Phaedra competes for Most Likely To Succeed at mortician school, while Mama Joyce competes for Most Likely to Murder Someone in every situation ever

By Jodi Walker
Updated December 02, 2013 at 05:30 AM EST
Bravo TV

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

S6 E5
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As I write this recap from Macon, Georgia, I can’t help but feel particularly connected to the ladies of Atlanta tonight. My hair is big, my life is in an ever-evolving state of shambles, and I, too, have never really gotten the hang of the grocery store (what’s the deal with unrefrigerated mayonnaise, amiright?). Let’s check in with our Peach State sistren.

Phaedra is heading out of Atlanta for a few days to continue her mortuary studies and makes history by uttering this sentence for the first time in United States history: “Going to Alabama is a welcome relief.” She leaves Apollo in the middle of a silent treatment, so he decides to use her time away to seek out the valuable advice of a wonderful and loving husband: Peter.

In his quest for Peter, Apollo heads to The Cynthia Bailey School of Fashion and Walking and Stuff, because. He finds Cynthia wearing a cowboy hat while giving helpful feedback to a furniture-less room (drink!) full of meandering Atlanta models, such as, “looking good,” “very nice,” “relaxed,” and “more relaxed.” This is why they pay her the big bucks!

Peter and Apollo chat in the parking lot of the abandoned warehouse that also now houses The Bailey School for Models N’ Thingz while Peter laments that he wants an Aston Martin but it’s unlikely he can convince his wife. It’s almost cute how he pretends like he has concern for anyone but himself and his meticulously groomed beard. But even Peter the Terrible tells Apollo that if his wife doesn’t like someone, he shouldn’t be talking to her. Ever. Especially after she supposedly offered him lots of her crazy-eyed loving at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel of Sext.

Perhaps Apollo should just recite to Porsha this simple argument-ender big bro Peter taught him: “The only person who I want to be on my d— is you. Nobody else.” One of the words in that quote completely defines Peter. I bet you can’t guess which one.

On the reasonable-but-still-clueless side of town, Kandi has her best friend/assistant Carmen over to help her set up for Todd’s return to Atlanta the next day. They’re setting out cupcakes and place settings with glasses full of orange juice because those are the kinds of things that keep overnight. Bravo must have accidentally missed Carmen’s OJ with their regularly administered crazy pills because she very reasonably tells Kandi that she can marry Todd without her mom being OK with it because her mom is controlling and scary.

Kandi’s all, “Oh you already seem like you don’t like her so I should tell you about how she’s going around town telling people that you, who claim she’s ‘like a mother’ to you, are messing around with my fiancé. How hilarious, right?!” Carmen is not pleased because Carmen is hard as a mofo (and it looks like she’ll show it in the scenes from next week). Kandi says her mom just gets this way anytime anyone gets close to her. She says it like it’s not a certifiably insane problem, because sometimes Kandi is a laughing fool.

NEXT: You’ve just won RHOA, what’s next? I’m going to Disney World the grocery store!

Kenya has found a house that’s less eviction-y to park her aerial twirling booty and called upon Miss Lawrence to help her move large objects into her new home. I might have gone in a different direction, but at least he’s fun. He lifts various things and says, “Too heavy. Too heavy. This will work,” like a cross-dressing Goldilocks. The other housewives probably aren’t willing to drive to wherever Kandi has found a landlord that will rent to her, so she rings up Nene for a producer-mandated chat. Nene tells her she has a good handyman – not better than Miss Lawrence, surely! – and Kenya tries to make sexy innuendos saying, “Can he unclog some pipes?” Is that really the message you’re trying to send about your pipes, girl?

Kenya whines about how Kandi coming to the aerial exercise class last week and not being into it; but when you walk into a room and are immediately faced with Kenya’s pipes, I can understand that it might be hard to get on board. She’s tired of having to defend herself to Kandi who “claims to be neutral.” I love when Kenya stumbles into a perfect metaphor (which happens startlingly often) because, yes, Kandi is absolutely the Switzerland of RHOA. And Kenya is that five-story club in Prague that only tourists go to and one TripAdvisor reviewer describes as “an organized crime ring.”

