The Real Housewives of Atlanta recap: 'Say Yes to Distress'
The 10th season of RHOA might have premiered last week, but this Sunday, the season finally debuted officially — we got taglines, baby! I offer them to you here, ranked and with commentary, in hopes that you can use your own imagination to picture the ladies twirling in bodycon dresses and enough highlighter to guide a jet safely to landing in a hurricane:
Kenya: “While some were saying ‘I can’t,’ I was saying ‘I do.’” It’s simple: Kenya has a total breakdown in tonight’s episode about not wanting her husband to have to suffer the media-circus life that comes with her reality star status, yet she made their marriage the subject of the tagline we’ll hear for all 1,600 episodes of this season. Something stinks, Kenya, and it’s not just the 40 pounds of thawing meat Porsha just threw out.
Porsha: “Friends come and go, but family is forever.” Is Porsha working toward some kind of Manzo-style spin-off? Because, first of all: keep it. Second of all, Porsha saying she prefers family over friends is kind of like a man in the desert saying he prefers dying a painful death over drinking water. Like, sure, maybe he’s some kind of masochist who wandered into the desert, but also — he just doesn’t currently have any friends water.
Cynthia: “Age is just a number, but these cheekbones are timeless.” These are just two age-related non-sequiturs that Cynthia has placed next to each other in hopes that they’d correlate. They do not, but those cheekbones are timeless, so whatever.
Nene: “Ten years in the game and I’m still the tastiest peach in Atlanta.” A little boring, but on brand. I’ll give credit for resisting saying “hunny” for what must have been at least three seconds, a new record.
Sheree: “Call me a bad server…because I ALWAYS spill the tea.” I mean…I just…did Sheree hire a ghost writer? She said about 16 things tonight that, upon reflection, did not make any sense, but also made me laugh out loud with the force of a cannon. This tagline somehow manages to be ludicrously unwitty while also being legitimately funny. Can you imagine nicknaming someone “Bad Server”? No. Of course not. That’s a terrible nickname. But I will call Sheree a bad server because she is always serving the tea with such confidence that she about has me convinced to order her gross warm plant water, let her spill it all over me, and still leave her a 40 percent tip.
Kandi: “Don’t mess with the boss — because you might get fired.” The SHAAAAADE! The shade is real. It’s so real that I thought this was just a pleasant, slightly feisty play on words. And then…I realized. Kandi is not the most interesting person in this cast, she’s not the most fun, and she’s definitely not the easiest to listen to. But she is, hands down, the most respected, the most accomplished, and the most tenured — Kandi is the boss. Phaedra came for her. And Phaedra was asked to leave.
Having reached a climax within the first 30 seconds of the episode, the remaining 41 and a half minutes are mostly a slow, Bath & Body Works-scented come down. The episode opens with Cynthia talking about how she eventually wants to love again. That’s fine and all, but I remember specifically being promised Cynthia would not marry again after her fiasco of a monogamous coupling with Peter — a promise I felt I was owed given that I once had to watch him get a massage in his knee-length old man drawers — and there better not be any take-backs.
I probably don’t need to worry though, because Cynthia goes on a date with a man named Evan who is handsome, but 29 years old. They’ve already bene out a few times, presumably to dinners and movies, so naturally, it’s time for the traditional fourth date: a photo shoot. I guess Evan is a photographer, because he has Cynthia do a full-scale photo shoot with hair and makeup, then they sit down to a rose petal-strewn dinner. It would perhaps be romantic if Cynthia didn’t seem like she was about to crack a molar trying so hard to channel her limited thespian skills in order to act flirtatious. She does say, “I just keep thinking, ‘How old is his daddy?'” which is funny.
Porsha’s sister Lauren and Lauren’s daughter Baleigh are moving into Porsha’s house because they’re going through some changes with Baleigh’s father. Somehow, this adorable baby is now the size of a toddler even though it seems like just yesterday that Porsha was calling Lauren selfish for taking maternity leave. They really seem to get along well, which is always nice to see between sisters on TV, but can you imagine already being Porsha’s personal assistant, and then becoming her roommate? I am concerned for Lauren; Porsha does not strike me as someone who does her share of cleaning the toilets.
