The Real Housewives of Atlanta recap: Everything
The third and final installment of the RHOA Reunion features a surprise two-hour run time, a special reading of Kenya by Phaedra's, and a lot of Nene screaming...a lot of screaming
I feel like I just ran a damn marathon. Truthfully, I have no idea what that would feel like – in this current winter shape (oh, is it May?), I can make it up about four flights of stairs before having to decide if heavy nose-breathing or heavy mouth-breathing will make me seem less winded when encountering another human. But after this TWO HOUR episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I think I could safely enter one of those triathlons where they paint the numbers on your forehead, no training necessary. The mental endurance it took to simply keep straight who was accusing who of what character flaw as a result of how many fights from which season was surely at least enough to earn us all a “13.1” sticker on the back of ours cars (… or bike…OK, metro card).
The recap comments from last week’s Reunion Part Two brought a number of things to light. First, we can all agree, you either can’t stand Nene, Kenya, or both. It seems the producers caught wind of this, and in the Reunion Part Three, they’re giving us the worst Queen of the Hill scenario you could possible hope for: on one side of the mound of discarded RHOA peripheral characters (keep those elbows tucked in tight, Mynique) is Nene, armed with her higher salary and the sheer will to never hear anything anyone else in the world says to her; and on the other side is Kenya, all of her props confiscated by that stickler Andy Cohen, polishing up her razor-sharp tongue and quickly sifting through her
donkey booty full of lies.
Your helpful comments also pointed out that I missed a very important in-between-commercials segment with my favorite three-year-old man-baby, Ayden, last week. And thank goodness and YOU for that because that scene was extra helpful when my roommate wandered through the room during a particularly unintelligible Nene/Kenya argument and asked, “Just tell me this…is anybody here decent at all?” I was able to point out the more than morally sound toddler in the cast, Ayden, and his silent business partner, Mr. President. (I also showed a few Kandi scenes, but not the one where she readily offered to, ahem, drag Mal up in this bitch.)
Yes, the chosen women of Atlanta were at their RHOA-worst tonight. Well, that’s not entirely true. Kenya is at her worst at all times, which she considers to be her best; Nene emerged from hibernating in her pink cocoon to completely lose her mind all over the Velvet Couches of Highest Prestige; Phaedra threw the sharpest of her somewhat morally compromising shade; Kandi is deserving of sainthood (OK, maybe she’s just your average sex toy mogul, but in this crowd, some generic positivity can really take you to the next level); and it’s possible Cynthia took a rhino tranquilizer dart to the neck halfway through the episode and no one happened to notice.
The episode starts off rehashing the Nene/Marlo/Kenya drama. One Bravo commenter hilariously inquires of Nene regarding the Bailey Bowl: “[Marlo] was your ‘BRIDEMAID,’ how come she wasn’t on your team?” It’s the same old, same old: Nene says she was an EGG-cellent friend to Marlo, Kenya goes to her Phone of Limitless Storage Space to refer to a text proving otherwise, and when that doesn’t work, proclaims Nene is a dictator over her friends. You can practically see the steam rising out of her scalp as she tries to figure out how to spin it into a dick joke. Andy directly asks Kenya if she only became friends with Marlo to get under Nene’s skin. Kenya says no and suddenly her pants are on fire and she’s accusing Nene of having fake gums and the *character flaw* of wanting to control everyone. Nene says all she ever did was try to help Marlo, which makes me wonder, why do all of Nene’s “friends” need so much help? Sure, my gal pals need the occasional, “Yes, that top is just too far on the middle-aged-5th-grade-teacher side of hipster,” or “Tinder is absolutely viable dating option,” but other than that they’re pretty self-reliant.
NEXT: Some pretty specific theories about the (Urban) Legend of Nene Leakes…
Kandi brings up that Nene was disrespectful to Mama Joyce in a blog she wrote about why she ran away from fighting with Marlo at the Bailey Bowl. Nene mostly only spoke to facts, for example, that Mama Joyce tried to end Carmon’s life with a shoe; but Kandi thinks it’s disrespectful for her to bring up her mother in a blog, and that Nene always does things she doesn’t like other people to do to her. Nene immediately brings out her favorite defense, “THAT’S HOW I FELT.” Every time Nene is in a position where she should apologize and she can’t bring herself to do it I think of that playground urban legend where the girl wears a ribbon around her neck her whole life, and if she every removes it (Spoiler Alert) her head will fall off. I truly believe that if the words “I’m sorry” came out of Nene’s vocal chords with any sort of sincerity, her tongue would just fall right out of her mouth
You might expect the spotlight to move off Nene and Kenya a little at this point, but we’re actually only 10 minutes in. It just feels like a lifetime because hell is an infinite loop of Nene screaming, “I SAYED WHAT I SAYED!” in her bellow-iest baritone. We’re treated to a flashback of Nene’s behavior at the charity event Kenya threw in her honor without telling her, and Nene announces that she apologized on her Bravo blog, but only because she doesn’t want young girls falling prey to “sheep in wolf clothing.” Am I not doing my due diligence by not reading these Bravo blogs? Because I will quit; I’m not reading a blog written by a woman who doesn’t know how to use the “possessive ‘s.”
