giant engagement ring...

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While Charrisse Jackson Jordan is sleeping off the effects of her grand 50th birthday party, the episode kicks off with Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon taking their kids to the stables for some horseback riding lessons. Seeing the BFFs' kids together for the first time makes a lightbulb go off in my head: at least one of Robyn's boys needs to grow up to marry one of Gizelle's girls! It would be a match made in Bravo heaven. As the kids trot around the stables, the two women rehash the racial drama that dominated Charrisse's birthday from the sidelines. Reflecting on the struggle to raise black kids in today's society with a strong sense of identity, Robyn took issue with Katie Rost and Ashley Darby's assertion that she's biracial because it simply wasn't true. Gizelle is feeling uncomfortable with how things left off between the ladies, and decides to put together a "come to Jesus" lunch in an effort to work out the group's various issues. Hmm...any bets on how well this plan will go over with the 'Wives? 

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Meanwhile, Karen Huger is helping her daughter pack up her room to leave for college. The grande dame of Potomac can't quite seem to accept the fact that her precious Rayvin is leaving the nest and she launches into protective mom mode by offering the teenager some last-minute advice. Between regaling Rayvin with tales of the devil working within teen boys and wondering how the girl will possibly celebrate her 18th birthday without her, Karen makes plans to come visit after one month at the most. Rayvin's not so sure she agrees with that plan, but something tells me the grande dame won't be swayed from pulling a Vicki Gunvalson and surprising her in her dorm room during Parents' Weekend.

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Katie and her boyfriend Andrew are escaping the city for a romantic weekend at her farmhouse. Out in the Virginia countryside, the farm is where Katie goes when she needs some good old-fashioned peace and quiet. The couple also reminisces about the fun they had at Charrisse's party, with Andrew pointing out that "Bug-Eye Weirdo" Gizelle and "Stick in the Mud" Robyn were the only ones not out on the dance floor. Just as Katie is saying she doesn't understand why the pair made such a big deal out of the butt grab heard 'round the world, her phone rings. Speak of the devil, it's Gizelle herself, calling to invite Katie to the come to Jesus lunch. At first, Katie is hesitant to accept the invitation. After all, why would a good Jewish girl like Katie want to go to a lunch to come to Jesus?

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Back in Potomac, Ashley's ready to have a serious heart-to-heart with her hubby Michael. In the throes of opening Oz, their Australian-American fusion restaurant, Little Miss Ashley's maternal clock has started ticking. Saying it's become a "biological imperative," the youngest 'Wife tells Michael she wants to start trying for a baby roughly a month after the restaurant opens. Unlike some other Househusbands in Potomac, Michael's perfectly keen on that idea, and promises that once Oz breaks even, the Darbys' failproof pull-out method will be no longer employed as a form of birth control. Ashley isn't too sure what to think of Gizelle's lunch invitation considering that Karen will be there as well. Regardless, the 27-year-old won't be backing down from the other women any time soon just because she's the youngest 'Wife of the bunch.

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Katie and Andrew arrive at her farmhouse, which turns out to be a charmingly idyllic little piece of perfection. By no means am I a country person, but this farm looks gorgeous. Where has Katie been hiding it all season long? (Oh right...in Virginia.) Wandering the grounds, Andrew suggests they go visit the vortex - the farm's mystical energy center - and Katie is surprised to find it decorated with a ring of flower-adorned hay bales. Next thing she knows, Andrew is down on his knees, pulling an engagement ring out of his pocket, and the proposal she's wanted so desperately is happening! Katie obviously says yes when Andrew asks for her hand in marriage, and she seems genuinely stunned and overjoyed at the surprise.

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After watching her father, Curtis Graves, be recognized in Congress for his civil rights activism with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gizelle gathers all the 'Wives at Old Angler's Inn for her long-awaited come to Jesus luncheon. As all the ladies (minus Katie) arrive, Gizelle tries to set some ground rules for the meal, explaining that the only 'Wife allowed to speak is the one currently holding the table's "Reserved" placard. Until you have the sign in your hands, you wait your turn. Mhmm, we'll see how this goes. First up on the agenda is Karen, who isn't done picking a bone with Ashley over her residual anger from the O Gala. Within seconds, an argument has broken out as the grande dame not-so-politely makes it crystal clear that her daughter's name is to be kept out of the younger 'Wife's mouth from now on.

