After the exhausting hype that preceded the premiere of the Real Housewives of Washington, DC, it seemed impossible that the show would live up to its hype. But the first episode was a delicious hour of television, a successful reproduction of Bravo's formula of side-eye, social awkwardness and stilettos, sharpened by a dose of Washington racial politics and proximity to power. Each week, we'll rate who's up, and who's down after each episode.
Winner, Tart Tongue Division (Awarded for the Best Zinger): Lynda Erkiletian's declaration that "I just have no desire to go back, or ever be associated with that little goat rodeo," by which she means the Salahis' polo tournament, was one of the most-quoted lines of the episode even before it aired. But this Housewife can imbue any statement, from a question about whether Michaele is being invited to a birthday party to the declaration that Mrs. Salahi is "in a danger zone, " weight-wise, with deeper, and more cutting, meaning.
Loser, Pearl-Clutching Division (Awarded for the Night's Worst Social Faux Pas): Cat Ommanney's Tyra Banks impersonation is bad enough that if she was a drag queen, she'd get her wig snatched. And it's worse that it was what she whipped out in conversation at a dinner party hosted by a group of classy black women who stared her down when she started—and then as she kept on going. The best comedians know when to stop themselves if a joke's gone bad, and more importantly, when not to start in the first place.
Loser, Profile-Enhancement Division (Awarded for the Biggest Missed Publicity Opportunity): Michaele Salahi may have gotten a ton of mileage out of the pre-show publicity buzz, but in the first episode, she's mostly an awkward dud. Declaring yourself a "girl lobbyist" and getting offended that someone's suggested you have an eating disorder makes you a pre-teen, not a reality show superstar.
Winner, Regular Girl Division (Awarded for Basic Humanity in the Face of Bravo Cameras): Stacie Turner knows how to dish it when it comes to suburbanites, rude dinner guests, or people who judge politicians by their RSVPs. But she also knows when not to get into it, be it with hair-salon integrationists, terrible impressionists, or her sweetly dorky husband. Instead, she saves it for the confessional—ensuring she looks nice during live action, but always gets to have her say.
Winner, Husbands Edition (Awarded for Spousal Fortitude and Good Humor): Rich Amons lets his wife boss him around when it comes to his wardrobe for an event where he's receiving an award for his sense of style. A dude who will sacrifice signature Pucci-inspired pants for love is a keeper.