Photo: Vulture; Photo: Well done
Making quality reality TV is a painstaking exercise in myth-making, feeling, and selling. In other words, reality has very little to do with it, other than making sure the working cast looks as fully realized as possible in the flourishes that make their character sing on TV. When Lisa Rinna (ding dong, the witch is dead…for now, at least) first arrived at RHOBAsoap fanatics who grew up watching days of our lives knew full well that her best years in the role were in the 90s, but that didn’t stop her from being proclaimed a soap star. Kyle Richards had bit parts in horror and adventure films of the 70s and 80s (and this one turns on little house on the prairie), but that won’t stop her from calling herself a child actress, despite her sister Kim being the one who funded the family. Claudia Jordan was in a few music videos during the video-vixen heyday, but she stood ten toes calling herself a model on RHOA. Kim Fields was extremely accomplished and got no respect for it because it didn’t translate into a personality. Your true past is pretty irrelevant as long as you’re able to create a version of yourself that feels entertaining, relatable, and worth fighting for. As with pro wrestling, Bravo fans are willing to buy the illusion, as long as you commit and perform well.
It’s a long-understood trope, but there are fans who take it too far and take character behavior personally, and because Bravo fully capitalized on the cottage industry of white women creating podcasts and leaned to become the focus of True Crime, Indictments and All, the thin membrane between fantasy and reality is often blurred. But the performance at BravoCon, booing it all, is high-level theater reminiscent of a wrestling heel. Most actors don’t hang out together in the offseason, and even if they did once the second salary negotiations are involved, a lot of those ties fray and play out in the subtext of the ongoing story of the season. lines. People resent the idea that a co-worker can hold out for weeks for maximum money and then walk around and get their parts back, and instead of confronting Andy about it on Watch what’s happening live, strategic alliances to know how to punish this actor raise their heads.
It’s the biggest push in this ongoing feud between Robyn, Gizelle, and Karen, which has been dragging on since the second season. It is incomprehensible to them that Karen enjoys such esteem among fans and the network. Remember they drove disguised to see if she lived in the Great Falls house pretending to deliver pizza; harassed her about her tax problems; and harassed her over allegations of cheating. I think it’s obvious to anyone with eyes that Karen and Ray have an arrangement; he’s an old man who just wants to plant his garden and go take a nap, and that’s perfectly fine if that works out for them. The duo’s insistence, however, that audiences don’t see their campy behavior for what it is, is pretty delusional and extremely insulting to viewers. We know Karen is fake and superficial; we don’t care because that works. That’s why she’s the first of the Potomac Housewives to pose as to drag race Favorite Snatch Game of the season.
Does it matter to me that Karen sits with a straight face staring at Ashley and insisting that Juan’s alleged wife on the side looks like her, while her eyelashes and wig make the cha-cha slide down her face? No, I find that quite hilarious. I also know that these infidelity rumors have been around for some time, and Robyn, who makes a platform out of authenticity allegations, chose to be wary of the timeline of their getting back together, while the Darbys chuckled away. Inquiring about Robyn’s relationship has been somewhat routine at every meeting; “I’m so glad Juan Dixon isn’t here right now!” is a meme entangled in history, like Juan saying over a hot mic that he can’t stand Robyn. It’s to the point that Robyn claims she has never heard of rumors – the woman who lived on message boards and was the first to alert Wendy to rumors that Eddie was circulating on gossip blogs – leaving Wendy and Candiace to corroborate that yes, those rumors have long been in the ether .
What What is what matters to me is how quickly and freely the show continues to play around with allegations of inappropriate behavior. Gizelle can’t demand her word be kept on Chris and then scoff at Karen’s revelations that the man she says hugged her inappropriately was Juan. It’s a dangerous game that the show continues to play, and I need it to stop after this season because it only cements that the poltergeist known as Michael Darby wasn’t the problem of this show. Not that it says anything, but Juan was too fast, too furious to be dragged into the mess, while Eddie always laughed it off and Chris only got furious when he found out who it was. Meanwhile, Robyn’s rebuttal to the infidelity rumors was a photo of ‘blue eyes’ and Karen which was not shown on camera, was not shown to Karen, allegedly only showed her back … what’s going on here, apart from empty shots between groups of friends who hate each other?
If Karen should take anything away from this, it’s that she has no allies on the show and should work to fix that. It all started because she revealed to Ashley — the worst party possible — that she thought it rich that Robyn was attacking her character and her authenticity given her relationship and vague nuptials. Ashley kept this secret for as long as it took Michael Darby to stay away from Grindr, immediately dropping clues for Candiace and Wendy before giving Robyn a full warning about the ongoing confrontation. No one, however, apparently warned Karen that she was coming to a table of Gizelle’s bubble guts and Robyn’s rebuttals. A credit to Ashley is that she pointed out that Robyn was faithful to Candice because she was there for her during the divorce, but that was because they were both basketball wives – that’s not has nothing to do with its general character.
What continues to be inexplicable to me, honestly, is this insistence that Charrisse – a friend of – had her character slandered, when the rest of the cast sat down and let Charrisse talk about the alcohol issues about Karen, her alleged infidelities, and how none of the women went to Karen’s parents’ funeral except for her, as if she was supposed to be grateful that a fired cast member who she wasn’t on good terms with terms reported to a service while she real the colleagues chose to do without it. The fact that the rest of the cast doesn’t see this as a point of shame on their end is beyond me, especially when they choose to hammer home that Karen just “sent a one-line text” to Charrisse, who has since been refuted.
Frankly, for me it’s good that these women don’t get along; they don’t need it. But what Gizelle and Robyn have to figure out is that Charrisse isn’t good TV, Karen or no Karen. She sits looking miserable and asks where the champagne is and tells us she has money while walking around looking like one of Candiace’s napkins. Next week she will tell us that Karen has sex with younger men while being miserable and dressed like a handkerchief. We all understand that she helped launch the show; we all understand that she has good connections in the DMV. That is to say all off-screen, and it will stay there. If she wants to be on TV so badly, she has to figure out how to reset, because nothing she does works; it’s not a stub, it’s dead weight that promises juicy secrets if you wait long enough for the payoff.
Next week, we break down everything that happened between Wendy and Mia after hours in Tulum — it’s a way to reconcile, I guess — and Robyn has her bachelorette party. All these women could bear to drink a little less.
• Karen tells Gizelle “You’re not even near an altar; shut up” made me burst out laughing. She might phone this season, but she’ll always have time to let Gizelle know her contribution isn’t welcome.
• Jacqueline and Mia’s situation is really uncomfortable and I would really appreciate if the production edits it if nothing material comes out of it.
• Gizelle insisting that Karen is jealous of Charrisse and that Wendy is jealous of Mia is ridiculous. Karen is not jealous of Charrisse; she just doesn’t want to let go of the platform she’s built for herself based on the real-life dynamics she feels she has to rely on. In Jay-Z’s words, “You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song.” They must all recover and find a new battle.
• That bus ride to the store was something else. Ashley pees in a cup, Gizelle with the bubble guts (thanks to the production soundboard for the extra drama), the whole gang revealing her adult movie preferences, Wendy and Candiace discussing music videos and masturbation , Mia and Charrisse Bond Plastic Surgery… Is This the Thing We’re Used To not To hear? It’s better than half the season! I’m intrigued, a little disturbed, and I sincerely hope they haven’t eaten the hot quesadilla on the bus.