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To be more specific, she told Little Miss Ashley to let Michael "ejaculate, procreate and get a baby of your own" rather than focus on Rayvin. This rather vulgar moment from the self-proclaimed queen bee is horrifically amusing and the look on Robyn and Gizelle's faces say it all. Did she really just go there?? Stifling her laughter, Gizelle quickly takes back the "Reserved" sign and puts a stop to Karen's tirade. Not only are parts of the grande dame's argument utterly offensive (i.e. Ashley can't be a "real woman" until she has a child), her vitriol toward the younger 'Wife is entirely misplaced. Ashley didn't really do anything, at the O Gala or otherwise, to warrant such an aggressively rude reaction. Plain and simple, Karen's venom was an uncalled-for low blow. Not a good look, grande dame. Ashley hits back that the issue at hand isn't Rayvin at all - it's about Karen's general treatment of Ashley and her relationship with Michael ever since he crashed the trip to Bethany Beach. 

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Thankfully, Katie's fashionably late arrival to the lunch puts a pin in that unnecessarily nasty conversation as she reveals her engagement ring to the other women. For a brief moment, the 'Wives become a true sister circle as Katie relates her proposal story and everyone seems genuinely elated at the news. However, the good vibes last for all of five seconds as Robyn decides to move the conversation along by confronting the bride-to-be about their argument over race at Charrisse's party. Robyn claims they need to have a "black history lesson" but Katie still doesn't see how a butt grab on a dance floor turned into a confrontation about race. Further, if Robyn really wants to know if said butt grabbing is a "white guy thing," Katie says she should find a white man and ask him herself. 

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At this point, Gizelle chimes in, insisting that she brought the issue up in the first place because she thought Michael grabbing Andrew's butt was disrespectful to Ashley. According to her perspective, Katie was the one who turned it into a racial conversation by calling Robyn biracial. Katie shoots back that she was merely trying to point out Gizelle and Robyn's hypocrisy - they get offended by anything slightly inflammatory, yet are the ones constantly bringing race up to her. Katie finds it offensive, and rightfully so, that Gizelle and Robyn don't seem to think she's "black enough." Let's get it straight: Katie Rost is part African-American, but she's also part Caucasian. That's the definition of biracial. For some reason, this comment sets Gizelle off, and she gets up from the table and starts pointing her finger, claiming that Katie's acting like it's a problem to be black. Yikes. This "come to Jesus" lunch is definitely headed in the wrong direction. 

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Katie reacts, calling Gizelle a "stupid woman who says stupid things" and accusing her of being "self-obsessed" and "taking all the air out of the room" just because she likes to hear herself talk. Before things can get any worse, Charrisse attempts to mediate between the two parties, delicately explaining to Gizelle and Robyn that they do tend to bring up race quite a bit in ways that can sometimes be offensive. However, the heart of all these issues is a failure of the women to respect each other's boundaries. All of a sudden, calmness prevails and tempers seem to dissipate as the 'Wives all agree that they need to do a better job of accepting each other's differences. Apologies are offered and accepted all around and the ladies agree to let their issues go and move forward...at least until the reunion.

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The finale ends with the women toasting to their budding friendship as their "Where are They Now?" cards flash across the screen. Charrisse's husband is still living in New Jersey, but she's learned to doggie paddle on her own. Since their engagement, Katie and Andrew have broken up and gotten back together at least once, with no firm wedding date in sight. Karen managed to wait one whole month before visiting Rayvin at college and is still adjusting to her new empty nest. Gizelle finished developing her makeup line, which is called EveryHue Beauty, and she remains single despite her daughters' hope for a new boyfriend. (Poor Herman is still waiting for date number 4-ever...) Ashley and Michael successfully opened OZ in October 2015, but despite their best efforts the stars have yet to align for a Darby baby. Lastly, Robyn and Juan continued to face financial setbacks, including their home going into foreclosure, but remain divorced sometimes-lovers/co-parents. With that, the first season in Potomac ends on a surprisingly, and somewhat suddenly, positive note. Now who's ready for the reunion?

Were you satisfied with the season finale? Whose side were you on in the many "come to Jesus" confrontations? Leave your comments below and don't miss part 1 of the reunion next week!

RHOP Ssn 1/Ep 9 - Fifty Sense

Glenn Rowley

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It's the penultimate episode of our first season in Potomac and we're celebrating with a major fight at a Housewife's birthday party! In one of the strangest turns of events in Housewives history, all the drama blows up over racial identity and...butt grabbing between the 'Wives men?

