Sunday’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta was so awkward that it sprouted braces, got its period at a church lock-in, accidentally called its teacher “mom,” and had a voice crack while singing “Let It Go” at the school talent show all at one time. The women of Atlanta have a lot of superlatives going for them within the Housewives franchise: They’re certainly the funniest and the most all-around fabulous, a few of them have bona fide careers outside of reality television, and they’re an objectively gorgeous crew. But put aside all that and they’re just a bunch of awkward teenagers in disguise as glamazons.
First on the leaderboard of awkwardness is almost always Cynthia, doing anything from pretending to cook, to shakily attempting to read someone capable of verbally demolishing her with a haiku, to trying to convince us that Peter is a sexy business mogul. But tonight, we’re also treated to the truly gauche stylings of Porsha going on a blind date where she does a full 180 upon spotting her suitor that needs to be turned into a GIF, like, yesterday, then quite literally giving him the “I gotta go, my mom’s coming” line; to Sheree explaining to her life coach why it’s very wonderful that she is dating a man in prison; and to Kandi tapping into her Mama Joyce DNA by launching a full-scale investigation into Cynthia’s new (also awkward) boy toy. It is a cringey, hide-behind-your-pillow, second-hand-embarrassment delight.
In addition to learning more about Sheree’s jailhouse boyfriend tonight, we get to watch her…shop for doors. Apparently Sheree needs a few “special doors” for her unfinished basement that Kenya welcomed herself into last season. Sheree says that once her basement is finished, she’ll have a theater, a sauna, a spa, and a wine cellar, and I find myself hoping that Mister Jack Daniels’ life-coaching services also include financial advisement.
At the door store, Sheree and Porsha gossip about how crazy it is that Cynthia hasn’t met Kenya’s husband. At Cynthia’s lake house, Cynthia, Kandi, and Kenya are gossiping about how crazy it is that Sheree is dating a convict. (It’s unclear where NeNe is this episode, but probably somewhere, looking into a mirror, gossiping about Sheree, Porsha, Cynthia, Kandi, and Kenya.) Apparently Sheree posted a photo of herself and her boyfriend, presumably taken at the prison where he lives, where she was wearing a shirt that said “wifey,” because there aren’t enough vague, confusing marriage rumors on this show. Cynthia finally tells Kenya that it does upset her that she still hasn’t met Marc, and Kenya explains that there’s a logical reason for that: “He hasn’t been in Atlanta a lot.” Cynthia wonders why she couldn’t have met him when she was just in New York a few days ago, and Kenya laughs nervously, telling Cynthia she “will get [her] receipts” soon. Ah, the joys of friendship!
Since Porsha is in short supply on the friendship front right now, she’s focusing on romance. “There has got to be a man for Porsha,” she says. “Cynthia’s been divorced, what, five minutes, she got a man; Sheree’s got a prison bae. Kenya found a man, and he’s visible.” Porsha plans to find said man by hiring two white women in wrap dresses with a quirky little matchmaking business to set her up, and you just kind of know this isn’t going to go well. Porsha takes the women on a tour of her house and it quickly becomes clear that Porsha just uses her entire house as a closet. The matchmakers think men would be turned off by the fact that she has two rooms in her house decorated like nurseries, but I think they might be more turned off by the fact that it looks like a Ross Dress for Less up in there. (Recap continues on page 2)
Cynthia looks like she’s all dolled up to go on a date, but really she’s just meeting Peter in the dirty, abandoned lot where he likes to conduct business. She’s there to check on the progress of “Bar 2,” which she says she’s a 25 percent partner in, to which I wrote in my notes, “Bitch you better be full owner of Bar 1, 2, 3, and 4 that he used your money to open!” Peter now gets testimonials apparently, because suddenly his glistening head and wide-ass Windsor knot are telling us, “I’m killin’ ’em in Charlotte… and now I gotta show Cynthia what she’s invested in. I’mma murder them in Atlanta.” And he simply has to know that the combination of that metaphor, his creepy voice, villain’s beard, and tendency to non-consensually sniff women’s necks is not a comforting combination.
Watching Peter and Cynthia flirt with each other is like particularly sharp nails on an especially crusty old man chalkboard for me, but luckily that is salved by getting to watch precious Baby Ace take swim lessons. I, of course, will never stop missing the living Precious Moments dolls that are Ayden and Dylan, but I am thankful for Baby Ace and Baby Ace’s chubby cheeks and Baby Ace’s tiny li’l afro.
Finally, it’s time for Sheree to talk to her children about the abuse from her ex-husband and their father, Bob, which Sheree does in her typically awkward style, saying that she’s sure they’ve heard about it on the internet. But unlike all the other avoidably awkward happenings in this episode, this is a conversations that would be uncomfortable for any family. It’s clear that Sheree has great kids who adore their mom, and they tell her that they’ll always support her, and that she’s “been everything” for them. It’s very difficult and very sweet.
