Do any of you remember how this season of Real Housewives of Atlanta started? Or when it started? I don’t. Was it before the holidays? I think maybe it was, but that means that we’ve been hanging out with the Atlanta ladies for months on end at this point, and there is seemingly no end in sight. If this show doesn’t tie up its loose ends before Mad Men starts on the 25th, I am going to be angry. And also possibly missing in action.

Anyway, in our seemingly endless trudge towards the season finale that will never happen, our Housewives came home from South Africa and had the same petty fights we knew they would have. Oh, and Bryson got arrested while they were gone! So there’s that. I’m not sure what “that” is, but I’m sure it’s something. (Maybe it’s not?) Anyway, the recap. It’s where it always is: after the jump.

Inexplicably, we started the episode back in South Africa. It feels like we’ve been there all season and I assumed that the issue of getting back home would either be ignored or included as an afterthought on last week’s Kim special, but I guess not. Of course, considering the footage of all the other Housewives packing their own bags juxtaposed with Marlo lazing on her bed, instructing a nicely dressed hotel employee on which dustbags which brands of shoes should be placed in, I guess Bravo didn’t want to waste the opportunity to show us all what a striver she is. By contrast, Nene was downright low-maintenance – she only asked the valet to help her zip her luggage. In the other suite, all of the other wives managed to pack their suitcases themselves. Imagine that.

Also, fun fact: Marlo carries on all of her shoes when she flies. Normally I wouldn’t judge her for that because I always carry on any bags that I bring when I travel, but usually that’s only two bags at most. Marlo, if you remember, brought over two dozen pairs of shoes with her, most of which didn’t appear to have been worn at all, either on that trip or at any point before. They were just for the camera, to make sure that Bravo gets a good shot of all of the expensive crap that someone else bought to put inside of Marlo’s modest little townhouse. I bet she also doesn’t lift that giant bag of shoes into the overhead compartment by herself, either. Lifting things is beneath her. Another guess: Marlo doesn’t tip. I don’t know that for a fact, I just get that vibe from her.

Back at home in Atlanta, Kim was doing regular mom stuff and trying to hire a nanny while Sweetie was outside with Brielle, tanning and pretending like she wasn’t at work. Now, I know it seems like Kim is probably a crappy boss, but my money is on Sweetie being an equally crappy employee, particularly when her normally quasi-famous boss is at home tending to an infant when Sweetie’s used to getting to go to events and restaurants and all kinds of fun things, for free. The fact that she neglected to mention that the already-lovely baby nurse also had experience as a nanny when Kim was looking to hire one is kind of telling, in my opinion. Not that I wouldn’t misbehave if I worked for Kim, because I would. Probably a lot. Sweetie has just always seemed like a particularly obnoxious employee to me.

Elsewhere, Cynthia had arrived home with vacation gifts for her daughter and a keychain for Peter, which was not only hilarious but also appropriate, based on what kind of husband and partner Peter seems to be. The pair was hoping to plan a one-year anniversary party to erase the nastiness of their dinosaur wedding, but as long as Peter is involved, I’m pretty sure that any party they have is going to be equally unpleasant. They also mentioned Nene’s son’s arrest at the end of the conversation, which was worth a snicker. Worth another snicker: His unfortunate incarceration was a result of shoplifting razors from Wal-Mart, which is such a joke already that I don’t feel the need to write one about it. Kid’s no good, just like his mom.

Over at Kandi’s house, Kandi and her mom were discussing what Kandi did or did not say about Kim and what kind of fight is going to result because of Sheree’s flawed retelling of the incident. By now, it’s clear that Kandi didn’t say anything about Kim holding or not holding black babies – that was Cynthia. What Kandi did say, more or less, was that she couldn’t see Kim going to anyplace less than swanky in order to do charity work. Orphans are dusty, etc. I don’t think that’s an unfair estimation of Kim’s personality, based on what we know about her, and I’d be surprised if it’s one she’d take too personally. Kandi and Joyce both made clear that they don’t consider Kim a racist or even a person with racist tendencies, and although she doesn’t treat Sweetie all that well, I’d have to agree with them. Lots of people treat their personal assistants like crap.

