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'Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: 'Southern Discomfort'

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The Real Housewives of Atlanta

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Reality TV

Somebody must have left a self-help book lying around the green room between Gregg’s Ensures and Peter’s SlimFasts’ at the last RHOA reunion because tonight, the cast is all about mental health. Can you possibly imagine anything worse than going to counseling with six women you can’t stand and one you don’t even know (Demetria—seriously girl, who is you)? I am frustrate by this show most when its pathetic attempts to garner drama are blatantly obvious, but I love when things get meta, and there is nothing more real about the Real Housewives than watching them do anything and everything to keep themselves relevant for an eighth season.

So, I’m torn between what to think about Nene’s totally pure-hearted attempt to get all of the women to go to group counseling together. On the one hand, I would rather eat Porsha’s entire weave line than watch Nene act like she’s willing to try to save her friendship with Cynthia while wearing ill-fitting jumpsuits one more time; on the other hand, there’s hardly any better vindication for having to slog through the hootenanny that was last week than getting to watch the women openly beg to keep their paychecks coming by doing whatever it takes to continue to tolerate one another. Is that a little sadistic? Yes. If I have to hear Cynthia say “some African dude named Choc-late” one more time, will I be tempted to drive to Atlanta and wave my pocketbook around over some Brazilian meats a little myself? Still a yes, so I’ll take my wins where I can get them.

 I don’t think I’ve watched anyone’s credibility go downhill as fast as Cynthia’s since Bieber broke Selena Gomez’s heart and then peed in that bucket. Maybe with all these educated professionals roaming around RHOA these days, she can get a little help for this identity crisis she’s having and realize that “putting things on the table” with the confidence of a sixth grader trying to expose another sixth grader as a bra-stuffer doesn’t make you hard; and if you’re going to be hard, you can’t be the nice girl too. It’s time to knock it off, Cynthia—your show is rapidly approaching a stopping point and this is not the last impression you want to leave on America. As you said, your husband basically invented hip-hop music, for goodness sake, have some pride!

Yes, tonight’s episode of RHOA begins with Cynthia asking Peter if he’s super stressed about The Salute to Excellence Awards, a Peter Thomas Entertainment event. He is, but that doesn’t matter, because Cynthia has to tell him about how shocked she is that the dinner where she accused a woman of cheating on her husband who just went to jail in front of seven of her closest enemies went south. It goes a little something like this:

Cynthia: “You can’t call people whores and be a whore. It doesn’t work like that.”

Peter: “Well you can’t call her a whore either, baby.”

[Me: PETER!!!]

Cynthia: “I’m not calling her a whore! But she can’t call nobody a whore either.”

[Me: CYNTHIA!!!]

I dislike Cynthia for a lot of things right now, but none more so than making me have to agree with Peter.

In a relationship of similarly teetering allegiances, Kandi and Todd are going to the marriage counseling they agreed to together last week. This is good; this is great; this is counseling that seems necessary and like it could really help the marriage of two very independent people. But those two people, who both agreed to counseling, don’t seem to have realized that it will probably involve a bit of criticism from the other party. That’s probably because they both think they’re right all the time and were assuming the outcome of talking with a counselor would be to confirm the justification for all of their marital frustrations, both in communication and bedroom happenings. But that’s a real problem with a plausible solution—a novelty on this show that I will accept with open arms. Dr. Blake, I always find it odd that any doctor would agree to be on Bravo television, but you and your soothing vocal stylings are welcome here. What is your availability for groups of coworkers who can’t stop calling each other whores and occasionally accuse each other of clit-detachment?

