And so, it was over. Last night marked the season finale of Real Housewives of Atlanta, and my initial reaction is this: please don’t let that 90-minute, overlong, bloated mess become a thing that Bravo does for all of the Housewives season finales. An hour and a half is unnecessary in every way.
It was particularly unnecessary last night because the only thing that happened at all was Cynthia’s wedding, which was precisely the event that most viewers were wishing wouldn’t happen. But it did, and they were married, and Cynthia wore a really unfortunate dress. But at least they didn’t have a cash bar; anyone who’s been to enough weddings knows that’s the really important part.
We started out the episode with most of the cast at a club where Lawrence was getting ready to perform “Closet Freak” for the first time publicly, and for some reason, I couldn’t shake the impression that the performance was happening at two in the afternoon on a Thursday and was totally staged for Bravo’s convenience. And that might have been the case, I’m not sure, but even if it was, Miss Lawrence made two in the afternoon look fierce from his feathered eyelashes to his mesh leotard to his stilettos. And not only that, but he sang live behind backup dancers who knew a little choreography. It was a nice way to start the episode.
Afterward, it was time to get down to some unpleasantness at Cynthia’s house. And unpleasant it was, at least for those of us who are at an age where we go to lots of weddings and constantly fear that we’ll end up at one without an open bar: the alcohol situation. Cynthia didn’t want to (or couldn’t) fork over the cash to have an open bar and Fernbank charges a $3000 beverage minimum for its weddings anyway (this is not uncommon), so Cynthia made the tackiest decision imaginable: a cash bar.
Ladies, I don’t care who you are or where your wedding is going to be. If you’re inviting guests and expecting them to take off the entire day to celebrate your life choices and give you gifts for the honor of attending, it’s tacky as hell to then charge them $4 for a beer. It’s simply not to be done. As Cynthia was discussing the booze issue with her sister and mom, her daddy called at exactly that moment, but he just didn’t have the cash to lend her, naturally. If women marry their fathers, I guess we know why Cynthia loves Peter the Deadbeat. Momma eventually came through with the money to avoid a cash bar, thankfully.
Over at Phaedra’s, she was getting ready to go back to work after her maternity leave and it appeared as though she had managed to grow into the role of motherhood over the course of the season. A friend was there to keep the baby for the day, but she still shed a few tears as she handed the bambino over to head out the door in her magical elf high heels. I guess Phaedra is a real human being after all.
At Kandi’s studio, Kim showed up to discuss some sort of monetary shadiness in which she had evidently partaken. It wasn’t clear exactly what Kim had done wrong or what she was supposed to have done or even what they were talking about, but whatever it was, I think Kandi was probably right and Kim was probably shady. We know enough about those two that I think assuming Kandi was right is pretty safe, but either way, I have a hard time pretending to be interested. Kandi had issues with Kim and money in the past, so I’m not sure why she thought it would be any different the second time around. Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.
In Sheree’s neck of the woods, she was trying out for her first movie role and didn’t expect to have to do the audition in front of people. Several of them! And they were not impressed, mostly because they were actually trying to put on a real production and Sheree is not a real actress in any sense of the word. So far last night, we learned that Kim is shady about making sure she gets paid and Sheree can’t act. News at 11, y’all. If the end of the episode is to be believed, however, Sheree did end up getting the part.
Over at Nene’s house, we learned that Bryson still a deadbeat living at home (again – news at 11), but at least he had been to the barbershop since the last time we saw him. A modest improvement! Very modest, considering that he still didn’t have a job or seem particularly concerned that he had yet to find one. Remember that 90 day time limit Nene had set earlier in the season? Yeah, about that…
The next thing we knew, it was Cynthia’s wedding day. She trudged downstairs from her bedroom like a woman who had made some bad decisions the night before. Her stylist immediately sprang to his feet to give her a glass of champagne and inform her that if she wanted to run, there was still time to do it and that they had a gassed-up car waiting outside. If only she had taken the suggestion and left! But she didn’t. Cynthia picked a fine time to prove that she’s not a runaway bride. Why couldn’t have she gotten all determined and stubborn when it came to marrying Leon?
