Last night, Nene made my life.
Somehow, some way, I had completely missed the fact that Nene was born and raised in Athens, Georgia, the town in which I’ve lived for the past five years. And when she said it, it was like the heavens opened up, and I had a greater understanding of Nene as a person. Athens is a weird, bohemian college town that has inspired many a college graduate to abandon their degrees and become bartenders in order to continue living here. If you stick around here for too long, it will make you completely bizarre and unable to function in polite society. Not that the Real Housewives of Atlanta are polite – but suddenly Nene’s lack of filter, random dancing, and singing like it’s part of normal conversation has a context. And it makes more sense than ever why I love her so much – she’s one of ours.
It’s also worth mentioning that being from the ‘hood and being from Athens are not mutually exclusive – Nene said it like both things couldn’t simultaneously be true. I’m here to tell you that they can be, and most likely are in this case. But that’s ok, Nene, we ain’t mad at ya. We all come from somewhere.
But it was a perfect time to understand her better, because last night was almost entirely devoted to Nene’s desire to get the girls together in an alter-ego photo shoot in which she would be running the show. And since no one likes to be told what to do by anyone else, all they did is complain. For details, you’ve gotta make the jump with us.
We started the episode with Nene, Sheree and Kandi gettings “minks” on their nails (which actually looked pretty cool – I want the silver and black checkerboard ones, please), talking about their “coochie” hair situations (Sheree? Bald) and speculating about who will be what at the shoot. Nene wanted Sheree to be a woman with cash and also a woman robbing a bank as a reference to her divorce settlement. Sheree was reticent, but when it was agreed upon that she could be a sexy bank robber, she agreed to go along with it.
Lisa was supposed to be a good girl and a bad girl, which seemed fairly obvious, and Nene wanted Kandi to be both a bride and a groom, but that got changed later. Nene was to be a stripper and a club patron, which fits in with her past life as a pole-spinner. The weird one was Kim’s – she was supposed to be a black girl and a white girl and refused to do it, which was far wiser than I expected of her. I’m no fan of Kim’s, but as a life-long white girl, I can say that that would also make me uncomfortable. Blackface is totally racist, and I’m not sure it’s any different just because a black friend asks you to do it. Taken out of context, that picture could make her look like a jerk for years to come. Not that Kim’s not actually a jerk – she almost certainly is – but you have to be on a different level of oblivious to let someone paint you in blackface and take pictures of you. Even if the person doing it is black.
And ultimately, Kim (who also explained her kids’ fast-food diet and apparently thinks you can get Publix to deliver things, which to my knowledge, is not true) got to play a Stepford wife and a mistress, which seems a thousand times more appropriate. I’m kind of surprised that Kim agreed to do even that, but I guess she widely admits dating married men, so what’s the harm?
The most poignant change was Kandi’s, whose nephew had recently been in a head-on crash with a drunk driver and was still in the ICU. Instead of playing both a bride and groom, she played a party girl who was driving drunk and a pedestrian that was being hit by the car. It was quite the visual indeed, and Kandi said that she was glad that she did it.
It’s worth mentioning that the alter-ego concept is not as original as Nene continues to insist that it is – in fact, isn’t it something they’ve been doing for years on episodes of America’s Next Top Model? But I guess if that show has taught me anything, it’s that I can sit and watch people in weird costumes get their picture taken for hours on end, so I loved this episode despite the noticeable lack of serious drama. It made me want to get all dressed up and put on a wig – how long is it until Halloween?
Kandi did a great job accessing emotion for her very dramatic characters, I can’t wait to see her final shot after her two shots have been put together in Photoshop. Another Housewife that was noticeably comfortable in at least one of her costumes was Nene herself – I can’t help but think that if they had left her at Magic City to work a shift or two, she would have brought home some good money. The woman is…shapely. And for everyone that likes to complain that she needs to put on a bra, she had her girls hiked up to her chin in this episode. They were continually trying to escape, but they had an assistant on-set to shove ’em back in, and they blurred her nipples out (please, like Bravo is too classy for nipples…). I’m pretty sure that they also had to blur out Kim’s vadge in her mistress shot. Classy, ladies. Of course, if you’re dressing up as a mistress or a stripper, I guess class isn’t the point.
It’s weird to think of an episode of this show as positive, but this one seemed like it was. Fences got mended between Lisa and Kim and Kandi and Nene, Athens got a shout-out from my favorite Housewife, and Sheree got comfortable making a joke about her divorce and even seemed downright good-natured in a few instances. Surely the season has more drama to come, but this episode was a welcome bit of calm before the surely impending storm.