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The Real Housewives of Atlanta recap: Ms. Parks Goes to Washington

The Queen is back, and the feelings are complicated

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The Real Housewives of Atlanta

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

Real emotions… social justice issues… complex family dynamics — what is happening on RHOA this season??? Listen, every Real Housewives franchise usually gets a little dicey around the midseason point when they’ve already taken two group trips, had a couple hundred huge fights, a dozen or so make-up lunches, and at least one on-camera colonoscopy. But Atlanta is taking the midseason shift to a whole other level: This is like a twilight zone where very real issues are being taken on by a barely real show.

The fact that Nene returned tonight with hair past her earlobes, teeth whiter than The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and mostly nice things to say only furthers the conspiracy theory that we’re experiencing some kind of bizarro RHOA world. Shall we expect Porsha to begin pursuing her doctorate in anthropology next week? Perhaps Kim Zolciak will return with all her real hair? Hey — maybe all the ladies will go without makeup for the week?! (No, that last looks like it’s going down in mascara-streaked flames next week, for realsies.) Freaky or not, the show took on some complex subject matter this week — from psychological to social — with Phaedra and Kenya’s story lines, and it likely provoked a more complicated variety of emotions.

Phaedra’s story line followed her from Atlanta to Washington, DC to participate in the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. While there, she intended to meet with various congress members to talk about her organization Save Our Sons, so she invited Kim and Sheree, fellow mothers to young black sons, to attend with their children. She also invited Porsha, presumably in an ongoing educational effort to make sure that she never again thinks that the Underground Railroad was kind of like an old school Thomas the Tank Engine situation.

So here’s the complication: Having The Real Housewives of Atlanta take on a serious issue like the prejudices that young minority boys face in our society feels a little bit like Barbie trying to take on the issue of body image in young girls: not bad, just not exactly on the typical brand either. But hey, if Bravo wants to spend an episode shedding a little light on a very real issue, it’s like mother of future 2056 presidential candidate Ayden Nida, Phaedra Parks said: “If not now, when? And if not me, who?”

Plus, Phaedra spends most of her time in the episode trying to make herself seem like a big deal and saying things like, “One of my friends in the White House introduced me to congresswoman Wilson,” anyway, so there’s not much time for her go too off the mark. Said congresswoman, Frederica S. Wilson founded the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project that Phaedra hopes to model her own organization after. She’s also a bit of a character — in their meeting she’s wearing Cynthia’s 4th of July outfit a sequined red cowboy hat, a rhinestone studded American flag bow tie necklace, and says things like, “People really do not like African-American boys.” The latter makes Kim a little uncomfortable as she has her 8-year-old son Sebastian in the meeting with her and doesn’t want him to be exposed to concepts that he can’t fully comprehend yet. Phaedra says she doesn’t have “the luxury of sugarcoating reality” with her sons.

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Later, Kim excuses herself from another luncheon to take her boys back out to the car and says that she’s frustrated with the situation because it’s not kid friendly. My question is what was Kim was expecting out of this weekend? Was it pitched to her as something else, and then she showed up and realized she had to wrangle two kids to a bunch of luncheons? Or is she just not down to politically clown? Something about the Kim stuff this episode was just off. I can understand a parent wanting to preserve her child’s innocence at a young age, but from what we’ve seen on the show, the sheltering of her family seems to interfere with her being able to relate to anything outside of that four-person family unit. She ultimately leaves before the main Million Man March event, citing an engagement she was already signed onto back home. I’m sure that engagement was real — but I’m also sure by now that Kim is not cut out for this show.

[Sidenote: Why was no one trying to Save Sheree’s Son from Porsha???]

NEXT: Guess who’s back… back again