Colorism & The Hypocrisy Of Stan Culture

Whether we know it or not, stan culture is a big part of our lives. In every area of pop culture, from TV shows, to music, to movies, there are collective groups of stans who not only fan out about their favs, but go to bat for them online, and sometimes even hold them accountable for their less-than-perfect actions. Whether you think of yourself as a “stan” or not, we all fan out about something. Some people are obsessed with sports, others are obsessed with music. One thing that I am obsessed with and will always stan forever is reality TV. There are so many layers to it, and honestly, it’s intriguing to follow the real lives of people who are completely different from me. This year, many of our favorite reality shows have undergone a shift, and the thing that I love about this new wave of reality TV is how important issues and current events are being discussed on these shows.

I felt even more inclined to talk about this because of Sunday night’s reunion episode of the iconic Real Housewives of Potomac. I let out a gasp when the topic of colorism came up, simply because I never thought this conversation would be had on a show like this. Colorism is a topic that is often ignored, especially in BIPOC spaces. The conversation can be uncomfortable, especially for people who have not experienced it. I mean, we are talking about people being treated unfairly simply because of their skin tone—it’s disheartening. The general consensus of the conservation was that the women felt like colorism was not necessarily an issue on the show, but rather the actions of certain castmates warranted buzzwords such as “aggressive”. This conversation soon turned to the blatant elitism on the cast (which is also very real).

Though I do feel like colorism applies to the dynamics on the show, especially targeted at new housewife Dr. Wendy Osefo, I applaud Bravo and the cast, especially Dr. Osefo, for having this conversation in the first place. What triggered me, however, were the comments from non-Black people online, many of whom chimed in about colorism and ignorantly put their own opinions into a conversation centering around Black people. This made me uncomfortable, mainly because the discussion at hand is based on the experiences of Black people—Black women in particular—and yet many of the people commenting were not Black.

I get it, opinions are like assholes, we all have one. So you can save the comments about free speech and how I’m trying to “limit” that. But the commentary I’ve observed speaks to the hypocrisy present in stan culture, and how people online grant themselves this unwarranted comfortability to make comments about people and topics that they do not have any idea about.  

First, let me just give you a little bit of background. Colorism has been around for hundreds of years. Dating back to slavery, those who had a fairer skin tone were usually placed to work in the homes of slave owners, while those who were of a darker skin tone were placed in the fields, where they were worked harder and seen by fewer people. This classification process still has an impact on our community, with colorism affecting dating, mental health, how we are perceived in the public eye, and how we perceive ourselves.

As a dark-skinned Black man, I have experienced colorism since I was a child. Kids would make fun of me because I was darker, and adults reinforced the idea that I was not meant to be this dark, and that I spent too much time outside and simply did not wear enough sunscreen. However, it is not just the comments about my skin tone, but rather what people associate it with. If I am upset at someone, I am labeled aggressive. If I am walking behind someone wearing a black hoodie minding my business, people are more inclined to walk on the other side of the street. This led me to hate my dark skin for years(seventeen years, to be exact)—not because I was ashamed to be dark-skinned, but because of these societal ramifications that came as a result of my dark skin.

However, though my experiences have been tough, they do not compare to the amount of colorism that Black women face in their daily lives. In particular, dark-skinned Black women, face some of the most severe discrimination. The comments about their skin tone, hair texture, and constant comparisons to others who might have more “conventional” (read: European) beauty types are consistent, blatant acts of colorism. All my experiences added up still aren’t even half of what dark-skinned Black women have had to deal with their entire lives. I will never feel comfortable trying to negate or undermine the experiences of a dark-skinned Black woman in particular, simply because it’s not my place and it’s wrong.

See what I did there? I acknowledged that I have gone through a difficult experience myself, but I realized my privilege as a man in a society where women (especially Black women) are treated far worse. Instead of trying to play oppression wars or negate someone else’s experience, I decided to shut up and listen, and only speak when it’s time to support the people whose experiences are important and relevant in that moment.

So why is it that people who have never gone through that experience feel the need to comment derogatory things, most of the time targeted at Black women expressing their anger? Why do their experiences bother you so much? I get it, you posted a Black screen on #blackouttuesday, you went to a protest, or sh*t, you might’ve pulled a Stassi Schroeder and hired a diversity coach. That’s fine and dandy, but that does not mean that you have the right to try to control Black voices and their experiences.

