A civil episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta...who knew?
Sunday’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta was a real meta-extravaganza: It was centered around a PSA in which the women dressed in white tops and spoke solemnly and truthfully about domestic violence, but the episode also served as its own, longer PSA about domestic violence where Kandi and Todd dressed like they were going to have their picture taken at the mall (joke stolen from Kandi, in possibly the wittiest thing she’s ever said on the series).
That means the episode is heavy on foreign concepts like empathy and restraint, and light on drama. Luckily, that means we’ll have a little spare brain capacity in our tea-spilling frontal lobes throughout the next week to prepare for what looks to be the Atlanta version of Allison DuBois, according to the “Next Week On.” Truly, nothing gets a Housewife to lose her damn mind with such rage and efficiency as a thirsty psychic medium. Bring on the screeching, death omens, and ideally an e-cigarette…
But for now, just bring on the tears, because on Sunday night’s episode, Kenya comes through on the domestic violence PSA she’s been touting, and no matter your guesses at the purity of Kenya’s intentions, no matter the thin, murky waters of her IMDb page, she did what she set out to do, and listening to Cynthia’s beautiful mom talk openly and honestly about the abuse in her past is going to get ya. We’re not monsters — we just watch glamorous women play them on TV.
As for non-PSA related plots, there’s the hiring of a new general manager going down at OLG, there’s Marlo and Cynthia trying to mend NeNe and Porsha’s broken friendship, and of course, Sheree’s newest arrival from her Rent-a-Wig Unlimited monthly subscription is here, and it’s blonder, longer, and more mind boggling than ever before.
The OLGs bring some concerns for their self-titled restaurant to Kandi and Todd, and you know they mean business because Aunt Bertha keeps her pocketbook in her lap the entire time…which might be the first time I’ve related to a single thing about Kandi’s family. Even though Kandi and Todd surely live in constant fear of these women they decided to base an entire business on in an already notoriously difficult industry, their concerns are small: where the hostess stand is located, the cooks pulling their pants up, and the look of the uniforms. Easy fixes.
Less simple is finding a competent general manager who won’t flee the scene once Mama Joyce tries to throw a clog at him/her. They seem to have a good lead with a bow-tied man named Aaron Buggs who immediately tells Kandi and Todd that 70 percent of OLG’s online reviews are three stars or under. Hire the man, if only to do my Housewives Yelping for me.
Now it’s time for Marlo to stomp onscreen, caring deeply about NeNe and Porsha’s mending of fences for some reason, and continuing to confuse me deeply about how she affords the gazillion Hermes boxes in her very glamorous home. But first she goes to NeNe’s house to float the idea of making up with Porsha, and if I have to watch one more of these women fill a Waterford wine glass to the absolute brim with crushed ice, I’m going to lose it. Get some tumblers, or stop drinking so much juice! But Marlo and NeNe do greet each other in a way that felt very familiar to any group of girlfriends:
Marlo: You look so gorgeous!
NeNe: Oh! Look at your boobs!
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Once Marlo is able to convince NeNe to attend a tea at her own home where she also plans to host Porsha and Cynthia, we’re treated to another perhaps less familiar but still excellent breast-related exchange:
Porsha: You look beautiful!
Cynthia: Oh, thank you!
Porsha: [whispering while hugging] Your nipple’s out.
The point of this tea party is to force Porsha and NeNe to forgive each other for both thinking that the other is a bad friend. NeNe thinks she was there for Porsha throughout her hard times, and once times got good again, Porsha ditched her; she wants Porsha to take accountability for that. Accountability: a word that, when said to Porsha, literally just sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown. Of course, NeNe also doesn’t seem particularly interested in making up with Porsha. I think she’s happy to have made up with Cynthia and Marlo and she wants to be able to keep talking trash about Porsha. At least, that’s the impression she gives off every time she meets Porsha’s real attempt at conversation with eating chips like the little Doritos girl from Vine.
They don’t turn up at the tea, despite the fact that Marlo was serving vodka cranberries in the tea cups (without telling Cynthia, who has, apparently, never had tea before), but after some back-and-forth they agree that there’s nothing here to mend. “Y’all were awful guests,” says Marlo. “I will never invite your asses over again.”
But even NeNe and Porsha can briefly get along when everyone comes together to film Kenya’s PSA about domestic violence. There’s some attempt at drama when Sheree tells Kenya that she wants to be more involved with the PSA, but Kenya never involves Sheree more, but also Sheree never suggests what added value she might bring to the table, nor does she follow up with Kenya about it herself. That all gets pushed to the wayside though, not only for their noble endeavor of speaking out against domestic violence as very public female figures, but also because Sheree is in a car accident on her way to the shoot. At first I was going to demand some receipts considering that Sheree was already running late, but those tears in the women’s restroom and her shaky eating of a tangerine were definitely real.
And Sheree pulls through! She records her lines written by Kenya and performed by all the other Atlanta Housewives, plus brave testimonials from Shamea and Cynthia’s gorgeous mother. You better believe I wept when Cynthia hugged her mom and told her she was proud of her, and if Kenya is any kind of producer, she was filming that and will put it in the PSA.
You guys, it’s not the most entertaining episode of RHOA, but there are also worse ways to spend time than seeing women come together to speak out against domestic violence. So say your prayers for Sheree’s bulging disk and for whatever poor soul becomes tasked with managing OLG, and I’ll see you back here next week for completely unscripted psychic predictions!