In the wake of last week’s wine-waving, all-up-in-his-grill confrontation between Nene and Dwight, last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta seemed downright mature. Family issues were explored, a new cast member was introduced and actual words of apology were spoken. Ho-hum.
Not everything could be reasonable, of course – Phaedra tottered around pregnant on hooker heels, Nene’s son got caught with weed while trying to voluntarily enter a jail and Kim went for a jog with her someone named Sweetie and ended up having a beer in a parking lot instead.
The episode started with Kim and her new assistant “jogging” down what appeared to be Duluth’s Sugarloaf Parkway (in grand Atlanta tradition, none of these women actually live in Atlanta) in tight clothes, egging on cat-calls and declarations of love from passing motorists. They abruptly ended the run when they saw a beer delivery guy and and decided to beg a couple of bottles off of him, but thankfully he just sang “Tardy for the Party” at Kim and went on his merry way. The cashier at the convenience store that was receiving the delivery was not so stone-faced, and they came away with two beers to drink illegally on the sidewalk. If all of my runs ended like that, I’d be in great shape.
Speaking questionably legal substance consumption, we next visited Nene’s son Bryson while he was having a conference with his attorney, who just so happened to be Phaedra (except that I thought Nene and Phaedra didn’t get along…). As most Real Housewives fans found out a few months back, he was arrested for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and got locked up for a second or two. The Bryson, for his part, claimed the weed wasn’t his after some on-camera prompting by Phaedra. Sure it wasn’t, he had simply pulled a Lindsay Lohan and had borrowed someone else’s pants.
Ok, so that wasn’t Bryson visiting Phaedra. It was another guy who also had some similar trouble with weed, my bad. Out of the corner of my eye while taking notes, it just looked like Bryson had finally cleaned up his hair. As we found later in the episode, that particular prayer of Nene’s has yet to be answered.
Next, we dropped in on Kandi in a midnight recording session. She was working with Ne-Yo on her new album, which seemed to be the same album she was working on last season, just for a new label. Kandi never had much of a performing career outside of Xscape, even though her songwriting has made her a lot of money since her girl-group days, and Kandi would like to turn that around. The most interesting thing we learned from the scene, though, was that Kim made about a hundred grand off of “Tardy for the Party” and never thanked or paid Kandi, and in case you’re new to this show, the only surprising part of that sentence should be the dollar amount. The rest of it is par for the Kim course.
Speaking of people looking for dollar amounts, Sheree has a date! A blind date with a guy who has residences in both Atlanta and Los Angeles who is apparently a doctor. She’s nervous, just as anyone would be if they were expected to go on a blind date in front of TV cameras, and apparently the guy wanted to go dancing. In violation of all African-American stereotypes ever, Sheree cannot dance, which made her even more nervous. I’ve never been an overwhelming fan of dancing on a first date, mostly because I have usually yet to decide if I want to touch the guy yet. Save it for round two, fellas.
Before we could meet Sheree’s suitor, though, our final new cast member made her debut. Cynthia Bailey is a successful model and co-owns a restaurant with her boyfriend Peter, and she’s also friends (or “friends”) with Nene. They went to the Atlanta Dogwood Festival together to wander around and gossip about Nene’s failing marriage and her issues with Dwight, and Nene also addressed Bryson’s arrest and his screwed up life. As it turns out, she actually stuck to her guns and kicked him out of her house when he got arrested. I’m not a parent, so I don’t know if that’s actually sound parenting, but it seemed reasonable to me.
Cynthia has problems of her own – her boyfriend wants to get married, but she’s holding back because she has recurring Runaway Bride Syndrome. She’s been engaged three times and never married, and although she moved from New York to Atlanta to be with Peter, she just didn’t seem quite sure about the relationship. Even if she spilled gumbo on her Giuseppes for him, which to me seems like a sure sign of true love.
Sheree’s blind date came up next, and the place where she met her date can only accurately be described as sketchtastic. The neighborhood looked terrible and Bravo gave us the benefit of a piped-in siren in the background for effect, but once they got inside, it didn’t necessarily look like a place where you should worry about getting shot. At least not really, although you never know in Atlanta (that’s part of the charm!). The gold-and-mirrored decor was dated, but I suppose that’s to be expected in a place that appears to be sandwiched between a pawn shop and a liquor store.
Doctor Love actually managed to get Sheree up and make her dance, and she had an actual, adult conversation with him afterward, at which she and I were both surprised. The bouquet of flowers he gave her did look a little supermarket-y, but he seemed like a normal person, which goes a long way in the context of Real Housewives. Contrary to appearances, though, it seems like Doctor Love might have been cast by producers. Rodney Ho of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did a bit of digging, and although the guy actually is a doctor, he’s also been in at least one reality show in the past and “models” part-time.