For example, last week we dealt with the horrific death of Brandon Bernard, who was wrongfully executed by the state of Indiana for something that occurred twenty years ago. Many people advocated for the President of the United States to pardon him, however those attempts were sadly unsuccessful. During that time of people fighting for this man’s life, there were a few Black celebrities, Kehlani and Victoria Monet in particular, who were tweeting and going about their day peacefully. Stan accounts started attacking the women, tweeting things like “Read the room” or “Are you dumb? This is not the time or the place”. Here’s the issue: Why are these accounts assuming these celebrities haven’t heard what’s going on? As Black people, we are always seeing our own being killed and treated unfairly, and there are times where we simply need a break. It’s honestly traumatizing to constantly view ourselves in such horrific circumstances, and sometimes we don’t want to be consumed with everything that’s working against us, because it’s draining and infuriating. And in addition to all that, why is it that anonymous accounts feel comfortable attacking these figures online, simply based on their own opinions?

Stan culture has given people platforms to give their unwarranted opinions on public figures who they do not know whatsoever. The worst part of this is many of them use AAVE (African American Vernacular English) in the wrong context, and start using it to attack Black people with platforms, be they singers, rappers, actors, influencers, or writers. Using our own culture to attack us is not only hypocritical, but also proves that many people leech off of our culture for their own personal gain and then try to throw it back in our faces. I’ve seen tweets like “It’s the ignorance for me sis” directed at Kehlani and Victoria. Little do people understand that the whole saying “It’s the (blank) for me” was started by Black people. We’ve used it for years, and it became a prominent saying after an Instagram live between rappers Yung Miami and Santana. However, like always, people found it and it soon catapulted into a phrase that “everyone” uses. We are never given our credit for trends and our lingo, but people want to hold us accountable when we aren’t engaging with traumatic material?

It’s wrong and downright disgusting how people who participate in stan culture feel so entitled to what we bring to the table, yet they want to belittle us in any and every way that they can. So please understand that no matter how many Black artists you may stan, or how many protests you’ve gone to, it doesn’t give you the right to call us ghetto, talk about our appearances, insert your opinions about our culture, or most importantly, ownership of our feelings. Stan culture is all about holding people accountable, so when are non-Black stans going to participate in holding themselves accountable? 

Images: Sophy Holland/Bravo

Why ‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ Is Becoming The Best ‘Real Housewives’ Franchise

It would be an understatement to say that Galentine’s Day is a big deal in my friend group. It’s a day to celebrate friendships, new and old, without the overbearing presence of cis-heteroxual male energy. It’s a day to turn an absolute look, because you cannot spell “lifelong friendships’”without “photo shoot.” And it’s a day to drink prosecco. So much prosecco. Scholars and theorists alike might even say too much prosecco. Galentine’s Day is always one of my favorite days of the year, but when I think of Galentine’s Day 2020, it can be characterized by one defining moment: the day my friend Danny and I reached peaked anti-social status, and left mid-party to start watching The Real Housewives of Potomac. (Also, it’s the day I discovered what a ring light is, and that I firmly believe that access to free health care and an affordable ring light are basic human rights).

If you’re like me, The Real Housewives are your lifeblood: you breathe Herman Munster Louis Vuitton; you bleed SHE by Shereé Joggers (release date: tbd). You would never accept a stuffed bunny for your grandson unless it had the right energy. You meet the knowledge of someone being engaged 19 times with the flip of a table. You know every franchise inside and out, which means you also know there is currently an opening for the best Real Housewives franchise.

It’s an unfortunate, yet known fact that previous Real Housewives front runners are, frankly, losing their elite status. New York is currently in a transition period, still trying to find its footing without Bethenny, while our usual favorites (Dorinda, Ramona, Sonja) are growing less and less lovable. Beverly Hills is begging for plotlines—making an entire season not even about an actual threesome, but the mere discussion of hypothetical threesomes, and bringing back Brandi Glanville in what can only be described as an act of desperation. Atlanta is a close front runner, but current speculations of a future without NeNe Leakes create an air of uncertainty surrounding the strength of the franchise. This all leaves the perfect opening for The Real Housewives of Potomac to take its rightful spot as the supreme Real Housewives franchise.