Cynthia actually gets to talk to Nene the Famous Actress in person and has decided to monopolize as much of her non-famous time as possible by taking her to a grocery store. Nene wanders around in a jumpsuit and boho headband, eyes wide, like she’s never seen fluorescent lighting before. She asks, “Do they still allow you to taste stuff in the store?” as though she hasn’t been in a grocery since the LBJ administration, and back then it was just a hippie-love free-for-all of taste tests.

Cynthia asks Nene how she’s dealing with her son Brent being a teenager because Noelle is “blowing her mind.” What an odd way to refer to your daughter having a boyfriend. Nene Leakes, Unlikely Voice of Reason, tells her if Brent told her he wanted to see a girl, she’d tell him, “You gonna see your ass in the room and you gonna see these damn books.” As parentally gifted as she is linguistically, that Nene. But ultimately she says that raising kids is hard and you just have to do what’s right for your family.

I would normally judge Nene for saying, “Four for $5, those are some good pizzas,” but I can tell she’s looking at Totino’s Party Pizzas and she’s right – those are some good pizzas. She undoes all that good will, however, by getting excited about Hot Pockets and immediately going for the chicken and broccoli. I seriously question Nene’s tastes if she was anywhere in the vicinity of a Meatballs & Mozzarella or Pepperoni and went for Chicken and Broccoli Hot Pockets. In one final challenge for the RHOA subtitler, she stomps out of the junk food aisle with a huffed, “I’m chunky damn ‘nuff as it is.”

NEXT: Kandi laughs through the pain

Kandi’s personal chef is busy preparing a huge coming-home meal for Todd; perhaps the stale cupcakes and congealed orange juice just weren’t going to be enough. I’ve got nine questions and these are them: I’m sorry, Kandi has a precious bulldog? And his/her name is Georgia? How long has she had this bulldog? Did I miss him before? Is she a UGA Bulldogs fan? Is there a whole other bulldog in Kandi’s other house? Does she pass out bulldogs to her loved ones like she does houses? How do I become one of Kandi’s loved ones? Why is the whole show not just about Georgia, Ayden and Mr. President?

Todd is so cute and well-mannered, I sure hope he’s the real deal. I wouldn’t even mind him making a guest appearance on The Real Tikes of Atlanta: Georgia, Ayden and Mr. President. Apparently he’s been off filming with his “BET family,” so Kandi sits him down to catch up in the living room, which looks like what would happen if the Victoria’s Secret “Pink” line sponsored an adults-only lounge at the American Girl store (yep, just like that). Once they move to dinner, Kandi decides to let Todd know the world of pain that’s coming his way via Mama Joyce. He listens innocently, even saying, “I’m with Mama on that one,” until she casually unloads that her mom thinks he’s an opportunist, following up with, “Would you like some of this dressing?” Why are people always ruining perfectly good meals with awful conversations on this show? You should always bring up conflict while you’re doing something that’s already terrible, like flossing or handling pet food.

She brings up the ring thing again – what exactly is wrong with this ring? Is it not real? Or is it just not part of Neil Lane’s reality-TV-star-line? Todd is frustrated, but worse, he looks hurt. He thought he was coming back to his fiancée, but he’s actually coming back to his fiancée’s Tasmanian mother of destruction. Bullsh*t alert: “My mother is too old to change her ways.” Thank you, Todd, for pointing out that Kandi keeps laughing off this situation. I get that she’s a nervous laugher and I appreciate her positive attitude, but girl’s gon’have to start taking this seriously soon enough (probably when Mama Joyce comes over to talk during the dinner that Todd forced Kandi to set up to straighten things out).

In other arranged meetings news, Cynthia has decided to have Noelle’s new boyfriend and his mom over, and even though Arthur is an actual boy’s name, it just sounds like Cynthia is mispronouncing “author” every time she says it. The counter is littered with, like, 19 bags of Tostitos, Noelle is wearing a junior prom dress, while Cynthia is wearing a silk shirt-she’s-pretending-is-a-dress and Birkenstocks. What the hell is going on here?

NEXT: May I call you Mr. Jackass?

Arthur and his mother arrive, equally inquisitive, but the answer soon becomes clear. This is an opportunity for Peter to make everyone uncomfortable and Cynthia to think she’s accomplished something. When precious little Arthur, who looks exactly like you thought he looked (non-aardvark version), comes in and spots Peter, this happens:

Arthur: Nice to meet you, Peter.

Peter: Excuse me?

Arthur: [slightly less confident] Nice to meet you, Peter.

