We all knew that Real Housewives of Atlanta‘s string of utterly fantastic, off-the-rails, vicariously embarrassing episodes would have to come to an end at some point, and last night was when the season went from great to merely quite good. Luckily for me, I’d rather watch Nene and Kim paint their toenails than watch almost any other housewife do anything, so I was still enthralled.

And why shouldn’t I have been? Phaedra still thinks you can cook a baby in seven months, Kim drinks wine out of a travel mug at nine in the morning and might be a hoarder, Sheree’s new man stays at the Holiday Inn and Kandi is still barely holding it together in the face of Kim’s atrocious attempts to record a second song. What we had last night was vintage, high-quality housewifery.

Things started out just this side of ridiculous with Kandi bringing Lawrence, Sheree’s hair gay, into the studio in his giant clogs to meet her producer friends. As it turns out, homegirl can sing. Hip-hop culture is not particularly accepting of gay artists as a general rule, but dollar signs help people get over a lot of prejudices and I could see Lawrence having a club hit or two. Kandi proposed a song called “Closet Freak,” which was also the name of Lisa’s clothing line last season, right? Real Housewives of Atlanta is starting to cannibalize itself.

It looked as though Bravo might have finally spawned a reality TV character who can sing, unlike that Kim person. You remember Kim, right? She’s the one that Nene called a “low-down monkey with a wig on” last season, coining what is perhaps my favorite Real Housewives phrase except “prostitution whore.” And, “Who’s gonna check me, boo?” Credit where credit is due, you know. Anyway, Kim was the next person to sit down in Kandi’s studio that day, and she even had her good wig on and everything. Kandi had a song for her called “The Ring Didn’t Mean a Thing,” and they were ready to make magic again. Well, if “Tardy for the Party” can be called magic.

Over at Nene’s house, 30 days had passed since Nene had that 90-day conversation with Bryson. He still didn’t have a job, he didn’t have any income, and he didn’t seem to be moving out anytime soon. All Bryson wants to do is hang out at the club, so Nene thinks he’s going to be a club owner one day, and she thinks that Cynthia’s boyfriend Peter is the man to teach him how to do it. Peter’s club has since closed, which is probably par for the Real Housewives course. At least the man knows how to get a haircut, though, so having him talk to Bryson probably isn’t a bad idea.

You know what was a bad idea, though? Letting us see Cynthia’s baby daddy, Leon Robinson. He’s a cute, successful actor who still cares about Cynthia a great deal and is willing to fly from New York to Atlanta frequently to see his child, so I’m not sure why she’s still messing around with that old guy. CYNTHIA, MARRY YOUR BABY DADDY. Ditch the “club owner.” Shove him out of the house and get the locks changed. Do what you have to do. You are a supermodel, Cynthia Bailey. You can do better. Look at those cheekbones.

Back in the studio, Kandi was trying to teach Kim to sing for the umpteenth time. Instead of singing, Kim wanted to talk about curtains, her range and the definition of the word “high.” At the suggestions that she should go back to her vocal coach from the first season, Kim made a face like she had just smelled a fart and decided she should just take the track and listen to it in her car for a few days and get comfortable. I sat in my bedroom and sang the song back at the television like a moron, and trust me, it’s not that hard. I’m not a singer. I’m not half a singer. And yet, still, when Kim tried it, it sounded like she was trying to slaughter and animal with just her voice. And really, that might be effective – if I played that clip for my dog, she’d probably try to climb up on the roof and jump off just to make it stop.

Over at Phaedra’s office, we found out one very important thing: she has a giant, blown-up magazine cover of herself leaning against the wall next to her desk. She met with LaTavia, a former member of Destiny’s Child who is not anywhere near as famous or awesome as Beyonce (or even as Kelly Rowland), who has been arrested and been to jail and all kinds of non-glamorous stuff since she got kicked out of the group and replaced by Michelle Williams. Phaedra, wearing an amount of eyeshadow that fell somewhere between “spackle” and “tile grout,” promised that they’d write a one-woman show together to get her back on top. And by “on top,” Phaedra meant “playing third banana to Beyonce.” Which, to be fair, is more “on top” than my toppiest “on top” so far.

At some generic restaurant in Atlanta, Nene and Kim got together to complain about their respective “relationships,” which probably both deserve scare-quotes around them at this point since they’re both more or less nonexistent. In the middle of their conversation, Kim’s new song came up and they both grabbed their booze and ran into the parking lot to Kim’s car to listen to the track. In case anyone’s keeping score, that’s Kim’s second potential open container violation of the season, and we’re only like a third of the way through.