As we watched in our too-much-prosecco hazed state in the aftermath of Galentine’s Day, my friend and I immediately realized that The Real Housewives of Potomac wasn’t like any other franchise—and that’s what made it so hard to look away. While all of the ladies of Potomac are Black women, their lives are diverse in ways that make for excellent TV. Of course you have the women who are uber rich, with mansions galore and glam-squads at the ready (Karen, Monique, Katie), but you also have women who are just, dare I say, middle class—they’re doing well, but also have to go to work to pay the mortgage, and in some cases, the rent (Robyn, Gizelle). You have women in happy marriages to lifelong sweethearts, and you have women who are divorced, dating, and thriving—and you have one woman who is divorced from, but still living and sharing a bed with, said lifelong sweetheart. The women of Potomac also widely vary in age, with Karen Huger, the self-proclaimed Grand Dame, who began her Housewives tenure at the age of 52, and Ashley Darby, who made Housewives history as the youngest Housewife at the age of 27.

Potomac is also different from any other franchise because it takes place in, well, Potomac. Andy Cohen is known for giving us inside looks into the lifestyles of the rich and famous with women reigning from notable, big-named cities like Beverly Hills, New York, and even Dallas. But, he took a sharp left turn in choosing to establish a franchise in a place like Potomac, a small town in Maryland that, while boasted as one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, very few people could place on map. In short, I will boldly claim that The Real Housewives of Potomac reinvents the wheel and challenges what it means to be a Real Housewives franchise in new, exciting, and unique ways.

That’s not at all to say, however, that Potomac doesn’t know how to deliver classic, Housewives-defining elements that every franchise is required, by Bravo law, to possess. You have your overbearing mother (à la Atlanta’s Mama Joyce and New York’s Dale) in Candiace’s mom, Ms. Dorothy, who never provides a dull moment in being both a therapist but also someone who hits her daughter with her purse at social events. You have sightings from random celebrities you have not thought about in years (à la Fetty Wap in New Jersey) in Macy Gray, when she appears in season 4 to teach Karen’s daughter, Rayvin, how to sing. And of course, you cannot have real Real Housewives drama without the husbands getting involved. Much like PK and Ken in Beverly Hills, and the New Jersey Joes, the husbands of Potomac also reluctantly become roped into plotlines, most notably with “Did Michael Touch That Man’s Butt-gate”—a fascinatingly complicated plotline that transcends season lines.

One of my favorite Housewives tropes is the classic power struggle between the queens of the franchises: Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga, Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards, Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel. Potomac follows suit with the constant back-and-forth between Karen Huger and Gizelle Bryant. These women have a unique friendship, in that Gizelle’s achilles heel is not being able to recognize when she’s wrong, and Karen’s achilles heel is only being able to recognize when Gizelle is wrong. The women begin their tussle early on in season 1, and the cycle of “fight, no apology, fight, bad apology, fight, real apology” has, without fail, occurred every season since. However, what sets Karen and Gizelle’s friendship apart from other franchises is that it’s clear that there is genuine respect and love between them. We learn that the two have been friends for years, far preceding the Real Housewives cameras—and that is apparent. Yes, Gizelle hits below the belt when she wears a T-shirt that says “#FreeKarenHuger #TaxReform,” after Karen and her husband’s tax debts come to light, but she is also the first one to wipe away Karen’s tears when she breaks down at the season 3 reunion after the deaths of her parents. The ladies fight hard and love hard, a prime example of how Potomac gives you classic Housewives, while also pushing and redefining the Housewives narrative. 

Past seasons have been nail-bitingly thrilling, but season 5 is where I expect The Real Housewives of Potomac to really come into their own, and secure the currently empty slot of best Real Housewives franchise. The season 5 trailer gives us broken wine glasses, the introduction of a new Housewife, and wigs both good and bad. But, I’m most excited to see how the fifth season of Potomac will handle and discuss our current social climate as it pertains to race. It is true—we are living in unprecedented times, and the culture we consume, especially culture that is centered upon the lives of seven black women, should reflect that. Simply going based off Instagram posts, the women of most other franchises (except, you guessed it, Atlanta) have missed the mark incredibly when it comes to the anti-racism discussion. But the ladies of Potomac have never been strangers to the discussion of race on the show, from season 1 when Robyn and Gizelle cling tightly and proudly to their blackness, despite the lighter hues of their skin, to season 4 when Gizelle hosts a trip to New Orleans and the women emotionally tour a slave plantation. I’m excited and optimistic to see how the ladies of Potomac approach the current racial movement and show the women of other franchises that posting a black square to the grid, or simply ignoring the movement entirely, simply ain’t it. 

