'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: 'Hello Mr. Chocolate'
For me, watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta is kind of like a personality test and a test of mental strength all in one. Yes, Meyers Brigg can tell me that I’m an outgoing introvert, or what have you, but only this show can make me question my concept of reality with every scene change. How can I be so certain of the things that Kenya is faking—acting as though she ever had a real shot at producing with Roger Bobb—one minute, and be totally unclear on what to believe in a scene between two people—Phaedra and Apollo—who are both just as clearly suffering from delusions of their own. I think it’s because, if this show proves anything, it’s that everyone lives in their very own reality, created in their own mind. For you and me, those realities are probably very close to each other… like Cheers and Frasier. For, say, Apollo and me, one of us is living in New Girl and the other is living in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
That mental test broke me so badly last week I couldn’t even recap. Just kidding, I was super sick, but my apologies anyway, for neglecting my fellow RHOA soldiers in that time of need. Before we get to this week’s mayhem, I’d like to offer a brief synopsis of last week’s milder mayhem. Since nothing can really hold a thematic candle to a man who is just hours from going to prison stomping around a house screaming about garage door fobs, I think it’s best if we just capture last week’s hour with its Most Absurd Quotes:
“[Life Twirls On] is me being me: a retired supermodel who made her fortune in cosmetics, haircare product, clothing, etc.” Nothing thrills me more than when these women give a little glimpse into exactly how they see themselves. This is Kenya pitching Roger Bobb a show that’s based on her own life. Or at least some version of her life where she is Christian Dior.
“No.” And that is Roger Bobb responding to Kenya’s request that he be with her every step of the way in making this TV show happen. I hate loving Roger Bobb.
“You have Claudia and Kenya, two women who have their legs spread from here to there and have nothing to show for it at this point.” –Porsha, always the voice of female empowerment.
“When I have control, things happen because I go above and beyond to make sure it does happen. I’m not putting blame on [the promoters] because it doesn’t matter—people are going to be looking at me.” The promoters Kandi hired to promote A Mother’s Love are shutting down the tour after one week because they weren’t making enough money in ticket sales; this is Kandi both being upset about it, but also taking responsibility for the outcome. I was confused, too.
“The only thing I’ve ever known to be on is The Cosby Show and she didn’t have any lines.” Kenya is writing a role for Cynthia, which means Cynthia is going to have to audition, which means we’re going to get to see Cynthia act on purpose. Having seen Cynthia try and fail to naturally portray herself for the last five seasons, I simply cannot wait. (Stay tuned.)
“She a wicked city woman.” –Porsha’s mom about Claudia when she shows up at her party, and also my new tagline on Twitter.
“You got it real twisted if you think you’re gonna come in here, rile me up, get me in an uproar here at my event” –Porsha shortly before Claudia came in there, riled her up, and got her in an uproar at her own event. Claudia shouldn’t have brought up their drama at Porsha’s party, Porsha is incapable of acting like an adult, and everything is terrible.
“What does he have to lose… hey, he’d just do a little bit more time.” Phaedra told her mom that Apollo is acting irrationally, punching through walls, and threatening things like burning the house down, and Pastor Regina is finally popping off about it.
Now, on to tonight’s episode: Just because the hour ends on one of the darkest notes of this series, doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to laugh at in the other 50 minutes. For example, I would watch an entire show about Kenya trying to make a television series based on her own life, with the understanding that she believed that the show about her show was a very serious docuseries. Sure, it was fun watching how amateur Kandi’s play was last season, but watching Kenya try to put together a TV show is so much more fulfilling because it’s so much more fun to laugh at Kenya.
NEXT: I really just… want to talk about Kenya’s show forever…
Let’s start with the scene that shows Kenya fake-typing a scene for her new show on what appears to be a rented Macbook (my personal theory is that production loaned it to her for the scene). She’s decided to stray away from a full-on parody of her current life with a character named NoNo, and instead, will make a show about a woman named Kenya—played by Kenya—who is marrying her college sweetheart. Yeah, okay. Kenya calls Brandon for his script writing expertise and it somehow ends up with him asking, “Can you show a dildo on TV?” BRO, HAVE YOU SEEN REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA? It’s practically a dildo convention up in there, an idea that is further reinforced when Kenya immediately goes to her kitchen cabinet and pulls out a Bedroom Kandi dildo to show Brandon.