Now back to your regularly scheduled lunacy. As you’ll recall, Cynthia’s new man Will “has access to a rather sizable boat” that he wanted to take her on, so she invited the entire cast of her reality television program to come along. Luckily for Will, only Kandi and Todd can come; unluckily for Will, Kandi and Todd come with specific instructions from producers to interrogate Will about his intentions with Cynthia. Kandi says that in Atlanta, “There’s a lot of people who fake it ’til they make it — stay woke.”
It seems that Kandi has hired her mother’s street spies to get some intel on Will, and she found out that he was once on a dating episode of The Steve Harvey Show. The flashback photo captioned “Will in disguise on Steve Harvey last year” inexplicably shows him looking like the old man from the Six Flags commercials. Kandi says that “Todd took the heat from my whole circle… now it’s Will’s turn,” and surely she realizes that taking behavioral cues from her mother is absolute insanity. But she really sticks to her guns, telling Will that since Cynthia has been in the public eye for so long, she has to be wary of certain types of people. “I’m not an opportunidist,” Will tells her. And yes, I did type the correctly. (Recap continues on page 3)
A little girl talk reveals that Will and Cynthia haven’t even had sex yet. She says that she doesn’t want to get serious with him and then find out the sex isn’t good, but she also doesn’t want to have sex too early. Kandi’s expert advice: “Check out the thickness of his hands.” They joke about penis size for a while, and then go back to the table with the guys where Cynthia immediately relays what she and Kandi were just talking about, causing Kandi’s eyes to comically bug out of her head. “What if there’s no sexual chemistry when we finally do it,” Cynthia exclaims to the entire table…and the camera zooms in on Will’s hands.
As always, the RHOA editors deserve ever so many Christmas bonuses this year.
If one awkward date wasn’t enough for your Real Housewives sitting, you’re in luck, because Porsha is headed to the blind date her matchmakers have set up for her, decked to the absolute Instagram-model nines, so you know things are about to take a turn for the worst. Sure enough, she walks into the restaurant, spots her date, then immediately turns around. I don’t love all the judgment of physical appearance that happens in this scene, but also…that turnaround was hilarious and the guy kind of ends up being an all-around dud, not just a surface-level dud. Despite what it first seemed, Porsha does not walk all the way back to her Bentley and drive back home; she instead wanders around the hostess’ stand for a while mumbling to herself and peeking at her date from behind potted plants, and then eventually walks over to meet him.
She tells him that her mom is staying with her, so she snuck out real quick to meet him, and probably needs to leave in 30 minutes. Excluding that blatant brush-off, I actually thought Porsha remained pretty charming during most of this date, and she calls the man nice in her testimonial. I didn’t think it was particularly nice when he said, “You don’t have a huge ego, I’m very surprised… most good-looking women, there’s usually something off.” Dude, gross. Porsha asks if he’s joking, and then hilariously tells him that she’s not that attractive, and she “looks just like him” when she’s at home: “Not a hair on my head!” He suggests a sake bomb so that “maybe [she’ll] loosen up a little bit” (dude, gross!), so Porsha takes it and then bounces right on outta there to “go and stroll my DMs.”
So at least we get to end this romantic horror film of an episode with the woman who is lucky in love, and totally, not at all ignoring 100 neon red flags.
Jack Daniels, Life Coach comes over to Sheree’s house, where she is wearing a full sweat suit with stiletto heels. She tells him about the conversation she had with her kids, then excuses herself to the porch when she gets a call from an inmate at a federal prison. Tyrone tells Sheree that he had a flashback recently to the last time they saw each other in New York. She explains in her testimonial that they dated six years ago: “We stopped dating because he stopped calling me, then I find out four years later it’s because he was getting in trouble with the Feds and didn’t want to get me involved.” She delivers this reveal like Tyrone is the Prince Charming of Martyrdom, not someone who’s in prison for wire fraud.
Back inside, Jack Daniels notes that Sheree sure was smiling a lot, and she says coyly that she was talking to her boyfriend. Jack Daniels gets all cutesy and says that now he understands why she’s glowing. “He’s in prison,” Sheree tells him, casually, and Jack Daniel’s face is the living embodiment of a record scratch: “Who’s in prison?” Her prison bae is in prison. “I love him,” Sheree says. “I love how he treats me, I love the communication that we have.” Jack Daniels wonders if she’s not living in a bit of a fantasy world, but Sheree says no one would fantasize about dating someone in prison. Uh, Sheree, bad dudes stay getting proposed to in jail — it is a freaky phenomenon, but it is real.
Jack Daniels asks what’s going to happen when he gets out, and Sheree, with animated butterflies zooming in and out of her ears, says, “Oh, it’s going to be beautiful, just to be able to connect and see each other and touch each other.” Tyrone hopes he’ll be out of prison by the end of the year, but if that doesn’t happen, it will be four more years. Sheree insists that he makes her happier than any man ever has, and when Jack Daniels asks if she has any fears about falling in love with a man in prison that she hasn’t seen outside of prison in six years, she responds: “No.”
Cool, seems like we’re all being rational then — see you next week when Cynthia goes out with a serial arsonist who was recently featured on Wendy Williams‘ Hottest Serial Arsonists episode!