Besties Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon kick off the episode with a good old-fashioned girls lunch at The Tavern. Over a meal of tuna tartare and deviled eggs, the BFFs toast to new beginnings, mostly in the form of Robyn's will-they-or-won't-they relationship with her ex-husband Juan. It turns out that Gizelle takes her duties as a best friend quite seriously and cornered Juan a few days before in an attempt to coax the relationship along. As a friend, Gizzy simply wants the former lovebirds to figure out in which direction they're headed - preferably in the one that ends with "and they both lived happily ever after..." However, Robyn explains that she's actually the one with her guard up when it comes to rekindling the flame. Since the couple divorced because of Juan's infidelity, Robyn is understandably cautious about opening her heart completely back up to him again. The pair genuinely love and care for each other, but the trust simply isn't there yet.  

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Meanwhile, we get a rehash of last week's O Gala when Katie Rost invites her friend T over for some wine and spilled tea about Karen Huger's event. According to the socialite, the grande dame's "gala" was pretty much anything but. You can't just throw some meatballs into serving trays and turn a "Podunk cocktail party" into a launch party for something that doesn't exist yet. Needless to say, Katie was not impressed. And she's not done either. She tells her friend that she finds Gizelle to be the most annoying person she's ever met and finds the women to be "obsessed" with the topic of race. Further, she claims that Gizelle is probably a good person, even if her frenemy "dresses like a prostitute sometimes and can be a little bitchy." The shade, Katie, the shade! I am living for her fake smile at the end of that barb.

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Next, Ashley Darby is picking her mom up for a lunch date out in Westminster, Maryland. Having not grown up in the lap of luxury, Sheila isn't used to Ashley's Porsche shutting off at every stop and thinks the car is breaking down. Don't worry Sheila, I thought the same thing about my dad's new car. Over lunch, Ashley decides to bring up her mom's bankruptcy and far-reaching financial issues stemming from her purchase of a condemned house. Now, Ashley is doing this under the guise of wanting to help her mom out, but all I know is that I would be furious if my child was bringing up my personal financial issues on national TV. Ashley ends the conversation by telling Sheila that she and Michael want to buy her a new house, which is a really nice gesture. I'm still bothered by the scene though.

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Charrisse Jackson Jordan is getting ready to celebrate her 50th birthday and has enlisted Katie's help as the resident model of the group to help her take some pictures for the slideshow at the party. Charrisse admits that she's not the most comfortable in front of the camera, so Katie uses some of her modeling expertise to help the birthday girl feel like Naomi Campbell. And while Katie's not exactly used to working behind the camera, she sure is slaying in that navy jumpsuit. In the end, Charrisse feels great and even comes out of the photoshoot learning how to say "l'chaim!" To life!

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After a couple quick scenes of Karen getting teary during her daughter Rayvin's going away party and Gizelle sitting her girls down to debate the finer points of eHarmony and Match.com, Robyn and Juan meet for lunch at Cuba de Ayer. The ex-couple don't typically do things without the kids, but they have important business to discuss. During the lunch, Juan reveals that he didn't get the head coaching job he had applied for out of state and will be staying in Maryland for the foreseeable future. While it's disappointing news for him, Robyn is still at least a little bit relieved that they can put off making a decision about possibly moving with him and facing the future of their relationship for a while longer. 

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The evening of Charrisse's lavish birthday 50th birthday party arrives, and even though her husband Eddie is a no-show, he's still footing the bill for the event to the tune of $80,000. You only turn the big 5-0 once, right? All the ladies descend on the Carnegie Library with the rest of Charrisse's 150+ guests, and are blown away by the extravagance of the whole affair. Of course, with the party being the first time the 'Wives have all been in the same room since the O Gala, drama isn't too far behind. Karen spends the majority of the evening deftly avoiding Little Miss Ashley at all costs, even though the younger 'Wife wants to talk in a futile attempt to settle their differences. However, the grande dame simply isn't having it tonight and declares Ashley a lost cause in her confessional. It's clear to Karen that the Darbys will never fit into Potomac society and according to her, Ashley belongs in a zoo, petting cuddly animals. Bye Ashley girl, go pet a panda. 

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Next thing we know, a completely new feud arrives straight out of left field. While on the dance floor, Gizelle and Robyn apparently see Ashley's husband Michael grab Katie's boyfriend Andrew's butt. Huh? Michael has been the center of controversy a number of times this season, but this is just odd. It doesn't help that the footage that Bravo's cameras caught doesn't exactly lend itself to the story either...Naturally, Robyn and Gizelle make a beeline to Ashley to spill on the butt her man just grabbed that wasn't hers, but both Ashley and Katie shrug it off as a joke between the guys. However, the drama really turns up when Robyn jokingly asks if this butt grabbing is a "white guy thing."