At Kim’s house, her decorator/landlord came over to watch the baby poop, look at fabric swatches and complain about Sweetie’s sudden inability to use the phone. Some mention was also made of Sheree’s reporting of Kandi’s comments, which Kim still seems to be taking as the gospel truth. According to Kim, Sheree doesn’t lie. I’m glad I didn’t have any Diet Coke in my mouth when Kim said that, because I likely would have snarfed it out of my nose. Have you ever done that? Soda in your nose hurts.

Meanwhile, Kandi and Phaedra were cruising through Buckhead, making me miss Atlanta and its big lawns and giant houses and shady trees something fierce. They were headed up to Kim’s house, and on the way, Phaedra suggested that they stop by Sheree’s lot to see how construction was going. Of course, as we all already know, construction wasn’t going at all. It was still just a vacant lot, as it is today, as far as I know. And if I remember correctly, Sheree still doesn’t own her – her mama does. So why, exactly, is Sheree throwing shade on anyone else?

Back at Kim’s house, Sheree had arrived early to gossip more about stuff that Kandi didn’t say. Kim whipped out the “I don’t see color” line, which is something that I wish white people would stop saying because it’s moronic, but there’s also no great way to defend yourself when you’ve been called a racist. At least “I have people around me of all walks of life” isn’t quite as bad as “My best friend is black!” Kim did a little better than I expected her to do, given that being called a racist when you’re truly not one is incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to explain your way out of. How do you prove a negative?

The next thing we knew, Kandi and Phaedra had arrived to lunch, bearing gifts from Africa and bracing themselves for the awkwardness. It came almost immediately, of course, because Kim is a lot of things, but she is not a person with a great amount of self-restraint.

Before that awkward conversation could start, though, we had to pause for a moment while we had another one. Peter went to the couple’s wedding planner to discuss trying to have a black tie event during the dinner hour for 150 people…without a lot of food. Peter is cheap, and he wants to invite everyone over for a five-hour event but not feed them at all if he can get away with it. The wedding planner was politely dubious; he must hear this kind of foolishness a lot. Nene then showed up to make the party plans even more expensive, and then Peter refused to write any kind of check. The planner got out of there as quickly as possible, and on the way to his car, he probably cursed the day that he ever thought involving himself with the Real Housewives was a good idea.

Once he had left, Peter insisted that Nene sit down and talk about Bryson’s incarceration. He had been in jail for about five days, and if you’ll remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that Nene bought him a brand new car and given him a second chance to act right and make something of himself. As a result, Nene was happy to let him rot in there until he learned his lesson, which is a way of thinking that I personally agree with. This isn’t the first time that Bryson’s done something utterly stupid and caused problems for everyone else because of it. Don’t shoplift shit you can afford, ever, but particularly when you’re on probation. This stuff should be obvious, right? Peter, on the other hand, was concerned for Bryson’s safety behind bars with all the pedophiles. Bryson’s full grown, what’s he got to worry about? Plus, Bryson was in the Gwinnett County jail, which is not exactly Riker’s Island. It’s not even Fulton County, and if you’re from Atlanta, you’ll know what I mean by that.

Back at Kim’s house, an extremely uncomfortable lunch was unfolding on the porch during which Kandi tried to differentiate between what she said, what Cynthia said and what Kandi agreed with. Kandi was actually telling the truth and not making any excuses for what she said or agreed with, and it looked as though she and Kim might actually come to some kind of peace agreement…until Sheree jumped in. And kept jumping in. Just as Kandi would make some kind of salient point and Kim would pause to consider it, Sheree would stir the pot some more. Phaedra, for her part, ate her lunch and kept her mouth shut. How did Phaedra end up being so awesome this season?

Now, there’s something that annoys me about these scenes: the suspension of disbelief. We all know that exactly what was said is on film. They all know exactly what was said was caught on camera and can be easily verified. We all have to pretend like there’s not easily accessible evidence one way or another, though, which is kind of frustrating. This is no one’s first time at the rodeo, not the viewers and certainly not the cast members. Why do we have to continually pretend like it is? It’s just one of the things that’s making Real Housewives increasingly frustrating to watch.

The fight went along just how you’d expect it to – nonsensically and without any real progress. Because Sheree had prepped her to be angry, Kim was hell-bent on being just that. Because Kandi is a smart woman but not a great arguer, she let the conversation go off track into what she thinks about Kim as a person instead of what she intended to say with her remarks on the safari, and telling someone what you honestly think about them is never, ever a good idea. Even if you think generally positive things about them, it’s never exactly what they want to hear and will always start a fight. One of my camp counselors told me that when I was a kid, and it’s been solid advice on which to base many of my life decisions. If only any of the Real Housewives had gone to my summer camp.