But unlike the cast of RHOA, I will cut the dildo talk short so that we can discuss what’s most important here: Cynthia’s Jamaican accent. Since Kenya didn’t get “the help that [she] counted on from Roger Bobb”—you’ll recall that just last week, Roger Bobb directly told her he would not be helping her and he barely even tolerated her presence in their original meeting—she’s pulling this show together on her own, which means auditioning people in Atlanta for the roles of her two sisters. She auditions many an attractive young woman to play the younger sister, Megan, who supposedly steals her men; and she auditions notable Atlanta name, D. Woods, who is 31 years old, to play her older sister. Again, Kenya lives in her very own special reality.
And in that reality, Cynthia not only can act, but is worthy of writing a role in a television series that Kenya actually plans to put on television. Apparently, when Kenya thinks of Cynthia, she thinks of a Jamaican hairdresser; and when Cynthia thinks of auditioning to play a Jamaican hairdresser, she thinks of wearing really shitty hair and an even more upsetting Rastacap and culturally ambiguous tunic. Cynthia says she knows a lot about living with Jamaicans and then proceeds to do one of the worst Jamaican accents I’ve ever heard. At times it sounds Irish, and then suddenly, she’s Abu from The Simpsons. I’ve already got my DVR locked and loaded for Life Twirls On. (Haha, j/k you guys, this pilot won’t even make it to the “recording it on an iPhone” stage.) Just a real quick sample of some Kenya Moore original writing:
Probably a White Man: You ever tried white milk?
Megan: I’m lactose intolerant.
White milk—it’s a thing!
Okay, fine, we can move onto a few much less hilarious plot points: Kandi is worried about her marriage because she and Todd only have sex once a week these days and Todd seems to like spending time in L.A. better than at home with Kandi. It’s not that I find their relationship particularly charming, but I would rather play Kenya’s older sister on national television than let Mama Joyce be right about anything, so those two better work it the hell out.
Speaking of working it out, Claudia and Porsha fighting is still a thing. Claudia goes into see her boss, Rickey Smiley, about how to be a better early morning radio host, and they end up talking about the tension between her and Porsha that was the opposite of squashed last week at Porsha’s party. Before you know what’s happening, Rickey is up and going to get Porsha—who just so happens to be in the studio at the same time—which really seems like a job for the Dish Nation H.R. department, but being in front of their boss does at least keep the two cordial. It’s all weird and doesn’t accomplish anything, and I just want to be able to like Claudia, but I can’t when she’s stooping to Porsha’s level. That level being acting like anything that Porsha does is worth dwelling on (except that she keeps gummy bears in her purse… that is an A+ move). Get me out of here!
NEXT: Turn on your overhead lights and put up your tray tables because things are about to get dark…
But, no, please don’t make me get in a car with the biggest peach-holder wannabes around, Peter and Apollo. Alright, if I must: This entire episode is interspersed with countdown updates of when Apollo is supposed to be reporting to prison. At “10 PM the Night Before Apollo Goes to Prison,” Apollo calls Peter all in a tizzy to come get him from his house. Peter responds the only way a fake-friend can: “Damn, money, I’m coming to get you right now.” Apollo is all stressed out because, as he says, he “just happens to go through Phaedra’s phone… and, man, she’s having an affair with some guy.” I fully believe that Phaedra could be having an affair; but I also know that everything that comes out of Apollo’s mouth stands about an 80 percent chance of being a lie. In 14 hours, the man is going to prison for lying, and yet, Peter is eating up this affair talk.