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Both Katie and Ashley balk at this suggestion, failing to see what race has to do with grabbing butts. Ashley points out that race shouldn't factor into the conversation, considering that all four women are biracial. Gizelle and Robyn quickly shoot down this allegation, reminding Little Miss Ashley that they are both strong, confident black women without any direct white ancestors. This gets Katie fired up and she promptly tells both women to take another look at their genealogy - you don't end up with blonde hair and green eyes if you came "straight out of Africa." At this point, everything is starting to spiral out of control, with Robyn laughing off the suggestion that she's biracial, which in turn insults Katie that Robyn would think being biracial is a negative thing. Are you following? Robyn tries to get the conversation back around to the butt grab, but Katie shoots out that the alleged groping between her and Ashley's men sounds about as factual as Gizelle and Robyn being 100% black. An annoyed Katie storms away from the conversation in a huff, calling Gizelle and Robyn the most racially obsessed women she knows. In the end, the pair don't get the reaction they wanted out of Ashley and I am left failing to understand how this argument got turned into a racial issue in the first place. L'chaim?

Next week, the drama comes to a head in the season finale! Until then, let me know whose side of the biracial butt grab you're on in the comments below and share the recap on social media by clicking the "Share" button!

RHOP Ssn 1/Ep 6 - Beach Session

Glenn Rowley

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In the immortal words of the legendary Onika Minaj, "let's go to the beach, each, let's go get away..." After what feels like roughly one million years (thanks to last week's Academy Awards, go Spotlight!), we finally got a new episode of RHOP. And it wasn't just any old episode, either, it was a Housewives rite of passage. This week the ladies took their very first cast trip together to the Delaware shore.

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The episode kicks off as Katie Rost gathers Gizelle Bryant, Robyn Dixon and Ashley Darby for a host committee lunch to work on planning the Rost Foundation's first ever Casino Royale fundraiser. Once the girls arrive, Katie explains that she'll need their help to pull the event off successfully in just a matter of weeks. Gizelle and Robyn openly balk at the idea that they can throw a full event to raise $100,000 in less than 30 days and immediately start peppering Katie with questions about the venue, theme, guest list and other logistics. However, when Katie doesn't have any of the answers they're looking for - opting for more of a "it'll all work out" attitude - the pair remind her that if she doesn't reach her goal, it won't be on them. Feeling unsupported by her friends strikes a chord in Katie, and she promptly disinvites them from being on the host committee. In the past, coming together to put together a charity event has worked well in the Housewives universe, as seen on both RHONY and RHONJ, but this host committee drama is giving me all kinds of vintage RHONY feels and I am loving every second of it.

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In an effort to finally get into the cool girls' inner circle, Little Miss Ashley has invited the group on a girls trip to her and Michael's vacation home in Bethany Beach, Delaware. As the rest of the women pack, Ashley explains to her assistant and her stylist that she feels like a freshman being hazed by the clique of seniors, getting her proverbial underwear pulled over her head. All she wants is to do is infiltrate this exclusive group of affluent, powerful African-American women (she's even said so in her confessionals a number of times), and will be bending over backwards on this trip to get the ladies' stamp of approval.

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The 'Wives head to Bethany Beach in two groups, with grande dame Karen Huger and Ashley in the latter's brand new Porsche and Katie, Gizelle, Robyn, Charrisse Jackson Jordan and unofficial Friend of the Housewives Brynee Baylor piling into Katie's SUV for the three hour drive. On the way, Karen lectures - I mean mentors - Little Miss Ashley on the many rules of Potomac society while the rest of ladies play a rather wild game of Shag, Marry, Kill involving Bill Clinton, 50 Cent and panties on the head. Eventually, conversation turns to Katie's history of rather well-known paramours and Gizelle presses her about her relationship with business mogul Russell Simmons. Katie explains that, while she still has him on speed dial today, their breakup was a messy one, with Russell dating a new woman while Katie was still living in his guest room. Katie lets it slip that over the course of the transition, she habitually blogged about the situation, which naturally leads Gizelle to find the blogs online and read them out loud to the car...in front of Katie. All the women have a laugh at what Katie wrote in the blogs, but the former model is sensitive about the situation and the jokes eventually cross a line for her. Going quiet, she pulls off to the side of the road and informs the ladies she's sick of driving and needs a break, leaving the rest of the group to realize that her feelings have actually been hurt.