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  • http://twitter.com/fallonlatrece Ms. Graduate

    Man have I been waiting for this recap.  Amanda you nailed it!!  That whole Sheree, Kandi, and Kim argument was ridiculous.   We all saw what Kandi said, and most importantly what she didn’t say.  Sheree stirring the pot, what not being a good friend to Kim, it was her wanting to cause trouble and get Kim to be her only friend.  If Sheree was being a real friend she wouldn’t have told Kim what wasn’t said, because nothing good came from it.  Sheree knew, Kandi didn’t saw that.

    Marlo wow, can she be anymore entitled?    

  • pinkfeet

    I wish someone would call out Sheree on her bitterness she has festered up inside her … it’s swelling up and you can see it every time she makes those faces .. I can’t stand her.. it’s pretty obvious she is having $ problems and while so many people these days ARE having $ problems, it’s nothing to be ashamed of .. she is taking it out on other people and to take it out on Khandi.. is wrong. 

    As for Kim, I could barely stomach her comments last night where she just can’t handle her household with Kroy gone. Really? You have a grown daughter to help out, 2 housekeepers, an assistant and you STILL need help? really? Gosh, I feel so sorry for you! And she doesn’t work right?  

    I didn’t like Marlo at first, but I gotta say.. she really does call it like it is and she called out Sheree like she was … bitter, broke and ugly. 

    Does Phaedra only speak when she is paid or what? Speak up woman! 

    • JJ

      Has Sweetie actually done anything besides wash wigs this season? I would say that Kim has to take care of her just as much as the kids.

  • Melanie

    Okay, Im no Bryson fan or NeNe fan either come to think of it; but saying the “kid’s no good just like his mother” is kinda harsh. I kinda agree that leavin Bryson in jail longer that 24hrs is harsh too. Peter was right; he would go in just a silly messed up kid, not really knowing the true implications of his actions and come out of jail after 30 days (which was what NeNe wanted) a whole different more criminal minded man. Not having been to jail myself this is just opinion.

    • AmandaMull

      If he’s a grown man who refuses to get a real job, doesn’t pay his own way and can’t keep himself out of jail for even the simplest things, then I don’t know exactly how optimistic we’re supposed to be about his future.

      • JJ

        I agree. Bryson has been down this road before. He seems incredibly immature on screen, not considering consequences. I think Nene did the right thing, and I hope she takes away the car.

      • dbld

        Bryson always has that sh*t-eating grin on his face, like what else could you possibly expect from me, being that I’m a product of your loins.  Why should he be motivated?  His actions are that of an attention-seeking adolescent.

    • Jg5501

      I have to agree, that statement was harsh. Our kids make mistakes and unfortunately for Bryson he is continuing on the same path, maybe it is for attention. I don’t know, but I will never say that he is no good.

    • Reality Junkie

      Jail serves a purpose. It teaches people that there are consequences to their actions. He wasn’t in prison- he was in jail. Jail sucks- it’s supposed to- but it doesn’t turn you into a hard-core criminal.
      Amanda’s comment may have been a little harsh but first of all, it’s true. And secondly, she is a recapper, and her job it to tell a story in a entertaining way that makes watching the show more enjoyable for all of us. And she does a great job of that. If every comment was benign and politically correct we wouldn’t bother reading because it would be an opinionless rehash of the stupid events.

  • Kam

    Phaedra and Kandi standing on Sheree’s lot was hilarious. Those two are so funny.
    I used to mute the volume when Marlo was on but now I can’t help find her sort of funny.
    She has to be joking about herself, right? She seems to get a laugh out of being that way, which makes it kinda funny…

  • Reality Junkie

    Amanda, there is a blog on Bravo’s website that is written by one of the producers from the RH of Beverly Hills. In Season One, the question was repeatedly asked why they couldn’t just rerun the tape of  the fight between Kyle and Camille and put it to rest, already.
    Now, if I remember correctly, he claimed that that argument did not occur while the cameras were rolling, but that even if it HAD, they would not have replayed it for the castmembers. I believe it has to do with altering the (ahem) “authenticity” of what transpires during filming…in real life you have to deal with he-said she-said and there is no rewind button. Plus, look at all the drama it would erase!
    On another note, would you ever consider recapping Mad Men? It would make my television viewing life complete!