I was asked the other day who my favorite housewife was on Potomac, and I didn’t have a clear answer. Not because there are not personalities with a capital P within the franchise, but because these women are all connected, a cohort of women who pristinely works off each other to serve the plotline. You can’t have Ashley without Monique and Karen; you can’t have Robyn without Gizelle; you can’t have Candiace without her mom paying half the mortgage. The Real Housewives of Potomac is storyline-driven, which I think is where their lasting power lies. I simply cannot wait to see these women sweep the #1 Real Housewives spot with the premiere of their fifth season.

If you love RHOP, check out our video with Ashley Darby:

Photo by: Sophy Holland/Bravo

10 TV Shows Premiering This Summer To Give You An Excuse To Stay Home

When it comes to new TV shows, I feel like I never know what’s happening anymore. It’s hard to keep up with all the streaming services (and actual TV), but now that having a social life is basically a thing of the past, it’s nice to know your options. If you’ve burned through pretty much everything in your Netflix queue and you’re sick of people tell you to watch Game of Thrones (it’s just not meant to be for me), you need some new options ASAP.

Even though production on most TV shows remains shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things are slowly starting to resume, and there’s still lots of new stuff coming down the pipeline this summer. Whether you’re in the mood for something dark and dramatic or a little less serious, here are some of the most anticipated TV shows set to premiere this summer.

‘Perry Mason’ – 6/21

If you’re stuck at home with your parents this summer, here’s a good option to watch with your dad. Perry Mason was originally a legal show that ran in the 1950s and 60s, and then they kept making TV movies until the 90s. This past weekend, HBO debuted a new reimagining of the classic character, now played by Matthew Rhys. The new version takes place in Los Angeles during the Great Depression, and it’s full of dark and twisty vibes.

‘Search Party’ – 6/25

After a break of more than two years, Search Party is finally back for season 3, moving from TBS to HBO Max. The new season is both funnier and crazier than ever, with the entire crew swept up in a new trial, this time for murder. There are tons of fun cameos and guest appearances from your favorite comedians, so you’ll probably get through the entire season in one day.

‘I’ll Be Gone In The Dark’ – 6/28

If you haven’t gotten a good true crime fix since Tiger King came out (that was years ago, right?) the wait is finally over. This six-part HBO documentary follows writer Michelle McNamara as she investigates and writes a book about the notorious Golden State Killer. No spoilers, but this story is deeply f*cked up, and the new doc looks creepy in the best way.

‘Say I Do’ – 7/1

Netflix’s brand new show from the creators of Queer Eye features a team of three experts helping couples have the wedding day of their dreams. Judging from the trailer, this is a very similar vibe to Queer Eye, but like, wedding edition. Basically, you’re def going to cry at least once an episode.

‘Say Yes To The Dress’ – 7/11

Honestly, I didn’t even realize this show really had seasons, I thought the episodes just kind of appeared on Hulu. I guess not! The Kleinfeld team is back for another season, which is sure to feature beautiful dresses, nightmare moms, and more than a few mental breakdowns. Can’t wait to watch with my mom.

‘Married at First Sight’

Married at First Sight Taylor Brandon

Apparently July is wedding month, and Married at First Sight is returning with a new batch of couples. Season 11 features couples from New Orleans, so I’m sure there will be some interesting personalities. If your dating life is still on hold due to coronavirus, at least you can watch this to make up for it.

‘Brave New World’ – 7/15

NBC’s Peacock streaming service officially launches in July, which means one more set of originals to keep track of. They’re kicking off with a few new shows, but the most intriguing is Brave New World, an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel about ~the future~. According to Deadline, the story “imagines a utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family, and history itself,” but I have a feeling the whole “peace and stability” part won’t last.

‘The Alienist: Angel Of Darkness’ – 7/19

Originally a miniseries, The Alienist is back for a second season on TNT. The show, set in turn-of-the-century New York City, follows a criminal psychologist and incorporates real historical figures as he tries to solve a mystery. Dakota Fanning also stars, and season 2 looks like it’s going to be extra mysterious.

‘The Real Housewives Of Potomac’ – 8/2

RHOP is one of Bravo’s most underrated shows, and the ladies of Potomac are FINALLY coming back. Their season premiere was pushed back a few months due to COVID delays, but this is still on track to be one of the most dramatic seasons ever (and I don’t mean that in a bullsh*t Chris Harrison way). The biggest drama this season is most likely Monique and Candiace’s fight that resulted in a legal battle, but we’ll have to watch to get the full story.

