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.