  • FashionableLena

    I was actually a little jealous of Marlo for that few minutes.  I wish that I had someone pack up my stuff for me.  I despise packing.
    Phaedra has been the voice of reason, and I have loved every minute of it.  Seeing her and Kandi on the vacant lot that is supposed to be Chateaux Sheree was beyond hilarious.
    Sheree is what we used to call in the Black community as being “messy”.  Meaning someone who starts mess.  And, that’s what she did. She just started a big mess.  If she got a real job, she wouldn’t have time to go running to Kim.
    I agree with Kandi.  Whether or not she had a baby, I don’t see Kim going to South Africa, being on safaris, or doing anything physical with children in an orphanage.  I don’t care if she was an RN.
    NeNe actually made two good points on yesterday’s episode.  One, point Bryson needed to stay in jail for a while.  Five days wouldn’t have taught him anything.  Besides, a pedophile is the least of Bryson’s worry being as he’s a grown man.  Second point was when she was talking about Cynthia being influenced by her and the others being influenced by Kim. 
    I say let’s stop this madness and bring on the Jersey ladies (April, right?)

    • JJ

      I don’t think that Kim could have done worse than Marlo, to be honest. Why was no one calling out Marlo?

  • LuvelyJubley

    I can and will let it go after I write this, so here it goes…it immediately set my teeth on edge when Marlo kept calling the housemaid in Africa ‘Blue-Eyes,’ in disgusting addition to the way she was treating her.  Came across as so patronizing.  Shame on NeNe for saying it, too.

  • http://twitter.com/Lady_756 Angel McNairs

    Ummm….wasn’t Sheree yanking on Kim’s wig just a couple of seasons ago?

  • Ms. Z

    Amanda did you by any chance watch “Designing Women”…I was a huge fan of the show and when you said “unfortunate incarceration” in your recap I hollered!!  Peter is an idiot…you are really trying to spend money you don’t have.  Please leave Cynthia, run for your life…your financial life as well!

  • Straykitty

    During the trip Sheree has at least TWO chances to defend her “dear friend” Kim. The first time was during the safari ride when Cynthia started in on Kim, Sheree could have shut down the conversation then and the second time when Nene started talking about Kim. Sheree just sat back and was a mute but she couldn’t wait to call Kim and tell her what Kandi sad. Sheree is no better than Cynthia when Cynthia ran back and told the talls what the smalls had said.

    Poor Kandi couldn’t clearly express what she said because Sheree interrupted her every three words.  What I think is Kandi’s feelings were that Kim wouldn’t have gone on any trip, whether it was Italy, Spain or South Africa because of Nene and that’s because of the Miami trip. Sheree dealt with Nene because it was a fee trip and who knows if she will ever get the chance again, but Kim could go anytime and would have a better time. And with Kandi’s experiences working with Kim showed her that Kim is just lazy, ie recording Tardy for the Party and the semi tour Kandi set up, and would have come up with any excuse not to go to the orphanage. Not because Kim’s a racist it because Kim’s just lazy but Kandi couldn’t get that out because Sheree wanted to talk over her.

  • erica

    Woah, you’re about as sick of this season as I am! lol

    Kim with the baby! I mean really? That’s mothering? She is so lazy. She had a baby, now take of your baby. What else are you going to do all day, look at pictures of you and Kroy?  Cover your breasts and change a diaper!

    Sweetie…I thought she was a good employee all those seasons. She ran every time Kim yelled SWEETIE!  She got called a slave for pete’s sake. Maybe the girl got a backbone and doesn’t care about her job anymore. I wouldn’t. I’d give Kim a reason to fire me!

    Peter, you’re broke, get off the show. I can’t believe he’s from Brooklyn like me. He’s right though, Brooklyn is really not for sissies so Bryson better buck up and realize that jail is not fun! My hubby is NYPD and he says there are lots of roaches in jails! EWW. Makes you think before swiping some Gilette razors.

    Marlo, child please. Pack your own crap. Stop frontin’ like you make money. You and Sheree prob share a bank account. Joint checking.

    Oh did you hear Keisha Knight Pulliam backed out!! Now some rapper’s ex is gonna be the new housewife. I forget who.

  • JoMarie

    I fear Bryson is a victim of FAS and truly incapable of maturing.

    • erica

       What’s FAS mean?

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