‘Selling Sunset’ – 8/7

Everyone has been loving season 2 of the show that’s like The Hills meets Million Dollar Listing, and Netflix isn’t making us wait long for more episodes. Along with releasing season 2 in May, they announced that season 3 is dropping in August. The entire season 2 cast is returning, so I can’t wait to see what happens next in the world of high-stakes real estate drama.

Basically, there’s a lot left to watch this summer, even if you feel like you’re running out of options. Or, you know, you could always just watch Parks & Recreation again from the beginning—no judgment.

Images: Sophy Holland/Bravo; Netflix; Lifetime; HBO, HBO Max, Netflix, TLC, Bravo  / YouTube

A Definitive Ranking Of The Most Iconic Moms Of ‘Real Housewives’

It’s no secret from my many articles on the subject that I’m a Bravoholic with an affinity for all things Real Housewives. And while I didn’t think my appreciation for these women could get any deeper, I’ve been especially thankful for them while battling bouts of boredom and anxiety in self-quarantine. In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, it’s only right that we pay tribute to the amazing women that not only gave life to our Housewives, but who have made a lasting impression in their own right while appearing onscreen.

10. Ms. Diane, ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’

Ms. Diane is an angel. She ranks this high on the list because she’s one of the most normal and seemingly sane mothers this franchise has ever seen. Her calm demeanor and unwavering support of Porsha through everything from the divorce from Kordell to the infidelities of The Hot Dog King is truly heartwarming. Porsha is one of the few lucky ones.

9. Judy Stirling, ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’

Lydia’s mom, Judy, made an immediate impression when she breezed her way into the OC from what seemed like another planet entirely. She sprinkled fairy dust on her grown daughter, smoked a ton of pot, and even managed to get into it with Vicki’s aggro son-in-law over having her feet on Vicki’s couch. In short, she was a lot more interesting memorable than Lydia.

8. Dr. Deb, ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’

Dr. Deb is what you would get if you swapped out Judy’s weed for acid and proceeded to have a really bad trip at Burning Man. When she first appeared on the show, Dr. Deb intrigued viewers with her multicolored dreadlocks and general IDGAF attitude. She really got into the mix last season at “OC Fashion Week” (I refuse to believe that’s a thing) by fighting with another attendant and allegedly using a racial slur. Clearly used to chaos, it’s no wonder Braunwyn decided to have seven kids.

7. Ms. Dorothy, ‘Real Housewives of Potomac’

Ms. Dorothy made an impression from the moment we met her in season 3. Between her monthly stays at the house she bought for with Candiace and Chris and her attempts to control every aspect of their wedding, this therapist seems to have a blind spot when it comes to respecting boundaries with her daughter. Last season she took this to another level by slapping Candiace upside the head with a purse. It be ya own mother.

6. Lois Rinna, ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’

 When we first met Lois, she charmed us with her happy-go-lucky attitude and positive energy. Little did we know that this ray of sunshine nearly died after surviving an attack by a literal serial killer. And not only did she survive that, she also managed to sit through dinner while Camille defended Brett Kavanaugh and served us some epic facial expressions like this in the process:

5. Marge Sr., ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’

As if Marge Jr. weren’t enough of a gift to the show when she was cast in season 8, we got the added bonus of Marge Sr. Dating well into her seventies and even admitting that she’s had sex in a cemetery, Marge Sr. is the Hungarian Samantha Jones. We have no choice but to stan.

4. Mama Elsa, ‘Real Housewives of Miami’

Almost exactly one year ago, the world lost a legend. Mama Elsa was the indisputable star of the otherwise lackluster Real Housewives of Miami. With her strong Cuban accent, flair for drama, and witchy sensibilities, she stole every scene and gave us so many hilarious moments. The world was a wonder while she was here.

3. Dale Mercer, ‘Real Housewives of New York’

Regardless of whether Tinsley decides to return to RHONY, her mother Dale would be a welcome addition to the show. She never misses an opportunity to shade her own daughter, whether it’s pointing out to Tinsley that she’s wearing shoes designed by Tinsley’s ex-husband’s new wife, or implying that her relationship with Scott is doomed. And, of course, we can never forget her indulging Tinsley’s crazy and crying with her over Tinsley’s frozen eggs “babies” while Tinsley tries on wedding dresses despite not actually being engaged.

2. Mama Dee, ‘Real Housewives of Dallas’

Speaking of women that take pleasure in shading the hell out of their spawn, no one does it like Mama Dee. Watching D’Andra squirm while asking her mom for more money to let her take over the business and Dee revel in the power dynamic is truly captivating television. Is this a healthy mother-daughter dynamic? No, but I really don’t give a dog’s rip.