Because, you see, “The proof is in the pudding,” and the pudding is four pages of text messages that Apollo printed out at the library. And as we all know, text messages absolutely cannot be falsified. I would rather play Kenya’s drunk, elderly neighbor than have to deal with another text message storyline, and yet, here we are. How does Apollo have these cold hard facts to show Peter? Well, he “sent all the texts to [himself]. Apparently, Phaedra has been texting some African man named “Chocolate” counting down the days until Apollo goes to prison and telling him he’s her happily ever after.
Apollo realizes that you might be feeling a little skeptical, as he could have literally texted these messages to himself, screenshot them, and ended up with the same result, but he puts your conspiracy theories to rest: “You say, ‘’Aw, well how do we know it’s Phaedra?’ This is her picture.” The music screeches to a halt and Apollo flashes his printed pages at the screen to show a picture that Phaedra has allegedly sent Chocolate; she’s wearing glasses, and it looks to be taken by someone else across the dinner table. Scandalous! Apollo tells Peter that when he confronted Phaedra about it he got so heated that he was saying things like, “People kill people over shit like this… it’s called love crime.” Even Peter realizes that Apollo’s behavior is erratic at best and tells him he needs to chill out. And then tells him they should go get drinks to get his mind off of this… the night before he goes to prison.
It’s all well and good to make fun of Apollo still grasping at drama straws the night before he goes to prison and driving around like the Crusty Duke Boys with Peter, but what comes next is a whole different level of frightening delusion. Phaedra and the boys have been staying at a hotel at her mother’s insistence as Apollo’s behavior has become more and more threatening. At “4:00 PM the Day Apollo Reports to Prison in Kentucky,” Phaedra and her assistant go to the house that she shares with Apollo to have all of the locks and garage door access changed. Phaedra says that she doesn’t know who Apollo might have given a key to and she wants her family to be safe. While they’re in the garage with the handyman—mind you, this is the day that Apollo is supposed to be reporting to prison—Apollo pulls in the driveway, runs into the garage and starts yelling, “Why would you lock me out my own house? That means I don’t have access to my own garage!” Phaedra tells him that he wasn’t even supposed to be there and when he asks why not, she correctly states, “You were supposed to be reporting to prison today.”
At some point during this showdown, in between Apollo storming through the house yelling things, Apollo says that he has 72 hours to turn himself in after the date given; but it also becomes clear that Apollo said all of his goodbyes to Ayden and Dylan the night before and had an extensive phone call with Dylan during which Phaedra was under the impression that he was on his way to turn himself in. No matter what the truth is, every time Apollo screams about being locked out of his own house, you can’t help but think, “You’re going to be in prison for the next eight years!” It doesn’t make logical sense why Apollo is raging against the changing of locks that he won’t have a chance to unlock for eight more years, but nothing he’s doing makes sense. At one point he’s storming around with a power drill and then tries to whisper into Phaedra’s ear while holding it. She makes him put it down and then he whispers, “Don’t. Call… the cops.”
Phaedra is eerily calm during all of this, which only seems to set Apollo off more, but she doesn’t call the cops. She calls his friend Bug to come get him, who gets him to leave, only to then have him reverse, pull back in the driveway, rushes back through the house, and then tells the handyman that if he’s going to borrow his tools, to make sure he puts them back in the right spot. Priorities, you know. When he’s finally really leaving, Phaedra tells him she’s praying for him and he responds, “You should—you took everything from me,” and tells her to mail him a key and garage fob so that he can get back in the house when he’s out of prison.
Now, I’m not saying that Phaedra changed the locks the day Apollo was supposed to be going to prison with the purest of intentions, but that was a man unhinged and it was extremely unsettling to watch. I don’t want any more of it, and unless Bravo filmed every last hour of Apollo’s trip to Kentucky, I think it should be done. So, now it’s just Cynthia running her mouth, Kenya running her mouth, and Phaedra maybe finally showing an emotion about this whole mess. Are you all not looking forward to that as much as I am? Were you also incredibly disturbed by that final scene and thankful it’s almost in the past? And finally, if you had the chance to name a television show about Kenya’s life, what would you name it?