Hey Trashcrabs! Here we are, at the end of a long and tedious road, crawling on our hands and knees, our dresses and jewels and fineries in shambles, into the ominous chambers of King Andrew Joseph Cohen, First of His Name, for the tense and fearsome Reunion Ceremony. It’s here that we will crown our victor, showering her in riches and accolades, while we simultaneously condemn our sinner, tarring her, feathering her, then breaking her on the wheel. As is law in these lands, the ladies drop their weapons at the precipice, as no one is to be armed in the presence of our lord. This house is holy.
This house is a also a sound stage, dressed up to look like a classy condo on the Potomac, but then, that’s the way it always is.
All the ladies have come dressed in the colors of their clans.
I must say, all kidding aside, this has to be the most visibly offensive reunion I’ve ever seen. These looks are fucking GHASTLY. Put aside the uninspired dresses, and just ponder a sec on how unconscionably garish all this makeup and hair is. It hurts to look at. It’s like the ladies found that tomb where they keep the Holy Grail and stole ALL THE JEWELS AND PUT ALL THE JEWELS ON THEIR HEAD. Only if all those jewels were made by Charming Charlie’s. And if all the heads were various piles of yarn in a summer camp arts & craft bin. There’s so much to unpack from all this cosmetic violence, so let’s run down the ladies’ scores from “do better” to “get off my television.”
Ashley gets my “best” vote only because of how safe she played it. I mean, the thing about this dress that redeems her is also its worst quality: it’s just boring. Ashley thought “pageant” was the best way to go, but then so does the wardrobe crew on shows like The Bachelor. They choose pretty sparkly shiny things for pretty sparkly shiny girls to stand in, and then five minutes later the audience completely forgets about both the dress and the girl. Thank god Ashley pulled through this Reunion with a stellar performance.
Candiace clearly chose this dress because it shows off her legs and tits at the same time, even when she’s sitting down.
The color is lovely but the cut – some sort of confused middle ground between “Beyonce’s Lemonade” and “1970s house coat” – is abhorrent. Candiace is also wearing a Gucci choker that looks fake (and if it’s real, that’s even worse, because that means she sprung for a fake-looking Gucci) and shoes that my mom thought were classy about 15 years ago.
Gizelle is wearing tights with glitter in them. She must be shot for this crime.
Other than that, her entire philosophy getting dressed before taping was: give me that but two sizes smaller than what my body needs. Her dress has a very Kyle Richards-esque fit to it (ie, too small), her strappy sandles are cutting off circulation to the rest of her legs, and her pony tail is pulled so tight that her face manages to look both cross-eyed and – contrary to how you’d assume ponies would work – much older than she really is. Methinks a bad Botox session is involved here as well. She is wearing an olive green dress of terrible fabric with coral lips and crazy drop earrings that were made by the same 12-year-old girl who produced Candiace’s Gucci collar.
Monique is wearing a set of carefully architected ribbons and a clingy, skin-tight nude gown to which my cat added the finishing touch. It’s got a cutout right at the bottom of Monique’s pregnant belly, which is literally the opposite of endearing or flattering and is in fact deeply unsettling. Monique is wearing a stack of coal on her head. She will hide it all under your bed’s tonight because you are all naughty boys and girls, every last one of you.
Karen’s getting marrrrrriiiiieeeeeeeeed today! She opted for the ever-popular lace illusion dress (favored especially by the Atlanta ladies), and had it tailored all the way up to her areolas, because modesty. Thus, when she sits down, her breasts flop out in front of her and look like pancakes on a tray. Sexy! Perhaps the best feature of this dress is the veil, which Karen chose to affix to her ass instead of her scalp. She made it from rolls and rolls of toilet paper that got stuck to her as she was leaving the bathroom, and no one has the heart to tell her what’s happening for fear of embarrassing her.
Tonya Harding was at the Reunion for some reason. It’s nice to see she’s still making her own Ice Capades dresses.
Anyway, Reunions are notoriously hard to recap; there’s only so much “she said then she said and then my brain blew up” before, you know, your brain blows up, so I’m just going to cover this topic by topic.
“Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”
We start off with a softball: a montage of the ladies impersonating one another or getting in little digs about the other girls being jealous of them in some capacity. We’re taken back to the hilarious Kurn Hugur incident and the group commends Karen for taking everything in stride. Karen admits that she keeps her wigs in plastic bags from Walmart. Color me unsurprised. Candiace still insists that she gets recognized at airports, despite no one in the room ever having heard of the Miss United States Pageant (remember, it ain’t the same thing as Miss USA).
