The Real Housewives of Atlanta recap: 'Make-Ups and Breakdowns'
As one generation makes up, another stirs up prostitute rumors and threats of violence... so, typical day at Bravo.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? The pain of losing a friendship. It starts with not calling enough, and then when she does call, she only wants to talk about her modeling school and how she’s got the slowest walking models in town, and doesn’t her ass look fabulous in this jumpsuit? Then comes the standoffish behavior and waiting for confrontations until she’s seated on a velvet couch with 2 million people, your boss, and six of your closest coworkers watching on. Then come the blogs… THE BLOGS. Your friend is talking about you on blogs. And of course the final straw is when her husband starts tweeting passive aggressive statements about you. Tweeting!
Yes, this is certainly a universal situation—we’ve all been there.
I have to admit that without all of the Apollo stuff, the stakes are a little lower this week, but the “reality” aspect of RHOA is greatly improved tonight, which is to say, there’s some real human emotion in there if you squint, lean your head to the right, and ignore that little scene where Kenya pretends to have an orgasm from sautéing peaches. In addition to Cynthia and Nene reenacting a scene from Beaches, there’s also the looming darkness of knowing that Sharon, Todd’s mom and a large part of this week’s episode, passed away from a stroke two weeks ago. She wasn’t exactly the picture of calm tonight, but it would be nice if the final chapter of her legacy didn’t include quite so many utterances of the word “prostitute.”
Gone are the episodes of a few weeks ago where everyone was pouring over shuffling through last season’s recaps for a storyline and screaming at each other in restaurants while waiters wondered, “What kind of tip will I get on seven glasses of ice water, and is it really possible for one woman to say ‘whore’ that many times?” And here are the days of looming questions on mortality, female friendship, and how to respect our elders when your elders won’t stop accusing other elders of selling sex for money. That should be an improvement… I think?
We left off last week with Nene testingf how long she can speak at a soft roar without stopping for breath. Spoiler: The answer is “six minutes, or as long as it takes to hammer Cynthia into submission.” This week, we pick right back up where Nene left off (screaming), but Cynthia now gets the chance to speak. She quickly meets her four word maximum though thereby causing Nene to immediately stand up and walk away. But she actually retreats because she’s getting emotional and needs a break. It seems that there is something rolling around inside that Tin (Wo)Man exterior of hers, and it’s not just Gregg’s chili. I assume Gregg makes a mean chili.
Nene returns to the table, and the rest of the board members step away to give these two time to talk, and leave a restaurant without ever having touched food. Nene says the big problem in their now broken friendship came for her when Cynthia decided to confront her about her issues with the friendship for the first time in front of everyone at last season’s reunion. And Cynthia says her negativity toward the friendship started around the time that Nene called her husband a bitch. Both have solid reasons for being angry with each other, and if they weren’t dependent on each other for a pay check, they might just call this one a draw. But someone has to pay for Peter’s “Arctic White” beard dye, so they either have to make up or decide to be enemies, and call me a sap, but I think they’re choosing the former because these two need each other.
Nene is a leader and Cynthia is a follower, plain and simple. And both are at the furthest end of the spectrum. Cynthia doesn’t just follow easily, she actually seems to prefer that someone tell her how to feel and act; she can change her opening tagline all she wants, but “choosing Cynthia,” is simply not in her cards. Other people choose Cynthia; for example, Nene once chose her as her trusty sidekick and all was well and good, until Robin decided she could try to be Batman. Nene is Batman. There can’t be two Batmans, no matter how good Christopher Nolan is, and Cynthia is starting to crack under the pressure.
NEXT: No one wants to hear about your sex life, Peter. Not ever.
Recappin’ in Kitchens this week becomes an excellent example of how Cynthia and Nene complete each other: Nene is a lot like Peter, and Cynthia is a lot like (a way less endearing) Gregg. When Nene tells Gregg about potentially making up with Cynthia, she’s guarded, but he encourages her to be open and honest so that they can both heal. When Cynthia giddily tells Peter that she thinks she and Nene have made up, he craps all over her and tells her that if she becomes friends with Nene again, their lives will be ruined and they’ll probably start having a bad sex life again. It makes as much sense here as it did there. He tells her if she doesn’t handle this well, she’s going to end up looking like a punk, but what someone like Peter or Nene doesn’t understand is that Cynthia seems pretty okay with looking like a punk.
Nene without a sidekick is just a tall, loud woman, and Cynthia without a leader is just a tall woman walking slowly down a runway hoping the double-sided tape doesn’t give out. In the end, Cynthia and Nene share a teary, heartfelt hug, and agree that they’ll work toward getting to a place where they can support each other again. But really they just need to get to a place where they can take work trips to Mexico again so that Cynthia can stop pretending she likes Kenya.
I should also briefly mention that Cynthia walks in a show at New York Fashion Week this episode, which deliciously features a scene where a younger model teaches Cynthia—a model school owner—how to appropriately walk a runway. When she’s told that models walk fast, Cynthia is simply floored. I guess the focus over at the Bailey Institute for Modelin’ Good is more editorial.
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The other main storyline the doesn’t revolve around Derek hiring Phaedra to do her best Viola Davis impression because he’s being sued for stealing someone’s weave is centered on Kandi and Todd’s trip to New York to see his mother. They’re hoping to figure out how to make Sharon less angry at Mama Joyce without Mama Joyce apologizing to her or showing any remorse whatsoever. The most baffling thing to me about this situation is that when anyone references the time that Mama Joyce accused Sharon of being a prostitute, they say Sharon is “still” angry about it, as though, at some point, they thought she might come around to the idea of being called a prostitute. It’s almost as baffling as taking a slice of pizza, which takes two minutes to eat, inside a shoe store.
Well, Sharon has not come around to the idea of being called a prostitute, and she voices her opinion to Todd and Kandi, apparently unaware that Kandi’s patented, “Well, she’s my mama, so I’m not going to do anything on account of her being my mama” defence. Sharon wants an apology from Mama Joyce, and Kandi informs her that there is nothing she can do to make her mother take back what she said. I think not paying for her house or car would probably do the trick; but Sharon says that she will just happily punch Mama Joyce in the mouth, which unlike the things Mama Joyce said about her, is not a lie. And I bet she’s got the résumé to back it up.
Todd is right in saying that his mother doesn’t have to be fine with this situation, and as he rightly knows, being the bigger person doesn’t get you very far with Mama Joyce, anyway. But Kandi is also correct that her mom won’t be apologizing. It’s totally absurd and upsetting how fine she seems with “how [her] mama rolls,” but it is a factual assessment. Todd and Kandi might just have to give up this idea of having a perfectly blended family. The Burress-Tucker household has a couple too many stubborn folks in it to be making anything but a delicious rock smoothie.
An episode with this much Mama Joyce drama and not a single clip of Ayden is never going to be my favorite, but next week looks deliciously awkward, so gird your loins and grab a pillow to hide your face behind, because Apollo is about to force-hug Phaedra in front of a bunch of people who barely tolerate one another.
Rest in peace, Miss Sharon.