Annette Brown/Bravo
November 04, 2018 at 09:02 PM EST

Some people might come to the Housewives franchise to watch Porsha pick out a diamond engagement ring the size of a walnut with a man she’s been dating for five months at the same jewelry store where she got her last engagement ring from a man who made her pretend like she was starring in The Preacher’s Wife, sure…

But me? I come to The Real Housewives of Atlanta to watch Cynthia inexplicably load up a fishbowl-size wine glass to the brim with frozen grapes, and then sprinkle a thimble’s worth of prosecco over them before setting merrily about on her afternoon tasks. I am here for Cynthia responding, “Oh, just having a glass of wine” to her new boyfriend, who is clearly inquiring as to why there is a visible stem sprouting out of whatever concoction is taking up the entire FaceTime screen. I keep coming back season after season to watch women act in ways that they believe to be completely normal, but leave us screaming, GRAPES DO NOT ABSORB FLAVOR, NOR DO THEY EMIT FLAVOR, THEY ARE SELF-CONTAINED FLAVOR BAGS, WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN THIS PARTICULAR FROZEN FRUIT FOR YOU WINE, CYNTHIA, AND WHY MUST THERE BE SO MANY OF THEM???

RHOA’s best drama may come and go, there may still be a Kool-Aid-Man-style hole in the shape of Phaedra Parks, and I might still wake up in cold sweats hearing “joggers” over and over in my head. But it is this bird’s eye view on the behavior of America’s most absurd women that brings me coming back for more. And on that front, the season 11 premiere of RHOA delivered.

But given that there were two new boyfriends, one new baby, an engagement, a lifetime achievement award, and a very scary health battle also contained within this premiere, it seems possible that I’ve buried the lead behind Cynthia’s unique cocktail stylings.

Jason Koerner/Bravo

First, we catch up with Porsha who says, “The power of the tongue is real,” and doesn’t even try to turn it into a double-entendre, so you know she must be distracted by something. That something is Dennis McKinley, her new boyfriend, and that tongue-power is not his, but a reference to how Porsha spoke her newfound love into existence when she declared at the last RHOA reunion that she would be the next Housewife to get married.

Now Porsha and Dennis are shopping for engagement rings, and hey, is five (alleged) months a little quick to be getting married? Maybe. But I also think Porsha is one of those people who does better the busier she is, so if planning a wedding means that she’ll be distracted enough not to falsely accuse any of her co-workers of drugging her, or to ask a man she barely knows to sign a “baby-nup,” then sure, let’s get this lady down the aisle. That is if she can lift her hand up off the ground…

Dennis and Porsha preview diamonds ranging from 6 karats to 10 karats (and $145,000 to $552,000), but don’t worry about the price tag because Porsha tells us Dennis is “the boss of Atlanta.” And by that, she, of course, means that Dennis owns a Hukkah lounge and a hot dog restaurant. Perhaps not quite as glamorous as Porsha is trying to sell us, but I did like when Dennis told her there was no budget because he sold “like 2,000 hot dogs this week.”

I also enjoy quantifying value by hot dogs, for example, I would pay 1,000 hot dogs to never have to see Gregg be sad again. The Leakes family has had a go of it lately, and we open on NeNe bringing a fruit bowl full of prescription pill bottles up to her husband. Last year, Gregg had an issue with his heart that doctors were able to get on top of, but when he went to the hospital with stomach pains, Gregg was diagnosed with stage-3 colon cancer. “When they cut my colon out, my heart got bigger,” Gregg says like the corny, sweet old man he’s become in recent seasons. NeNe does a lot of rolling her eyes at him, but she says to herself, “I put on a brave face, but I have my moments … If my car could talk, my car would probably be like, This bitch cries too much.” She’s back, baby!


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NeNe, Kandi, Cynthia, Phaedra, Kenya, and Claudia keep the ATL just peachy.
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