Review | The Real Housewives of D.C.

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 Adam Olszweski

Airs: Thursday 8/5

Us Rating: ***1/2

No argument here: Fans want their Real Housewives ladies to be flashy, catty and status-crazy — and on those counts, the franchise's casting pros have struck gold again. First and foremost, there's Michaele Salahi, who made headlines last year after she and her smarmy husband, winery owner and America's Polo Cup founder Tareq, brazenly crashed a White House state dinner. Alas, that event doesn't air until later this season; for now, Salahi merely comes across as an overly caffeinated goofball who's desperate to be seen as a society mover-and-shaker. So who is she trying to impress? Charisma-challenged socialite and mother of five Mary Schmidt Amons; posh modeling agency owner Lynda Erkiletian; tough-talking real estate bigwig Stacie Scott Turner; and Catherine Ommanney, a new-in-town British interior designer who, in the fine tradition of Kelly Killoren Bensimon and Danielle Staub, brings some awkward tension to the well-heeled group.

In the premiere's most captivating sequence, Scott Turner hosts a fancy brunch that goes off the rails when Ommanney gets tipsy and maligns both Tyra Banks and, shockingly, Scott Turner's hero, Barack Obama (for shame, the commander in chief didn't even bother to RSVP to her recent nuptials!). It's refreshing to see a Housewives edition in which the leading ladies bicker over such heady topics as power and politics (as opposed to, say, hair weaves and skimpy bathing suits). And for that alone, this gang gets the vote. (Bravo, 9 P.M.)

–JOHN GRIFFITHS

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