On another slow episode, NeNe invites her new BFF Marlo to South Africa while Kim sends Kroy off to work.

By Karen Valby
Updated January 23, 2012 at 02:31 PM EST
Bravo

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

S4 E11
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How do we know for sure that Season 4 of the Real Housewives of Atlanta has been a general snooze? Because the bulk of this episode occurred at curbside check-in. This season is reminiscent of last year’s New York Housewives. Not much happens. The women snipe. The producers bet everything on an action-packed trip to an exotic locale. South Africa is this season’s Morocco. Another handicap of this season I think is the self-imposed separation of Kim. Love or hate that tacky bitch, she fills up a scene. I’m guessing Bravo slipped Miss Joyce a hundred to instigate that failed make-up scene between NeNe and Kim last episode. No dice. No drama.

What happened this episode? NeNe clung tighter to her new friend Marlo, an alliance I’m guessing won’t last the season. The two women admire each other’s style. NeNe loves a jumper. Marlo a Gucci bag. “I’m 5’10, Marlo’s 5’10,” NeNe said of their chemistry. “When I walk into a room, I own it. When she walk into a room, she almost owns it.” Marlo offered NeNe a tour of her closet and tried to give NeNe one of her Chanel bags. But NeNe only accepts inappropriate gifts from oil-greased men so she giddily demurred. Downstairs, a chef Marlo hired for the day whipped a meal up for the women while NeNe groaned about Africa. Marlo shushed her and told her to go already, surely the Housewives would behave in the Motherland. NeNe, who rightly guessed that Cynthia as her sole ally would be both boring and unimpressive, told Marlo to come along. (I picture a frazzled Uncle Billy from It’s a Wonderful Life recalibrating the budget to accommodate Marlo’s safe passage.)

Listen, I know she’s all kinds of obnoxious, but my word are Kroy and Kim dear with each other. Yes you have to get past moments like this one: “The one time we tried to get frisky Brielle came around the corner like ‘Hey, I want to introduce you to the neighbors,'” laughed Kim. But their horniness seems built upon a genuine friendship and it’s refreshing to see a couple on one of these shows who actually likes each other.

There was an extended scene of Kim getting wrapped in an expensive Ace bandage while a skeptical Kroy, with baby KJ adorably strapped to his chest, looked on. “Do you know how much work it takes to lose fat,” he wondered. Hush your mouth, dear. Kim doesn’t like the W word. Intercut with Kim waddling around in her sexy mummy casing were scenes of Kandi huffing and puffing to her trainer’s orders. Life isn’t fair. Kandi had to go to battle against a mound of truck tires. Kim got to bounce on a mini-tramp while her doting husband’s cargo shorts hid his erection. Quick question, in regards to the kids in the pool. When did Brielle get those boobs and shouldn’t she be wearing a one-piece?

Here’s Cynthia on her hopes for the Housewives’ trip to Africa: “Africa!” By the way, Peter wonders why his wife is going on their honeymoon with NeNe instead of him. And also why his wife looks so ecstatic at the notion of 10 days without him?

NEXT: Sweetie almost sets herself on fire.

Marlo and NeNe’s affair continued over champagne and fabulous shoes. “Marlo is definitely a label whore,” said NeNe approvingly. “Like me.” While the women sipped some of the good stuff, Marlo griped about the other women. “Kandi is standoffish and you can tell she listens to what other people say,” she said, nonsensically. “And that bothers me with black women.” Oh lord, this nonsense again. “Sheree is mean-spirited,” NeNe said mean-spiritedly. NeNe’s appeared a couple of times on WWHL sighing over all the women talking trash about her behind her back. Turns out she was just waiting for a willing audience to engage in the same behavior. I’m not sure if Marlo has a beef with Sheree, or if NeNe just assumes an enmity between the two because of her own problem with the woman? It was kind of funny when NeNe was hit with sticker shock over the $10,000+ necklace. “It’s diamonds,” explained the cashier. You’re going to want to charge that back to NeNe’s credit card, hon.

The lockout is over, which means Kroy has to go back to work. So Kim and Kroy went out for one last dinner before he left for a month of camp. It’s been near a year since Kim had any booze so that whipped margarita was going to throw her for a loop. Kroy looked sad about the prospect of leaving his family behind, what with a vulnerable eight-week-old baby at the house. Don’t worry, Kim Sweetie’s got this. “She’s either going to be an ass or a help,” said Kim. “She has an attitude sometimes, but she’s gotta be overwhelmed.”

Speaking of an overwhelmed Sweetie, she had flower petals to throw around and a hundred tea lights to light and a tub faucet to figure out. Red means hot, or is it the other way around? No wonder she’s stressed! Luckily she had Kim’s parents to help her put together this horn dog of an evening. Ugh, I can smell Kim’s Dad through the television. A hard mix of Slim Jims and a freshly opened can of tennis balls. Kim called her assistant three times on the way home from the restaurant but Sweetie was too busy draping her skirt over flames to answer her phone.

Finally Kroy and Kim found themselves in their bathroom.”This is the first night we’ve had by ourselves,” she said, willfully ignoring the camera and sound guy over by the hamper. And Dad! “You going to get naked in your, uh, bath tub?” he chuckled, strolling onto the scene in his pleated jean shorts and belt. “I want you to be careful. If you can’t be careful, be good. And if you can’t be good, then just name it after me. Hey, do you have earthquake insurance?” Kroy, I’m so sorry about him.

The Smalls were the first to arrive at the airport for the South Africa trip. Am I crazy or were Phaedra and Apollo kind of hot saying goodbye in the limo. Sheree showed up in what I’m guessing is a prototype for her She by Sheree exercise gear. Kandi had a bad feeling in her stomach about what lay in store for the lot of them. Cynthia poured out of a limo and she made the Smalls feel like little brown mushrooms.

Back at the mansion, Kim surprised us all by appearing on camera with minimal makeup. So strange to see her looking semi-human. Kroy, his heart heavy, said sweet goodbyes to his baby boy and a still-snoozing Brielle upstairs. (Arianna was outside cleaning the pool.) Kim and Kroy shared a sweet goodbye. I was impressed by the way Kim resisted waterworks and melodrama. She had some serious starch in her legs as she bid her man a rousing adieu. “Call me in five. Talk to me the whole way there. Do good in camp. This is your year!” She waved goodbye and then realized she’d locked herself out of her house. Sweetie’s dastardly plot is just taking shape.

Next week: Still at curb check-in.

Am I being too hard on this season or is it really just one non-event after another? Are you too charmed by Kim or Kroy despite yourself? Is Kandi’s hand-wringing about her weight getting old? Stop eating nachos and stuffed mushrooms and stick with your exercise. Are you glad Marlo is going to South Africa? And how long do you give her friendship with NeNe?

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The Real Housewives of Atlanta

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