When Bravo casts for a series, do they check to see that the cast lives in the town in the title, or that the housewives in question ever lived in that location? Would viewers of RHONY find it odd if half the cast lived in Long Island or Connecticut? In terms of naming the series Potomac, perhaps that is where Bravo went wrong because it is the smallest geographic area of any Real Housewives show currently on the network. Real Housewives of Montgomery County would have covered more of the Potomac ladies, but it still would be a misnomer. Maybe it’s the word “real” that is a bit off.
From the first episode, those in the know called foul on the Real Housewives of Potomac for serious authenticity problems. For full disclosure, I am a Maryland girl, born and raised. I went to the University of Maryland, which is about fifteen miles from Potomac, and though I have lived other places, I currently live closer than I did when in school.
Starting with the first season, many media outlets smelled a rat and gathered groups of actual women who really live in Potomac to view a few episodes. One thing that set the women off was what the RHOP were calling a “crab boil.” Nobody from Potomac let alone Maryland would invite you over for a crab boil, it’s a crab feast, and Maryland crabs are steamed with beer and Old Bay. The women at the viewing party were puzzled, talking amongst themselves.
“The locations seem fake, the women seem fake, and what sensible person would have a manicure right before picking crabs? And only people from ‘somewhere else’ would call it a crab boil.”
The whole “crab” thing seemed to be forcing the Maryland thing down everybody’s throat, and anyway, few people steam their own, you buy them already cooked and seasoned.
Now it is true that even the local television stations cover Maryland, D.C., and Virginia because you can be in and out of these three locations pretty quickly (if you don’t sit in the notorious traffic, but to call the show Potomac? Nope. On recent episodes, Karen Huger admitted that she and Ray had sold their house(a cash deal, dahling) in Potomac and moved to Falls Church, which the last time I checked was in Virginia. Then there is Monique Samuels who just bought a house in Potomac, but allegedly wasn’t moving in yet because she was fixing it up (okay, plausible, but she was living in Virginia when the show started). Gizelle and her girls live in Bethesda, Maryland (close, but no cigar), and Robyn was living in Silver Spring, Maryland when the show premiered, but now lives close to Baltimore (with Juan Dixon officially giving a Baltimore address. Ashley too does not live in Potomac but lives not far from her Virginia restaurant.
So that leaves one RHOP actually in Potomac and that is Charrisse Jordan (her legal name unless she recently added the Jackson back in. The house with the brand new champagne room (perhaps the most bizarre new money thing I have ever heard of that can’t possibly add value to your house, but okay, if it makes you happy to deny that your estranged husband might have another family in New Jersey, okay).
As the actual Potomac women at the viewing party explained, none of the women they know as the Queen Bees were in the cast, and the real RHOP are on the sidelines of MSI soccer or watching club lacrosse or crew. And just for fun, a 2015 vital statistics site for Potomac shows that even though it is not PC to say, Potomac is still mighty white (63.8%) and the next largest group is Asian (18.5) followed by Hispanic (8.6%). None of the parties, even those thrown by the self-titled Grande Dame of Potomac (who somehow thinks she lives in Downton Abbey) had much diversity.
I will give any new Bravo reality series a try and do not give a hoot about race, religion, political affiliation or sexual orientation but call me silly in thinking that there should at least be a pinch of reality in reality television.
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And let’s for a minute ignore reality and say that everything and everyone on the show is real, does anyone actually believe that Karen Huger, Grande Dame of a wealthy enclave, is hanging out with bouncy twenty-something Ashley Darby and Robyn Dixon, who seems to be the most decent of all the ladies on the Bravo series (Baltimore in the house!), but is going through some serious stuff with her ex-husband who lives in her house and sleeps in her bed? Alternative lifestyles are not exactly chic quite yet in Potomac, at least not among those who use words like “grande dame!”
What do you think about Real Housewives of Potomac? Do you get the sense that things are not quite kosher?
[Featured Image by Bravotv]