×

The Real Housewives of D.C.

The N.Y.-Hollywood-Beltway power/celebrity nexus coalesces in the most irritating manner possible.

With:
With: Mary Amons, Lynda Erkiletian, Catherine Ommanney, Michaele Salahi, Stacie Turner

The New York-Hollywood-Beltway nexus of power/celebrity coalesces in the most irritating manner possible on “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” the fifth permutation of Bravo’s signature (if increasingly tone-deaf) look at upper-crust living in recessionary times. Of course, “D.C.” gets off to a running start, inasmuch as the show comes presold by the publicity associated with participants having potentially committed a crime by allegedly crashing a White House state dinner. Beyond that, it’s a particularly galling group — one that, alas, will probably reward Bravo’s misdemeanors in aiding and abetting this sorry exercise.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the fame-hungry wannabes at the center of the aforementioned scandal, come across as so phony they wouldn’t be remotely interesting without that lure. Indeed, the only real heat surrounding them in the first hour involves another central player, Lynda Erkiletian, questioning whether Michaele is too thin — implying an eating disorder — while sniffing at the couple for being poseurs in the rarefied air of D.C.’s shakers and movers.

Despite a previous association among some participants, this group feels more thrown together for the purposes of concocting drama than previous “Housewives.” When they assemble for an evening with a prestigious chef, for example, haughty Brit Catherine Ommanney uncomfortably triggers a political discussion by lauding George W. Bush (gasp) for being more of a gentleman than Barack Obama, who didn’t bother to RSVP for her wedding. The exchange dutifully horrifies the one African-American housewife, Stacie Turner.

Ostensibly, the pomp and glamor of politics would lend itself to the show’s formula. But Bravo’s decision to proceed with this edition after months of being coy about the Salahis’ participation has created an inadvertent distraction: The White House incident won’t be presented until near the season’s end, making the entire run a form of extended foreplay prior to that payoff. And the couple has already implied in interviews on NBC’s “Today” (more synergy, there) that the producers knew what was happening, suggesting possible complicity in whatever transpired.

The truth is, viewers who flock to these shows tend to be quite forgiving about their unreality, willing to accept the “characters” as depicted. But by crossing into the political realm in such an ostentatious way, Bravo has invited the kind of unflattering scrutiny such programs seldom receive from a jaded entertainment press.

Granted, all that might very well lead to boffo ratings in the short run. In the bigger picture, however, any aspirations to inside-the-Beltway cred have evaporated, making the network look as silly as the Salahis.

By that measure, with “D.C.,” Bravo merely becomes the latest wide-eyed ingenue to arrive in Washington and come away with little to show for it, except perhaps the equivalent of a stained blue dress.

The Real Housewives of D.C.

Bravo, Thurs. Aug. 5, 9 p.m.

Production: Produced by Half Yard Prods. Executive producers, Abby Greensfelder, Sean Gallagher, Nicole Sorrenti, Richard Calderon; supervising field producer, Keira Brings; producers, Natalie Baxter, Rahel Tennione, Noah Danoff, Azon Juan, Justin Zimmerman, Lissette Decos, Lisa Levey, Brooke Stevens.

Crew: Camera, Jennifer Morton; casting, Michele Kurtz, Danielle Wilkinson. RUNNING TIME: 60 MIN.

Cast: With: Mary Amons, Lynda Erkiletian, Catherine Ommanney, Michaele Salahi, Stacie Turner

More Scene

  • Dwayne Johnson Idris Elba

    Dwayne Johnson: Idris Elba Nixed 'Black James Bond' Joke in 'Hobbs & Shaw'

    In the “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw,” the movie’s villain Brixton, played by Idris Elba, spreads his arms out wide and declares “I’m black Superman.” It turns out that might not have been the original line. Dwayne Johnson tells Variety that Elba was first asked to proclaim he’s “black James Bond,” but the [...]

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk – and success — hanging [...]

  • Dwayne Wade holds up the legend

    Dwyane Wade, Megan Rapinoe Win Big at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards

    The 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards was filled with incredible athletes, inspiring moments and — of course — a massive amount of slime. “I love the kids. I love the slime. I loved the games. I love seeing celebrities and athletes like become kids again. And it’s like my favorite thing,” Michael Strahan told [...]

  • Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani

    Dave Bautista Talks Representation in Hollywood and Defying Stereotypes with 'Stuber'

    Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani make an unlikely duo in “Stuber,” an R-rated comedy about a police officer and his Uber driver. But the two connected over the rare chance to star in the film as actors of Asian descent (Baustia is half-Filipino and Nanjiani is Pakistani). “I’ve been stereotyped for a couple different reasons [...]

  • Skin

    How Jamie Bell Transformed Into a Neo-Nazi for 'Skin'

    Anyone who still associates British actor Jamie Bell with his breakout role as a young boy who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer will quickly forget all about “Billy Elliot” after seeing “Skin,” which screened at ArcLight Hollywood on Thursday night. “I was shocked,” the film’s writer-director, Guy Nattiv, told Variety of his leading man’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content