Monique is an alcoholic, question mark
Andy tells Monique that she “received a lot of negative blowback” after her car accident, considering that she admitted it happened after drinking at lunch. Monique agrees and says that people have said she miscarried because of alcoholism. That’s a little harsh and those people definitely suck, but the spotlight is turned on Ashley for “making a bigger deal” out of the situation and “twisting it.” Ashley again correctly asserts that it was Monique herself who volunteered the her drink tally pre-crash. Andy tries to catch Ashley in a “gotcha” moment and points out that she’s drinking a Corona Light in nearly all of her scenes, so isn’t she being hypocritical? No, Ashley says, since she didn’t CRASH HER FUCKING CAR (she also claims that she “sat in her car for 30 minutes” after that lunch, LOL). Also, may I just say – there’s a league of difference between Corona Lights and martinis when it comes to ABV.
Monique starts barking at all three of the ladies on the other couch and Andy interjects that she’s getting very defensive. Monique insists that it’s only because she’d never “destroy a friend’s character,” like Robyn, Gizelle, and Ashley are doing to her. Monique eventually apologizes for “misdirecting her anger.” Andy asks Karen what she thinks of the whole drunk driving thing and Ashley interjects that Karen isn’t the one to ask; Gizelle agrees since Karen got a DUI. Karen brushes off Ashley as a shit-stirrer and the two of them agree that they’d never drink alone together.
Some people think the name of Monique’s blog – “Not For Lazy (NFL, duh) Moms” – is offensive, including everyone on the Green Eyed Bandit couch, but Robyn, Gizelle, and Ashley all admit that they’ve never even tried to read it. I still don’t know why no one’s brought up the NFL acronym. Alluding to Monique’s obsession with natural oils (and her documented aversion to antibiotics) Andy asks the question that’s on everyone’s mind. Instead of framing it bluntly, like are you an anti-vaxxer, he asks “do you not believe in medicine?” Monique says that she just prefers to try natural stuff first. Ashley jumps in to defend the personal choice of moms. So I guess that means Ashley’s an anti-vaxxer!
Gizelle vs. MonqiezzzzzzzzzZZZZZ
Andy asks why Gizelle and Monique can’t get along; Karen believes it’s because of jealousy (for once in her life, she’s not wrong about something). Gizelle and Monique argue about the whole France thing – when Monique slipped off of the group on the plane in favor of a first class seat – until Robyn reminds everyone that Gizelle actually forgave all of that. Hey, yeah, remember, everyone says, when Gizelle and Monique bonded over that whole jealous husband thing? Monique generously says that she wasn’t surprised to see Gizelle empathize with her in France, and admits the possibility that she and Gizelle could be friends some day. Gizelle jumps on her back to say a friendship would only happen if Monique “owned her shit and apologizes.” Classy!
Candiace: “Not a Housewife, A Housedaughter”
We review a montage of what a fool our rookie Candiace is, from her pageant ways to her mom paying for everything to her stupid “susband” and his stupid “brown dick” and her awful “Princess” trigger. Candiace confesses that Chris said much more to her that night of the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner, adding that he had warned her “not to let the show go to your head, cuz you ain’t shit.” The group admits that that’s hurtful, and Andy wonders why she’d be engaged to someone who could say something so cutting. Candiace assumes that she and Chris work because they’re both “brutally honest.” I mean, I’ve had trouble being brutally honest and criticizing my boyfriends. Maybe I should take a page from Candiace’s book and just call them dead beats like their dads?
Everyone laughs about the whole brown dick thing before Andy comments that Candiace does seem to bring up Chris’ race a lot. Ashley adds that it’s a little suspect before Candiace tells her she does the same exact thing (?). Ashley asks Candiace to explain what Ashley’s said or done that could be considered in any way racially divisive. Candiace blurts out that she does things that are “similar” like “sticking her nose in other people’s business,” adding that Ashley “lives and breathes to talk shit about other people.” Then a fight devolves between them as they lob insults about pageants and pft who cares this shit is so dumb.
Andy asks Candiace how her fiance is comfortable living in a home that her mom bought her. She starts: “my mom did not pay for my house — OK, well she paid for my house,” before excusing all that since the house is an investment property. Karen nods rabidly in agreement, because real estate is
always something you should lie about fancy and complicated. Ashley calls Candiace a “Housedaughter.” Andy asks Candiace how much of the BBQ restaurant Chris owns. When Candiace brushes the answer off as “proprietary information,” Ashley helpfully adds that the cook at Oz is considered an “owner” even though he only has a small stake in the property. Andy tries the Ramona approach by reminding Candiace that she is on a reality show about her life, but it goes nowhere. There’s a question about Chris’ kids and Gizelle gets real for a second to remind this dumb idiotic child that she should have a relationship with Chris’ baby mamas for the sake of the children.
