“I frankly don’t care about what anyone who does not know me thinks about me,” said co-star Robyn Dixon, the ex-wife of former NBA star Juan Dixon, when asked how she plans to deal with the nature of the reality show beast: constant judgement, especially on social media and “especially,” added cast mate Gizelle Bryant, ex-wife of ex-megachurch preacher Jamal Bryant, “if they’re in Idaho and they’re tweeting.”
From what we hear the five area women (former model Katie Rost was noticeably MIA) were all smiles, leaning heavily on one another for support and sentence-finishing, if not like old friends, at least like amiable co-workers. That image is in stark contrast to those other housewives of yesteryear. Flashback to 2010’s TCA tour and the bar of a posh Beverly Hills restaurant where a disgruntled Tareq Salahi — then married to fellow White House crasher and “Real Housewives of D.C.” co-star Michaele — threw a glass of red wine at cast member Lynda Erkiletian. Salahi was allegedly mad at Erkiletian for being mean to his wife on the show.
That drama famously ended after one season (a franchise first), and these new housewives (and housedivorcées) made it clear that drink throwing and table flipping isn’t a part of this season’s plot lines.
“We use our words to fight,” explained Karen Huger, the 52-year-old self-styled etiquette grande dame on the show. In the first episode, Huger sets herself up as the high priestess of “proper etiquette.” Think of her as the Countess Luann de Lesseps (“Real Housewives of New York”) character. “We don’t fight physically and that actually helps us move on with the next day. Life is too short to stay angry.”
But so too are most television audience’s attention spans. It remains to be seen whether fans of the franchise will fully embrace Huger’s three-step conflict resolution program: Knock on the front door, take it to the porch, and handle it.
Dixon basically called it adulting and Bryant agreed while adding a pinch of PSA. “If we’re able to deal with it, and a table doesn’t get flipped, that’s fantastic. People can know that we’re black and we can have discussions. We can deal with it, and nobody got their hair ripped out.”
The subject of race and reality show — not always a pairing of positive imagery — comes up on the pilot episode when Charrisse Jackson Jordan, the wife of former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, the only other cast member who lives in Potomac, talked about her initial reception to the area. It wasn’t perfect. She mentioned hearing the words “Section 8,” the housing voucher program.
Race also came up this summer when a leaked memo about the show mentioned the alleged “cattiness” swirling around Jack and Jill America, a 78-year-old elite membership organization founded by a group of African American mothers to which a few of the cast members belong. The organization was not pleased. But Bravo responded quickly to the backlash maintaining that Jack and Jill wouldn’t be mentioned.”We don’t mention the words Jack or Jill ever,” said Dixon, a member of the organization along with Huger and Jackson Jordan.
Dixon described the dustup as a “telephone game gone wrong.”
After the Jan. 17 premiere, these women, despite all their efforts to stay above the table-flipping fray, can reasonably expect a lot more of those types of miscommunication with fans, who will only see a heavily edited snippet of the three months they spent together this summer. Are they afraid?
“People will judge,” said Dixon. “I get that. But this is television. This is entertainment. Don’t take us too seriously, because, guess what? We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” continued Dixon, before adding, “some of ya’ll do.”