The Housewives (and Friends of Housewives) set a new record for how many awful things can be said in one episode
Hello, and welcome to this week’s recap of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, the mindless show you enjoy semi-watching while you fold laundry, and from which you have always loved the tackling of sensitive and nuanced topics like racism, rape, and Uber.
This episode of RHOA seems to have been sponsored by Instagram, The Shade Room, and the Herff Jones jewel tone background we’re treated to every time we have to find out what season 10 plot point took place in a teenager’s Instagram comments. This episode dives into the internet so many times, I think it must be a secret paid sponsorship for Ready Player One. (Confession: I don’t fully understand what Ready Player One is about, but The Matrix didn’t seem like a very timely reference point.)
This hour of RHOA was the most frustrating thing a Housewives episode can be: highly stressful, and full of illogical one-shouldered outfits. You’re telling me that after picking out a comfortable caftan or luxury pajama jumpsuit (Marlo, finally settling back into her intended roll: a luxury pajama jumpsuit wearer) to wear for the day, you want to then harness yourself into a strapless bra? And you’re telling me that after having a sound and salient defense for your offense at Kim’s daughter’s video, you want to follow that up with saying she has a funky p—y, and then making a completely disgusting comment about rape as a little something extra, NeNe?
Every single person in this episode manages to have a brief brush with being in the right, while simultaneously being oh-so-incredibly off base about something else. Kandi reads Kim and her husband for the creepy pod people they are in her signature wobble-voice, but then is for some reason very willing to excuse NeNe’s awful outburst about rape. Sheree has no tolerance for NeNe’s inappropriate comment, but has an abundance of tolerance for her friend Kim letting her daughter run amok in people’s homes and on the internet. And Kim is just full-on awful, even trotting out the oldest adage in the How to Succeed in Racism Without Really Trying handbook: “I don’t see color.”
Yeesh, the only person who doesn’t do something completely heinous or heinous-adjacent this episode is Kenya, and that’s because she’s been totally M.I.A. for the last three weeks. Plus Porsha, who’s just out here drinking boba tea and talking about how she’s going to excuse herself from the drama. Listen, that’s probably a great move for your mental health, pal, but I didn’t realize that appearances from peach-carrying members of this cast were optional this year?! I sure did not put up with Kenya roaming around empty McMansions picking up tiny dog poop for six seasons only to have her disappear right when her life starts teetering on Lifetime movie material. And maybe if they were around, we wouldn’t have to deal with Kim and NeNe being absolute monsters…
I swore to myself when I was just a wee recapper that I would never do extra research for this show, but I had to look into at least one article just to make sure that I understood exactly which hidey-holes of the internet this entire feud between NeNe, and Kim and her daughter Brielle went down in. I’m pretty sure Brielle originally posted the video of NeNe’s bathroom with indeterminate bugs inside it on SnapChat. NeNe didn’t see that video until Kim texted it to all of the women in the group in Barcelona after hearing that NeNe was questioning her many past health problems. NeNe then either posted the video or at least alluded to it on her own Instagram, and the true battle began…within the Instagram comments of a bunch of selfies. Let’s break down Brielle’s response that started it all, to someone who called her original video racist:
Now, I only refer to Brielle as a young woman because it’s a fact — not because it should protect her from being accountable for her action. Children of Housewives should be off limits, but 20-year-olds who happily throw themselves into the ring, and whose mothers blast their nasty SnapChats out to all their friends, are going to have to play ball. Kim has contradicted herself constantly throughout this situation, one minute calling Brielle a grown-ass woman she can’t control, and the next saying NeNe can’t talk about her child. Kim tells Sheree that she’s had to hire security because NeNe keeps calling her racist on Instagram. “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” says Kim, a liar. “Not me, my husband, or my children see color — never have.” This is such obvious ignorant buffoonery, it needs no commentary…
No, wait, here’s some: Kim, girl, you are not excused from a systemically racist society because you have black friends. If you “don’t see color,” and refuse to recognize that life may be different for a black woman than it is for you and your daughter, then you have a racist bone in your body, and that bone is resting dormant right under your wig.
Now then…somehow, NeNe and Kim & Co. being awful to each other is not the worst thing someone does this episode. Sheree and Kandi go to lunch, where Sheree asks Kandi about NeNe being let go from the Xscape tour, where NeNe’s comedy show had originally been slated as the opening act. We’re treated to more jewel-tone peach backgrounds as headlines splash across the screen: “NO XSCAPE PLAN: XSCAPE DROPS NENE LEAKES FROM TOUR FOLLOWING RAPE JOKE.”
Apparently, NeNe’s comedy tour took her to San Fransisco, where she began telling a joke about women needing to be careful with Uber drivers that Cynthia helped her come up with — honestly there’s your first clue this is headed nowhere good; Cynthia’s beauty is only matched by her corniness — in front of a crowd full of Silicon Valley Uber employees. A woman on the front row started heckling NeNe and eventually told her to go kill herself, so NeNe snapped back that she hoped the woman was raped by an Uber driver. It’s incredible how bad this is. To her credit, NeNe seems truly remorseful for saying it later when breaking down to Cynthia and Marlo, but to her absolute discredit…she said it. And her public apology, as well as her private comments to them, repeats variations of, “I never meant to hurt anybody.” Right, but you did. Nene says, “I wish I could have said something different in that moment, I just…I just f—ed up.”
What Kim and NeNe share in common is the idea that you can say something offensive and write it off as a mere mistake or overreaction, as opposed to indicating a deeper flaw within yourself that could be improved upon with thoughtfulness and care. These are not the kinds of topics the Housewives franchise is prepared to take on, so the episode at least ends on a more thematically appropriate note for the series. Kim asks Kandi to meet for lunch, and even though Kandi doesn’t particularly want to, she says yes — and then Kim is two hours late for the meeting. Kandi doesn’t even drink; you better believe my ass would have left after 45 minutes, and that’s with the possibility of tequila to keep me company.
So, when Kim finally gets there, telling Kroy to have fun at Costco and that she probably won’t be too long when he drops her off, Kandi is ready to go. She immediately starts asking Kim when Kroy started accompanying her everywhere and why he’s always waiting around in parking lots for her. (Seriously, poor Kroy; I’m worried about his carbon monoxide intake in such small spaces all the time!) Kandi says it always seems like Kim is looking for an excuse to leave, and the editors helpfully cut back to “10 minutes ago” when Kim told her husband she would be quick. Kim asks for an example, and Kandi says she was talking to or about Kroy the entire time at the Elephant Room. That’s when Kim says, “When the f— did I call my husband during the Elephant Room?”
Oh no. Kandi snaps back so fast, “Wait, who the f— you cussing at?!” Kim says she’s getting irritated at the questioning, and Kandi at a full-scale-wobble says, “Well, if you’re getting irritated, do what the f— you normally do and take your ass home, and get in that car!” Surprisingly, Kim seems legitimately intimidated by this turn of fury from Kandi, and goes full WhiteGuyBlinking.GIF. They turn the conversation to catching up on their personal lives, and eventually come around to agreeing that they’re cool with each other. So glad everyone is feeling fine and dandy, but I am stressed to the max, so please excuse me as I go shop for two-shouldered caftans to calm down.