‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ all about etiquette

Real Housewives of Potomac
Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Potomac” premieres Sunday, Jan. 17. (Bravo photo)

If the thing that causes the most drama on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” is respect (or a lack thereof), then the analogous term for the upcoming “Real Housewives of Potomac” is “etiquette.” There are questions about exactly what its rules are and how to properly put them into practice, but nevertheless, each woman claims to be the expert.

“If you don’t behave yourself in Potomac, you might be asked to leave,” warns one co-star.

The premiere season of “Potomac” series, the latest in the popular Bravo franchise, is Sunday, Jan. 17 at 9 p.m. EST.

Viewers will be introduced to the elite suburb near Washington, D.C., where these “wives” (only half the cast members are married), judge each other with the vigor of Supreme Court Justices.

Though Gizelle Bryant, ex-wife of infamous Baltimore pastor Jamal Bryant, informs viewers that there are few Black families in the elite burg, there are enough to leave the “RHOP” Queen Bee title in question.

While Gizelle seems to be vying for the crown, her frenemy, Karen Huger, isn’t exactly done with it yet. Oops. Did Gizelle inadvertently just sit on Karen’s throne? That’s part of the drama of the premiere episode. And, that’s only the beginning.

So, who’s the first lady of the series? That may be for soon-to-be fans to decide as Karen and Gizelle offer their biggest, brightest smiles, while still throwing plenty of shade.

They’re joined by Robyn Dixon, whose divorced status seems more figurative than literal; Charrisse Jackson Jordan, who expects and appreciates a certain amount of decorum; Katie Rost, who considers her socialite responsibilities “hard work”; and Ashley Darby, who describes herself as a “spring chicken” among cougars.

While Bravo seems to have its “Housewives” shows down to a winning formula, “RHOP” does offer something new. “Potomac” is the second of the franchise to offer a predominantly Black cast, but this isn’t another “Atlanta” crew.

These ladies would likely prefer attending a symphony performance to appearing in a music video. The “Atlanta” ladies seem to make their own rules, while the “Potomac” crew is more about following them, and that may leave some to revolt while others role-play. That’s not to suggest they’re disingenuous, but only time will tell.

More importantly, previews suggest the show will touch on some topics that we’ve yet to see explored on a “Housewives” franchise. The ladies, at least half of whom are biracial, will be discussing discrimination and racial identity. In a society where colorism still exists and the Raven-Symonés of the world seemingly prefer to distance themselves from their Blackness, those conversations (and ones like it) put “Potomac” in a class by itself.