Later, Lauren helps Porsha clean out her kitchen because Porsha has intentions of becoming a “baby vegan.” There is a flashback to the scene last week that I referred to as “my actual nightmare” when we had to listen to Porsha’s mouth sounds while she beasted some fried chicken. But Porsha says her mom showed her the movie What the Health and she was inspired to change her eating habits, though I’m fairly certain that by “baby vegan” Porsha just means “vegetarian” because she seems to think that she just needs to throw out a few packs of chicken cutlets rather than, like, change her entire lifestyle and start taking iron supplements and milking cashews. (Recap continues on page 2)
Sheree, on the other hand, seems to be taking real, committed steps toward changing her life for the better. Tonight, she goes to see a life coach named Jack Daniels, and yes, I heardmyself type that. Normally, I roll my eyes at any professional who chooses to go on a reality TV show, but Jack Daniels seems to be a pretty solid life coach. Sheree is there to deal with the verbal and emotional abuse from Bob that she’s been repressing for the last 10 years that was outed last season. She wants to get to a place where she can talk about it without crying, but Jack Daniels tells her not to be afraid of the tears. She also wants to be able to talk to her children about it since the Bob-related episodes will be airing, so Jack Daniels advises her to practice the conversation with some friends.
Kandi has a whole extra house they can use for the conversation role play, so she hosts Sheree and her friends. As mentioned earlier, I am not interested in a show about Porsha’s family, but I am looking out for a show about Sheree’s friends, who are described as, “Greg who’s got your back, Michelle who has good advice, and Kiki who is going to give it to you straight up.” And they do! After some role-playing and some tough questions, Sheree’s ultimate message is, “We can’t let anyone kill our spirit or break down our confidence of who we are.” My only regret from these scenes is that Jack Daniels could not have given Sheree the life advice to unload the emotional baggage of that electrified Sia wig she has parked on her head.
If only I could role-play as someone who didn’t have to watch Kenya complain about her husband being overwhelmed by all the media attention while she actively films a reality television show. Now, listen, I wouldn’t want Kenya to quit RHOA for a man if she doesn’t want to or anything. But I also wouldn’t want her to dupe that man into marrying her knowing full well what it would be like for him as a private person. And, okay, let’s just say they can maneuver past all of that: DON’T MAKE IT YOUR STORY LINE!
Perhaps Kenya is also regretting her narrative decision because she gives her pal Brandon a call from her closet to tell him how overwhelming all of this has been for her husband Marc. Of the haters, Brandon says, “Let them kick rocks and go suck a f—-ing eggroll, and cut out the noise,” which is a directive I’m going to be thinking about for a long time. Cutting out the noise for Kenya involves freaking out, and suddenly we’re seeing producers rush into the closet, a fourth wall break I don’t recall ever seeing on RHOA before. Through the closed door we hear Kenya weeping about how people are coming out of the woodwork to try and break them apart, and it’s too much for Marc. The producer tells her, “He has to fight the fight,” which suddenly makes me want a Housewives spin-off of UnReal desperately. Kenya sobs, “I don’t want to get divorced.” Do you not want it bad enough to not make it your story line?
Finally, the Housewives who are friends with Friend-of-the-Housewives Shamea head to her bridal shower. That includes Porsha, whom Shamea has been best friends with since childhood, and Kandi, whom she has gotten close with over the last year. The thing is, Porsha and Shamea have been distant since that time Porsha let Phaedra insinuate that Shamea and Kandi were hooking up (insert anatomically inaccurate hand gesture here), while Shamea and Kandi are currently thick as thieves (insert Phaedra bugging her eyes out here).
The other thing is that since Shamea is not a Housewife I know well, I’m just not that interested in all of this. The bottom line is that Shamea’s wedding is in Africa and Porsha isn’t going. And, y’know, since it’s a wedding on a different continent, that’s probably fine. Except Porsha is clearly lying about why she isn’t going, allegedly blaming it on not being able to pay $10,000 on a First Class ticket at first, and then at the shower, saying that she can’t go for health reasons, a.k.a. she passed out getting a manicure one time so now she says she has Vasovagal Syncope.
Vasovagal Syncope…consider yourself googled. Shamea and Porsha arguing in a car because Shamea put Porsha on blast for making excuses in front of Kandi…consider me not particularly entertained. Game where you put a bunch of ping pong balls in a Kleenex box, tie it to your friends’ butts and make them twerk the balls out…consider yourself noted for future parties and events. What did you think of season 10’s second episode? Where was Nene? Would you let your 17-year-old daughter go meet her boyfriend in Charlotte for the weekend like Cynthia did? Place your bets for the duration of Porsha’s baby-veganism in the comments!
The Real Housewives of Atlanta