1. Mama Joyce, ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’

Love her or hate her, Mama Joyce is the G.O.A.T. of outrageous Real Housewives moms. She never misses an opportunity to harass her son-in-law, whether it’s butchering the lyrics to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to make a threat, or recounting a childhood trauma about a lunchbox to allude to her distrust of him. The thirst doesn’t stop there. She tried using a shoe as a weapon against Carmon during Kandi’s wedding dress shopping trip, and put on an actual trench coat to dig up dirt on Phaedra, giving us this iconic moment:

She may be a monster hellbent on destroying anyone that gets too close to her daughter’s money, but she’s given us some incredible moments in the process.

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that the moms on this list make for great TV. Which Real Housewives mom is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Images: Bravo (2); Tenor (5); Trash Talk TV; 1drdeb / Instagram; Giphy (2)

The 9 Most Toxic Husbands In ‘Real Housewives’ History

The ladies of The Real Housewives are the gifts that keep on giving. I love the franchise because it’s a space where women are not only allowed, but encouraged, to be unabashedly themselves. Many are quick to dismiss the show as frivolous and superficial, but for me and my fellow Bravoholics it’s a fascinating sociological study on what it means to be a woman in today’s world. This inevitably gives us a glimpse into the men our gals choose, and more often than not, the results are pure, unadulterated trash not pretty. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I ventured into the deepest, darkest depths of House Husband Hell and compiled a list of the most garbage men to grace our screens over the years.

9. Bill Aydin

Bill Aydin

Bill is a relatively new addition to The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but he immediately made an impression with his condescending attitude towards his wife, Jennifer, and insistence that she stay at home with their children at all times. Jennifer memorably had to ask Bill for permission to go on a “girls’ trip” (in other words, do her job), a request that displeased her controlling traditional husband. This should end well.

8. Brooks Ayers

Brooks Ayers Vicki Gunvalson

While not technically a husband (despite Vicki’s numerous attempts to make him fill her love tank), Brooks may as well have been one with the amount of screen time he took up during his tenure on The Real Housewives of Orange County. He immediately pinged fans’ creep radars when Vicki’s daughter Briana recounted that he sexually harassed her while she was pregnant. Brooks really cemented his status as the Dirty John of Bravo when it came out in season 10 that he perpetrated a cancer scam that Vicki was definitely *not* in on. Just thinking about him makes me want to take several showers.

7. Michael Darby

Michael Darby

Ashley’s marriage to Michael was shaky even in the earlier seasons of The Real Housewives of Potomac, with the two arguing over their fledgling restaurant and having children together, culminating in a separation just two years ago. Unfortunately, Michael is looking even worse this season with allegations that he sexually assaulted a cameraman on the show. Despite the charges being dropped, more allegations persist. And now he and Ashley have a baby together, which won’t complicate things at all.

6. Jim Edmonds

Jim Edmonds

This marriage always seemed suspect to me, not only because it was lucky number three for Jimbo, but also because he appeared completely and utterly checked out in every interaction with his wife. His abandonment of Meghan during her painful IVF treatments was particularly damning. Just when it seemed he couldn’t be more awful, news broke earlier this year about Jim’s involvement in a nude text message scandal in which, among other things, he was sexting a woman while Meghan was about to give birth to their twins. Inexplicably, they are still together.

My advice to Meghan:

5. Shane Simpson

Emily and Shane Simpson

There’s no way around it: Shane sucks. This human embodiment of the word “twerp,” as he was brilliantly called by castmate and certified genius Kelly Dodd, has been a walking wet blanket since his debut last season on The Real Housewives of Orange County. He threw Gina out of his home last season for being too loud during a party and proceeded to handle the aftermath with the same grace as a whiny toddler who’s been denied his binky. Shane has done nothing to redeem himself this season and can’t be bothered to hide his disdain snark in every scene with Emily, even going so far as to leave his family at home to escape to a hotel under the guise of “studying for the bar” (which he failed, btw). Instead of being grateful to his wife for singlehandedly taking care of their children and throwing a party for his parents in his absence, he snaps at her for disturbing him. Emily can do so much better.