In other Kim news, Kim has four storage units that cost a total of $800 a month. They seem to contain approximately 1.5 houses worth of tacky, needlessly expensive furniture, mirrors (NEVER ENOUGH MIRRORS) and wigs, and Kim decided that it was time to clean out and have a “garage” sale (in a random parking lot). Ladies, if I had known that this was going on in Atlanta somewhere, I would have showed up. Particularly since her dad gestured at Gucci boots and said $10. Also, I would have happily paid admission just to gawk at the entire thing, since Kim had her assistant fill up a travel mug with white wine before the whole thing started. So not only did we learn that Kim, like Ramona Singer, travels with her white wine, but we saw her commit her third open container violation of the season thus far and her second one in the span of a single episode. Kim works hard for her Housewives money, ladies.

Nene showed up to buy some things off Kim and a random bystander who appeared to be one of those yard sale enthusiasts and who probably had no idea they were filming a TV show wandered by and told Kim that her prices were too high. Phaedra and Cynthia also showed up to pick over the carcasses of Drunk Kim’s storage unit, but really, they were all there to have lunch with Kim and Nene and talk about Phaedra’s ridiculous, fully-formed-at-seven-months mutant baby. Despite the fact that Phaedra chose to stick to her story and claim to be due in August, she also wanted to tell everyone that her doctor was going to induce labor in a week. This episode was shot in May, which, last time I checked, was approximately three months prior to August.

So Phaedra was six (or seven, depending on which due date she was giving that day) months pregnant and her baby already weighed eight pounds, which constitutes a lie so atrocious and obvious that I’m not even sure how she found herself in it. If you know you’re due in May but you want people to think you’re due in July or August, just make up a due date, do the math, and then tell the same thing to everyone. And then stop talking! Shut up! It’s simple! Then, when you have to go to the hospital and have the baby in May, people will be worried and speculate about complications and not even think that maybe you were just a lying heifer the entire time who made up a fake due date because she embarrassed about getting pregnant before she got married. You’d think a lawyer would at least be a competent liar.

After everyone else went home to get out their calendars and count months on their fingers and toes, Kandi showed up to the garage sale to discuss the new song with Kim. Because Kim is a music industry professional with impeccable taste and perfect pitch (or so I’ve heard), she had some concerns about the track. Kandi’s ability to restrain herself and not punch Kim in her face reached legendary proportions at this point in the episode; she managed to have a civil discussion with Kim and stand her ground about her work on the song, saving the reminder of her status as a Grammy winner for the solo interview. At what point does self-restraint become monk-like? Because I think Kandi’s almost there. I wonder if she’s reached a higher plane of spiritual existence yet.

Over at Nene’s house, Bryson was eating a Five Guys burger (I had one for lunch yesterday. I’d recognize that greasy brown paper bag anywhere.) while everyone else was awaiting asparagus from a private chef and the arrival of Peter and Cynthia for a party where everyone apparently skipped the veggies and drank their dinners. Once Cynthia and Peter showed up, Bryson and Peter talked a little bit about hard work and Bryson looked completely uninterested, but don’t worry, something interesting happened soon afterward.

Gregg wandered into the room and Nene made a relatively harmless joke about him being dressed up, which resulted in Gregg losing his mind and then Nene subsequently losing hers and getting up in his grill like she got in Dwight’s. Peter tried to pull Bryson aside to continue to lecture him about hard work. Bryson continued to breathe through his mouth and look confused at the big words. The sun went down, the world continued to turn. We all got a few seconds older while watching it.

Shortly thereafter, someone pointed Nene in Gregg’s direction once again and they both managed to prove to the entire viewing audience that they sort of deserve each other (and they both deserve Bryson). Nene wagged her finger in his face, Gregg pretended to hang himself, they all forgot that a camera crew and several relative strangers were in the room, as well as their two kids. I hope the little one makes it out of there without too much damage. He knew what asparagus was. I have hope for him.

Nene later insinuated that Gregg had cheated while drunkenly slurring at Cynthia, which brings about a whole host of questions. Did Gregg really cheat? With whom? Who would have with sex Gregg for fun? Was it someone who hates Nene? What’s up with the second G in Gregg’s name? What’s up with his hair? Does he have a perm? Nene’s reportedly dating an NFL player now, to which I have only one thing to say: UPGRADE. I don’t even know which one it is. It doesn’t matter! Still an upgrade.

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