Having spent enough time panicking inside, she went out to the neighborhood park to panic outside for a while, and her mom followed her. They hugged and cried and were both dressed all in black, sort of like they were attending a very casual, early-morning funeral for the death of Cynthia’s independence and self-respect. They sat down on a bench and talked about the generalities of fate and love for a few minutes before heading back inside, and I couldn’t help but think that being too concerned with blindly following what you assume is your fate might lead you astray. Sometimes fate involves making some tough decisions and not just getting married because you put a deposit down on the venue already.
Speaking of bad marriages, Gregg and Nene sat down together for the first time in a long time. I meant to pay attention, I swear I did, but everything Gregg says sounds like such an epic load of bullshit that I just couldn’t bring myself to focus. Also, I don’t really care about Nene anymore and these two should so clearly be divorced that staged conversations about their optimistic future really don’t serve any dramatic purpose except filling a few minutes in this bloated, overlong season finale.
Back with Cynthia, we found out that there were no wedding bands. And ladies, if the fact that your fiance forgot to buy wedding bands isn’t a clear sign that you shouldn’t get married, I don’t know what is. I don’t know how the universe could tell you any more clearly than that. I don’t know how your man could tell you any more clearly that he’s not all that concerned with your happiness. If getting married to Cynthia before he turned 50 was such an important thing to Peter early in the season, why couldn’t he be bothered to run to Zales and buy some rings?
Over at Fernbank, Cynthia arrived to see her dress for the first time and, uh, about the dress…well, where do we start? First, I have to give her credit for not choosing white. I will never have a white wedding dress either, mostly because I look like crap in white, and and gunmetal is a nice alternative, if maybe not a wise choice for that particular material. And what was that thing tied up around her head? Why was it so big? Doesn’t she know that’ll knock her hairdo down if she turns around too fast? And why hadn’t she bothered to see the dress before the ceremony? And why hadn’t the wrinkles been steamed out? So many questions.
We took a momentary break to go see Kim, who had just gotten her boobs redone, and in violation of everything that we know about the Housewives, she didn’t do it on camera. Her hottie football player boyfriend came to pick her up and she left for the wedding with Uggs on her feet and her heels in her hand. That’s a woman after my own heart right there.
Back at Fernbank, it suddenly dawned on Cynthia that she had left her marriage license at home and, oops, that meant that the ceremony couldn’t be legally performed. And then there was a rumor that the license wasn’t there. And then there was a rumor that it was! And since I was not at all rooting for the marriage to happen, I had a very hard time caring where the license was or was not. Also, Cynthia’s mom might have been a little drunk, which is entirely understandable, given the situation. I would have been drunk too.
While all of that was going on, guests were arriving and Kim was making sure that one of the cater waiters took the bottle of wine that she had brought for herself (I bet she had more in the car) and all of the single ladies were swooning over Kroy, who is just my type: big, dumb, cute and quiet. Phaedra arrived with a giant box from Tiffany and it suddenly occurred to me that no one had brought a gift, which wasn’t all that surprising once I thought about it for a little while. Our ladies don’t exactly strike me as the type for gift-giving.
As far as the location went, I will say only this: Fernbank was much more lavishly decorated when I went to the Lassiter High School Senior Prom there back in 2004. It’s a very nice space for a big event, but it could have used some swagging and lighting and whatever else wedding planners do that makes a big room look like a wedding instead of just a big group of people standing around together waiting to be served alcohol (which is all that a wedding really is, when you think about it).
Once the cocktail hour was over and everyone was seated, speculation started about whether or not the bride would even show up, and most people seemed to think that the odds were slim. Cynthia didn’t run, though. She emerged at the top of the stairs and made it all the way down in a giant dress that was partially obscuring her peripheral vision and a vertiginous pair stilettos, which is more than I would have been capable of doing, and she got to the altar and said her vows and everything. She didn’t even look panicked, just resigned to her fate and relieved to be getting it over with
At the reception, everyone was drinking the much-discussed booze and mugging for the cameras and probably trying to get Leon’s phone number when Dwight walked over to try and make peace with Nene over that fight that they had waaaaay back in the season premiere eight or nine years ago. I was cheering for a fist fight or some plastic surgery jokes or something interesting to end the season, but instead, Dwight plucked a flower from the wedding directions and then they danced. In the season-ending “where are they now” segment, we found out that Nene wants to move to LA, Kandi is still being Kandi, Phaedra is still being Phaedra, Sheree is still single, Kim is pregnant and getting married and Cynthia has yet to divorce Peter. A thusly, our boring finale to a better-than-average season was done.