4. Jason Hoppy

Jason Hoppy and Bethenny Frankel

This is where the list really starts getting dark. Like many serial killers eligible men, Jason initially seemed like the dream guy Bethenny had been searching for her entire life. He supported her dreams and together they started the family she always wanted. For a while, it looked like Bethenny really did have it all. But cracks started to show in her spin-off Bethenny Ever After and it quickly became clear that Jason had a dark side he’d been hiding from the viewers. Once Bethenny filed for divorce, Jason fully unleashed his crazy by refusing to leave their apartment, threatening her, and bad-mouthing her to their daughter. Yikes.

3. David Beador

Shanno and David Beador

Seeing old footage of David Beador and his White Walker eyes still sends a chill down my spine. Shannon was completely humiliated when she revealed during season 10 of The Real Housewives of Orange County that David had a long-term affair. Though the pair did try to work through their problems, David’s attempts to reconcile always seemed forced and inauthentic. During season 11, Vicki alleged that David was physically abusive towards Shannon during their marriage. Though both David and Shannon denied any physical abuse, David was arrested for domestic battery years earlier. The stress of the allegations led Shannon to gain 40 pounds, and instead of supporting his wife during this difficult time, David began aggressively working out as if to mock her and would eat in front of her in a way that can only be described as hostile. Thankfully, Shannon divorced him.

2. Jim Marchese

Jim Marchese and Amber Marchese

Until I began preparing this list, I had somehow forgotten that this O.T. (Original Twerp) ever existed. Jim was hated by just about every cast member during his mercifully short run on The Real Housewives of New Jersey for getting in the women’s faces repeatedly like a rabid dog on crack and saying unspeakable things about his castmates. Jim has continued to reach new lows after his stint on the show. He revealed during his appearance with Amber on Marriage Bootcamp that he blamed her for getting cancer, was arrested shortly thereafter for felony domestic violence against Amber and, most recently, has been accused by his own son of refusing to continue paying his college tuition because he is gay. What a mensch.

1. Joe Giudice

Joe Giudice

It admittedly doesn’t get much worse than Jim Marchese, but Juicy Joe still reigns supreme as the worst of the worst husbands. The repeated rumors of infidelity were bad enough. Who could forget that uncomfortable scene where he was caught on camera talking to his mistress one of his workers and referring to Teresa as “my bitch wife” and a “c*nt”? But Joe cemented his status on this list by committing fraud and implicating Teresa, causing her to serve time in prison and miss out on valuable time with her mother, who died less than two years after her release. It’s unforgivable, but it does look like karma is coming for Joe and he’s probably getting deported.

Of course, this isn’t a complete list because choosing among the toxic men on these shows is an embarrassment of riches. There were many more I wanted to include (looking at you, Jim Bellino, Kelsey Grammer, Slade Smiley, Paul “Peekay” Kemsley and Simon Barney), but I can’t afford to quit my day job. Sound off in the comments with your worst House Husbands!

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Gizelle Bryant Is The Real Housewife Who Does It All

If you’ve been watching this season of The Real Housewives of Potomac, you know that these women don’t mess around. They always bring the drama, the laughs, and the iconic looks (along with a few bad wigs). None of the RHOP ladies mess around, but there’s no argument that Gizelle Bryant is the OG queen of Potomac. The RHOP reunion has been heating up, and earlier this week, Gizelle stopped by Betches HQ to talk about the show, and some of the other exciting projects she has going on.

Note: if you’ve never met Gizelle in person, you have to know that she is just as stunning in person as she is on TV. She likes to get messy when it comes to the drama in Potomac, but her face is never, ever a mess. It makes perfect sense that she decided to start a makeup line, because looking like her would be the literal dream. She looked perfect, despite being up late the night before on Watch What Happens Live, where she hung out with KeKe Palmer. Casual.

We played some games with Gizelle, starting with quizzing her on quotes by her fellow housewives. She didn’t get a perfect score, but you better believe she remembered who called her face “repulsive.” I died a little when she repeated her famous quote: “THIS FACE REPULSES NO ONE.” She’s not wrong. And she died a little when we surprised her with a quote from her novel My Word, which is based on her past experiences as the wife of a prominent pastor. (You can get it now on Amazon, btw.) But luckily, Gizelle recognized her own writing, no problem.

We then put her in the Housewives Hot Seat, asking her some rapid fire questions about the Brav0 universe. Here’s a quick rundown of what we learned:

— Gizelle is definitely not a fan of Ramona Singer (probably because of that time she ignored her in the Hamptons).

— She would rather have Kandi Burruss plan her birthday party than Sonja Morgan, mostly because Kandi has major coins.