This unfortunate retread does bring to light an interesting tidbit from Andy that the charity Kenya threw the function for said they didn’t receive a donation from the proceeds she supposedly raised. Kenya says she wasn’t responsible for getting them the donations, which…seems incorrect. And that’s when Nene gets her most evil and charitable idea yet: she tells Kenya she’ll donate $20K to the charity of her choice if Kenya will match it. I don’t know if Kenya doesn’t have $20K in quarters rolling around in her purse or if she just doesn’t want to play Nene’s games, but she hesitates for about five minutes before agreeing. Kandi has pulled out her phone to start texting, Phaedra is thinking about embalming bodies, and Cynthia is making the face she probably makes when she has to have sex with Peter, because listening to Nene and Kenya scream at each other is about that interesting.
A video package of Cynthia dealing with fibroids and her insensitive husband plays and she looks like she would rather have fibroids again than talk about this. When asked about being left in the dark by Peter all the time she basically says, “Yes that is a problem; no, there is no solution.” And just in case you thought she was just being private about their relationship, she offers up without provocation: “I’m really grateful that he didn’t go and have sex with someone else because I almost couldn’t really be mad at him.” Cynthia. CYNTHIA. What has this man convinced you of? It might be the saddest thing ever uttered on that stage, and that includes a solid 15 minutes with Apollo trying to sound smart coming up later. You’re worth more than your ability to have sex with your terrible husband, Cynthia.
NEXT: Speaking of terrible husbands…
Showtime with Apollo I can actually feel Peter seething from an understocked greenroom somewhere about not being the husband chosen for a solo spot. Andy says it’s good to see Apollo and Phaedra together. IS IT, ANDY? Does he think there’s anyone in the world that is rooting for these two to work? Andy asks about rumors that have been floating around and Apollo says “We’ve never been separated, but marriage takes its toll,” and as much as I never want to help this man, I want so badly to send him a link to “Conjunction Junction.” They’re extremely awkward together and Phaedra keeps scolding Apollo under her breath. Andy asks if her being less busy has improved their sex life because Andy is a total perv. Phaedra once again reiterates that she has jobsssss: “He does what he wants to do and I do what I need to do to keep our family intact.” Loud and clear, Phaedra. Everyone is 100% on board with you trimming the felonious fat off of your otherwise precious family.
And then, with no real prompting, Apollo turns his grammarless wrath on Kenya. When she won’t look at him he gives her a gruff, “I’m talking to you,” and it all feels distinctly violent and uncomfortable. He tells Kenya, “You best hope nothing happens to me because you might not have a job. I’m your storyline. I sustain your career…I built you, so stop playing games.” Yikes. Kenya once again points out a *character flaw*, and this time she’s right…something is up with this dude and control. But other than that she mostly refuses to comment on all of the comments she’s already made on talk shows about him going to jail, cheating on his wife, etc. Luckily, Andy Cohen is there to move things right along: “From swimming in caves to ‘LOL, thanks babes,’ everyone has an opinion on this triangle.” Oh Andy, in the midst of this darkness, how do you still find the strength to say such toolish things?
Phaedra is ready — she’s been carbo-loading on fettuccine alfredo to come up on Kenya for days. She’s got a plastic baggie of almonds stuck between the couch cushions in case she gets faint and a packet of Goo wedged in her cleavage for endurance. She starts in strong with, “You’re a sneaky, trifling slut.” A less informed recap-reader might be concerned that Phaedra can’t maintain this kind of speed and aggression…but not you. You know lawyer-Phaedra; you know mother-hen-Phaedra; you know this is not southern-belle-Phaedra. Kenya comes back with her patented phone-pull to read a message that she claims Apollo sent her days ago to apologize, but turns it back around with her second most utilized play: never reading it. Apollo comes off the bench to say, “Am I a criminal? I have a criminal past.” (Side note:If anyone knows of a helpful children’s video about how to successfully use rhetorical questions, please paste in the comments and I’ll see what I can do about getting all of these resources to Apollo.) And then comes the only thing any of you came here to talk about: Phaedra’s sperm-centric takedown of Kenya.
I’m not really sure what to say about the Phaedra read, except that it had me feeling like I could start saying “chile” at the end of every sentence simply from having heard it, even though everything else in my life would suggest I should never, EVER do that. But it also made me feel dirty. Phaedra did not come to play, be played with, or dis-play anything but a stone cold polar stratospheric cloud of shade on Kenya tonight. She says a lot of things, specifically about sperm banks that if strictly intended for Kenya, are deployed like the women-fight-with-words bombs Kenya is so fond of pushing; but when taken outside of the confines of her one powder-blue couch cushion, would be considered close-minded and awful. Phaedra’s never-ending “you can’t get a man” argument is as tired as me during a Watch What Happens Live One-on-One, but given that she’s waited all season to unleash the carefully crafted attack she detonated tonight, I think Jackée said it better than I ever could (what’s new?):
In the silence of Phaedra’s impressively evil takedown, Apollo tries to get in on the action and he can’t even get five words in without tripping all over himself. “You should get your toe—your toenails done. ‘Cause they’re dirty.” It is my greatest fear that Ayden got all of Phaedra’s verbal genes, and Mr. President will be left with only Apollo’s. I do not know how science works.