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Eventually, the women arrive at Ashley's beach house and are greeted by elderberry cocktails handmade by Ashley before sitting down for a dinner catered by a private chef. It quickly becomes clear that the women hate the food, asparagus roulade and all, but love the conversation as it veers between the blog drama from the way up (Gizelle insists she wasn't trying to hurt Katie's feelings) and the infamous "pull-out method" happening in the Darbys' bedroom (Ashley swears it's been working as effective birth control for the last four years). We also learn that 27-year-old Ashley is stepmom to Michael's 23- and 21-year-old children from his first marriage. If that's not awkward, I don't know what is. Even more awkward is when the chef comes to the table to give Ashley the bill right in front of the other women. Subtle, Asparagus Roulade, subtle. 

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After dinner, Ashley shows the women to their rooms and let's just say that most of them are less than pleased with the accommodations. While Robyn is able to laugh it off, Gizelle physically recoils upon learning that she'll not only be sharing a room, she'll be sleeping in a "kiddie" twin bed. Charrisse has a similar reaction upon seeing the room she'll be sharing with Brynee, while also managing to point out that Ashley spelled her name wrong on the name card she set out - it's two r's in Charrisse, boo boo. Immediately, both Gizelle and Charrisse start looking up hotel rooms on Google, but it turns out that pretty much everywhere is booked and they're stuck with the "kiddie" beds. (Random conspiracy theory: could it be possible that producers bought out every single hotel room in all of Bethany Beach just so the women couldn't jump ship? Maybe I binged too quickly on the first season of UnREAL...)

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After the semi-rocky beginning the night before, the next day goes much better for Ashley as a hostess, with all the ladies (minus Gizelle) pitching in to make breakfast before heading down to the beach for a day of fun. The younger, hipper girls (read: Ashley, Katie and Robyn) opt to try out surfing with the "older, boring" women (a.k.a. Karen, Gizelle and Charrisse) cheering them on while sipping champagne from under an umbrella. However, Gizelle can't resist getting in another jab at Katie's expense when they hold an impromptu booty-ranking contest and she pronounces the former model in last place for her "flaticus butticus." Yet, even with a few verbal jabs, the ladies all seem to be having a relatively good time together for once. 

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Later that evening, Katie, Charrisse and Brynee go to the market to pick up a bushel of crabs while the rest of the ladies stay behind to fire up the grill. On the drive to the store, Katie fills Charrisse and Brynee in on the host committee drama from before the trip and explains that she's not really feeling all that supported by some of the women in the group. Meanwhile, Ashley is giving Robyn yet another TMI moment involving sweaty coochie and I just can't even handle it. Charrisse and Brynee provide an ear for Katie to vent, and promise that they are willing to help make her charity event for the Rost Foundation a success in any way they can. 

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During dinner that night, Charrisse proposes the women do a bonding activity she used to do with the NBA wives called the Sister Circle. First, the ladies are tasked with saying something they appreciate about one of the other women at the table. Most of the contributions seem genuinely kind - Robyn talks about her 13-year friendship with Charrisse and Karen compliments Ashley's spitfire personality, but tension fills the air when Gizelle rather backhandedly calls Katie "unassumingly smart." In her confessional, Katie admits that she doesn't even know how to respond to Gizelle's veiled barb. By this point, Gizelle has insulted her religion, racial identity and now her intelligence over the course of just six episodes. It seems there may be a passive-aggressive cold war officially brewing between these two. 

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Next, Charrisse invites the women to open up and get vulnerable about something in their lives and things get real all too quickly. When questioned by Robyn, Charrisse explains that she hasn't made any decisions yet about possibly filing for divorce from her husband Eddie - citing that he's a great father and provider, just not a very good husband. Karen opens up about her mom being diagnosed with the early stages of dementia, a problem that has put all the materialism and status in her life into perspective. Finally, Robyn decides to speak up, but before words even leave her mouth, she loses it. Through a wave of tears, Robyn admits that she and Juan found out that their very best friend was stealing money from them, for how long they don't know. This startling admission leaves the rest of the women shocked and sympathetic, but before we can find out the rest of the story, "To Be Continued..." flashes across the screen and the episode ends in a cliffhanger.

What did you think of the first part of the Bethany Beach trip? How many times would you guess I tried spelling it Bethenny? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!