The Real Housewives of Atlanta recap: Friends Don't Call Friends B*tches
There's a lot of cursing -- a lot of cursing -- as Nene and Cynthia try to sort out their couples friendship, and Porsha tries to sort out what it means to actually work once you finally get a job.
Webster’s Dictionary defines “bitch” as — wait, wait, wait, I can do better than this. When a woman uses “bitch” as a derogatory term against — no, no, that’s not right. OK, with strict gender binaries come — ACK, I CAN DO THIS, I SWEAR!
For what was ultimately the least eventful episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta in about a month (re: 0% fisticuffs, 100% throwing storylines against the wall to see what sticks), it still evokes so many thoughts and questions. What do I think about women calling men bitches as the ultimate insult? What do I think about men feeling really sorry for themselves about it? Why does the cast think this the most offensive thing that has ever happened on this completely offensive show? And how many times can one woman’s hair (or two: Kandi and Cynthia) possibly change in a 30-second scene?
OK, let me just start at the beginning. I think it’s important that I briefly explain how I experienced this episode of RHOA: I’ve said before that my parents live in Georgia, and I’m currently in town working from home for a few weeks. My parents also host a college Bible study in their home every Sunday night. They only have one TV, so for this week and maybe the next few (I honestly don’t know when this show is ending – try and find it clearly stated anywhere on the internet, I dare you), I am forcing them all to gather in the formal living room in the front of the house while I hog the large, cozy den to do my “work” on Sunday nights.
All I’m trying to tell you is that while my dad shaped young spiritual lives in the front of their house, I watched this episode of RHOA where the word “bitch” was uttered no less than 17,000 times…while my precious mother baked a homemade dessert in the kitchen and listened on. Real quote: “Are they calling each other that word or just saying it over and over.” Real answer: “Both, and I’m so, so sorry.”
As I believe this entire Mexico trip may have just been aired in real time, we open up right where we left off last week: Nene screaming at Peter, Peter screaming at Gregg and Cynthia doing absolutely nothing. It’s like a Tom and Jerry cartoon if Tom and Jerry took place in a tiny Mexican kitchenette and featured a very tall, silent woman wearing oversize hipster glasses. Everyone has turned their phones to silent and settled in with popcorn to watch the fight, except Kenya, who is inexplicably sweating her ass off. When suddenly, **record screech** “You need to stop trying to roll with the damn women, OK? You need to stop trying to be a damn bitch.”
People. Are. Horrified. Not that Nene has implied that gossiping and petty fighting is lady business and therefore bitch-like; not that she is repeatedly equating generally being a woman as being a bitch; no, it’s that she has called Peter the b-word. Peter’s actual response is, “That is so inappropriate.” Daub that final RHOA BINGO square you’ve been waiting on, because this is absolutely the first time that phrase has ever been said in this franchise. And it was inappropriate! Not because Nene called a man a bitch, but because she called anyone a bitch. As Cynthia later says in a moment of childlike clarity: “Bottom line is, friends don’t go around calling friends bitches.”
NEXT: Porsha only wants brown M&Ms and white orchids in her trailer, dahhhhhling…
After her little knowledge bomb, Nene saunters off, takes a seat and – I’m really sorry, y’all, but it must be acknowledged – sucks her whole finger into her mouth in some sort of primal act of agression. What was she doing? What was that scene? While Nene freaks everybody out, Cynthia kind of tries to calm the situation down; Gregg and Peter begin speaking rationally, and by rationally, I mean Gregg says this non-statement: “The best thing woulda been to do was just not do nothing. I had the situation and you took it from me. I’m already dealing with the situation and you take it from me.” It’s possible that we all witnessed Gregg have a tiny stroke last night, and I really hope someone looked into it afterward. It’s that, or Apollo’s speaking condition is catching.
Peter Thomas Got Jokes: “WE ALL JUST NEED TO GROW.”
Some quick b-roll footage of an airplane and everyone is back to Atlanta! Kandi is meeting with Don Juan – I swear to you, still his real name – at her pink pleather chair emporium about the notes that Porsha’s attorney sent over on her contract for the musical. We don’t even need to know that Porsha’s resume is written in crayon or that this show is only running for a few days to know that any demands she makes are absolutely ridiculous.
Kandi calls Porsha in to avoid any working-with-friends-cough-Kim-Zolciak-cough drama, and calmly tells her, no, she will not be getting her own dressing room; no, she does not get the same billing as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Levert; and, yes, she does need to sign the damn contract because the show is going up in three weeks. THREE WEEKS?! Shouldn’t they be rehearsing for this thing already? I get that plays can come together quickly sometimes — you will not be shocked to learn that I dabbled in the thespian arts — and was once in a high school “24-hour production,” myself (they made me dance… I don’t want to talk about it). But that play was made up of moderately intelligent 15-year-olds with a propensity for learning lines, and not Porsha “What’s My Character’s Name, Again?” Stewart. (Spoiler Alert: It’s Jada.)