— If she had to join another Housewives, it would be Beverly Hills. If she could choose any Bravo show to join, it would be Shahs of Sunset, so she could hang out with Reza.

— Cynthia Bailey would be her dream housewife to have as an EveryHue Beauty model, because duh.

— She would gladly have both J.Lo and Queen Latifah join the RHOP cast. And now I need to see it.

This season of The Real Housewives of Potomac is sadly coming to an end, but luckily we still have two more parts of the reunion to get through. Michael Darby is going to be in the hot seat, and I’m sure our messy queen Gizelle will have plenty more to say about this seasons’s insane drama. In the off season, Gizelle will have plenty to keep her busy. Season five is rumored to already be filming, and of course she has her EveryHue Beauty makeup company, available at Target. Gizelle Bryant really does it all, and makes it look easy.

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PSA: Stop Sleeping On ‘The Real Housewives Of Potomac’

The first season for any show can be difficult, especially when you have the fanbase Bravo has. We are passionate, outspoken veterans of reality television, so it’s hard to watch new shows try to find their way. We have grown accustomed to the Bethennys, the Nenes, and the Teresas, who know the game and play it well. So when Bravo announced Potomac and Dallas were going to be added under the Real Housewives umbrella in 2016, I was hesitant. But I did what any devoted fan does, and watched both franchises when they first aired. And I wasn’t impressed. Dallas was all about the charity scene, and Potomac was constantly talking about etiquette. I just didn’t connect with either city, because there wasn’t anything I could sink my teeth into.

But for the past year or so, my best friend Steve who runs the Instagram account @FacesbyBravo (follow him, he’s hilarious) has been begging me to start The Real Housewives of Potomac. Since I was jaded by the first season, I kept pushing it off. And guys, I WAS A DAMN FOOL. Giving Potomac a second chance was the best decision I have made in a long time. That, and deciding to get eyelash extensions.

The fourth season is airing currently, so I started by dipping my toe into the third season. This is what I recommend for anyone who wants to give this franchise a chance. Season three gives you a lot of flashbacks into the second season, so you’re caught up fairly quickly. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint.

First, let me break down the women of Potomac. Karen and Gizelle are already Bravo royalty. They are some of the most iconic housewives I have ever seen, and have done so much in such a short amount of time. Truly, everything that makes you a great housewife. Monique is an amazing addition, she gave us the umbrella moment in season three, and she is one of the most beautiful people to ever be on television. Ashley is one of the messiest housewives I have ever seen, while simultaneously getting her yoga certification. I love a contradiction. We get introduced to Candiace in season three, but wait till you get to season four, because Candiace really shines. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say one thing: butter knife. And to finish out the cast, we have Robyn. Some may say “oh she is boring”, or “what does she bring to the show?” And sure, on the surface Robyn might seem boring, but she is the glue that grounds these women in reality, and she is BEYOND gorgeous. Also, America is always rooting for her and Juan to get back together.

These women offer us something so many cities have failed to do in recent years, and that is giving us vulnerability while having fun. That is it. They are having fun. They don’t feel tired, or played out. They aren’t afraid of confrontation, and are always ready to meet for lunch and have a sit down to “work it out”. Their families play a large role in the show as well: Candiace has an emotionally abusive, codependent relationship with her mother, Ashley confronts her father, who abandoned her at a young age, this season, and Gizelle tries to balance being a single mother to three teenage daughters. It is a lot, and they do it flawlessly. OH, and did I mention they are hilarious? Ashley has some of the best one-liners, and you can always look to Karen to give a GIF worthy reaction.

The Real Housewives of Potomac has quietly become the second-best city in the Real Housewives franchise. Obviously, RHONY is forever my number one (and if anyone from Bravo is reading this, let me tell you, if you so much as touch a hair on Ramona Singer’s head, there will be a riot in these streets. We already lost Bethenny, so this isn’t up for discussion). The women of Potomac deliver in ways we haven’t seen in a long time from a lot of our OG cities. They are breathing new life into the franchise, and the other cities should be taking notes.

As someone who has been watching The Real Housewives and all of their spinoffs since 2008, I will admit it is hard to welcome the new girl. We have tried over the years with DC or Miami, which both flopped (don’t get me started, DC was iconic and deserved a second season). These women are hilarious and snarky. They are messy, but also very forgiving. I give The Real Housewives of Potomac five stars, and urge all of you to begin watching ASAP.

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