NEXT: Peter Thomas and His Salute to Peter Thomas…[pagebreak]

How dare I consider the emotional health of Kandi and her husband, as Cynthia reminds us, “Tonight is about Peter Thomas and his Salute to Excellence event.” She sounds like she has a gun to her head every single time she says Peter’s full name, and there must have been a similar situation going on with Kandi to get her there. Of course, Kenya and Claudia are also there, but they’re always available for a free glass of moscato and a handful of mini quiches. They all ask Kandi if she already knew about the affair because Peter told them Apollo had also presented Todd with his printed out PowerPoint of “textses,” and Kandi—good on ‘er—just lies and says no: “We don’t know what’s going on in their relationship, so I’m not going to sit here and debate what their problems may or may not be with the crew.” They try to get her to say that Phaedra is wrong for… honestly, for something I’m not sure about, but Kandi just says no one is right and she’s tired of this. And then she wins Peter’s dumb award because if there’s two things Kandi excels in, they’re avoiding conflict and running Atlanta.

Oh, and having an infuriation mother, that is another specialty. Mama Joyce, who has been suspiciously absent for a long stretch of episodes, pops up tonight just to let Kandi know that even though Kandi bought her a new house specifically because she didn’t like the old house Kandi gave her that her boyfriend destroyed, now she’s seen the old house since Kandi had it un-destroyed, and she just wants to let Kandi know that, if she had it her way, she would really rather be living in the old house now. And then she tells Kandi she’s overly critical. And Kandi cries because her mom always has something new to tell her is wrong with her, and Mama Joyce doesn’t apologize, but suddenly she’s giving Kandi a key to the house that Kandi bought her that she just told her she hates, and now Kandi is totally happy, and their relationship is perfect. Oh, you guys, this episodes is full of all of RHOA’s most delightful recurring themes…

Like one-on-one dinners where everyone is wrong but thinks they’re right, and no one eats, and everyone leaves a loser. Cynthia has decided that she’s not comfortable with the way things went down at the last dinner where she hesitantly announced to a table of women apropos of nothing that Phaedra was cheating on her husband (according to Peter, according to Apollo), so she’s invited Phaedra to another dinner to clear the air. There’s not much to say about this dinner except that Phaedra goes expecting an apology, Cynthia fights everything in her being not to apologize, and yet she wants to “squash the beef and move on” in some other mysterious way. Apparently, her plan is to immediately get an argument with Phaedra about “fact-checking” and for Phaedra to get up and leave after five minutes. The under-five cousins’ table at Thanksgiving has more productive dinners than this.

In our second psychologist sit-down, Nene meets with Dr. Jeff, the counselor who helped her family talk through a tough time, and asks him if he’d be open to mediating a group of lunatics who stand absolutely zero chance of ever liking each other again. She explains the group dynamics a little bit, which involves the vague phrase, “I’m with a group of girls all the time,” and only narrowly avoids the truth by eliminating “because I have to be.” After listening to Nene spew her big heart about wanting to heal all these crazy women, Dr. Jeff—good on ‘im—says he’ll do it, but just because he knows her doesn’t mean she’ll get any special treatment during the session. That should be interesting, right? Nene never expects special treatment.

So, now Nene just has to get all the women to the counseling session. That’s an affair for next week, but tonight, there’s the meeting before the meeting to get everyone to agree to go. Nothing forces these women out of their brick compounds quite like the promise of a margarita, so Nene invites everyone except Kenya and Phaedra to the dinner (yes, even Demetria!) Cynthia presents Kandi with her Peter Thomas Entertainment Salute to Excellence Award, the moment in a Mexican restaurant every little girl dreams of, and then presents Nene with a lot of defensiveness about the therapy idea. She’s reasonably afraid that Nene is trying to blame the group’s discontent on everyone but herself, but she just hasn’t let Nene smack her lips long enough to get her selfless intentions out.

She just wants everyone to get along, you see, and that includes Kandi who thinks that she already gets along with everyone. Everyone else informs her that she does not, in fact, get along with Phaedra, no matter what she thinks. There seems to be a real divide between how Kandi and Phaedra view Kandi’s support during the Apollo divorce that has affected their once solid friendship, and the only place to solve that is with the help of a professional and six other women. This should go well!

What did you think of this filler episode? Was it enough to calm you down until next week’s big group therapy session, or has this crew completely jumped the feasible friend group shark? Please include your most out-of-touch Cynthia quotes in the comments…