Peter and Cynthia confront their rocky first year of marriage, while NeNe and Marlo come together in the name of the environment.

By Karen Valby
Updated January 09, 2012 at 02:14 PM EST
Credit: Bravo
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Pastors, pastors, as far as the eye can see. The episode opened with Phaedra’s wonderfully fearsome Mama Regina making googly eyes at cutie pie Ayden, whose darling head of hair had a massive growth spurt. Phaedra swanned into the kitchen, preening over her plans for a funeral-home family business. Quick question, readers: When you think of mortuaries do you picture a) dead people, b) vampires, or c) a bunch of folks boo-hoo’ing. (P.S.: If you answered b, you’re either 10 years old and shouldn’t be watching Real Housewives — Arianna! — or nuts.) Well, wait until Phaedra gets a hold of those embalming shears. She’s going to revolutionize how we mourners think of death. “I want to do funerals worth dying for,” she said, coining her future business’ slogan. “Events! Not just throw ’em in the ground. Let’s throw ’em in the ground with a bang!” Preach, weirdo. All I know for sure is that I’d like Pastor Regina roaring like a lion as my new alarm sound and all this recapping baloney would be worth it if I could ever get a high-five from Ayden.

Date night, y’all! And did Peter and Cynthia ever look psyched to have a romantic night out on the town. Have two people ever looked more miserable to be stuck with one another as a salsa partner? Before class started they sat down for a little confab on the broken state of their union. (I don’t usually think Cynthia and her sister Mal look a lick alike but in that black dress and up do the resemblance was startling.) Their problem is communication, said Cynthia. That and the fact that the Peter Thomas package sucks ass. “I’m so happy with myself I’m going to talk like this for the rest of my life,” Peter said by way of compromise. Cynthia’s bags under her eyes swelled terrifyingly. Who wants to dance? “Only one person can lead or we’re not going to be a partnership,” the innocent teacher counseled, “we gonna be a fight.” Peter huffed and snorted. “That’s us all day long.”

KJ can’t stop peeing on his Mama, an act which I sorely wish Bravo had shared with us. Now that the baby is freshly swaddled, it’s time to get the Versace china unpacked. Did your hear that, America? Versace. Versace! Kim instructed the cameraman to zero in on the Versace logo on the china box. Class, y’all, and a part of her children’s inheritance. (Actually, Arianna just assumed she’d have all the cash that’s shoved under her mother’s canopy bed. And anything from Kim’s closet that’s bedazzled or camouflage-patterned.) Brielle regarded the whole scene with disdain and sat there with a curled lip as she texted ungrammatical messages to her friends. Kim demanded that Brielle help unpack. Her daughter propped a lazy slipper up on the table and smirked at the idea of hard labor. Kroy sighed heavily. Kim wondered if she’d perhaps spoiled her daughters and discouraged a life of curiosity and work ethic. Kim, some advice from afar. Get your daughter applications to TCBY and your neighborhood grocery store (insist she apply to one or the other) and a library card. Take the TV out of her room and tell her you’ll turn off her phone unless she stops acting like a cheap Disney princess with a bad attitude.

We took a quick, boring trip down to Nashville so Kandi could pay a visit to Jo Dee Messina’s house. I actually kind of liked the song that Kandi wrote for Jo Dee. I’m just confused as to why it was so much better than her “Fly Above” single from last season.

NEXT: Nene and Marlo have a meeting of the Moscatos.

Our girl Marlo is no fool. You wanna piece of Real Housewives action, you arrange a scene with the Queen bee. She invited NeNe to a liquor lunch and had Moscato on the ready. NeNe figured Marlo was anxious to know if there was any truth to the rumors that she “supposively” dated her boyfriend Charles Grant, but went in with an open mind. “I was very impressed with Marlo at the Bailey Agency opening,” she said, by which she meant that any woman who makes Kim uncomfortable by bringing up Big Poppa a dozen times is okay in her book. Let’s get real on the matter of Grant. He did invite NeNe out for a drink, but it’s not like the man got a peek at her Hello Kitty. Hey, Marlo gets it. Everyone has a past. NeNe went out for a margarita with her man. She was arrested seven times. NeNe’s face slid and froze and she leaned in close, a gleeful glint in her eye as she readied herself for some delicious dirt. “Five of them were violation of probation,” continued Marlo. “Ten years ago I got into an altercation with a young lady.” Six months county jail time. Abusive alcoholic mother, straight from the projects, not that she’s making any excuses. Sated by the woman’s confessions, NeNe suggests that if the two ever actually do brawl it would be over bags or shoes rather than some smug baller.