NEXT: Husbands need attention too…
Bring out the boys All of the men are in really nice suits, and Apollo is in a graphic tee with a blazer over it. He looks like what a WWE wrestler would wear if he broke his arm and had to sit on the sidelines for a match. They play a reel of Peter getting into everybody’s business and Cynthia wakes up long enough to say she lets him get into their business because he’s going to have an opinion no matter what. Peter seconds that he doesn’t care if they don’t like him giving his opinion: “When they say that…here’s my peach,” and bites into a very unripe-sounding peach he’s brought with him. Again with these damn props! I briefly imagine a Remember the Titans scenario where everyone to Andy Cohen’s left starts screaming, “LEFT SIDE,” and everyone to his right starts screaming, “PROP SIDE,” and then they all get into a jumping huddle and it’s enough to make them forget about their differences and move on.
Instead, Peter reveals that he has four baby mamas and five kids and he doesn’t call any of them bitches. Attention Planet Earth: Peter Thomas has procreated and before you procreate yourself, you might want to make sure it is not with any of his offspring. You really don’t want a Rosemary’s Baby situation on your hands here. Looking on the bright side, Peter talking about Nene calling him a bitch brings about my only laugh-out-loud moment of the night, when Gregg says “misconsCRUed,” and then doesn’t correct himself. He thinks Nene saying Peter was acting like a bitch was misconscrued and it’s “a waste of valuable brain cells” for them to keep talking about it. I appreciate him looking out for Apollo’s limited supply like that, but we all got comfortable with getting dumber from our commitment to RHOA a long time ago.
The Beginning is the End of the Beginning of the End It’s time to address Pillow Talk one last time. The only thing of consequence, other than having to look at Nene’s atrocious patchwork quilt negligée from that night again, is Kenya claiming that when she arrived late to Pillow Talk, as they were mic-ing her up she could hear Nene screaming, “F-ck the producers! I know why y’all are trying to make Kenya late, you’re trying to make her the star of the show!” Yeah, OK, Kenya…you could make me believe Nene was yelling any number of things that night, including, “I’ve got to go to the bathroom to geek up, I mean, wash my hands,” but her not sarcastically admitting you’re the star of the show is not one of them.
Apollo says that he and Brandon talked for two hours the day after he beat him up on a bean bag chair and he apologized because neither of them should have been put in that position. He also says, “There’s a lot of young men and young women who look up to me, and that’s nor how I should have acted.” ATTENTIN ALL YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WHO LOOK UP TO APOLLO, may I suggest some better, more noble mentor options: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, that guy pretending he’s Prince Harry in I Wanna Marry Harry, Baby North West, your cousin that offered you weed at Christmas, E.L. James…just please do not look up to Apollo. Kenya says Apollo didn’t apologize to Brandon and instead repeats a conversation they had that sounded a lot like the plot of The Firm, with Brandon playing the Tom Cruise role.
Just to bring Nene’s villain arc to its highest peak, Andy tells Nene the gay community was “livid” at her continually calling Brandon a “queen,” and she says various combinations of “Really?” “You thought that?” “OK,” until she finally scoffs out an apology that goes like this: “If I offended you or anybody else in the gay community then I apologize for that” – her tongue on the verge of falling out, she adds a crazy witch laugh – “since I never apologize” – punctuated with another maniacal laugh. When Andy doesn’t seem altogether convinced she innocently asks, “Do I need to pull down your pants and kiss your ass? Should I hold a gay FUNK-shun?” What a delightful side of herself Nene has shown at this Reunion! I offer you this exchange without commentary, and only ask that you discuss in the comments if you care to hear any more of this genius word play from either of these ladies next season:
Nene: “Miss Ratchet Honey USA.”
Kenya: “Miss Donald Trump Hair USA.”
Nene: “Miss Funk Box.”
The night should have ended with Gregg complaining that he bought a new suit for this, but it doesn’t – we’re treated to 30 minutes of one-on-one time with Porsha , but unlike The Bachelorette, there’s no fake snow or helicopters or anything cool for our date. Although there is a lot of roundabout apologizing, ditziness, and clips of a terrible music video so, actually, it is kind of like The Bachelorette. Wait…Porsha the Bachelorette is far too viable an idea. Stop me before Bravo gets ahold of this!
I think we can all agree that 26 hours of RHOA was enough for one season, but I’ll miss the madness. And, of course, I’ll miss you guys the most. Thank you for following the mayhem with me – you made it fun. Hey, remember Textgate 2012 – 2014? Remember the series of episodes where it really seemed like there might be a Mama Joyce homicide? Remember ARTHUR? Oh, what a time to be alive! Porsha has a single that you can legally buy on iTunes and our summer is freed up to watch any number of other reality shows about women who may or may not be married and may or may not know each other. Might I suggest the British one that doesn’t have the word “housewives” in it? Two parting thoughts: Always remember to read others the way you would want to be read, and when in doubt, What Would Ayden Do?
The Real Housewives of Atlanta