Oh, everyone is just a work in progress, y’all…bless their little hearts. Yes, a few women among the Atlanta housewives may have been involved in three physical altercations in the last three years or can’t quite figure out how to pay their bills on time or accidentally just wore mesh and a bunch of nipple beads onstage instead of real-life fabric. But, you guys, they’re working on it!
You know who’s already got it all figured out, though? Andy Cohen, who over the course of this three-part reunion special has been slowly reading these little monsters of his own making for filth like the Dr. Frankenstein of reality TV he is. And it seems he’s been slowly working up to tonight — his grand finale — where he’s snatching peaches on the left, telling women ’bout themselves to the right, and throwing down the gauntlet dead-center on just how often RHOA throws around gay-bashing in the name of a cheap laugh.
But this final reunion installment wasn’t all about Andy — it was also about NeNe’s jumpsuit and newly discovered wisdom. Oh, and that footage of Porsha beating up her employee that was ever-so-casually mentioned last week somehow showing up. My eyes actually bugged out when I realized that not only had Porsha physically assaulted another person, but it was caught on film, and we were going to see it. Here are a few other treats from season 8’s final episode:
THE NEW NENE
NeNe is welcomed to the stage wearing a Kardashians-by-Kanye jumpsuit because she wanted to make sure to “give you guys body,” but she also wanted to serve a healthy dose of The New NeNe: She’s calm; she’s wise; she just wants everybody to be happy; and she’s totally cool with Bravo showing her old face in all those flashbacks. We take a tour through her former relationships with some of the other women onstage: She and Sheree used to scream at each other in restaurants sometimes, but that was like three years ago, so they’re totally cool now. (For the record, I have lip balms I’ve held onto longer than that.) She’s also cool with Kenya, who in turn is cool with that time Cynthia was all, “Kenya? Never heard of her.”
TURN THIS HOUSE INTO A HOME (OR MAYBE JUST GIVE IT A ROOF)
We get a flashback to that time Kenya lost her damn mind and tried to come at She by Sheree for having an unfinished house, even though she was only a few days into her own poorly advised home construction project. But hey, everybody ended up happy-home-owning friends, and since they’re each already way over their finish-in-three-months wager and the cameras have stopped rolling, they just list any random date for when their homes will be finished: March 5 for Kenya! In the next four weeks for Sheree! And if you believe that, I’m buying the Golden Gate Bridge to use as a loft bed in my apartment in the very near future!
FRICK AND FRACK AND JUDGMENT
Andy has started referring to Porsha and Phaedra as Frick and Frack, but I prefer to call them Bert and Ernie Contoured Within an Inch of Their Lives. Everyone covers the whole “lady in the streets, freak in the thong” aspect of Phaedra’s duplicitous nature, but NeNe says she was only shocked by Phaedra’s ability to “make her booty move in a circle.” Porsha, on the other hand — both Andy and NeNe both decide that now is finally the time to bring down the hammer on the fact that Phaedra used to wear kitten heels and throw rotten tomatoes at strippers, and now she defends herself by saying, “I will twerk, and I will wear a thong… Just because I like to have a good time and shake my ass doesn’t mean that I don’t have class.” But it does mean she’s a poet and she doesn’t even
wear underwear know it.
A few of the ladies’ male counterparts are brought to the stage so that Todd can beef with Phaedra, Chris can show Porsha that having class often doesn’t actually have much to do with the shaking of one’s ass, and Matt can stare blankly into the distance into a consistently unnerving way. Peter…wears a turtleneck.
NEXT: Chris deserves an apology, but he gives one instead…
Bob and Gregg are not there, so I’m not particularly interested in the husbands’ segment, but I did appreciate Chris’ denouncement of Kenya spreading mathematically inaccurate rumors about his sexuality without being completely insulting in the process. Though all of the other women find it hilarious to insinuate that Chris is effeminate and therefore probably gay, and though Kenya continues to insist her “they call him Chrissie” comments were aboveboard, Chris gets the line of the night: “I have a lot of gay friends…and somebody’s sexuality has nothing to do with their character. And I just want them at home to know that I love them dearly and I’m sorry for how this has affected them.” Kenya isn’t sorry…ever…about anything…even after a scolding from Andy about her “crappy apology” attempt.
WHO’S AFRAID OF THE FEDS?
But hey, Kenya and Chris/Kim — they were never going to be friends. Kandi and Phaedra, on the other hand, now that’s a tragic friendship demise that we simply have to accept and move forward with. Maybe we should stop pretending that these two could ever get back to the way they were. Phaedra and Todd have argued about one too many zeros one too many times to be able to just go back to being besties. And tonight’s nail in the coffin was Kandi admitting that she wondered if it might have been Phaedra that called the Feds on them. And even though it turned out that they likely showed up because special agents actually watch Watch What Happens Live, too, Phaedra says Kandi thinking she would possibly put her through that kind of situation that she’s already had to go through with Apollo tells her all she needs to know about the state of their relationship. Now, if only Bravo would listen.
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CHRISTMAS IN AN ALLEY OF PAIN
And finally, the surprise we didn’t know was coming (seriously, this wasn’t in any reunion previews, was it?), but we also sort of knew everything about. It was said that Bravo had video footage of Porsha physically attacking her employee Jami, and I guess Bravo decided to call everyone’s bluff and just put that sucker on air. And frankly — it was pretty chilling. Made all the more so by the fact that Porsha was wearing a barely there snowman suit while she chased Jami down an alley and took her to the ground as Jami screamed for Porsha to get off of her. After Andy rolls the clip, Porsha explains that there had been a certain level of disrespect with Jami, “and honestly it just escalated.” And then Andy explains that this is the third time something like that has “just escalated” since Porsha has been on the show and that’s…kind of a problem.
Not a fireable offense, of course (what is this, The Real World?), but it is enough to earn a little criticism from NeNe, who says she, of all people, understands being ripped apart and criticized, “but as long as you sit here in front of the camera, you’re going to be judged,” and she can’t just go around harming people she feels disrespected by. Porsha asks, “Didn’t you choke somebody?” Semantics, says NeNe: “Have you seen me choke somebody?” And she has a point: Porsha has three awful, violent fights caught on camera for anyone to see. Including herself — her tipping point with Jami was enough to convince her that she needed counseling for her anger. That counseling hasn’t been quite enough to convince Porsha that her anger is the problem, not other people’s disrespect, but — say it with me now — she’s a work in progress.
AND SOME WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FROM PHAEDRA
For some reason, Andy asks Phaedra to close us out with some positive affirmation, and boy does she ever: “All of us on this stage, we have these huge opportunities to be great. You afford us the ability to be seen by millions of people every week, and at the end of the day, no matter what happens, we influence people. So we have to use that power wisely. We are winners, and if we keep on this journey, we will get to the end of it…successfully.”
We really are the winners. Thanks as always for reading and watching along with me this season. All I ask is that you leave the many fruitful ways that The Real Housewives of Atlanta have “influenced” you over the last eight seasons. Have they used their power wisely? And finally, one has to wonder: Will we ever really get to the end of this journey? Sound off in the comments!