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Why This Season Of 'RHOP' Is A Cautionary Tale

Everyone has a flop era, but not everyone has to live it out on national television. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened with season eight of The Real Housewives of Potomac and now some of the show’s top Wives are paying the price. Get your triangles of sadness ready — after six seasons of (mostly) hilarious shade, Candiace Dillard announced she is exiting RHOP. The streets are saying O.G. green-eyed bandit Robyn Dixon has also gotten the axe. With fans underwhelmed by the lack of comradery and overstimulated by the God-tier grudge-holding that kept the women from filming together, it’s not hard to imagine why Candiace and Robyn were booted and why more heads are likely set to roll. 

So what exactly happened to warrant such a huge casting shake-up of the former fan-favorite, and exactly who has been fired from Real Housewives of Potomac? I’ve done a little investigating to hopefully save future icons from suffering the same fate.

Things haven’t been right in Potomac for some time now, at least not if you’ve been watching closely. The O.G. ladies of the DMV have provided us with Emmy Award-worthy drama since the very beginning which reached an all-time high with the addition of Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard. They then hit us with a shocking low, when Monique attacked Candiace for her professional shit-talking and then ran around a bar like Usain Bolt. Still, as shocking and divisive as the conflict was, the cast managed to turn the trauma into sisterhood and make us laugh along the way, with binders and lober-laden strip clubs. 

Season seven, however, is when the cracks began to show. The level of vitriol ping-ponging across Andy’s center chair at the reunion was alarming given the issues at hand. O.G. Gizelle Bryant had seemingly orchestrated a negative storyline about Chris Dillard (Candiace’s white husband with a brown you know what) which led Candiace to initiate a relentless insult-laden campaign against Gizelle and her sidekick Robyn, despite Robyn having defended Chris all season long. By that time, irritable chameleon Wendy Osefo had also written off co-star Mia Thornton for spreading laughably flimsy rumors about Wendy’s relationship with Peter Thomas (yes, as in Cynthia Bailey’s ex, Peter) with whom Wendy was designing a Nigerian hookah lounge slash children’s library that gratefully never saw the light of day. This escalated into Mia throwing a drink in Wendy’s face, and a Miami trip entirely derailed by picking sides.

Candiace & Wendy at the reunion
Image Credit: NBC

Housewives fighting with each other is akin to bees buzzing around all summer: we need both to keep the ecosystem afloat. And while I personally hope to avoid the types of blow-ups these ladies instigate on a Tuesday afternoon (like cheating slander and flying cocktails), I enjoy watching them negotiate such dramatics with spunk and style. More than that, if we’re being real, it’s the nature of the job. When Meghan King-Edmonds single-handedly proved Vicki was (at a minimum) involved in a cancer scam on season 10 of RHOC, she still broke bread with said liar-liar-pants-on-fire in season 11 while continuing her work as the show’s resident FBI agent. Garcelle and Sutton were the most vocal about Erika Jayne’s unethical proximity to the horrific suffering of Tom Girardi’s victims, and the three of them got tipsy enough to laugh off Sutton making out with her driver this season. It’s wild how Jen Shah managed to survive an entire season of RHOSLC with pending federal charges for scamming old people. The group extended arguably too much grace to the now inmate, but still, they kept shit moving for the sake of the show. 

What happened in the city of Potomac (is it a city or a borough? It low-key feels like a Bermuda Triangle situation with the way the women fight over who does and does not live there) was the exact opposite. Most of the women refused to move on: declining group scenes or avoiding eye contact when they were all present. Viewers (and seemingly Bravo executives) would rather see them duke it out and find some semblance of a truce afterward so that silly activities like Ashley Darby’s vagina self-portrait session can provide the campy levity these shows need for balance. Candiace chose to run with conspiracy theories instead of having one singular productive conversation with Robyn. Robyn was painfully apathetic about her fallout with Candiace and even more annoyingly about all the gossip surrounding her marriage, even when said gossip was brought up in a safe space by her best friend, Gizelle. Gizelle played ball with most of the cast, including nurturing her iconic frenemy-ship with Karen, but completely withdrew when it came to confronting Candiace for all the hurtful things she said at the reunion and continued to say throughout the season alongside Wendy. And Wendy…I wish I had the time or energy to unpack her def con 1 feud with Nnenka, but I don’t. The point is she’s beefing with almost everyone on the cast except Candiace. Because of all the chaos, for the first time in history, Ashley Darby was just kinda… there.

What’s the lesson here? If we’re at a point in the group where one of the Housewive’s daughters going off to college isn’t a wholesome warm and fuzzy moment everyone can partake in, then we’re in deep trouble. Which is why Ms. Dillard had to exit stage left, and if you ask me, she’s far from the last to go.  I do hope whatever tough decisions are made in the off-season help us get back to the shade and shenanigans Potomac once was. We can’t afford to let real Bravoholics’ favorite franchise go out like this.

Marissa Dow
Marissa Dow
MARISSA DOW is a trending news writer at Betches. She's more than just another pop-culture-addicted-east-coaster-turned-LA-transplant...she's also an upcoming television writer and aspiring Real Housewife (whichever comes first). Live, laugh, balegdah.