Peter: Did you say Peter?

Arthur: Mr. Peter.

Peter: Mr. Thomas would be nice.

Listen, I’m a strong proponent of always calling your elders by their honorifics and will only call my friend’s parents Mr. and Ms. unless they’re the type to be really pushy about it – “Call me Karen. CALL ME KAREN.” – but Peter is just being a twerp. Arthur might not even know his last name, a challenge I’ve come upon many a time with friend’s stepparents. Ugh, Peter Mr. Thomas.

They all sit down on one side of the table and Arthur’s mom looks reasonably confused as to why they’re having a dowry meeting over two 7th graders who are trying to hold hands every once in a while. After Peter rambles for a bit he randomly asks Arthur, “Are you staring me down?” Arthur, future badass, responds, “I just feel like it’s respectful for me to look at you while you talk.” The Bearded One says he actually likes that, and finally Peter and I have something in common: We’re both Team Arthur.

Checking in on “The Real Real Estate Professionals of Atlanta”: Porsha goes with her mom and her sister to meet Marco the realtor and check out what I think is the exact same condo Kenya saw a few weeks ago. Marco is wearing a Bluetooth and sunglasses on his head just in case anyone was thinking about forgetting that he’s a realtor. The condo has truly the widest-screen TV I have ever seen. Everyone would look like the aliens from Toy Story on that thing. But it doesn’t matter because $4,500 a month would basically take up all of Porsha’s spousal support and she’s happy to just keep living with her mom. Frankly, if her mom wants her there, it’s kind of a responsible decision until she lands on her feet. She could stand to be a little less annoying about how spoiled she is, though.

Across state lines, Phaedra has finally arrived at her study group in Alabama. Seriously, in what other Real Housewives franchise could the DVR description be, “[housewife] goes to [anywhere] to study?” I’ll just break down this little Community-gone-weird scenario by Phaedra’s classmates:

Bush: Clearly the stud/Jeff of the group, Bush struts around in a Steve Harvey suit making bold declarations like, “I love autopsy!”

Whitney: Try as she might, the academically minded “Annie” could only successfully get Phaedra to focus long enough to answer one question. But she’s learning how to have fun and let loose, and isn’t that the most important lesson in Alabama mortuary school?

Amber: Indefinable like Abed, Whitney was giving Phaedra a run for her money, sharing an anecdote about working at a black mortuary firm and all of the men leaving their families to come to sit by her because, as Phaedra says, she’s “a little thick like a pork chop.” I take it back — no one could ever steal Phaedra’s crown.

Unnamed White Woman: Britta

I would watch that show.

NEXT: Mama Joyce prepares for battle

Finally, it’s time for a meeting of the crazy with Mama Joyce, and Kandi’s hoping Todd can keep his cool. But she might want to turn that wish in the other direction because Mama comes in, fists clenched, eyes glared, barely acknowledging Todd. She passive aggressively asks if Carmen had anything to do with the meal because “it seems like Carmen is the lady of the house as much as Kandi is.” When asked to explain her random statement, she says that people are talking about something going on between Todd and Carmen because she’s around them so much.

In the very briefest moment of bravery, Kandi says, “I’m not fixing to have nobody sitting here that’s got something to say just because she’s at my house every day when I pay her to be here!” Mama Joyce just plows right through that reasonable statement and starts ranting about the lack of pictures of her in the house and the price of Kandi’s ring. I really wish I could be at an Arthur-level of respectful here, but Mama Joyce is so clearly jealous of Todd it’s creepy. Her insistence on Todd being a “provider” (re: make more money than Kandi and take care of her financially) is demeaning to her daughter and all of the hard work she’s put in to establish multiple successful career ventures throughout her lifetime.

She finally concedes that she’s “a work in progress,” but the way she says it sounds more like, “Imma’ murder one or both of you in your sleep and reverse-Norman-Bates you.” Ick.

Most Valuable Housewife: Phaedra for talking about embalming with a straight face and pursuing her dream of “coins, coins, coins” no matter how oddly specific the mortuary means.

Best Line: “I think I need a little more nurturing…let me go in my room and eat some bonbons and watch some Netflix and I’ll be thinking about it.” I’d bet $100 Porsha doesn’t know what a bonbon is (and I’d pay $100 to see her “Top Picks for Porsha”).

Episode Recaps

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

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