After a question about Candiace’s royal wedding (250+ guests), Candiace says that most of the cast has been invited. “I haven’t been invited,” Gizelle chimes in. Ashley has been invited because as Candiace sees it, they have a sort of Monique/Gizelle love/hate inverse need relationship (my words).
We go through a montage of Robyn, this show’s most consistently boring, consistently hopeless toadstool, from her rebuilding a relationship with Juan to her fights with Monique to her She Is Empowered thing (remember that? I don’t). Robyn says some more rehearsed shit about rehabilitating her family and working on things with Juan – the same kind of shit “she’s been saying for years,” Andy points out. He also adds that the medium (that HIS network hired, LOL) was likely a fake since Robyn is, hullo, on national TV and the guy could have Googled everything.
Andy is really throwing in the towel on these Reunions and I LOVE IT.
Someone writes in with a question about Karen’s stupid dictating-yes-meaning-yay-into-Siri story, alleging that she just wanted to go to Monique’s event instead of Robyn’s because “Karen wants to be around other rich people.”
Whoever that viewer is, I love you. Let’s get drinks. Karen continues to lie about wanting to support both her friends and misreading her calendar and something about Robyn forcing people to decide and putting them in an awkward position; Robyn insists that Karen just backed out of her event and told a bunch of fibs to backpedal.
The Green Eyed Bandits
There’s a question about the meme Monique or One Of Her Millions Of Payed Relatives made for her fan page – the one that basically makes fun of Robyn from last year’s Reunion. Even though Monique was primarily coming after Gizelle last year, Robyn reminds Monique that she had been consistently talking about Robyn suing her to get a better house and calling her “beneath” people like Gizelle. Monique insists that Gizelle “controls” Robyn. Which… is not wrong. Regardless, most of the girls – including Andy (ha, sorry) – insist that Monique’s fan page is representative of her, regardless of who’s running the admin controls. Over Gizelle’s screaming, Monique apologizes for whatever offense her page caused Robyn and said that she would address things.
A question naturally arises about (Karen and) Ray’s tax issues, which leads to a montage of scenes primarily from the earlier part of the season. This includes consequential scandals like Michael’s alleged Grindr incident and Gizelle’s homemade tshirt with completely innocuous hashtags. Karen deflects all detailed answers to Ray, who will be out next episode, but says the problem is “in their rear view mirror.” Andy clarifies that they’re still paying off their debt, so it’s more of a blind spot instead of a rear view (which is true, and as someone who’s gotten in trouble with the IRS, I’ll side with Karen here and admit that there’s a huge difference between not paying and paying everything off, but there’s also a huge difference between handling the situation and outright tax evasion).
Andy asks the obvious question of why Karen didn’t follow up with her husband about a teensy weensy thing he may have mentioned about the IRS. Karen lies and says she never knew, but also admits that she’s “spoiled” and should have circled back with Ray.
A viewer writes in with a well-deserved condemnation over Ashley’s distasteful prison rape joke, but the group completely misinterprets the point and starts to fight about Michael’s Grindr fiasco. Ashley insists fairly that she knows what Michael looks like naked and knows that the dude in the leaked selfies isn’t her husband. (Candiace points out in a back-handed way that the buff dude in the pictures doesn’t have Michael’s body.) Karen dumbly insists that it IS, even though she “doesn’t WANT to know what Michael looks like” in the buff and howls that she’s “scarred for life.” Ashley wisely reminds Andy and Karen that she has been (unlike Karen) shamelessly open about everything on her life on the show – including marital woes and deadbeat moms – so there’s no reason for her to lie about something like a gay affair.
Back on the tax thing, Karen confesses that she called Gizelle first, right after she found out Ray was in trouble, because she and Gizelle have “history.” When Gizelle didn’t pick up, Karen called Robyn, whose thoughtful, three-hour response she admired. But Robyn adds that after she got off the phone with Karen, Juan planted the seed in Robyn’s head that (DUH) Karen was lying about shit. And when Robyn confronted Karen about that lying, she was being genuine.
Gizelle adds rationally that the news about Karen’s tax issues broke in the Washington Post hours after Karen herself found out, so it’s not like Robyn was surreptitiously running around with some incendiary secret. And by the way, when the ladies showed up to the maniacally fucking farcical “press conference,” they – like any sane human being! – genuinely came under the auspices of concern and curiosity. Karen was wrong to shoot them down in the furious, deflective, Trump-esque style she did. And for the record, Gizelle showed up in a “silly” shirt, because who in their right mind would take a press conference with no press seriously?
Karen says Gizelle’s shirt was “malicious,” but Andy shoots her down with his gay powers and reminds her that she was wearing a FUCKING CAMOUFLAGE CAT SUIT that day.