With Porsha put in her place, it’s time for another rousing round of RECAPPIN’ IN
KITCHENS CLOSETS: Peter and Cynthia sit in a closet and discuss the events in Mexico, while Gregg and Nene do the same thing on their couch, but with more of Gregg making himself sound like a grill: “Those words ignited in me what I’d been marinating on.” Nene and Cynthia haven’t spoken in a week, but they both don’t want to ruin their friendship over Gregg and Peter having a Dos Equis-fueled nonsense fight and Nene not being able to control her mouth (or thoughts, or general existence). Both couples want to be able to sort through it, but have slightly differing thoughts on how to do that. Here’s a fun guessing game…one wife thinks it was very disrespectful to call Peter a bitch and another wife considers remorse to sound like this: “I apologize for calling him a bitch, but I still think he was acting like a bitch, so I can’t change that.” Turn your computer/tablet/phone upside down to reveal the surprise who’s who!
NEXT: I wish I went to high school where Kandi (and Outkast) went to high school…
There’s a very sweet little scene where Kandi goes back to her old high school to present two students with the opportunity to be a part of her play. The pretty hunky principal has a surprise for her first, though: Her old drama teacher who used to take her to auditions and encouraged her to use her talents outside of school is there to see her with a hug and, “You know you’ll always be my baby.” Kandi immediately bursts into tears (as did I and as did you if you have any decency at all) and gives her all the non-laughing emotional gratitude she can muster.
Of course, all that genuine sweetness must be undone by a Kenya/Marlo scene. And if you were just expecting their average weird British accent, saying “honey” every other word, trashing all over Nene tomfoolery, you would be mistaken. No, this get together involved an animatronic infant. After mixing up what appears to be some Crystal Light pink lemonade cocktails (Why can’t anyone in this cast just leave a perfectly good bottle of champagne alone?), Kenya tells Marlo that since she recently told her that she also wants to have a child, she has a little surprise for them at the door. Cue the prim white woman with a semi-lifelike baby doll who has absolutely no idea what she’s gotten herself into.
Here’s a list of simple things the “Parenting Coach” reveals to Kenya about her maybe-future child (but for now, just this very not real baby doll) that are shocking to her: Her own DNA will affect her baby’s skin pigmentation; her baby will not be weightless when it’s born; she will need a man or a man’s bodily donation in order to create a baby; a baby is not the same as a dog, no matter how many times you try to act like it is. I’d be annoyed at how much Kenya prepares for the idea of having a child, rather than actually doing anything to have a child, except it’s kind of a relief, re: humanity.
Over at Kandi’s first play rehearsal, things are looking remarkably Carmen: A Hip Hopera-like – the highest compliment – and Porsha is unremarkably missing from rehearsals. Don Juan isn’t surprised, but for some reason Kandi doesn’t seem that worked up about it. She might be a little more annoyed if she knew that Porsha was skipping out on rehearsing her “lead role,” so that she could go to a club where golf pros hang out with all her equally loud gal pals. It’s worth it all though to see a man ask Porsha for her number and her tell him, “I’m between phones right now.”
NEXT: Q: How many ways can Nene avoid apologizing? A: All the ways.
Finally, it’s time for Cynthia, Peter, Nene and Gregg to sort out how to get past this bitch-cident. Cynthia is dressed like Hillary Clinton on the ’92 campaign trail, so you know she means business; Nene is dressed like an aging dance teacher who just took the tags off her outfit purchased at a delia*s clearance sale, so you know she will act like a dramatic child. Ketel One and sodas all around, and it’s off to the races!
The four of them truly must want to remain friends, because they have a more calm and rational conversation than usually seen in the weirdly lit, empty restaurants of RHOA confrontations. But they somehow all miss that Nene never once apologizes for what she said to Peter, and in fact, just calls him a bitch, like, 60 more times. Instead of recounting the conversation, I’ll just list here the Top Five Ways Nene Doesn’t Apologize for Her Actions ranging from “Oh, maybe I just didn’t understand her point” to “That woman wouldn’t apologize if she ran over a newborn puppy in front of its owner”:
– “I didn’t purposely try to disrespect Peter. I just called a spade a spade…sometimes I can’t take the fall for everything that NayNay does.”
– “She may not like what I called him, but listen, if that’s how I’m feeling, that’s how I’m feeling.”
– “I apologized because I didn’t even realize that I called you a bitch. I really was trying to say that you were acting like a bitch. I can’t apologize for that.”
– “Really, you’re bald-headed. Are you really a bitch with grey hair on your face? I know that you’re not a bitch.”
– “There’s nothing I can say about my actions that night other than, you know.”
Truly heartwarming stuff. Gregg extends his hand “in deepest sympathy” (still not an apology), and all four of them clasp hands in a basket-toss cheerleading hold. None of it makes sense, but everyone seems happy enough.
Next week we’re expected to feel sympathy for Kenya about something that is yet to be determined – are you as nervous as I am?