Elsewhere in the Land of the Ridiculous (Kim’s house), Kim had a business call with a guy who promotes a giant gay party in Palm Spring called The White Party (not to be confused with P. Diddy’s white party). She agreed to do the event, of course, because what the hell else is Kim going to do? A crowd of 10,000 is nothing to sneeze at, and I’m sure that legit events pay better than club dates in front of a couple hundred folks.
Meanwhile, on planet Earth, Cynthia went to visit Kandi at band rehearsal to talk about her upcoming performance at Cynthia’s restaurant. And…that’s it. Nothing interesting happens on Earth, where all the sane people dwell.
We didn’t stay with the earthlings for long though, because the episode’s next destination was Nene’s house to sit in on a very difficult conversation with Bryson. He wanted to come back home and live with Nene, but she was understandably upset about him being a lazy lump of worthlessness around the house, in addition to his all-night partying and arrests. We also found out that he got arrested because he brought weed IN TO JAIL while visiting a friend who was locked up, and if she didn’t slap him when she found that out, she really has more self-restraint than I would have guessed, and definitely more than I would have had. Exactly how stupid do you have to be to bring weed IN TO JAIL?
Mid-lecture, Nene’s voice started to crack and the tears started to roll, and for once in the pantheon of Housewifedom, I didn’t immediately assume she was faking. Bryson looked a little freaked out but perhaps not particularly impressed, and his only response was that she was too strict on him. He also objected to the idea of a curfew, right there in front of his fuming mother. Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly how stupid you have to be in order to accidentally bring weed in to jail. Nene lost any composure she might have had at that point, and correctly pointed out that he doesn’t pay for anything, contribute anything positive or set any kind of good example for his little brother, so she wasn’t particularly concerned with his wants or needs.
At that point, I thought Nene surely wouldn’t be letting him move back in, but she asked for a deadline and agreed that he could return home as long as he got a job and got out in three months. I’m not sure if a lecture is worth it if you don’t put major consequences behind it, but again, I’m not a parent. Maybe he agreed to a curfew and we just didn’t see it, although I won’t believe it until I do. Which will be never.
Oh yeah, remember Phaedra? I had sort of forgotten about her, and I would have preferred to keep it like that, but we visited her at the doctor for a sonogram anyway. She found out that she was having a boy and expressed dissatisfaction at the size of his penis, and I’m not even going to write a joke about that because it’s really too cheap of an opportunity.
After our fifteen seconds with Phaedra, it was time for the episode’s requisite party. Kandi was performing at Cynthia’s restaurant, and pretty much everyone came out to see her. Unfortunately, that also included Dwight, Phaedra and Phaedra’s ex-con husband who never speaks, Apollo. In a further attempt to alienate all of the housewives, Dwight talked some smack about Kim’s hair (ok, so maybe we’ve all done that in the past), and Kim fought back by furiously gossiping about Apollo’s prison record. Sheree contributed by implying that Apollo is gay because he’s friends with a person who’s friend with a gay person.
Apparently Apollo spent six years in the can, which resulted from his participation in a car theft ring. Last time I checked, theft and fraud rings are organized crime, which is not something you get into accidentally – he didn’t forget he had a stolen car in his pants or something. Eventually Nene arrived and joined the cool kids’ table with Sheree and Kim, and Dwight, Phaedra and Apollo sat two tables over and stewed. If this had been a John Hughes movie, they would have been sitting with Duckie.
The drama died down for a few minutes so that Kandi could sing, but all of the housewives were too busy shooting each other the evil eye to pay any attention to her performance. Afterward, they all discussed the relative appropriateness of approaching the people in the other group, and Cynthia tried her best to talk Nene down so that she didn’t smack Dwight upside the head with a Cristal bottle or something. And it sort of worked! This Cynthia person is a Nene-whisperer.
Instead of instigating discussion in the way that she normally does, Nene asked Dwight to leave the group and have a conversation with her in private (but “private” doesn’t exclude cameras, natch). She apologized for her behavior at last week’s party and Dwight denied ever telling Kim that he had loaned Greg any money. Nene got upset and cried again, and I know some people don’t particularly like her, but it really does seem as though she’s going through a rough time at the moment. Things ended in an accepted apology and a hug, which seems almost radically mature for our Atlanta ladies. Thankfully, the previews of next week’s episode included hot, shirtless dudes, blurred nipples and threats of violence against children all around. Hopefully Bravo isn’t playing games with our hearts once again.