Karen doesn’t really answer to that faux pas, but makes up some fantasy about the women “celebrating” Ray’s misfortune. “So you thought it was schadenfreude,” Andy says, and then all the ladies go like this:
You can’t say words like that around them, Andy.
Andy also adds that Karen could have “saved herself a lot of grief” by just being open and honest at an event that she’s ostensibly organized to answer any questions openly and honestly. Karen says that she “wasn’t thinking like that,” just that she was distrustful of her friends and didn’t expect them to have her back. Also, she was dealing with sick parents. Um, then why invite non-friends you distrust, in the midst of multiple personal crises, anywhere in the first place??? Andy adds that if Karen didn’t want to be honest with the women, she could have at least been honest “with the viewers.” “HELLO! I’M TALKING TO YOU NOW!” Karen gestures:
Gizelle and Karen fight about who’s been a better friend; Karen saying that Gizelle needs to “put herself out there,” Gizelle saying that Karen needs to “tell the truth” and not be so defensive.
But this is where Karen starts to fall apart, cracks crawling in through her fake veneer of porcelain. And in Karen’s defense, she’s finally being honest. But in everyone else’s defense, she’s so destructively blindsided by her ego that she can’t see how she’s contradicted herself at every turn. I love this line of hers: “just because I drop out of your life for a minute, don’t take it personally.” Hey, I get that! When you’re depressed, you need a beat. And the worst thing a friend can do, when your world is falling apart around you, is barge in and say I’m worried! What’s going on! Why won’t you talk to me! The last thing you need at that point is another person to be accountable to – another burden, another responsibility to fail.
But where Karen loses traction is where she insists that no one checked in on her. No one asked if she was OK, when Karen herself was the one who invented a fake press conference JUST FOR THE SAKE of people coming to gather around her and do exactly that. She squawks that Gizelle never came to visit her, but we all know that’s because Karen’s been hiding in an underground lair all season. Gizelle flatly tries to reason with Karen, yelling calmly that Karen should know how she’s lying to herself, even now.
Andy, at last, is so enraptured by all of this that he shuts up and stops batting his cat toys around for the sake of morbid curiosity:
Karen finally says something reasonable: that the girls knew about both issues: that Karen was dealing with her dying parents and her financially strapped, legally compromised husband, but all they cared about was the “sensational mess” of the tax scandal. Which is a fair point. Karen bluntly says that both her parents are “dead and gone,” and Andy just pouts in a superficial way and says, “I’m sorry about your dad.” That gets Karen off the couch to go cry in her dressing room, her assy paper towel veil trailing behind her:
BTW, feast your eyes on the required uniform for Karen’s lackies.
And, ugh. You know, this is pretty shitty. And I do feel for Karen. As a note, one thing we learned in the stupid behind-the-scenes prologue they’re insisting on tacking on to Reunions, like this is a fucking Bruce Springsteen Live at Madison Square Garden special, is that along with Monique’s pregnancy, both of Karen’s parents have died in the short time frame between wrapping the season and taping the Reunion:
Yikes. Karen showed up to this Reunion FIVE DAYS AFTER BURRYING HER DAD. And I don’t mean to judge anyone’s grieving process, but… that seems a little soon. No? Like, maybe take a beat, Karen? I dunno. I’m sorry.
While Andy and the cast sit on the couch, feeling stupid and biting their lips and saying empty things like “I hate this” or “she’s so raw,” Gizelle gets up to go chase down Karen:
While Karen is suffering wracking sobs that definitely seem real – no sarcasm: as a reminder, SHE BURIED HER DAD FIVE DAYS AGO – Gizelle hugs and coos and says things like “you did a lot better than I thought you would,” leading me to believe that the two of them actually do have an honest friendship behind the scenes and talk on the phone and check in with one another. Gizelle tells Karen that she’s going to be fine, because her parents raised her that way: “as a strong, bad-ass, black woman.”
As Gizelle sadly climbs her way out of the dressing room, gathering up her skirts, staring out ahead, walking back into the pit, she remembers what this show is about: real emotions. real life. real death. real housewives. Painting over everything with lurid, dizzying colors, hoping that no one sees the grey behind the rainbow.
Next week: The men show up. Chris got the memo about seizure-inducing outfits.
Chris, what are you doing.
Andy asks Chris about his brown dick and Chris asks Gizelle to break out a “hue card.” Nice one! Relegated “Friend Of” Charrisse is there, wearing the same trippy, wildly unflattering space-age shit as everyone else:
We get an update on Sherman, who apparently wants Gizelle back. Gizelle told him to drop dead, because she’s awesome. There are more fights that hurt my brain, including an alleged lawsuit between Karen and Ashley. This makes Michael kwy.
🙁 🙁 🙁
Until then, my Crabbies!
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