At this point, I think we all had to accept that this was going to be a fairly tepid episode. The only taste of Sheree was her putting Kim in a wobbly side plank position and forcing some vegetation down the woman’s throat. Two thoughts: I love Sheree in workout wear and Kim looked especially drag as she grimaced over a little carrot ginger.

Across town, Phaedra dragged a very dubious looking Apollo to Willie Watkins’ funeral home. It was time to get Apollo on board, so what better way to ease his fears over dead bodies than giving him a tour of the embalming room. Oh God, those giant hedge clippers and the industrial-sized juicer. Run, Apollo! But the man kept on his stoic face, and is it just me or did Phaedra actually look the more nervous of the two of them? She bragged that she felt so easy breezy in there that she could curl up for a long nap in one of the coffins, but I’m not buying it.

NEXT: NeNe pretends to care about Mother Earth.

Marlo invited her new bestie to a fundraiser for Captain Planet. It was a trip for NeNe to see Marlo in her white little frock, hanging with the aging debutantes. “People just can’t put together socialite/criminal,” cracked NeNe. They can when said conundrum will throw down 40 grand for a bauble ring. Yikes, the hostesses of the event were brutal. Was it their cocoon of wealth that deadened their speech and rendered them humorless? Was Laura pissed when her Dad raided her friend pool for his current lady pal? Laura cornered NeNe, who was doing her best to nod agreeably and look invested in the cause, to rally her in their fight to ban plastic in Atlanta. NeNe made the mistake of expressing interest in a pair of earrings the hostess had made. Oh fun, a back story! “Do you know the Dalai Lama?” the jeweler crowed. NeNe’s face went blank. “The Italian!” cued Marlo. I love you two ladies.

Somebody got lucky last night! Which is weird, because we all thought Apollo couldn’t stand Phaedra. But there he was, bringing her pink roses to the office with a little spring in his step. They sort of giggled about their afterglow and it was all very confusing and disorientingly cute. It was time to get serious, though, about their funeral home. Only thing is Apollo doesn’t want to be tainted by the souls and spirits. Phaedra managed to distract him from the reality of dead people and remind him that he’d get to wear a snappy top hat and talk to girls. Sold! By the end of the scene Apollo was grinning and excited (this is a first, right?) and Phaedra scooted around her desk to give him a little nuzzle. Do these two actually kind of like each other? I love it! “One thing, I’m not touching no dead bodies,” he said on the way out and she just shushed him and said sure, sure, no problem. Little does her husband know that in the season finale, Phaedra will have him cracking open his first chest cavity.

One more visit to a Pastor before we call this episode. Peter and Cynthia, in a Hail Mary, went to visit the man who married them. Pastor had some sage advice to impart: “We effectively communicate or we detrimentally disintegrate.” The problem is Cynthia tells too long of stories (that’s true actually) and Peter just tunes her out. Cynthia called him a dinosaur, which he took personally, and the pastor looked like he was ready to break for lunch. The good man finally asked the two to just say what it was they loved about each other. Cynthia praised his strength, his intelligence, his wealth of experience. Peter refused to play along. (Just tell her you like her in a baseball cap, ya jerk!) Finally, the man softened and managed some kind words with his wife. Outside the two shared their first real hug of the season.

Next week: Mama Joyce tries her own hand at couples counseling. NeNe and Kim look unimpressed.

Well, Atlantics? Did Peter show a different side to his Package last night? Does Marlo intrigue? Does Phaedra really want to open a funeral home or is this just a bit? Are she and Apollo kind of a nice couple after all?

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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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